Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


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The Early Demise of Fanfic

Reading through the archives over at SGA Storyfinders, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time reading the adventures of John and Rodney, two seriously horny space explorers—at least they are in fanfiction. In the show John actually seemed a little clueless with the sexual relationships unless someone was knocking him over the head with it—often literally.

But I’m surprised at the number of stories that are gone.

Just gone.

It’s not that the authors stopped paying for their websites and so they vanished, only appear again through the magic of the web archive. It’s not that they deactivated their LiveJournal account and the fic died as an unfortunately side-effect.

Okay, sometimes it is exactly that.

But a lot of times, these stories were intentionally removed by the authors. The authors went through all the time and effort to create stories that people liked well enough to ask for them. In some cases, I see the same story asked for over and over and over.

Has anyone seen that one… you know… the one where they break away from Earth version 523? Has anyone seen the one with bug John where he’s in the crate?

Sometimes I can even track down the stories, and they’re good.

But they are, for the most part, gone. These children of some creative mind have been shuffled off to an early grave.

I wonder how many have died the death of the bad review?

Now, I’m not talking about professional texts. People are paying for that, so my tolerance for asshatary goes up.

gibbsEven the person who one starred me and ripped into me for having a child raped on screen gets a pass from me, and those of you who know me know that I would spork my own eyes out before I ever wrote that so I don’t know if the reviewer confused my book with another or if they were skimming so fast that they somehow got confused and honestly thought my character was underage. Oh, and the rape is off-screen, but whatever. I get paid to write that, so I should be able to take some hits, right?

It stings, and sometimes I think of taking up voodoo, but I take it.

However fanfiction is a hobby. This is a fun activity done by fans who want to geek out and writing stories gives them a chance to do that. I’m writing a fanfic series right now where Gibbs and Tony are in Atlantis and I’m having fun turning Gibbs loose on some of the general stupidity. They want to walk through with very few supplies? Well, Gibbs (and his tok-ra like passenger) have a few things to say about that. It’s fun. See? FUN… in a masochistic, carpal tunnel inducing sort of way.

But then I get someone announcing that he doesn’t like my logic and he refuses to read more. Why? Because I had John kidnapped on Earth. Oh, and no Stargate characters ever get kidnapped on Earth… no. *insert eyeroll here* I was setting this during the beginning of Season Two when the Trust is one of the big bad guys, but if John were on Earth for six months, they wouldn’t take a shot at him, and because I think they would, he tells me I’m wrong and he’s out of there.

Good. Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

Why do people try and treat fanfic like professionally published works? Guess what, I don’t pay to have my fanfic edited. *gasp* That means it has grammatical errors—a lot of them. If that were for actual publication, I would track those suckers down and kill every bad pronoun reference.

However, hunting pronoun antecedent references and split infinitives isn’t fun. It isn’t even on the same continent with fun, and I want fanfic to be FUN. If people send me corrections, I often (not always) get around to fixing things on my website while I watch TV. I refuse to feel bad if I don’t, though.

I guess I just wonder how much really good fanfiction has been shuffled off to an early death because a fanfic reader started treating fanfic writers like professionals? How many creative minds have shut down in the face of criticism that is really unnecessarily harsh for a playground? I am totally willing to call Damien Hirst’s work utter shite, but I’m not going to say that to the couple doing chalk art on the sidewalk.

It just makes me sad that link after link is dead, and many of those authors intentionally took their balls and went home—or John and Rodney’s balls anyway. If there’s no money changing hands, it’d be nice if people used the backbutton instead of the snark button.

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Five Star Self

Don’t rate your own books!

That’s the advice from most people, but then I’ve never been much of a rule follower. Oh, I follow rules that I agree with or even the ones I think questionable but I understand the rule-creator’s purpose. I really do try to avoid “naughty” words with my high school students, although a “hell” slips out every once in a while.

However, rating your own books hardly seems like a great sin.

What is the harm of rating a book? I suppose some would say it skews the statistics. Well, so does the one-star rating I have that berates me for on-page underage rape in Desert World. 1) There’s no on-screen rape. 2) All the characters are adults.

Shrug. It happens.

So if the overall ratings are already skewed, what’s the big deal?

I suppose the bigger sin is arrogance. After all, if you think everything you write is five-star, doesn’t that make you a raging egomaniac? Is that simple pride in your work?

Trust me, I don’t think everything I write is perfect. I have 17 works on Goodreads. One is simply awful, and I don’t know why it’s even listed there because it was part of an “Easter-egg hunt” on the Dreamspinner website and was never intended as stand-alone story.

I wrote one novella during one of the darkest times in my life when I was inches from unemployment and being harassed by a boss who was breaking the law and I had no proof. I think that negativity came through on the page because when I read it now, the words seem far more jagged than I ever intended.

However, out of 17 works, I have rated five of them as five-star because I want to tell people which of my novels I am truly proud of… the ones that I wouldn’t go back and rewrite, even if I could magically make the previous version vanish.

If people look up my profile, I use those stars to try and tell readers where I think they should start.

Desert World Allegiances and Desert World Rebirth taken together create one of my favorite couples. They start as idiots and each has to come to terms with his own demons before they come together.

The two BDSM novels I’m really proud of, Fettered and Gathering Storm, both treat BDSM practitioners as real people, and that’s the one thing that annoys me when I’m reading—the idea that those into the lifestyle do nothing except brandish a whip all day every day.

And my beloved Blowback. Blowback is what I want out of femdom. The female lead is strong enough to let her sub be tough as nails without ever doubting her own ability to bring that junkyard dog back to heel.

So I rated them five stars, and I’m sticking by it. They are the only books I’ve written that I go back and reread myself.

However, with every book I hope to create that new five-star read that I will read in bed on my Kindle with the lights out. If, a few months after my new book comes out, you find that I’ve rated it five stars, then you know I’ve been able to reread my work without cringing at the things I didn’t do and the scenes I could have written and didn’t.

 


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Femdom

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I’ve never made a secret out of the fact that I love femdom.  That said, I hate reading much of the genre.  Feeling in need of a fix, I went and banged around Literotica for a while yesterday.  Women tricked men, abused men, terrorized men, and hurt men.  Um… is that sexy?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m out of touch with the rest of the femdom.  Maybe there’s something inherently sexy about a woman forcing a man the way some find rape fantasy the hottest thing since The Great Chicago Fire.  Maybe.  I don’t get it.  I like my dominant women (and men) to care about their submissives. Sure, they screw up, but they love the person they’re dominating.

Da’shay in Blowback is dominant and she pushes Tom places he would never go, but she does that because she knows the danger even if she can’t tell him.  She pushes him because she wants him to find a place where he’s happy.  And yeah, in real life, I would definitely say she pushes too hard, but the glory of fiction is that I can let her get a little dangerous. In the world of fanfic, I’ve made Cordelia (from Buffy) into a Domme more times than you can count.  I’ve let her sharpen her claws on Spike, Xander, Angel, and Harmony.  I’ve allowed Willow and Faith (also from Buffy) to do a more subtle form of taking charge of their men.  I’ve written River (Firefly) as a complete dominant, taking total charge of Jayne over his rather vocal and profane objections.  They all made it clear that they ruled the roost, and no one had permission to disagree with them.

However, reading other femdom stories, I was confronted with stories where women trap men, feminize them or humiliate them.  Men described their small dicks and admitted that a small dick made them a prime target for being owned.  Um… is it just me or is that a little… uh… fucking terrifying?  I thought the idea that a person’s physical traits defined their personality went out years ago. And the women who dominate these men don’t care how much pain they cause or what the male is getting out of it.

I’m guessing you’re not even going to be surprised that many of these are written by men.  I found myself back-buttoning time after time after time.

So, what do I want out of a dominant woman?  I want her to take control and not apologize.  I want her to take her submissive into account, even if she will never be ruled by him.  I want her to admit that she is not perfect and still stand up and insist that her imperfections are no reason to apologize for her strength.

Paige in Insistent Hunger strikes me as a Domme who just hasn’t found her groove yet.  She’s small, but as a cop, she never thinks her size makes her less effective.  She can give a drunk good-old-boy orders and make sure they stick.  And when a retired military man tried to tell her how to handle an investigation, she not-so-nicely told him to go fuck himself. But at the same time, she never tried to get a promotion–she never tried to move beyond being a small-town cop.  She had trust issues and control issues that made her very aware of her own flaws, even while she never backed down.

I guess I will be avoiding Literotica in my search for powerful, dominant women unless I develop an odd need to watch submissives get abused. Not likely.