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I hung out at the 3-Sentence Ficathon for a bit a while back, and ended up liking a couple of my fills enough to post the lot to AO3, so:

30 Sentences, feat. various micro fills for Hikaru no Go, Anne of Green Gables, Gunnerkrigg Court, Code Name Verity, Calvin & Hobbes, Harry Potter, Adventure Time, Homestuck and due South.


Here is my latest fannish pet peeve. It's bothering me enough that I've started slipping passive-aggressive references to it into pinboard notes and conversations with non-fannish friends, so perhaps it bears saying so that I can, you know, stop:

I am so over AUs in which European characters are inexplicably American.

Obviously this all ties into the weird set of expectations and assumptions that we all have about what are acceptable changes to make to a character in an AU setting. Turn a rockstar into a librarian but don't change their surname. Turn a bunch of canonically adult characters into teenagers in high school, but don't change their ages relative to each other. Turn a human character into a vampire but don't change their freaking nationality.

I know that those are subjective lines, and that there are plenty of people who are bothered by none of those things, or completely different things that don't trip me at all. So I guess what I'm actually complaining about is the mindset that makes what is starting to feel like far too many people not tag or in any way signal the nationality change in the headers.

If you're writing One Direction, you can't just call it a bookshop AU and leave people to work out two thousand words in that the reason it's so badly britpicked is that it's a bookshop in freaking New York. If you're writing Les Mis, you can't just call it a Modern AU and expect people to understand by that that the reason none of the street names sound very French is because everyone is supposed to be Californian. I am not going to assume that Enjolras is American just because he's in a modern AU. That isn't a natural assumption to make! Paris is also a place that exists in the 21st century! And has university students and social justice clubs and cafes!

(All that said, I will freely admit that it hasn't actually bothered me much in the past when American or Canadian characters in historical AUs were inexplicably English. Hypocrisy, it's a beautiful thing? ... I think that it would bother me to read it now, though.)

Just ... tag it. Mention New York in the summary. Do something to warn me that if I want to read this fic, I'm going to have to read all of Louis Tomlinson's dialogue with a New York accent and nobody's going to drink any tea.

ETA: Just to clarify, as with all rants, the "you" here consists probably entirely of people who will definitely never read this.
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* So I ran away to northern New South Wales for my birthday, and it was p. much great. I skipped out on Melbourne's heatwave and spent a week drinking gin and playing 500 with my mum, kicking through rainforest creeks in the rain, watching old episodes of Leverage, attacking my fingers with a guitar and lounging about in the sunshine on my dad's yacht (this is such a misleading statement: it is a yacht and it's awesome, but he built it himself over a span of about 3 decades and is now spending more than he can afford to moor it, but it's so stupidly exciting to finally see it out on the water with the sail unfurled). Check it out, I am no longer a twenty-something. I am ... mostly cool with this.

(I spent the weeks leading up to my birthday thinking about my early twenties, and realising that I am so glad I'm not there anymore. I had a lot of fun, it was so much better than being a teenager, it was amazing really, but fuck I made everything so much harder than it needed to be. Everything. Everything was harder than it needed to be, all of these imaginary neuroses and insecurities and just working out how the fuck to do things. It's so much easier to be me now. And I'm so much less of a tool.)

* I haven't played guitar regularly since my early twenties. I picked it up again about a week and a half ago and promptly spent fifteen minutes tuning it on the wrong fret, welp. Then I spent the next five days tormenting my poor callus-less fingertips with unforgiving steel strings, and now I have calluses again. Thin ones, but it's amazing, last night I played until I felt like doing something else rather than until my fingers hurt too much to use. It still hurt a little to type afterwards, I suffer for my art etc, where art = sitting against the headboard of my bed strumming Leonard Cohen songs with a little hiccup pause before every F. I really hope I keep up with it, it would be great to be more than "a bit of". A bit of a singer, a bit of a guitarist, a bit of a keyboard player, a bit of a songwriter. I don't aspire to be more than a social musician, but I'd like to be that.

* I do want to write songs again. I used to do it all the time, and ... I think I've forgotten how? That seems like such a strange thing to forget.

* Fannishly my main activity seems to be linking, lately. Reccing at [community profile] fancake or updating [tumblr.com profile] hellsyeshomestuckfemslash and [pinboard.in profile] kudostest. The hellsyes tumblr is a bi-weekly newsletter of new Homestuck f/f fic and I honestly have so little idea why I'm doing it. It's picked up 50 or 60 followers (... hi [personal profile] gloss? ♥) since I started it so I guess people are finding it useful, but I'm not totally sure why? Almost all Homestuck fic is posted at AO3 or occasionally on the kink meme (or on tumblr, but there's no good way to track new tumblr fic, so I don't bother), so it's really just an AO3 scrape, which anybody could get for themselves by going there and having a look, every few days.

I started it mostly because ... well, I have low impulse control when it comes to starting side blogs, and because I was thinking again about how incredibly un-useful I find [livejournal.com profile] femslash_today. It should be such a great resource, but the fact that they don't include summaries - and I understand that space would be an issue - makes it impossible to tell if something is worth clicking through to. I'm not going to click through to 46 stories every day**, in case there's something cool in a fandom I don't follow. So I thought, with a single fandom, even a prolific and femslash-friendly one like Homestuck, you could include summaries and content tags and it wouldn't be very much work to keep up at all. Which it isn't, honestly, but 85% of everything is terrible and it's killing me to meticulously archive titles and summaries with grammatical errors and horrible punctuation decisions and gratuitous fourteen-year-old angst, a little bit. I've been trying to calculate when is too soon to advertise for a new mod to take it over basically since the day after I set it up.

** Wow, I just checked the comm for the first time in a while, and their daily lists have shrunk so much. What happened there?

The [pinboard.in profile] kudostest pinboard is much cooler, in my opinion, but also apparently massively less appealing to people who aren't me? In that it has exactly three followers, one of whom is [personal profile] blottingtheink. I actually started it on tumblr as another roundup newsletter, but it picked up no followers at all no matter how I tagged it, so I moved it to pinboard where I could tell myself that at least it might be useful in the future, as an archive or for stats.

It's basically a skim of all f/f fic posted to AO3 (in all fandoms) that picks up about a 10% or above ratio of kudoses to hits in the first few days. It's not any kind of absolute quality test - some fandoms are much more kudos-happy than others, and some fandoms are so small you can't get any kind of data at all in the first few days, and people are much more likely to kudos a drabble than a novella, and I still haven't worked out a good formula for multi-chapter works, and etc but all the same, kudos/hitcount is the best objective quality test we have available. And if you're into femslash you pretty much have to be multi-fannish, at least if you only want to read good fic. So it feels like a potentially cool resource? Idk, I'm still evaluating.

* I am writing a little. I have I guess about 3000 words of 1D high school clichefic (oh noes drunken kissing at a party does it ~mean anything) and probably about the same of John/Karkat Hogwarts clichefic (oh noes potions mishap now they can't let go of each other). Plus various other bits and pieces. I had a vague plan to write something for Femslash February, but I couldn't get excited enough about any of my ideas. It would be cool to not work on tiny little ficlets, in any case; I haven't posted longer fic in a frighteningly long time. Homestuck doesn't seem to inspire length in me, only eternally remixed character interactions in bite-sized pieces.
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I've been thinking a lot about hetfic lately. When I started out in fandom it was 2006, femslash barely existed on my radar, and het was that less-cool, way-more-mainstream thing that some other people did in other parts of fandom and mostly I didn't get why you would bother.

Then fandom rediscovered feminism (again? I guess?) and I personally discovered that having called yourself a feminist from the time you could read did not actually mean that all of your thoughts and opinions were feminist by default and you got to not question yourself and your assumptions. And that maybe this thing where we as a community didn't really want to read fic with girls as main characters was less awesome and progressively subversive than previously thought.

Which meant that het, along with femslash, became itself cool and subversive. And, especially in fandoms with no or very few important canon relationships between female characters, where femslash was as a result going to be a particular hardsell, focusing on important female–male relationships as a reader and a writer became an act of feminist fannishness.

Which is a pretty common fandom arc to have followed, I think? But it isn't everybody's. So I would find these new fandoms that had a lot of het, and I would read that as feminism, and cheer. Only sometimes it isn't. Homestuck in particular is excellent for hetfic: of my 165 HS saves at pinboard, 61 are het, with only 30-something each for slash and femslash. And it was only after a few months in the fandom that I began to realise that some of those het writers and readers are actually, you know, crazy revelation, coming from a place of unacknowledged homophobia. The "I just happen not to like slash it's personal taste" folks and the "I have no interest in two guys together because I'm a straight dude" folks. (Because ... personal sexuality is totally a bar to appreciating romances that don't cater to it, that's why no queer people through history have ever been into hetero romantic literature, and also why Homestuck is exclusively populated by people who are turned on by underage grey-skinned aliens with horns. In their personal lives.)

Which led to me feeling weird about het again. Because I don't want to be part of a movement to make fanfiction less subversive of mainstream constructions of sexuality and gender and the dynamics of romance. I don't want to de-claw it in a way that makes it palatable to anti-queer prejudices. That would be the opposite of cool.*

Except, OK, last night I was reading this Jade/Dave ficlet, and I had one of those revelations-that-shouldn't-have-been-a-revelation-because-it's-completely-obvious. You go to fanfiction for what you can't already get everywhere else, and that applies to het just as much as it does to every other kind of fic, doesn't it? The Jade/Dave ficlet above has the kind of deeply personal gender dynamics and shivery exploration of male physical and emotional passivity and vulnerability, without being explicitly about power - just about these two characters and the ways they respond to each other - that I couldn't find in one in a hundred YA romances. It's really fucking hot, and really appealing, and it's human and individual and it's what I read hetfic for. Even though I didn't realise it.

Anyway that was way too many words to say not very much, except that mainstream romance is hopelessly limited and limiting and fandom is awesome and hetfic is important, and also I read a story I really liked last night. YAY \o/

*Which is not to say that people shouldn’t read and write exactly what they want to read and write, or that wanting, say, Elizabeth/Darcy stories with mainstream nineteenth century gender politics and notions of satisfying romance is a less valid fannish desire than wanting Thor/Loki alien incest slash, etc. etc. you know this line and it's really not the point here.


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c'est what

October 2014

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