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writing meme!

I haven't done one of these in ages. I snagged this one from Tumblr. If you want to play, pick a number, and I will discuss.

the mission, should you accept it, is to stay positive about your writing and yourself, but to also be fair about your shortcomings.

1. of the fic you’ve written, which are you most proud of?
2. favorite tense (past/present/future)
3. favorite POV (first/second/third/etc)
4. what are some themes you love writing about?
5. what inspires you to write?
6. thoughts on critique
7. create a character on the spot…. NOW!
8. is there a character you love writing for the most? the least? why?
9. a passage from a WIP
10. what are your strengths wrt writing?
11. what are your weaknesses wrt writing?
12. what’s your favorite place for writing resources?
13. who are your favorite writers?
14. anything else that you want to know XD


Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
tipsy_kitty
Apr. 13th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
8!
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC)
8. is there a character you love writing for the most? the least? why?

Man, this is a weird question these days, because I'm kind of in transition between fandoms. I'll answer for SPN, though, because that's what I've written in the most in the recent past. For character I like writing the most, definitely Jo. When I get into a new fandom I always seem to end up latching onto a fav POV character, and Jo is it for SPN - a girl, snarky, competent, very action oriented, but not without her own internal struggles with identity and becoming who she wants to be. Plus she's explicitly positioned to be a sort of feminine commentary on the narrative - "What, you think girls can't do the job?" - which also endears her to me.

For least, I'm going to assume we mean the character I find the hardest to write, and I'm going to go with Anna. I enjoy the character in canon, but even more so than with Castiel, I find it really hard to strike a balance with Anna between "alien" and "completely unrelatable." Despite her life in canon as a human, I find her motivations and actions post-ascending to be pretty opaque, and I've never figured out how to translate them into terms that'd make sense to the reader. Hence why I've written so little Anna fic, alas. I have an abandoned WIP in which she unknowingly knocks Dean up in 4.10, but I never could make it go anywhere.
tipsy_kitty
Apr. 16th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
Oh, yes yes yes! I adore your Jo. I think Spooky Old Woods was the first thing I read of yours, because I love the song "Lil Red Ridinghood" and immediately started stalking your journal.

But also yes because I cannot write (and have many troubles reading) angel-centric fics. They are just so very alien to us, as you said, and their motivations are hard to decipher.
ladymercury_10
Apr. 13th, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
Can I pick 4, 5, and 6?
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
4. what are some themes you love writing about?
Themes! I really, really love writing about people finding grace, mercy, rest, peace through people they don't expect - hitchhikers on the road, a stranger to whom they are unexpectedly married, a vampire who should by rights want to eat them, an angel who should by rights want to smite them, whatever unlikely vessel of grace you can imagine. I think probably at least 75% of all the stories I write are about this, one way or the other. Which I worry makes me monotonous, but there you are.

Other answers in later comment. :)
ladymercury_10
Apr. 13th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a good theme, and I wouldn't say that's monotonous at all, it sounds like you have a lot of variety in how you write it!
snickfic
Apr. 15th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
5. what inspires you to write?

I'm going to interpret this as, "Why do you write the stories you write." The answer to this question breaks down roughly as follows:
15% of the time it's because I have something I want to say (so, like, meta-fic)
30% - because the thing NEEDS TO EXIST
30% - for the challenge (of writing fairy tales with kink, Downton Abbey with tentacles, Spike mpreg crossed over with HP written only in drabbles, etc)
25% - because mpreg

(I don't know if you've been around long enough to be made aware of my deep and irrepressible love of mpreg? Basically the first thing I do when get obsessed with any new character is figure out how I want the mpreg to go. I may or may not actually write it after that, but always, first step.)

And I answered #6 down here. :)

Edited at 2014-04-15 05:28 pm (UTC)
ladymercury_10
Apr. 15th, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
Haha, I think I have been made aware of it. :P
maerhys
Apr. 13th, 2014 05:03 am (UTC)
13!
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
13. who are your favorite writers?

Oh, man. Pro authors, off the top of my head, include Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, L.M. Montgomery, Terry Pratchett, Robert Charles Wilson, Megan Whalen Turner. However, these days I tend to think a lot more in terms of favorite works than favorite authors, so I am indifferent to a lot of McKinley's stuff but adore Sunshine, ditto Heyer and Cotillion, and Tam Lin is in fact the only Dean I've read but I reread it every year or so.

In terms of fandom, some favorites (across several fandoms) who consistently write things I love include ghostyouknow27, brutti_ma_buoni, kroki_refur, nwhepcat, quinara, scaramouche/dachinchilla, longsufferingly/poor_choices/Chash, twoskeletons.
morbane
Apr. 13th, 2014 05:09 am (UTC)
6!

and if I'm allowed to specify, not so much "is critical comment OK in X space," but if you're critiquing something, how do you approach it, and what do you value in/ when do you seek someone else's critique of your work?
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
6. thoughts on critique

Specifying is very helpful! That one was really open-ended.

So, hmm, the first big thing I want to know when I'm critiquing someone's work is what kind of feedback they want. I learned this the hard way when I hadn't been in fandom too long and gave someone a much more thorough critique than they were after. I think they wanted a quick typo/phrasing beta, but I was coming from a community that typically took an entire work apart as part of the crit, and I'm pretty sure I freaked the person out and made them sad, and we didn't really talk again after that. So: find out what the person wants!

So I've done basic typo checks for a lot of people, I've questioned plot points that seemed either unlikely or just unclear, if it's a fandom I know I will maybe talk characterization, although typically that's mostly a voice check.

If I know the person pretty well, I will also point out things that I feel could be read the wrong way or might be unfortunate to the structure of the story; for a really blatant example, if all the female characters in the story are dead by the end.(I've never actually had to point that out to anyone I was betaing for, but it's that kind of thing - "Hmm, have you really thought through all the implications of this story choice you've made?")

So those are all things that typically happen before a story gets posted. And I often get someone to do the same for me. ghostyouknow27 gets to read most of my stuff in snippets, so she'll comment on story choices/lack of clarity/plot holes, and those are really helpful but also, I think, the most sensitive kinds of critique one is likely to get from a beta. It's one thing to be told your metaphor ran away from you in this one place, and another that your character's actions in the final third don't feel properly motivated. So it's very good I have someone willing to comment on those kinds of things for me, but it has to be someone I know and trust and whose judgment I already trust.

However, all of that is just, like, functional critique. What I REALLY love to receive (and also enjoy writing, although it takes time to do it thoroughly) is reader response stuff. That is, a reader goes through a story of mine, picks out the phrases they liked the best, describes their feelings at various turns of events, tells me how much sympathy they feel (or don't) for various characters, etc. And better yet, the deepest level of engagement (and also the most work) is when a reader engages with the story as a piece of literature, looking for themes, theorizing about how various elements contribute to the whole, often pointing out thematic and characterization connections I hadn't consciously noticed myself, etc.

Obviously that kind of engagement only comes along once in a blue moon. I was involved in a Buffy-fandom crit group once with I think 12-15 members where each week one of us posted an already-completed work to the locked comm and everyone else read and discussed it for the week, and it was the BEST. People really dug into word and story choices and how they impacted the whole. It was a lot of fun as a reader, especially getting to discuss my feelings in-depth about a fic with other people (which is generally discouraged in fandom, at least in public), and as a writer it was one of the most satisfying experiences I've ever had.

And nowadays there are anon memes, which can serve some of the same function, at least with stories popular enough to get talked about. There've been several SPN WIPs that have been an ongoing conversation at the SPN anon meme, although now the activity at that comm has died down so much that I think those days are probably past.

THERE YOU HAVE IT. All my critique thoughts. :)
morbane
Apr. 13th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
I am delighted to see the length of this response! Thank you.

It's interesting to me to see what levels of critique you consider part of a basic beta that you'd do for a stranger, and what parts you'd reserve for someone you knew. I've been in the position in several Yuletides of saying, "hmm, this part of the story doesn't seem to develop from the earlier part" or even once, "you know, your male characters seem to have a dismissive attitude towards your female characters". I think I've managed to phrase such stronger suggestions with enough tact and respect that they were received well, but it is definitely a risk. And once or twice the author has responded to my comments to challenge every point I make or justify everything I'm questioning (even mild stuff like, "I'm not sure where Emily is in this room - didn't she leave earlier?") - at which point I retreat politely, because there's no point in turning a beta job into an argument. It's their story.

Wow, I've never had critique such as you describe with the Buffy circle. That sounds amazing. And the SPN WiP discussion sounds great too. What do you think of f_fa's crit initiative in the last couple of posts?
snickfic
Apr. 14th, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
Well, if I thought the end of the story didn't develop from the earlier part, then I would probably say something about that. I would be less inclined to address the dismissive male character problem with someone I didn't know, though.

The f_fa crit initiative looks cool! I haven't put myself in the thread for review because I find that I tend to be a lot more defensive about anon crit I need to respond to than unanon crit. I'm totally cool with readers talking among themselves about my fic - as used has happened at the SPN anon meme a few times - no matter what they have to say about it, but if they're specifically telling me things I need to fix, and I have to respond to that discussion, then I don't like it.

However, it looks really cool for other people! And if it keeps going for another week or so, I wouldn't mind going and reading a few things and giving some crit on them, once my RL slows down.
kalliel
Apr. 13th, 2014 07:01 am (UTC)
1!
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
1. of the fic you’ve written, which are you most proud of?

Man, this can be taken so many different ways. Here are two rise above the rest, for fairly different reasons:
* Seraph, the epic 70k BtVS Spike-centric genfic I wrote in 2009. It's the longest thing I've ever written by about 45k, and finishing it was a huge accomplishment for me. I don't really like to reread it now, for reasons including that I would do a lot of things differently now, that I have trouble even remembering being in the mindset to write in that fandom at that length, and that I spent SO long on it that I still have whole passages memorized. It's not like I can look at it with any objectivity whatsoever. In another 10 years, maybe. But still, one of my proudest fannish accomplishments.

* Long Way Home, the 21k Jared/Jensen/Genevieve post-apocalyptic road trip fic I wrote for spn_reversebang a couple of years ago. I spent about a month doing nothing but writing that fic, and once I finally got going with it it just flowed, emotionally, in ways that none of my other longfics have done. It had the kind of emotional arc to it that I'd seen in other people's fics and wanted to try for, and even a year and a half later I'm just super happy with the result. As were other people, apparently; I think I got longer feedback per person on that fic than anything else I've ever written.
kalliel
Apr. 14th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
Both of those sound like really great experiences. <3 I love listening to people talk about writing projects they're proud of so much; I wish people were able to speak these kinds of reflections more often! But I think people think it might come across as egotistic or self-involved (at least, those are my worries), so they usually don't. BUT I LOVE IT.

once I finally got going with it it just flowed, emotionally, in ways that none of my other longfics have done

That is so, so beautiful, and absolutely something to hold dear. That's really awesome. <3333
ever_neutral
Apr. 13th, 2014 09:20 am (UTC)
9!!!
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC)
Oh man, my WIPs are such a hodgepodge these days! I have in active progress an SPN fic, an SPN RPF fic, and a hockey RPF fic. The SPN fic is for an exchange, so I don't want to give that one away, but here's a tidbit from the SPN RPF (which will be posted in full at the end of the week!). It's Jared/Gen and has been known to Ghost and I for months as the brownie enema fic, which probably tells you all you need to know.

[cut for length]
“I’m all muddy,” he calls, as soon as he manages to get the door open. Mud makes doorknobs tricky. “I’m completely covered in mud. And I’m wet. And now I’m going to go lie down on my nice clean sheets in my boots.”

It occurs to him as he tracks mud across his grandma’s thirty-year-old carpet that this is going to be a real pain to clean up if his brownie decides she’s had enough and takes off. “I’m lying down now,” he announces to his bedroom. “I’m going to lie on this bed all filthy until you come wash me off.” He sits down and stretches out in a resolute sprawl.

And waits. It’s pretty uncomfortable, being c overed in mud. His skin itches as the mud begins to dry. Also it’s cold, since his clothes are pretty well soaked through.

“Anytime now” he says. “If you don’t, I’ll—”

“Oh my God, shut up.” There she is. His brownie. Big as life and pretty as hell.

“Hi,” he says, grinning a little loopily. Not that she can tell, probably, through all the mud. “Oh my God, hi! I’ve been waiting so long to meet you—”

“You’re a punk, you know that?” The brownie scowls at the bedspread. Which is fair. “This gig is supposed to be discreet. You leave me goodies, I wash your linens, everybody’s happy.”

“I’m happy,” Jared can’t help but say. He shifts to sit up, so he can appreciate her from a better angle, and he can’t. He can’t sit up. “Uh?”

“You want me to wash you? I’m going to wash you.” In her hands, like, well, magic, there’s a bucket and a stack of wash rags. “Now, off with the clothes.”
ever_neutral
Apr. 14th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
I have absolutely no clue what a brownie enema is, actually, but YAY for pretty people taking each other's clothes off. \o/ I'm not invested enough in SPN these days to have any opinion of the cast but this would probably be my ship.
snickfic
Apr. 14th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)
HAH. Well, an enema is an enema. In this case it is administered by a brownie, ie, a magical folklore person who visits your house at night and cleans your house.

Jared/Gen is a completely adorable ship. Here's some evidence.
(Deleted comment)
snickfic
Apr. 13th, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC)
Definitely third. I actually have a huge hangup about fic written in the first person; I refuse to read it about 95% of the time. It just feels wrong to me, for the author to claim to be speaking from the perspective of someone we all only know from the outside. I'm not a huge fan of first person in pro fic, either, although I will put up with it if I'm really interested in the story, and pretty soon I don't notice. But it's an absolute DNW in fic.

Second is a special case. I like it a lot more than most people, I think, and IMO it can be used to really good effect in certain situations. It can really play with the story's structure in interesting ways. Like, I once wrote a fic about guy with hallucinations, from the perspective of his hallucination, only in second person. So it reads like a regular fic with an odd choice in pronouns, but it gets hammered home at the end of the fic that actually only the speaker exists, and the person he's speaking to, the supposed POV character, is strictly imaginary. Which would be a much harder trick to pull off in third, I think.
dhampyresa
Apr. 14th, 2014 12:11 am (UTC)
7 and 12? I've no idea what 7 even is, lmao.
snickfic
Apr. 19th, 2014 12:57 am (UTC)
7. create a character on the spot…. NOW!

LOL, okay. Fiona is a weresloth who wants nothing more than to sit in a tree and eat leaves but is compelled by human society to, like, interact with people. And stuff. It's terrible.

(It's been a really long week.)

12. what’s your favorite place for writing resources?

Man, that's really broad. Um, Panlexicon is a boon to all English-speaking mankind. Wikipedia is also an international treasure.
dhampyresa
Apr. 19th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link!
consumedly
Apr. 27th, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
I missed it!! :( but read all of your answers ^_^ and there were some point in them, some truths I like to ignore like all of the work I have to put into a fic for it to be good enough. :;siiiiiigh::

on that note can I maybe ask you what f_fa crit initiative is?
snickfic
Apr. 27th, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, f_fa is short for fail_fandomanon, an anon meme that is usually on LJ but just now is functioning over on DW because the LJ comm is broken somehow. IDK, it's weird. Anyway, when I wrote this post, the anon meme had a thread where people who wanted could comment with their username and other people would do long or short critiques of one or more of their stories. I didn't do it, but it looked like a lot of people got useful critique from it.
consumedly
May. 2nd, 2014 06:33 am (UTC)
Thank you :) I'll give it a look a little later! (:
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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