July 27th, 2002

A Pocket Full of Murder

(no subject)

My responses to insanely prolific fanfic author Alara Rogers' latest questionnaire (thanks to LizBee's LJ for the tip-off):

1. If you were on a desert island with your computer and a generator to power it, and no one would ever likely read your fics again, would you still write?

Yes, absolutely. In fact I'd probably get more written, because there'd be no interruptions. :) Although I enjoy, appreciate and benefit from feedback, writing isn't something I do for an audience; it's more like an itch that has to be scratched.

If you would, would you write the same stuff you write now, or something different?

I write what I feel like writing anyway, so it probably wouldn't change. The quality wouldn't be as good, though; I'd be missing the feedback from my betas.

2. Have you ever written a fic featuring characters, a pairing, a fandom, or a genre that you don't usually write, just to get more feedback?

I've thought about it, especially seeing the enormous popularity of certain epic HP fics focusing on Harry, Ron and Hermione, but no. I just can't do it. Wanting to find out what happens next is what keeps me writing; if I'm not fully engaged by these particular characters and/or their universe, why would I want to even start telling myself the story, much less finish it?

Ever done the above with characters, pairing, fandom or genre that you actively dislike?

No. That would be even more impossible. I doubt I'd even get so much as a paragraph hammered out, and I'd be hating myself and the fic the whole time.

3. Same as question 2, but: have you ever done it to impress one person or one small group of people in particular?


4. Have you ever written a fic just to flirt with someone?

No, but I have written fic particularly to please dear friends (though even at that, I wouldn't have written the fics in question if the idea didn't interest me too). To take another angle, a major OC in one of my fics is based -- in appearance and somewhat in personality -- on an Internet friend who flirted rather charmingly with me when I met him in RL some years back. (This was, FTR, long before my husband came into the picture. But even at that, I didn't flirt back, though mostly just because I am completely incompetent at flirting. In fact, I didn't even realize I'd been flirted with until the meeting was over -- I'm that clueless about these things.)

5. Has someone ever flirted with you via fic?

Someone has certainly flirted with me because of my fic (see #4), even though he was disappointed when meeting me in RL to discover that I was nothing like the OC heroine he'd fallen in love with. I did warn him about that, but he obviously didn't believe me, poor fellow. :)

6. Have you ever participated in a shared world or RR?

Back in the early 80's I was part of, and also initiated, several local BBS "storylines" which served the same purpose. After one very nasty experience when another writer took it into her head to have her characters make a brutal and unprovoked attack on mine, however, I stuck to storylines on BBS's of which I was a moderator or SysOp, and could exercise some degree of control over content. Of all these, the Star Trek: The Third Generation storyline I created for Shadowlands BBS yielded the best results, and it's also the only one available on the net.

7. Have you ever written a story in some other ficcer's universe or based on events in their story, when it was not intended to be a shared world or an RR?

Yes: there's a considerable amount of overlap between my Darkness and Light version of the Potterverse and that of Erica Smith's HP fics. For the most part it's subtly done, on both sides; but the attentive reader can see the threads going back and forth.

If so, did you do it because you liked the person, liked the story, hated the person, or hated the story? Or was there another reason?

Liked the person, liked the stories, liked the ideas in the stories, couldn't see any good reason not to. Basically, if I really like a story and it hasn't (yet) been contradicted by JKR (or whoever), I tend to accept it as part of my personal canon, and do my best to accommodate it from then on. Unless, of course, it already flatly contradicts something I've written or really want to write (for instance, much as I love Rosmerta's, Natasha's and DrummerGirl's Snapecentric fics, I can't possibly make room in my D&L-verse for them -- not only do they contradict my fics, they contradict each other! ).

8. Have you ever written a story as a deliberate response to someone else's story? Not another story set in their universe or based on events in their fic, but something they had to say in their fic provoked a response in you that you wrote a story to express, rather than explaining your point of view in a review or feedback.

Yes. Penance was written as a kind of direct rebuttal to Dave Stone's published DOCTOR WHO novel Death and Diplomacy (and, ironically, the story not only got a positive review from Dave himself, but we ended up having a long and enjoyable conversation in e-mail afterward -- culminating in my getting an acknowledgment in the foreword to his next DW novel Burning Heart).

9. Have you written autobiographical fic?

Not over and above the sense in which all writing is autobiographical -- that the author draws upon their own experiences and feelings in order to write convincingly about similar experiences and feelings. I sometimes give characters my own little quirks, but they're insignificant -- like a tendency to wander around the house while brushing their teeth, that kind of thing. Mind you, it is true that my OC heroines generally think and act in a way that I myself can respect or at least sympathize with, even if I wouldn't (or couldn't) do the same in their situation. I don't think I could write a major female character that I don't like or can't understand to at least some extent. Or at least I would find it very tedious and probably do a lousy job of it.

10. Have you written biographical fic (used other people's real lives in your fic?)

Bits and pieces, on rare occasions, yes. But I can't even think of any clear examples at the moment. I'm a pack rat; I draw on everybody and everything.

If so, was the person a ficcer, an RL friend or family member who you met through non-ficcing avenues, or a famous person you don't really know personally?

Anecdotes told to me by personal RL friends.

11. Have you deliberately put real people you know in fic? If so, was it to honor them, get revenge on them, or just because they seemed like a good character to use?

Two characters in my original fantasy novel Knife are caricatures of old RL friends. Their personalities made a good contrast, and it just sort of happened that way.

12. Have you ever given up on a story because it was getting no feedback? What about a genre, character, pairing or fandom?

I've been disappointed by getting very little feedback for some stories, but it wouldn't have stopped me writing them. If I'm really interested in telling a particular story, I'll tell it to myself, even if nobody else seems likely to be interested.

13. Have you ever given up on a fandom, or a subset of it (fans of a specific genre, character or pairing), because of the fan politics?

No, but I've certainly given up on hanging around with or talking to the people involved in said politics. And I've been a great deal happier for it.

14. When you prioritize the fics you want to write, do you keep what will please the audience best in mind, or do you base it solely on your personal feelings about the material?

I write what I most feel able or inclined at the moment. Whatever gets finished first, gets finished first.

15. Do you ever incorporate "fanon" (things many writers have said about characters, that were never established in the canon source) into your work knowingly? (That is, you know canon doesn't back it up, but you decide to use it anyway.) If so, do you use it because you independently came to the same conclusion, because it was such a cool idea, or because using it will make your work better liked? Or some other reason?

If I ever do, it's because I independently reached the same conclusion. The exception is fanon Draco, whom I like to skewer at any available opportunity because I'm so tired of hearing about how gorgeous and witty and secretly heroic he is. He's a bigoted, vicious little prat in canon, people. Deal with it. :)

16. You get into a new fandom and you fall in love with a specific character. You go online and find out:

- there are no stories about this character. What do you do?

Write the story, of course (see War Wounds).

- all the stories, practically speaking, are about this character. What do you do?

Write the story, of course (see Possessions).

17. Do you have friends online? Do you feel you will lose them if you don't write fic? What if you write fic in a different fandom?

Yes, sometimes, and yes. It's not that I fear they'll stop being friends altogether -- they're better people than that -- but rather that not having a fic or fics of mutual interest to talk about tends to reduce our motivation and opportunities for discussion. Which makes me sad, but at the same time, I do understand it. It does make me long for the good old days when I was still writing the D&L stories at the rate of a chapter a week and chatting with my betas every night, though.

And that's the lot! For whatever it may be worth...