icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
How To Keep Your Challenge Committments - or - Strategies For Challenge Success. )

Why Does It Matter? The Cost To Your Self-Disclipline )

All is not lost. If you didn't make your challenge deadline(s), you may just need to reexamine your motives and your strategy for writing challenges.

The Writing Challenge requires certain time management skills that can be learned. It's not a coincidence that the "busy" people in fandom who have the least actual time are the ones who manage to write for four or five challenges while working full-time, running an RPG, and juggling committee responsibilities (I'm looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] femmequixotic).

#1 - Should You Sign Up At All? )

#2 - Writing Stages And Planning )

#3 - Uh-Oh. )

#4 - Dealing With The Guilt )
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
More spam! I so need to get some movies and stop bugging you guys.

But, really, everyone should read this book. I want it. Now. Here's [livejournal.com profile] princessofg's detailed review:

Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet by Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse

Do you love the meta? Me, too.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I helped a college student from a religious family set up her "security" to keep her parents out of her slash (and before you ask, no, she had no interest in abandoning her religion, she just felt her interest in slash fanfiction was irrelevant). She had other people's advice but here were a few of my suggestions:

  1. Consider computer crashes! An external drive is your friend. Stick a pile of books on top of it; the UBC cord only takes a moment to yank.

  2. If you're in Windows, set up two administrative passwords, then "hide" folders under your password. When you have computer problems you give them the other administrative password. If you do this correctly, the folders will not appear for those logged in under the other password.

  3. File names: there's nothing less interesting than a string of numbers for a filename. Labelling it PORN attracts attention.

  4. If you receive zines, get a Mail Boxes Etc.-type box. Pick a branch that gives you after hours access, and then only go there after hours. Pay with a money order or cash (not a check). Make sure you have a box large enough for whatever you receive. They used to allow a made-up name on the box too (my own box still has one) but the U.S. post office cracked down on that. And, uh, you can get more than zines this way.

  5. Set up a password-locked screensaver with a short timer, for those moments when someone drops by your room. Hello! Not such a big deal with stories, but that fan art can be a little obvious. My friend said she always had a cover file open that she'd toggle to.

  6. It goes without saying that you should set your system to clean out your history file and cookies on every shut down.

  7. Save no favorites (ha, always think of the obvious) except on external sites like del.icio.us.

  8. Use public archives for your stories or, if offered, webspace registered to other people (the latter can be risky so be careful). Remember, if you pay for webspace, your ISP has your name. In an archive, the archive owner assumes all risks and all they have is your email.

  9. I assume that I do not need to say something as silly as "use free email" and "don't use your work or home email" for your archive email address or other fandom interaction. But just in caseā€¦.

  10. The drawback to archiving in public archives is that you could lose control of your story or artwork. Most archives allow you to delete at will, and almost all archives will pull down a story at your request. But I do know of one case where the archive owner did not pull the story, and I had a webspace owner that periodically locked me and the other writers out. Some people prefer having their own webspace so that they control the content. For example, when an author turns pro they will often remove their fanfiction from online. It's your call which is more important to you: control, or anonymity.

  11. If you like cloak and dagger, or are just more paranoid than the norm, consider using a anonymizer to disguise your IP address when posting stories or interacting in fandom. Though at this point we're getting into tin-hat territory.

  12. Your fandom name should become your name in fandom under all circumstances. Do not ever give out your real name (even when I need something sent to me, people get my fake mailbox name). Here are two cautionary tales about this:

    The cruel fandom grudge: An (adult) friend felt people were unnecessarily paranoid about using real names, so she used her real name on fics. Her boss was had a copy of the Klingon-to-English dictionary in his office and fandom wasn't a big deal. This worked just fine for years, until some fen got angry with her and set up a wiki (that they alone could edit) saying lots of unpleasant things about her. Now whenever someone googles her real name (including for work) -- that's on the first page. Great.

    Fandoms have petty politics and grudges that can last for years. Fandom anonymity seems to create a psychological distance that allows people to do things they wouldn't do to someone they knew in person. The rule of thumb: Give No Ammo.

    The possessive fandom loon: Another friend had someone out of the blue offer her webspace for her popular story (by the way, if the offer comes before you know the person, I've never seen it go well). They became online friends, and even exchanged some items through the mail. Then this person became a beta-reader for the story but was so pleased to be "in the know" that she started giving out hints. In addition, she built an archive around the traffic to the popular story. When the writer decided to not allow her to beta-read any more, the webspace owner panicked that the story might be removed (it was the lynchpin of her archive) so threatened to expose the writer to her employer if she did so (unfortunately, the writer was elementary school teacher).
There are plenty of wackos anywhere, and fandom spans the globe; unfairly, they don't come with warning labels. The guy in the SGC uniform who's worked out declensions in Goa'uld can be perfectly normal while the pleasant mother of two can be a psycho. Keep fandom and real life separate.

As they say in the S&M community: play safe, and have fun.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Okay, discouraged and frustrated at the moment.

The process of "de-fanficcing" a story, i.e., sawing off the serial numbers and turning fanfiction into original fiction, is much more than simply changing names and developing some backstory.

1 - Character development in fanfic is based upon prior material. It's a little like starting in the middle of a book. )

2 - Fanfic plots can be borrowed for original fiction without too much difficulty; however, if you have relied heavily on allusion to canon... )

3 - Allusion to canon in fanfic becomes the major stumbling block in 'de-fanficcing,' depending on the sort of fanfiction you've written. )

The fanfiction writer's greatest asset is their reader. Like with any highly specialized educated audience, the writer can reference a shorthand of shared ideas.

Even though fanfiction uses the same writing techniques as original fiction, within the restrictions of canon, the fanfic writer has this extra tool. It's a slightly different technique. Which doesn't tell us whether the writer can or cannot write original fiction. It just means you'll have to write differently.

As for "de-fanficcing": If you have an AU, with plenty of original characters (or at least a unique backstory for those characters), and aren't closely tied to canon, then maybe it's worth the effort.

The last question is: how attached are you to that fanfic? *Icarus starts the chainsaw.* Be ready to take it apart.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Read a couple DVD commentaries today. Yep, still sick. It'll be nice to have my voice back someday. *cough, cough*

So, my enormous Maine Coon kitty's using my lap as a footstool as he snoozes, WG's at work (and refused to kiss me as he left because I'm still sick, *hack, cough*) and I'm reading DVD commentaries.

Conclusion: Most writers write terrible DVD commentaries.

Good lord. )

I mock, yet I am just as guilty. I simply didn't see it until I read other people's commentaries.

Some people say that authors are incapable of analyzing their own work. I do not believe that. I just think they don't know how. Everything they know about writing goes out the window when confronted with a request to write a commentary. Buh? You want what?

There is a process, however. Help is on the way.

Step 1: Consider the audience. What will the readers find interesting?

This isn't your home-movie moment with a captive audience to torment. What is genuinely different about that story they might not already know? Think, what got the readers interested in the first place? Are there bits of plot that you cut but wish you could have kept?

Step 2: Pick an approach, preferably based on audience interest. There are all kinds of options.

- Was this written three years ago in response to other stories or past events in canon that can help the reader contextualize it?
- Was the story drawn from a real life anecdote that might be interesting in and of itself?
- Does the story comment on some event in the world, or in fandom, today?
- Are there stylistic choices that make your story unique or interesting, something you can take apart structurally or linguistically?
- Are there events that went on in the publication of the story that (here's an important caveat) readers might find interesting?
- Is it drawn from some literary or other unexpected background? Have you hidden references to "The Story Of O" in your Gen-fic, for example?
- Did you learn something about canon, or develop resources that other writers might want to pursue?

This has a dual benefit. It gives your story a gloss that's interesting, and it causes you to step outside of yourself and your fic. The odd thing is that when people ask about your story, they don't want to know about the story, they want to know something other than story that's related. Ha.

Step 3: Choose your voice. Be entertaining.

This doesn't mean you have to be a buffoon on a bouncing stick. Intellectual writing is also fascinating. But do not forget you're still a writer.

Step 4: Have your commentary beta'd.

If anyone's reading your commentary, you're probably a good enough writer to catch your own SPAG errors. But commentaries are wide open in terms of style and approach, so you're flying without a net unless you have a beta to ask questions.

Step 0: I should have put this first. Only write the commentary if the subject warrants it.

That popular PWP or adventure fic may not have enough meat on its bones for you to say much about it. Even if people ask for a commentary, examine whether there is anything more. Maybe it's all in the fic. If so, save yourself the headache.

Now. I suppose I should follow my own advice, eh?

ETA: Was that too sarcastic? Some of the commentaries I just read were really bad.

ETA2: Added step four, probably the most vital.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I'm been enjoying the warnings debate that's swept at least three fandoms (SG-1, SGA, Harry Potter, can we name any others?). Many fascinating posts and ideas on the subject. Do see [livejournal.com profile] agentotter and [livejournal.com profile] cofax7's points. [livejournal.com profile] destina had some great comments in Otter's journal that are apparently now in fully-fleshed form in her LJ, and [livejournal.com profile] isiscolo has several interesting posts on the subject as well.

I have nothing to say that others haven't said better. But!

I do have a decision. A policy, even.

I shall use warnings for the following:

- non-con/rape
- character death
- underage sex/chan
- incest
- violence
- spoilers (of recent canon)

Why these warnings? Because these are things that would bother me if I didn't know what I was in for from the start (well, except for the BDSM; in that case it would be like finding a prize in my cereal box). Also, they're standard for most fandoms. They represent the extremes.

What I won't warn for are the shades of grey in between. Dubious consent? A character has a near-death experience? Milder kinks like cross-dressing? Sex between (legal) 17-year-olds? Kissing cousins? Prostitution? At a certain point it gets ridiculous and I have to trust the readers' judgment and not try to set an artificial framework on a story, either an external one I've imported, or my own.

I've always inwardly laughed at MPAA ratings. They don't reflect what I feel is offensive. I once saw a pre-teen kiddie-flick that got a PG rating, yet it had this barf scene that, wow, I really regretted (my little brother's friends thought it was hilarious). Meanwhile these beautiful foreign art films with full frontal nudity were rated as if they were hardcore porn. Just because they showed a man's cock (apparently being hard or half-hard made a difference, go figure, while the woman could be totally naked and still only garner an R).

When I was a teenager I was allowed to watch sex scenes and nudity, but violence (such as the PG-13 Rambo) was forbidden. And, interestingly, two films were off-limits: The Postman Always Rings Twice because of the infidelity, and American Gigalo because of the prostitution. Even more interestingly, Cruising was only borderline (mom was concerned about the portrayal of a gay man as murderer, but not about the casual gay sex). The "MPAA rating" is this house was very specific and quite different from our friends' who goggled at our French films yet, unlike us, were allowed to watch "The Dukes Of Hazzard" every week. One of the things mom and I agree on (and the list is so very, very short) is our view of sex.

Readers values are their own, and I'm not going to play guessing games at what might or might not offend. To go beyond the standard warning I'd have to base that on what offends me, in which case you'll be warned for the barf scene but I'll totally neglect to mention the spanking.

Instead, I'm just going to have to trust you to know and will be able to spot what offends you. Use your Back button wisely. And remember: you may need to scrub the image of Percy (or Rodney) in a corset out of your brain, but at least you're not out $10.95 for the paperback.

ETA: Ack! Where did [livejournal.com profile] sdraevn go?

ETA2: Removed TMI detail -- habit. *deletes*

ETA3: School. Stop. Very swamped. Stop. Will respond to comments at later date. Stop.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
A Trip Inside The Mind Of The Plagiarist

First, I was just plagiarized on ff.net by someone calling themselves Cedric17. Their story (like mine) is called Skinny Dipping and was posted on 7/11/06.

My story Skinny Dipping was posted on my own site and adultfanfiction.net on 7/12/2003. Please take a moment to contact Fanfiction.net to let them know to take it down. You just click the Review button and there's an option to report abuse.

That said, I am not surprised. A lot of Harry Potter fanfiction writers have been plagiarised. I have been prepared for this since my first fanfic in Harry Potter, and have gone through great trouble to spread my fic far and wide -- with my name stamped in neon across it -- to prevent it from succeeding. The more people who recognise my stories, the more likely the plagiarist will be caught.

My first beta for Primer to the Dark Arts was extremely strange. )

When [livejournal.com profile] cursescar, [livejournal.com profile] loupnoir, and [livejournal.com profile] cybele_san were plagiarised, I wondered what on earth the plagiarist got out of this? In all cases they grabbed an obscure story, not one that would garner a lot of attention (Skinny Dipping is Harry/Percy, not exactly a magnet pairing). Then, once they were caught, they got all kinds of nasty reviews. What could they accomplish?

I have dealt with in my life two millionaire con-artists (one of whom faces criminal charges if he sets foot in the US, the other was arrested and is being investigated by the IRS), one petty con-artist who ripped off an employer and myself, a coworker from a well-to-do family who stole tens of thousands from an employer of mine, and one online con-artist who attempted to scam myself and a number of other people in the Harry Potter fandom in 2004. Apparently it's my karma.

Drawing on my experience with such people, I would like to take you on a trip inside the mind of the plagiarist. Bring a flashlight. It's a scary, dark place. With spiders.

Entitlement. First, these types all seem to believe that they are owed something by the rest of the world. They all have this song and dance about how hard their life was compared to others, it was so unfair -- the world (by which they mean you) owes them. They are not ripping you off, they are being given their due. The means are acceptable because, the world being unfair, they won't be given what's rightfully theirs otherwise. What is their due? Why, everything they want, of course.

Arrogance. Second, it's fun for them. They enjoy the scam. They like what they can get out of it if they win, sure... the money, the reviews, the attention. But the process itself boosts their ego. Every person they fool makes them feel smarter than the rest of the world. The more clever the scam, the more loops they manage to slip, the better they feel. It's proof that yes, they are owed more, because look how much smarter they are than these suckers. When they're caught, all they do is try to figure out where they slipped up so they can play the game better. Any police officer can tell you that murderers and bank robbers will admit what they did was wrong, but con artists never do.

Minimizing. Third, they all seem to say, yes, "everyone does it" and "these idiots would be taken by someone, so why not me?" They believe that there is no harm done and that the world is unaffected by their actions. This "stupidity" (in their eyes) is a like a terminal disease: the end is inevitable.

Laziness. Fourth, it's easier to take what someone else has than to work for it yourself. Writing a story can take days of effort, while plagiarising only takes minutes -- with the same results (in their minds). And fewer risks. Why marry a woman who might gain weight, when you can steal someone else's wife after seeing exactly how she turned out, post-wedding?

Envy. Fifth, and this goes with that sense of entitlement, these people seem to want so much. There's no end to it. They look at a beautiful house, and instead of seeing "hey, what a nice house" they say, "why isn't my house that nice?" And once they've stolen something or conned someone into buying them that house, they just want something else.

Self-absorption. Sixth, and this varies in degree from con to con, but inevitably they are far more important than anyone else in the universe. It's almost childish, their focus on "me." One extreme is the sociopath (and yes, I have run into this). As it was explained to me, they don't even view people as beings with thoughts and feelings like themselves. People are like furniture to them. They may like that piece of furniture but they don't have any personal feelings towards it, of course not. So they can be very pleasant... and then slit your throat for your wallet. Nothing personal. They just needed the wallet.

The less extreme cases figure out ways where their victims "deserve it." They'll say "oh, well, he's a rich asshole" or "that person's a BNF." It's similar to the way the military brands their enemy as "Japs" or "Terrorists," stripping away the human underneath, leaving a label instead.

How's that flashlight holding up? )

Okay, now into the light... What Do You Do? (beyond the obvious of course)

Knowing what we know about the con (and make no mistake, although plagiarism is theft, its purpose is to con people into thinking they wrote that story) what do you do? You can't reform the plagiarist or con-artist. They are not concerned with the feelings of others. Instead, you have to lay down the law.

1 - get "their" story taken down. Take away the object that they want. Take away the house. Take away the stuff -- that's what they want.

2 - rob them of the pleasure of fooling people. Cut off that feeling of superiority. Let them know they were caught, and how easily. How transparent they were. Public humiliation works best.

How will the con-artist respond?

Have your evidence ready. For plagiarism this is pretty easy. But be aware:

The con-artist invariably plays their role to the hilt. )

Great news! It's been pulled. It's gone. The plagiarist is done for. FF.net yanked the story within twenty-four hours. Thank you all for sending the Abuse reports. *Icarus breathes a heavy sigh of relief*
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Some navel-gazing without the belly-dance moves.

I've told people that I love my stories. "Of course I do. I write what I want to read!" I declare. But that's not entirely true.

I enjoy my stories as I write them. Sometimes I think they suck. (Sometimes I fear they suck.) Sometimes a story is so much work, I feel like Sissyphus -- if Sissyphus had to push a zamboni fourteen times over the same three inches before he could roll it another handspan up the hill, rinse, repeat. Often I know their flaws all too well and I pray that nobody else notices as I hustle them out the door. My ambitions are relatively low: I only hope to be better than the worst of the dreck I've seen on ff.net, even as I push to write to the best of my ability.

The readers teach me to love my stories.

The story that I cringed when I dropped into the public eye, ready to apologize for inflicting it on the world... the readers startle me when they love it. Thought it was funny? Oh God, I was so afraid it wasn't.

The story I stayed up all night writing in comments then dropped into an LJ post with unwarranted abandon... the readers find nuances that I didn't suspect in such a slapdash effort.

I've spent ridiculous amounts of time polishing a story like it's the Hope diamond, only to have it meet a lukewarm reception of quiet clapping.

Then I've had stories riddled with flaws that I considered so mediocre they might as well come with a Happy MealTM... and readers find something in them that is meaningful, and I blink, and have another look. Really? But I was just, you know, meeting a challenge deadline -- okay, who am I to argue?

I think this occurs because the experience of writing is so different from the experience of reading. The writer is in on the joke, so it's stale, the writer knows the ending, so it's trite, the writer is absorbed in the work of writing, so that, positive or negative, tinges the feeling the writer has about the story.

Therefore, I have a few confessions.

Primer to the Dark Arts? I lived and breathed this story, and never cared if anyone loved it as much as I did. Reader response: they loved it, too.

Cursed Artefacts For Sale? I was embarrassed that I had written something that to me seemed so clunky and unfunny. I almost didn't publish it. Reader response: one of my all-time most popular stories. If someone hates everything else I've written, they like this one.

Hey You? Was the apple of my eye as I wrote it. It was refreshing and crisp and new to write something so bleak. I wrote it with evil glee, it was my personal favorite in the series. Reader response: widely regarded as one of the weaker parts of the series.

Far Too Personal? Was written in an all-night jam session, entertaining a friend. It was a romp and nothing more. Reader response: was welcomed with a flood of responses and it's still being recommended, years after the fact.

Beg Me For It? I didn't want to write. It was such an ugly idea, just horrible. Then... I thought it was technically well-crafted. But still, ugh. I'd never want to read it. Reader response: a fixture in the Ron/Draco fandom for which I receive the most interesting, well-considered reviews addressing Nazism, issues of consent, submission and domination.

Council Of Obvious Edicts? A nightmare. It took two jam sessions in chat to force myself to write it. I always thought it came out a jumbled mess. Reader response: I never worked to publish this widely, but at least one writer whose taste I hold in high regard loved it so I'm forced to reevalute.

Skinny Dipping? Pure joy. This story makes me melt with sensual pleasure, everything from the water, to the moonlight, to the color of dustmotes in the morning, the play of emotions. Reader response: a hit on the old adultfanfiction.net but the story never had legs, partially because it's technically chan (Harry's 14, Percy's 18) and it couldn't be posted on RS.org (yes, I do love this story).

For The Petulant Gods? Another silly romp, torn off the notepad and thrown into the air. Reader response: one of my most frequently recommended SG-1 stories, along with Shy Guy and Fools Can Dream.

Two Way Mirror? One of my most carefully written pieces. I wrote this one with a slide-rule and still feel a sense of pride. Reader response: People liked it, and then it quickly faded into the background.

Colony Atlantis? I've never done so many total re-writes and I loved it. This had four incarnations and almost tripled in length. First it was a light, but incomplete comedy. Then it was ansty with a wistful ending. Then it was angsty with a romantic fluffy ending. Then it finally became, well, the story I posted. Reader response: not wildly popular, but received a lot of interesting, thoughtful reviews. Those who read it, it seemed to make them think.

Guy Talk? In 2003 I was sure I'd lost the ability to write, that the creative spark was gone and this sad piece of work was all I could do after that initial burst of activity. Reader response: one of my most long-lasting, well-liked stories.

I've decided the author doesn't know. The author responds to certain aspects of the story -- for example, the water images from Skinny Dipping are from my childhood growing up on a lake. Council Of Obvious Edicts was written under a tight deadline when I had miserable time being the moderator of the Fic-A-Thon.

I don't love my favorites less based on a bad review. But when it comes to deciding what's good and what isn't? I leave that up to you.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
These days I'm not very good about reviewing stories I read. I have a tendency to just stick them on a rec-list and make my contribution that way.

Should One Reply To Reviews?
When I reviewed my first story, the author graciously got back to me about a week later. (I think it was [livejournal.com profile] keelywolfe but don't quote me on that.)

I was surprised because I hadn't expected a reply. I figured emailing the author was like sending a letter to the editor: into the Abyss, but at least you expressed your feelings. I wrote detailed reviews in the early days, several paragraphs (sometimes pages) of con-crit - and always sent a direct email as I wasn't about to critique a story publicly.

One author updated her abandoned fic with two or three chapters in response. Reviews really do have an impact.

It was so gratifying to hear from the author that I resolved to reply to every review I received, especially when I learned that not everyone did. It seemed... mannerly. I also found that once someone replied to my review I felt warmly about them and their stories.

Yes, I'm definitely in the camp that feels it's best to reply. But Must one reply to reviews? )
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Oh, out of the blue, for no particular reason I've coined a term for the melodramatic fandom exit:

"Fandom Suicide."

You know the ones. The writer/fan/reader posts a long-winded explanation (a.k.a. "suicide note") why they're leaving... forever (back of hand to forehead)... woe is me -- "and here's how you all should feel really guilty about my departure."

Just to make sure the knife is keenly felt, "I shalt take down all my fics and delete my archive."

It's perfect. The motives are exactly the same!

The only difference is an actual suicide isn't likely to come back, months later, looking a little silly. Hanging around the gravestone, "Uh, hi guys."

I really ought to stop listening to Bach's Toccata in G D Minor. It puts me in a macabre mood.

ETA: Sheesh. I've been saying G Minor all week.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
In the news, the Stargate Fan Awards have been selected!

Ah well, I didn't win. However you can still read the nomination (and other nominated stories) here:

The Other Man by Icarus

Heh. I never fixed the title, so for a bit there [livejournal.com profile] sgdarkfic and I couldn't find it. Turns out they have it listed as simply "Other Man."

And in the HP world, the Percy/Snape The Albatross is hot today, thank you oh Fiction Alley rec'ers. I appreciate it.

Interview: Is Jack O'Neill dominant?

[livejournal.com profile] wildernessguru on the subject of whether Jack is a dominant: "Nah. He's too soft."

Soft? Really?

"Sure. Unless he's ordering someone to machinegun you he hasn't a tough bone in his body. He hates being in charge. Haven't you noticed?"

What about Daniel?

"He can go either way. He likes it when he's the authority."

Hunh. He's right.

I've been saving this for my next run of recs, but it's now time for you to read: Antithesis by Xochiquetzl.

Because Daniel role-plays his Evil Overlord personality with a Jack tied to the bed. Frankly, as hot as it sounds, I don't this is such a wise idea.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
The Growth of a Story

Every now and then I get an incomprehensible email asking me "where do you get your stories?" Then last night someone said that I evade the predictable routes. It made me blink for a minute because I don't deliberately do so, the characters do that.

A few hours later, a Stargate story popped into my head (one that I probably won't write) and I stood outside it with these questions in mind and watched it germinate. Where do the ideas come from? And how is it that said story avoids the tried and true route?

I started with a smirking observation in Prometheus Unbound and Threads: "Hmm. Daniel really likes being restrained." Heck, I know what a guy looks like when he gets off on that sort of kink, the way he lights up and gets energized the moment the cuffs cinch tight. "Oh, it would be fun to write a story where Jack learns this about Daniel...."

A clip of dialogue came up, and an image of Jack's raised eyebrows and Daniel chained up.

Where would this happen? The image had Daniel already chained to a wall and Jack not releasing him, teasing him about this kink. But wait-! How the hell would that happen? And how is it that Jack would be there, but surprised that Daniel gets off on this?

Okay, hmm. So Daniel was chained up by someone else. A Goa'uld. So... why is Jack taking the time to tease him? He's awfully relaxed. And this image looks like the gateroom, or somewhere at the SGC. And how did Jack know that this turns Daniel on if this moment is the first he's heard of it?

Um... there are security tapes. And someone's told Jack. The Goa'uld (female).

But Goa'uld don't have security tapes. Okay, so it is at the SGC. And this Goa'uld has taken over the base. So... whoa... why is Jack so relaxed?

She's bargaining with him. She's not in contact with the system lords at all - in fact knows nothing about them - and she's decided to trade a chained up Daniel for... all of earth.

Clip of dialogue comes to mind. Jack negotiating with this Goa'uld. Jack's voice, "You want to trade me a boy toy --"

Daniel: "Hey!"

"Sorry -- for the whole planet?"

"The Goa'uld have traded entire worlds for less. Especially ones that have little value."

"Excuse me?"

"This planet has no naquadah or trinium, and it is also clear to me that you do not have the resources to control it. So it is of no use to you."

But why would she negotiate?

Suddenly, the message behind the story clicked. What it's really about.

This Goa'uld is from a new queen, has very little in the way of genetic memory and has never interacted with humans before ("this is going to take some serious plot-hole filler," I think). But the bottom line is that the Goa'uld don't think like humans and at first contact they assume that humans are just like themselves. Since Jack is in possession of a Stargate and some advanced technology, she negotiates with him as if he were a lesser Goa'uld in a very bad negotiating position. 'Have some glass beads and go away.' It doesn't even occur to her that the one in charge of the top technology wouldn't have dominion, or would feel a sense of emotional connection to the earth and to those he's responsible for. Goa'uld are opportunistic and never have a sense of home because they never even have their own independent body.

And Jack has to deal with a Goa'uld who's taken over the SGC but somehow has decided that instead of putting snakes in everyone's head, it wants to negotiate. Confused (but glad) he stalls, trying to buy time for (someone?) to get control of the base. He plays the cocky Goa'uld lordling -- and takes the time (also stalling) to razz Daniel about being turned on. Daniel of course has no clue what the plan is.

Image of a smirking and amused Jack waving a VHS tape in Daniel's face: "I have the tapes, Daniel."

"Could we not talk about this now?"

"Oh, the things we don't know about each other...."


Jack waves a hand in a broad gesture. "And to think of all the times in this galaxy we've been tied up, captured, and I never noticed."

"We were a little busy escaping at the time, which, um," he struggles, "by the way, shouldn't we be doing right about now?"

Jack smiles. "I think not." He rattles the tape, smug as he turns away. The Goa'uld guards part and stand at attention as the SGC doors slide open. "I'm going to savor these."

Daniel slumps in his chains with a frustrated sigh.

So there you have it. The creation of a story. That's how it generally works for me: I have an insane idea, usually a fuzzy image combined with dialogue. I dig until I find a "deeper meaning" to hang it all on. Then I spend the rest of the time playing and trying to fill in the huge gaping obvious plot holes that are the result of the fact that the idea was nuts from the start.

Yours truly,
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Jack by <lj user="queenofstars">)
Chatting with [livejournal.com profile] lizardspots on why I tend to write a lot of Season Five Daniel:

I love season one Daniel's ineptitude )

I love season two Daniel's fascination )

Season three Daniel is more serious, sadder )

Season four Daniel has sharpened up quite a bit )

Season five Daniel has lost a lot of these battles )

Season six Daniel, well )

Season seven Daniel is... )

As for season eight, I have no idea. But I'll let you know in Augsut when the DVDs become available.

As for why slash Jack and Daniel, any questions?

Seriously. That's a real photo, not something that's been manipped in slashy-ness.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Someone asked on a Yahoo Group what are some thing that would confuse and frustrate a new civilian employee of the Air Force, i.e., one Daniel Jackson.

From working with former Air Force for military contractors,
I'd say the fact that there's a form for every form, and a procedure
for every procedure. And that the official way to do things and the
*actual* way are entirely different things. The actual way is
unwritten. Somehow military people seem to learn which form is
important for what, how to keep inside the rules without actually
*doing* everything you're supposed to do.

For someone new who wants to do it right, you can waste a huge amount
of time on something nobody actually does (or they do, but only with
a lick and a promise). And there is no logical sense to it, nor will
anyone care for suggestions to improve efficiency. You just have to
accept the system as it is.

If you rebel against the forms, you can get really screwed up, very
fast. You'll find yourself stymied on projects, your pay held up, you
could wind up under investigation, or something as stupid as your
department no longer has an official budget because someone decided
you don't exist because you didn't send in form X-4712(b), as
indicated your L-f5, which you sent in last year and indicated
plainly that your X-4712(b) would be due in June of this year.

Culturally speaking, the military believes in the "idiot-proof
system." That is, they believe that if you control people enough,
make the procedures *specific* enough, blind obedience will prevent
all errors. They don't want you to think (unless you're an officer,
and even then it depends), they want you to do your job, which means
fitting your slot nicely like a cog in the machine.

Then there's the particularly strange way the military deals with

Daniel: Why can't I order any decent pens?

Jack pounds on the pinball machine in his office: Damn. I almost beat
my high score. *glances up* What was that?

Daniel: Pens. These pens are shit. Why can't order some that perhaps

Jack: Sorry, Daniel. Budget cuts.

Jack fires up his pinball machine again.

Daniel: So... then how did you get a pinball machine?

Jack shrugs: The Navy wanted them for their aircraft carriers, but
the Air Force wouldn't let them have pinball machines unless we
could, too.

Daniel: So I'm stuck with three-cent pens that are essential to my
work, and I can't order a fifty-cent pen. But if wanted, I could get
a pinball machine for my office?

Jack: Yep. That's about the size of it. It's all about *looking* like
you're saving money, if that helps.

Daniel heaves a sigh of disgust and starts to turn away.

Jack: Oh -- and Daniel? Don't use the paper cups around here either.
They'll leak if you leave coffee on your desk for ten minutes.

Daniel's eyes widen: Oh, shit-! *runs to his office*
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Jack by <lj user="queenofstars">)
[livejournal.com profile] melpemone and I were chit-chatting about Daniel Jackson and language, and I thought I'd better write this while linguistics is still fresh in my mind.

The Languages of Dr. Daniel Jackson

For Daniel to have the range of skills he's displayed in interacting with all these ancient races across the galaxy, he will have studied all the main types of language morphologies (a morphology is the way a language, well, morphs or grows. Some grow by sticking words together free+way=freeway, others by adding endings this-um, that-am, etc.). Since he understood 23 languages (as mentioned in 1969), it's very likely language has been a lifelong hobby. People who only learn languages in school for doctorates learn maybe 3-5, and only those relevant to their field. Daniel's knowledge is far-ranging and has little to do with his specialty of Ancient Egypt.

Early Childhood Exposure

I believe Daniel was exposed to three radically different language systems before the age of 8, when the human mind is hard-wired to pick up language quickly. )

I hope you found this interesting and helpful in writing Daniel. No, I am not remotely obsessed with Daniel Jackson. Why do you ask?

ETA: Corrections, additions, guesses at other possible languages, up to and including no way Daniel was a D&D geek, he was really a [punk/goth/stoner/other]! are all welcome. :D
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Harry Potter

I reserved my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince today. I only have one request: more about Snape. A plotbunny came sniffing around... Snape being interviewed by junior reporter Rita Skeeter after the first fall of Voldemort. Snape thinks he has his 15 minutes of fame, a chance to vindicate himself; she only wants to ask about Death Eater orgies.

Stargate SG-1 and Harry Potter Writers

Several weeks ago I chatted with a rogues gallery of HP writers, passing along a link to an award-winning Stargate story. Now, it's award-winning on Area 52, which Stargate writers know is this universe's version of FF.net. (Don't worry, the story wasn't by anyone on my friendslist, and [livejournal.com profile] thegrrrl2002, your writing is wonderful so don't you dare think it was you.)

The HP writers were horrifed. Spell-bound with dreadful characterization, the unrealistic sex, florid and painful word useage.

"See?" I urged them (among whom were some of what I consider to be the top writers in HP), "SG-1 needs you."

"Point me to some episodes and a fandom guide," said one with a flourish. "I so own this fandom." There were nods and mutters of agreement.

I believe that all skilled fanfic writers must do the following:

1 - write Jack/Daniel
2 - write at least ten Jack/Daniel stories
3 - write at least one novel-length Jack/Daniel story

Current and older episodes are shown on the SciFi channel (there is Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1). I recommend checking out seasons 1-4 in particular, because that's where you find the most Jack/Daniel action. In the US, Fox is showing Stargate at 11pm on Sunday nights in most areas, and on Saturday afternoons.

A fandom guide is here Arduinna's Stargate SG-1 Handbook.

Examples of good Stargate Fanfic to inspire you are here:
Dr. Jackson's Diary by Anais (Tongue in cheek and funnier than hell.)
Kawoosh! (Short, good feel for the universe, with a stick-to-your-ribs point.)
Anna S. (Deep. Angst-driven, and lushly written.)
Destina Fortunato (Five Moons is a favorite of mine. Interesting, well-plotted stories that mix adventure and sex.)
The Grrrl (Hot, sexy fics that leave you warm and happy, like a cup of cocoa, or touching and wistful, that leave you thoughful. For prime laughs, read Rated Five Stars. For thoughtful The Space Within.)
Keiko Kirin (My favorite is still the Steak Series. Perfect characterization and believable slow-build.)

Once you write your SG-1 slash, send it to:

Area 52

Or post it in:

[livejournal.com profile] jackslashdaniel
[livejournal.com profile] stargateslash

Now I'm waiting for the universe to comply with my demands. *crickets chirp*

I'm astonished to find that I have - if you count my two incomplete The Road Home and The Walls Of Jericho - seven SG-1 fanfics. When did that happen? Granted, one's a drabble and compared to the HP fics they're rather short. But, really? That many? So soon? It's only been four months.


icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)

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