Essays

Essays about writing or fic or fandom.

Arcs in Essays: Anime and Manga | Fic | Writing

Canonicity and the Nature of Fic

You know, I’m right alongside the critics who bemoan all the fic in which the sole and single resemblance between the fic character and canon character is name and possibly coloring. Or, at least, I’m right alongside the idea that this kind of fic should be clearly labled so I can avoid it. But I also see the same people pushing for total canonicity, which I really think is missing the point of fanfic itself.


Whose Smut?

One thing I find curious, though, is that the author doesn’t think there has been a debate in the West yet between straight women writing this stuff and gay men protesting the inaccurate appropriation of their sexuality. Admittedly, the more vocal rounds of it have taken place in slash rather than yaoi, but there’s enough overlap of authors that the effects have spread to both.


Muses, Writing and Character Communication

Do my characters really talk to me? Do I hold actual conversations with them?

I mean, when I write it out in muse-babble posts, that’s what it looks like. But in a lot of ways it feels like I’m translating what actually happens, which isn’t verbalization at all.


Flavors of Gender and Sex Unreality in Anime Fic

And that got me to the thought that actually started me writing this down, which is: why choose the depressing unrealistic setting? Why not the utopian one?


Fic, Audience Demands and Vicious Circles

Author responsiveness to audience desire is a courtesy, in our non-commercial niche, not a market necessity, and certainly not some kind of moral imperative. The same, of course, holds true for audience response. I rather think it would do fandom good to remember this. As much as authors attempting to extort feedback are overreaching themselves, so, too, are readers who attempt to impose their priorities on the writers.


Some Popular Styles of Writing Sex

And that’s it, really; I think the choice of style really has to depend on what you want to do with the story in question. If you want to explore gritty, real-life problems, the realistic style is probably your best bet. If you want to write a story that makes the readers laugh and say “that’s so incredibly fucked up, but really a lot of fun”, then it’s time for the dj style.


Communication and Textual Ownership

Stories have the weight they do because they are metaphors; they employ symbols, hopefully shared ones, to convey more than everyday words do. This demands even more work on the part of the hearers/collaborators than usual. After making that kind of demand, after choosing to use more than usually obscure and ambiguous media for communication, I think it’s a bit much for the authors to get pissy over readers attaching meanings they didn’t have in mind.


Two Discourse Communities of Fic

Stories that are stories (STAS): these are what people mean when they talk about caring for the art and craft of writing. These are the stories presented to convey something about the characters in question, commentaries on yet another story that serves as source text. Generally some effort is made to stay congruent with the source text.

Stories that are not stories (STANS): these make no attempt to interpret the source text, rather they function purely as shibboleths. These are gestures of community, presented to convey the writer’s interest in belonging. Generally, they include only enough reference to the source text to distinguish, say, Naruto from Fushigi Yuugi. At least half the fics posted at ff.net fall into this category.


The Hunting of the Sue

It bears pointing out that almost all of the common criteria for Sue-dom fit a sizable category of the canon characters in anime. While I can see the justice of readers becoming annoyed by a fan-made original character who takes over the story when the reader was expecting to read about the original original characters, I’m increasingly convinced that it’s unreasonable to protest on most of the other standard Sue grounds.


Criticism and Authority in Fandom

A great many negative responses to negative comments that I’ve seen, my own included, are variations on the theme of “Where do you get off talking like that to me?” Which then gives rise to the standard return, which has become some variation on “You posted it in public and nobody paid me to be nice, get over it.” It may sound like an exchange over manners or freedom of speech or too much/too little personal investment, and those issues are, no doubt, present. But I think the underlying debate has directly to do with how authority is produced in fandom.


The Nature of Musing

Muses. Imaginary Friends. Characters.

As best I can tell, you know, the three have always been much the same thing to me. I vaguely recall having imaginary friends (one or two) who were not either my characters or someone else’s, but the characters, and the stories I could tell around them and me definitely predominated, as far back as I can remember. My terminology is the only thing that’s really changed over time, as I called them imaginary friends, and then characters, and then muses—that last happening when I got involved in fandom and fanfic, where it seemed to be the going vocabulary term.


Knowing and Stories

At the simplest level, a little research to track down overviews and details is not particularly onerous for anyone with a modem. A very little research goes a remarkably long way. As for the really ambitious stories, wherein the author attempts to write about something fraught and complicated, well, she should expect to work harder for those.


Creative Punctuation

An Essay about Creative Punctuation, Arguing for its Acceptability in Modern Usage


Around to the Carrier Bag Again

Spinning off from Resonant8’s entry on character making, and the discussion following, I find myself wandering in thought toward the writers of the Endicott Studio, toward Ursula K. Le Guin and her “Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction”, and toward Lois McMaster Bujold and her Vorkosigan books.

At first glance, one of these things is not like the others.