elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
For entertainment this morning, I was reading [livejournal.com profile] fail_fandomanon and writing an e-mail to a friend, and now I'm musing on fandom in general.

There's a great quote in the show Supernatural, in an episode that references fandom:
"For fans, they sure do complain a lot."

No fandom will ever hate its source text more than Star Wars fandom, but it's still more or less true across all fandoms, be they football teams, knitting patterns, a book, or a TV show. Being a fan means being obsessive, detail-oriented, and passionate about whatever you're a fan of. It means you will pick apart what you love to an absurd degree and complain about what you find.

Football fans will spend hours analysing a game, debating a referee's decision, discussing who should have made the team, who was unfairly dismissed. Fans of any given TV show will spend hours analysing scenes, costumes, words, props: what does this item mean? Why would this character choose to do this, or say that? The more you love something, the more intense the engagement and the experience.

Loving something a lot means you'll argue and deconstruct ad absurdum, and the more passionate you are, the more intense everything will be. Fans will disagree with others who are doing exactly the same thing just as passionately. Creators of source texts will never be able to do everything for every single fan; they're only human too, and no text can ever be dissected minutely and still stand up perfectly. That's why we have so many arguments in fandom and why we proclaim our hatred for the creators and why to an outsider it just looks like a whole lot of arguing and complaining.

That love starts to look like hate at some point. There's a common perception that old married couples hate each other.

I think love and complaining just go hand-in-hand, because nothing and no one can ever hurt you, or break your heart quite like who and what you love.
elfinblaze: (Torchwood)
When I was 18 I used to follow along to X/1999. When new installments came out in Japan, someone would write out in English what had happened, because the official English translation was way, way behind, and us English-speaking fans lapped it up, hungry to know what happened next. I remember sitting infront of the computer, crying, almost every month, because each development was so heartbreaking, with the whole unfolding drama between Subaru and Seishirou. I think I cried more over those two than I have over anything else in my fannish life. I remember the question of who would end up killing whom being a big deal, and then the answer coming out of nowhere, and no one expected that ending... and then that obscured speech bubble where everyone guessed what Seishirou said but it was never confirmed! I remember what a big deal it was at the time.

When Torchwood, season 2, episode 6, aired, I was shocked. I hadn't expected that ending. My primary thought was: "How the hell did they manage to keep that quiet?" I thought it was a fantastic twist, but I also suspected how the series would continue. Come on, this is Torchwood.

I was also unspoilt for Harry Potter, book 6. I got spoilt for book 5 and was determined for it not to happen again. Then when I read book 6 it wasn't a surprise at all. I could see that ending coming from the beginning. On the up side, at least, in the future I'll be able to say I was there when everyone got all worked up about it, the same way people older than me experienced The Empire Strikes Back, or The Wrath of Kahn. And I do sort-of wish I had been around when Sherlock Holmes died. It was a huge thing at the time and I would have loved to have heard what people were saying at the time.

I loved getting to experience the shock of all those things though.

Now that I'm (sort of) in the Glee fandom, where getting spoilt for upcoming plots is the norm, it's so weird to me. Everyday someone is leaking something on the internet, including The Powers That Be (TPTB) themselves, and the line between teasers and spoilers isn't exactly clear anymore. I try to stay away from them because I still don't like getting spoilt, but I've nonetheless been spoilt for just about everything on the show.

Having said that, finding out ahead of time doesn't negate that sinking feeling in your stomach when you hear about something shocking, or take away from experiencing that emotion, and as long as others are in the same boat, there's still that community feeling where everyone else wants to talk about it too. The spoiler just takes the events out of context. Sometimes that makes it worse, because then you have to wait weeks or months for the episode to air until you can find out how it gets resolved.

Sometimes, it makes it better because you can prepare yourself.

Normally I hate surprises. Loathe them, in fact. So most of the time I'm glad for spoilers if there's a theme I have trouble dealing with, coming up. For example, I'm glad I've now been warned for episode 18 so I can brace myself for the worst and not expect to go to bed happy after watching that episode, so I'm glad for that. (While we're on the topic, I wish books had warnings like fanfics.) But I don't want to know everything ahead of time and out of context. That's why I don't listen to the songs or watch the videos from upcoming episodes. Sometimes I don't even watch the trailers, just read the official summaries.

Thankfully there's still some good discussion that goes on after an episode has aired, so it still feels like being in the midst of it, especially when spoilers turned out to be misleading and people are freaking out about surprise romances, near deaths, actual deaths, and whatever else.

So I'm in a weird position of wanting to know some things but not others ahead of watching/reading something. I think I'll sum it up as: I like to be warned, but not spoilt.
elfinblaze: (Default)
So this is Regi on DW. I have an LJ at:

http://elfinblaze.livejournal.com/

And a tumblr. at:

http://elfinblaze.tumblr.com/

For various reasons:

A) In case one site goes down for good, so people can still find me on another.

B) I'm watching fandom shift again.

I'm going to get a bit rambly here because I first discovered fandom (mainly anime) when it was on individual authors websites and then you had to follow authors' links to find others, or follow webrings they were members of. This was in the days when everyone had geocities, tripod, or angelfire sites.

At about the same time, a friend was on several mailing lists, so I know her fandoms (Star Trek) were organised differently to mine.

LJ, where it was used, still had invite codes. I remember being frustrated because I couldn't join LJ, because I didn't know anyone who could give me an invite code. This is partly why I've always hated invite codes: you have to be a part of the group before you can become a part of the group. For someone as socially awkward as me, that was impossible.

I didn't use ff.net much - I had already been spoilt by the quality of fiction on the websites run by individual authors - but my sister devoured almost every story she came across on the site. She doesn't talk much about it, but I think she still does sometimes. There were a few other archive sites too, though smaller. Some even still exist, although most are now lost to cyberspace dust.

I mostly hung out on forums and LJ clones, until LJ finally scrapped the invite code system. Then I signed up immediately and threw myself into fandom as I always wanted to. Since then, fandom on LJ grew exponentially.

Now I'm beginning to see it change again. First, some fandoms moved over here to DW when it became an option. Others stayed mostly on LJ. Still others moved to AO3. Again, still other fandoms didn't. Now some are shifting to tumblr., especially some of the newer ones with younger fanbases, including my current obsession, Glee.

I'm still seeing all fandoms represented on LJ, DW, AO3, tumblr., and other sites of course, but fandom in general has spread out across all these various platforms and sites now, with various fandoms preferring various formats. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing (it's both), I just find it interesting to see fandom shifting in how it exists on the web again. It's also kind of exciting to see how fandom changes.

It just makes me reflect on my time in fandom and how long I've been here.
elfinblaze: (Tardis vs Cthulhu)
So I've set up a tumblr. although I still need to come up with a profile and description, and I don't really have the time for yet another blog, but so far it's mainly the kind of stuff you'll also find here on my LJ.

http://elfinblaze.tumblr.com/

Various reasons though:

A) In case LJ goes down for good, so people can still find me. It's been having trouble with hackers trying to bring down the Russian political blogs on here, so if LJ goes down, you can continue to stalk me over on tumblr. if you want.

B) I'm watching fandom shift again.

I'm going to get a bit rambly here because I first discovered fandom (mainly anime) when it was on individual authors websites and then you had to follow authors' links to find others, or follow webrings they were members of. This was in the days when everyone had geocities, tripod, or angelfire sites.

At about the same time, [livejournal.com profile] starwolvie was on several mailing lists, so I know her fandoms (Star Trek) were organised differently to mine.

LJ, where it was used, still had invite codes. I remember being frustrated because I couldn't join LJ, because I didn't know anyone who could give me an invite code. This is partly why I've always hated invite codes: you have to be a part of the group before you can become a part of the group. For someone as socially awkward as me, that was impossible.

I didn't use ff.net much - I had already been spoilt by the quality of fiction on the websites run by individual authors - but my sister devoured almost every story she came across on the site. She doesn't talk much about it, but I think she still does, although not as much. There were a few other archive sites too, though smaller. Some even still exist, although most are now lost to cyberspace dust.

I mostly hung out on forums and LJ clones, until LJ finally scrapped the invite code system. Then I signed up immediately and threw myself into fandom as I always wanted to. Since then, fandom on LJ grew exponentially..

Now I'm beginning to see it change again. First, some fandoms moved over to DreamWidth when that became an option. Others stayed mostly on LJ. Then, still others moved to AO3. Again, still other fandoms didn't. Now some are shifting to tumblr., especially some of the newer ones with younger fanbases, including my current obsession, Glee.

I'm still seeing all fandoms represented on LJ, DW, AO3, tumblr., and other sites of course, but fandom in general has spread out across all these various platforms and sites now, with various fandoms preferring various formats. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing (it's both), I just find it interesting to see fandom shifting in how it exists on the web again. It's also kind of exciting to see how fandom changes.

It just makes me reflect on my time in fandom and how long I've been here.
elfinblaze: (torchwood)
Apparently I have something to say about The Strong Female Characters Chart after all. When I first saw it, I read the top line and dismissed it as soon as I got to "Does she represent an idea"? Apparently that's a bad thing. Except that my characters always represent ideas, both male and female characters. They need to be representations of the ideas in the story in order for that story to work in my head. Of course my characters represent ideas! They represent ideas in our world and in their world, ideas that I want to explore by writing the story.

So I dismissed the whole thing until the discussion showed up on [livejournal.com profile] metafandom.

And now people are measuring themselves against the chart, and I want to join in!

Am I a strong female character? )

Either way, apparently I'm not a strong female character. What does that say about me? Or more importantly, what does that say about the chart when a real person can't pass it?

Anyway, that was fun.

Queer Gen

Aug. 6th, 2010 05:19 am
elfinblaze: (Imagine Me & You)
On Tuesday this week I set myself a challenge to get over my writer's block, to really put myself under pressure. Last time I challenged myself to write a story in 30 minutes. This time I challenged myself to write a story a day, considering I usually only get 30 - 60 minutes a day in which to write anyway, while having breakfast.

So far all the stories have been more or less queer gen. Apparently that's all I want to write these days.

What is queer gen?

I hate the fact that we actually have to have a label for that, but in fandom you can either read shippy fic or gen, and if you read gen all the minor characters will be straight (unless you're in one of the few fandoms with canonically queer characters). So queer gen are fics with gen stories but queer characters. If I had my way all gen would have a variety of characters (not dominated by straight, white men), but unfortunately that hasn't been my experience. Fandom is still a straight space. Slightly less so than my everyday life, but that's not saying much.

I suppose the other definition would be gen stories for a queer audience, so in other words, stories where queer characters just go about their everyday lives, not any other genre, including romance.

On DreamWidth there's queerlygen (the LJ version is pretty much dead). And then there's [livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest, but that's about it. There was an interesting discussion going on in the comments at [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets about how the mere existance of those communities testifies to what a straight space fandom is, and that's influenced my thinking today too.

When I posted the first of this week's fics I started thinking about what other communities it would fit into. It's not explicitly shippy, in fact, that's not the point of the story at all. Is it gen? Well, it's not a canon couple either, which gen preferences. So now I'm not sure what communities would fit such a story. Where does queer gen fit into fandom?

I'm not sure what my point is. I guess it's just another of those little things that reinforces what a straight space fandom is, like the rest of the world.
elfinblaze: (Default)
You might want to read this post if LJ's "outboundlink.me" bugs you, or if, like me, you have a nine year old computer that gets ridiculously slow trying to handle that script.

And no, I haven't watched the newest Doctor Who episode yet; I'm going to wait until I have next week's one. That's how much I loathe cliffhangers.

Also, I tend to forget episodes that end in cliffhangers. The thing is, I like to think things over when I get to the end of a piece, but with a cliffhanger there's no closure, it just stops. It leaves me going: "Okay then. What now?" and then I wander off to find something else to do, rather than sitting and thinking about it, becuase in my mind, the story isn't finished yet!

So when I don't think something over afterwards I tend to forget it very quickly. Hence, me forgetting entire episodes/pieces that end without resolution. The problem then is that the next expisode screens and I am completely lost because I can't remember what happened in the previous one, so I lose half the story.

I have the same problem with WIPs that end chapters in cliffhangers.

Does anyone else have this problem? I know I can't be the only one.

Anyway, I've learnt to avoid falling prey to cliffhanger endings, to the point where I sometimes won't even watch the last episode of a TV season until the next season, because too often seasons end in cliffhangers. I would rather have the whole story at once so I can degest it in peace in the end.

Thus, no Doctor Who for me this week.
elfinblaze: (NCIS Abby/Ziva)
This post by [livejournal.com profile] bookshop has been on my mind for days.

Our awareness that slash is a progressive act in terms of raising awareness of queer identity *has* to be balanced out by the knowledge of how problematic that is when most of our fictions are still telling boy's stories at the expense of our own.

This is difficult for me to admit, but I think she's right.

Like her, before I discovered fandom I only wrote female characters, and while I can thank fandom for teaching me how to write decent male characters, I think it's time to stop writing all these stories featuring men and focus on the female characters I love. Because there are so many, and I don't write about them nearly enough.

So often I want to write about how much I love Gwen Cooper, and Cho Chang, and Angela Montenegro, and the many other characters that I love, but I always stop myself because a) I think people wouldn't be interested, and b) I'm scared of people piling on me saying how they really don't like those characters, making me feel even worse for holding unpopular opinions. Yes, I'm a coward.

Alternatively, I stop myself from posting much of the f/f fic I've written because it feels too personal. Have I mentioned that I'm a coward?

So I get what she's saying. That's why that post rings so true for me. It's something I've been thinking about for a few months and she's articulated it so well.

And from the comments:

Seriously, after having listened to so many people on this post hand-waving and justifying themselves and jumping from blame-shifting to blame-shifting going it's not OUR fault, it's the writers of X canon/media/society at large... I just feel like honest-to-god screaming SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT WE NEED TO DO THIS at the entire fandom.

As much as I would like to weasel out of this and justify myself and say I have my reasons for focussing primarily on male characters, that would be the easy way out. I don't want to make excuses for myself, no matter how justified. I want to face the problem I see here and do something about it. I am going to have to suck it up and deal with this.

I want to write Gwen rebuilding Torchwood (preferably along with Martha Jones, Lois Habiba, and Agent Johnson), and I want to write Cho and Hermione hooking up over books, and Ginny as an Auror, solving cases on her own and saving Harry's life, and Emily Prentiss and Angela Montenegro working together on a case and falling in love. These are all on my to-write list (among a whole heap of other ideas), but having written so many male-focussed stories I think I need to consciously preference these, even if nobody else will ever read them apart from me, just because female characters don't get enough love and attention, and someone has to do something about that. I have to do something about that.

That's not to say I'll never write a male-focussed story ever again; I'm just saying I need to consciously start focussing on the female characters. Because they have stories to tell too, and too few other people are telling them.

[ETA: And another post here, which I just found, in case anyone else is interested.

I've reached a point where I feel that women writing about male characters, even nominally straight male characters in a homosexual relationship, is a way we are participating in our own erasure. When there are female characters available, and female fans ignore them in favor of writing about the male characters instead, that makes me uncomfortable.]
elfinblaze: (WM Spears Write Hard Die Free)
There's this article in the Sydney Morning Herald today about so called "post-dramatic stress" which actors suffer after they take on a dark role.

To quote:

Examples of actors whose roles seep into their lives abound in film and theatre, including Heath Ledger struggling with mental exhaustion while playing the Joker in The Dark Knight, a sobbing Daniel Day-Lewis quitting a production of Hamlet after seeing the ghost of his own father on stage and Robert Downey jnr admitting that playing a cocaine addict in Less Than Zero contributed to his own addiction.

It reminded me of an interview I read with James O'Barr, creator of The Crow comics, where he talked about writing something that was so dark, with so much hate and anger painted across each page. He said, "I was pretty messed up afterwards". And of course the site where I read it has long vanished, and Google is no help, but the quote stuck with me.

It got me thinking, even back then, about the effects that writing a dark story can have on a writer, and after reading this morning's article I'm thinking about it again.

It's been a long time since I've written anything dark, mostly I stick to adventures, romance, and a touch of humour these days, just fun stuff, but I do remember sitting down to write things that I knew would leave me shaking afterwards, and if I remember right, last time I made sure to write such a scene on a Saturday so that I could have the weekend to ground myself again. And this is why I don't like writing dark stories, because when I write, I try to make myself feel whatever the characters are feeling. I figure, if just a fraction of my feelings makes it only the page with the characters, I can be content. Hence no deep, disturbing, emotional stories from me, because I know they will mess me up. Yeah, I'm a coward.

It's made me wonder about other writers though, and how many of them have the same problems. And can anyone come up with a similarly catchy description, like "post-dramatic stress", except for writers? Because I'm sure there's a similar effect for writers, not just actors.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Firefly)
I've just finished reading an essay called Identity and Authenticity in the Filk Community, by Melissa Tatum ([livejournal.com profile] meltatum), in the online journal of Transformative Works and Cultures. (Yeah, I'm still reading academic commentary for fun.)

It's an interesting look at the filk community, which I'll freely admit I know nothing about, and how it relates to the Wizard Rock community, which I know considerably more about. I've wanted to listen to filk for years but I've found it so difficult to find online, so I still haven't (with a select few exceptions). I don't know if that's because the Harry Potter is so huge it's everywhere or because Wizard Rockers have adopted MySpace en masse to spread their sound, but I've never had problems finding samples of Wizard Rock to listen to. Or maybe it's that the Wizard Rock community as a whole is younger (students, mostly) with more time to promote themselves online, not to mention tour, with less time needed for work and family responsibilities.

Anyway, the essay got me thinking: Is Wizard Rock filk? The conclusion I've come to is: buggered if I know. XD

They certainly seem similar at first glance, and I disagree with the writer in that Wizard Rock is mostly top-down, that is, artists performing for an audience. From my experience the only reason some artists perform on stage rather than a "singing circle" is that the audiences have become so huge that the performance method had to change. I can't remember where I heard it, but I remember Paul DeGeorge (of the band Harry and the Potters) saying something like: it doesn't matter if you've never played an instrument before. If Henry Jenkins has taught us anything it's that fandom is about interactive audiences, and that doesn't just go one way; we all feed each other. For most Wizard Rock bands, the genre is about other fans, it's about rocking out together, it's about everyone being (theoretically, at least) able to get involved. So I really don't think there's much of a difference between Wizard Rock and filk.

The difference is mainly nominal. Wizard Rock doesn't identify as filk. The main reason for that, at least in my experience, is that most Wizard Rockers and fans don't know what filk is.

I do agree with the writer of the essay that what's needed is crossover between filkers and other fan-music, be it Wizard Rock, Twilight Rock, Time Lord Rock, Firefly Rock, Nerdcore, Video Game Music, or whatever. Most of the latter genres have no idea of the long history of fan-music. Some of them think they came up with the idea. In the meantime, filk seems to be aging, which baffles me in the age of the internet. I'd be interested to know how many people are familiar with more than one of these communities, because for similar communities it's surprising how fragmented fandom can be. Snape44 is the only artist I've come across who is both linked to the Wizard Rock community and identifies as a filker.

Does this make sense? Does this par with anyone else's experience or am I way off base?

And I should really go back to uni and do that media degree, shouldn't I? XD

(Crossposted to my fandom journal, since that's what it was supposed to be used for, once upon a time.)
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Firefly)
Ye gods, I slept 10 hours last night. I can't remember the last time that happenned.

Cut for photo )

I was in the city yesterday. Central Sydney, that is, the above picture being a photo of Sydney's Town Hall, as taken from the window of the Kinokuniya bookshop, which should tell you where I spent most of my time. I bought Henry Jenkins' Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers, because I am a geek and couldn't put it down once my hands were on it. Also Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains, and I caved and ended up buying The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, because her journal entry from last week, Ladies, Please (Carry On Being Awesome), impressed me.

It's a post about the double standard to which we hold fictional characters, and how we tend to judge female characters much harder than male characters given the same storylines. I guess I was lucky because I grew up with Enid Blyton (where girls have all the same adventures as boys), Emily Rodda (ditto), Tamora Pierce (who writes wonderful female characters), and Mercedes Lackey (who has her faults, but writing interesting female characters is not one of them). So I grew up surrounded by wonderful and exciting girls who went on adventures, solved mysteries, and gained my respect. I never had to wish for adventures for girls like me, because I had all the stories I could want. I grew up loving these characters, and for a long time I had no favourite male characters at all, because I remember having to think hard about that (then I read Treasure Island and discovered Long John Silver).

I still love well-written female characters. It's one reason I love Tanya Huff's writing (another being the fact that most of her characters don't distinguish between gay and straight), especially her newest book, The Enchantment Emporium. Women make up most of the main cast because it's about a family in which female births outnumber male births by about four or five to one, and the powerful positions in the family are held by the older women. And all the characters are likable and unique in their own ways.

The point is, I have had so many wonderful fictional role models, and I still love a lot of the female characters that others dislike. I don't understand the hate that characters like Gwen (Torchwood) and Ginny (Harry Potter) seem to attract. It drives me nuts when female characters are criticised for being "bitchy" or "weak", but if they were male they wouldn't attract any scorn for the same actions.

Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales' post impressed me enough to finally seek out her book.

So now I have more to read. ^_^ Yay.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter)
I'm reading this post about smooshed 'ship names and laughing myself silly over some of them.

In short: I agree, Kirk/Spock should never be smooshed, because as funny as Kock is, it just does not work as a 'ship name. I've also seen it called Spork, which is not much better.

Snarry is usual for Snape/Harry, which is fortunate because Snotter just made me fall over laughing. Then there's Snupin (Snape/Lupin), which just makes me think of Snoopy, the dog. And while I 'ship it, Drarry (Draco/Harry) just sounds dreadful and I refuse to use it.

On the other hand, while the 'ship creeps me out, I like the name Drapery (Draco/Snape/Harry). I'm also quite fond of Spuffy (Spike/Buffy) which sounds like some kind of laundry detergent, and Spangle (Spike/Angel), which just sounds neat. In the Gundam Wing fandom, the 'ship names may look like mathematical equations, but at least those familiar with the show know exactly what 1x2 and 3x4 means.

The worst I've ever some across though, was in The L Word: Lard (Lara/Dana). *shudder* And Buffy/Willow will be awful no matter how you smoosh it. You've either got Billow, Wiffy, Wuffy, or Bullow. You can't win.

In conclusion, some smooshed names may work, but most don't. I wish people wouldn't try unless there really is a 'ship name that works and sounds good.

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