Archive for May, 2002

Favorite Fanfics: The Movie

Thursday, May 30th, 2002

This is the list of fanfic favorites from the message board
post mentioned in my previous entry, reproduced here at Jemima’s Trek
with Shelley’s permission. It represents the opinions of a
sample of Voyager fans and so may be flawed. (I would say it’s on the
overly inclusive side for the purpose.) Many thanks to Jade and Anna
for tracking down links, but a couple are still missing:
if anyone knows where I can find Amanda Darling or Deborah Wells, please href="">email me.

Boadicea Tea Dance

L. R. Bowen The Cardassian Mask

Carolyn Carey Yesterday’s Terrors and unfinished sequel, The Evil that Breeds Within

Cheile Fields of Gold

Claudia Gifts Trilogy

Lynda Cooper & ML The Return

D’Alaire Irremission (P/T)

A. Darling History Lessons
no link available

Gamine Voices in the Dark

Ghostie Always

Gill Hoyle Does He?

Gilly Hoyle Cognac and Firelight

Jemima Lurking

Jemima The Museum series (entire cast, some J/C)

Jenn In the Space of Seven Days (non J/C)

Jinny Little Blue World

Kadith Brianne Trilogy

Karma Karma’s Series

Kat Lady When Home is Where the Hurt Is

Kelly Needs (J/Ka)

D. A. Kent Going Home

Kerry Conduct Unbecoming an Officer

Kira The Long Road Home


Paradise Lost


KJ Breadth of Love

KJ The Wisdom of her Years

Lady Chakotay Mud in Your Eye

Macedon & Otterskin Talking Stick/Circle series

Michelle Masterson Contrition

Michelle Masterson The Spoils of Battle

monkee Finding Peace

monkee Not Simple Comfort

Jan Monroe Little Boy Found

Andrea Montoute Identity Crisis

Cheryl E. Moore The Challenge and sequels Battle
and Sweet Victory
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Morgan Looking for Kathryn

Oboebyrd Space Turtles (whole cast)

Penny Proctor Revisionist History

Renegade and Siobhan Allegiances and Disclosures />

Dave Rogers The Virtue Series (non J/C)

Sam Glass Houses

Sam Sandcastles

Sandra K. Until We Meet Again

Shayenne Married Quarters

Diane Running Horse Smith Manipulations

Suz She Goes On

Suz and Jules The Dark is Rising

Sylvia K. Saved by a Kiss

Tam Walking a Thin Line

vanhunks Fire Dance

vanhunks Strangers When We Meet

Visigoth Heavy Rain

Deborah L. Wells Burning Thistles Among Thorns
Available at Trekiverse: href=""> or
through href="">Google groups

Jim Wright Best of Both Girls

Your Cruise Director Cloudy

Your Cruise Director, Libra471, and Shayenne Once and Future Captain

Favorite Fanfics

Wednesday, May 29th, 2002

Jade pointed me to this unscientific collection of favorite fanfics at the J/C Index message board. The focus is on J/C, since they’re the Most Beloved Couple of Trek Time, but there are crewfics listed as well.

Someone took a poll that was, I think, restricted to five favorite fics (with no author overlap) per respondent, and made a list of them. You can see some influence of the AAA in there, as to what people have been reading lately, and some general J/C tendencies, but if, say, Zendom wanted to do a best-of list, this approach would certainly be worth consideration, maybe with a restriction that only fic that got on more than one person’s list made the final collection.

The list got interesting reactions, starting with the disappointment of someone who didn’t make the cut. To summarize for those of you low on message-board time: that author complained, mildly, that she wasn’t mentioned on the list. Someone else suggested that said author wasn’t quite up to the level of the all-time Voy favorites. Other participants called such constructive criticism cruel, objected to the existence of such a list at all, expressed dismay at a proposal of more fic discussion, and maligned a children’s book author who dared judge fanfic. There were some lovely snarks along the way, as well as a classic threat to leave fandom.

It was an exemplary tempest in a teapot, but in the end, the only good outcome is the list itself. Maybe I’ll read a few (or at least re-read The Best of Both Girls), to feed the muse.

Jade Making Waves

Tuesday, May 28th, 2002

My lovely hostee and underemployed beta reader, Jade East, has won a couple of awards for her story, Carpet of Blossoms:

Ripples Romance Ripples Overall

Care and Feeding of the Muse

Tuesday, May 28th, 2002

It was a productive weekend all around. The muse spent more time than I would have wanted on the Spuffyfic - not that I object to fanfic, but the issue of what to do with a human Spike has already stopped the fic in its tracks. I could have told her that would happen.

The Wrong Novel got a bit more done to it, and another stray short story is actually shaping up on the storiness front - it doesn’t sound like much, but the word counts were surprising whenever I did them. The Seven Saga, on the other hand, was a complete non-starter. Chapter one has made no progress towards storiness.

I chalk it all up to muse fodder - she can’t ignore a dramatic scene of a demon turning Spike into a human (no, not an ensouled vamp, a human), no matter how problematic the de-Spiking of Spike will be for the fic she’s tossing at me. On the other hand, she can’t write VOY when there is no VOY to watch, no matter how many high-flown plans for Seven of Nine we had once, the muse and I. The muse needs inspiration. She needs fic to toy with and rethink and do slightly differently, or just to see what hasn’t been done so she can give it a try herself.

I could make up for the lack of screen VOY inspiration with fanfic VOY, if I had the time, but it’s not like I’m overlooking a flood of current VOY in ASC. I’d have to go back to reading the J/C Index or Trekiverse from before my time in order to find NEW2JEMI fic. I could make a public pronouncement that I’m giving up fanfic altogether - I hear that’s a good way get a flagging muse back into production - but I’m not desperate enough to use reverse psychology on her, yet.

Messing with the Yellow

Sunday, May 26th, 2002

Did I mention the novel recs are up at zendom? Also, if the blog looks weird, it’s because I played with the stylesheet a bit. I still need to force Verdana, but otherwise, it’s almost fully feng-shuied.

The muse, having been given an entire weekend to work on The Wrong Novel, decided it was well past time to write some Spuffy fic. (Spoilers warning: Look away! Look away!) Now that Spike’s all cuddly and human (not a poofter ensouled vamp, human), the muse is dying to play with him. There is a downside to the redemption of Spike, though - what are we going to do with another loser weakling dude in the crew? That’s Xander’s role, and he’s not going to want to share it with William the Wussy. So I’m stuck in the middle of my all human, all the time Spuffy episode addition. Back to the novel…

Big Name Poets

Sunday, May 26th, 2002

I promised some extracts from Shelley’s Defense of Poetry, so before I start on today’s storifying I’ll cut and paste them here.

First, that any of this might apply to us lowly, non-rhyming storytellers:

§50 The distinction between poets and prose-writers is a vulgar error.

The bit where he implies poets are bigger than Christ:

§40 The fame of legislators and founders of religions, so long as their institutions last, alone seems to exceed that of poets in the restricted sense: but it can scarcely be a question whether if we deduct the celebrity which their flattery of the gross opinions of the vulgar usually conciliates, together with that which belonged to them in their higher character of poets any excess will remain.

His argument against realism and for romance:

§62 Time, which destroys the beauty and the use of the story of particular facts, stript of the poetry which should invest them, augments that of Poetry and forever developes new and wonderful applications of the eternal truth which it contains. §63 Hence epitomes have been called the moths of just history; they eat out the poetry of it. §64 A story of particular facts is as a mirror which obscures and distorts that which should be beautiful: Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.

On the transparency of ulterior motives, and their deleterious effect upon the work:

§121 But in periods of the decay of social life, the drama sympathizes with that decay. §122 Tragedy becomes a cold imitation of the form of the great master-pieces of antiquity, divested of all harmonious accompaniment of the kindred arts; and often the very form misunderstood: or a weak attempt to teach certain doctrines, which the writer considers as moral truths; and which are usually no more than specious flatteries of some gross vice or weakness with which the author in common with his auditors are infected. […] §124 To such purposes Poetry cannot be made subservient. Poetry is a sword of lightning ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it. §125 And thus we observe that all dramatic writings of this nature are unimaginative in a singular degree; they affect sentiment and passion: which divested of imagination are other names for caprice and appetite. […] §129 Obscenity, which is ever blasphemy against the divine beauty in life, becomes, from the very veil which it assumes, more active if less disgusting: it is a monster for which the corruption of society for ever brings forth new food; which it devours in secret.

On the inspiration of the muse, and the unfortunate necessity of filling in the gaps she leaves behind:

§283 Poetry is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. §284 A man cannot say, “I will compose poetry.” §285 The greatest poet even cannot say it: for the mind in creation is as a fading coal which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; this power arises from within, like the colour of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed, and the conscious portions of our natures are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure. Could this influence be durable in its original purity and grace, it is impossible to predict the greatness of the results; but when composition begins inspiration is already on the decline, and the most glorious poetry that has ever been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conceptions of the poet. §286 I appeal to the greatest Poets of the present day, whether it be not an error to assert that the greatest passages of poetry are produced by labour and study. §287 The toil and the delay recommended by critics can be justly interpreted to mean no more than a careful observation of the inspired moments and an artificial connection of the spaces between their suggestions by the intertexture of conventional expressions; a necessity only imposed by a limitedness of the poetical faculty itself. §288 For Milton conceived the Paradise Lost as a whole before he executed it in portions. §289 We have his own authority also for the Muse having “dictated” to him “the unpremeditated song.” [Milton, Paradise Lost] §290 And let this be an answer to those who would alledge the fifty six various readings of the first line of the Orlando Furioso. §291 Compositions so produced are to poetry what mosaic is to painting. §292 This instinct and intuition of the poetical faculty is still more observable in the plastic and pictorial arts: a great statue or picture grows under the power of the artist as a child in the mother’s womb, and the very mind which directs the hands in formation is incapable of accounting to itself for the origin, the gradations, or the media of the process.

Reiterating the nature of the muse:

§319 Poetry, as has been said, differs in this respect from logic that it is not subject to the controul of the active powers of the mind, and that its birth and recurrence has no necessary connexion with consciousness or will.

Note that I didn’t say any of the above; Shelley said it. These extracts from the Big Name Poet are merely intended to show that neither what I have said about the muse, nor what I haven’t said but has nevertheless been attributed to me, is new. These are things people have been saying about writing ever since Plato, and saying Shelley was full of himself is no argument against his experience of the muse.

I, for one, would be better off with an ego like Shelley’s; I’d certainly write more if I believed more in my writing. On the other hand I’d probably edit less, so, tempting as it is, I won’t go on that ego trip some seem to think I’m already on. I’ll just lay out some chocolate to tempt the muse and get back to writing.

More of Everything

Thursday, May 23rd, 2002

The title is an old feedback-request from Christine, which could apply to almost anything I’ve written. I agreed with her, of course: I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to make people care about characters and worlds is filler, filler, filler. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Brevity is the soul of my muse, unfortunately, which means the filler gets left to yours truly.

On the Lori trail again, I renewed my passport recently. I had to bring it into work to prove I was legal (to work, not to drink), and only then did I notice it had expired. (For those of you keeping track, yes I have been working for this company for six months already. Don’t tell the feds.) It was a questionable matter, as I assembled bits of the passport application to mail in, whether I would end up wearing the same clothes in my new picture as in the old one. I’m pretty sure I pulled that off with a license once, but not this time with the passport. I’ll give it another shot in 2012.

I didn’t know that my thrift-shop fashion sense, my mind-like-a-steel-sieve time sense and my Nazarite hairstyle were I-N things. There goes another bit of me, pegged, labelled and catalogued. What was that quote about psychology robbing us of of our individuality? Please Misunderstand Me…

Back to blogness: a few entries back (Kept Muse) I said something vague about the cohesion between Beginning and End. I’ve come up with an even fuzzier term for it: storiness. The essential storiness of a story isn’t much easier to pin down now that I have this highly technical term for it. Of course, in all matters my first thought is plot, but other things can hold a story together: theme, mood and style can all establish storiness in the shortest of stories. Longer stories need some plot, too, but plot is not enough to distinguish a story from a loose collection of notes. There has to be…more of everything.

Bloody ‘Ell, Slayer!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2002

The muse slept in this morning, after I’d planned some writing time for her. She did, however, flood me with ideas in the shower - she seems to like times and places where there are no pencils or keyboards around, probably because it means no immediate work for her. Lazy muse. I cornered her on the T, though, and made her add her new ideas to the opening scene of The Wrong Novel. She’s pulling in some stuff from The Wrong Prequel, both to set up later events and to justify the opening blood and gore. Maybe sleep is the secret to getting more out of her.

Lori, source of all blog content, blogged about curse words. I’m also a known fan of the English language, so I have to point out that curse and swear and cuss and execrate all mean pretty much the same thing, and do not refer, technically, to foul (a.k.a. vulgar) language or dirty words.

These two families of words split up cleanly: in the foul court, we have fine old words like the f word, which are undeserving of their current dishonor, as well as obviously dirty words like the sheeeee-it word, body parts like ass (which picks up subtones from its donkey sense), and other riff-raff like Micro$oft.

The world of true cursing, however, involves blasphemy, oaths, or wishes for damnation. Here we find damn, its brother darn and its cousins hell and heck, all invocations of deity from jeez to Kahless, and some mysterious old words like bloody (which is, to my knowledge, a particularly Christian oath abbreviated from God’s blood).

Darning them all to heck, in other words, is not vulgar but evil, yet it’s hard to curse when you don’t believe in cursing or the second commandment. So curse words degenerate into just so many more dirty words, but deep down you know bloody isn’t saying much to the listener - hence the preference for dirty dirty words rather than dusty swear words.

Following more Lori links, I found a good word in the pseudodictionary: truline, for that opening line that truly says it all. I wonder if I’ve coined any non-Romulan words I can submit.

Kept Muse

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2002

Final scenes don’t multiply on me the way they seem to for Lori. My trouble is proliferation of opening scenes. I wrote another opener for The Wrong Novel yesterday, which brings me up to six or seven now.

The trouble with openings is that you usually can’t start at the chronological beginning - life and plot come on slowly, but a story has to dive right in there and catch the reader, plus state the full premise in the opening line. (Never read how-to-write books - that’s where you pick up crazy ideas like “the first line must summarize the entire story.”) So I wrote an opening where things really begin, that’s very interesting for me but much too boring for the reader, and I wrote an bloody beginning to grab the reader by the throat and shout “Read me!” In between there was a bit of negotiation, where I kept trying to move the opening closer to the chronological beginning - but I know I have to start in the middle with the blood and the guts (and, surprisingly, the tea service), then work backwards and forwards at the same time. Flashbacks are a pain in the neck, even when you have five spare openings’ worth of material to use for them.

Speaking of openings, I really have been working on the Seven Saga. The first chapter (barring two spare beginnings) is kind of done. I got everything I wanted in there, spackled every plothole of Seven’s misspent youth, and added some Obscure Characters to boot. The only problem with my story is that it isn’t quite a story. It’s missing that essential cohesion that binds Beginning to End, if you know what I mean. The muse has been sleeping on the job, again. I wish she got busy when I’m too busy to pay her any mind, but the truth is she’s a lazy muse who insists on bubble baths and chocolate and three-hour background checks to coin one Romulan word and hours at the keyboard to contemplate her previous drafts, before she’ll write a word.

On the other fanfic front, the Buffy finale was good, at least in its Spike aspect. I can’t say I saw too much Willow continuity in Evil Willow, or felt that the two hours cohered any better than chapter one of the Seven Saga, but I’m into the whole soulless Spike issue so I found this little reverse redemption compensated (in my fic-weaving mind) for the Random Spike Characterization of the second half of the season. I was handling it a little differently in my still incomplete chip fic, but now I see the potential of reconnecting it to canon at the end that I couldn’t see before.

Still, I’m not sure I want to rejoin canon. If I could think of a way to marry off Spuffy, I’d do that instead, but Buffy, if not Spike, is too twenty-first century for a secret wedding. This is not a century for great love stories - which is, I suppose, a good deal of the reason I take refuge in the future.

No Time For Fic

Tuesday, May 21st, 2002

I envy Lori her new day off. Underemployment was the best thing that ever happened to my fic. I knew it was really bad when I started taking notes for The Wrong Novel and The Wrong Prequel during a meeting this morning - but when that elusive political situation finally resolves itself (more or less) in your mind, you have to write it down. It’s not like the muse is going to do this for me, wretched little filker that she is. (The muse is currently investigating the filking potential of hip-hop. Be afraid. Be kind of afraid.)

Now I’m going to bed, because the muse needs sleep. (It’s not really 10 p.m. - Moveable Type doesn’t seem to understand Daylight Savings Time.) The many bloggy things I’m behind on - Big Name Poet Shelley and his controversial views on the muse, importing my other blog to MT, wondering why Lori’s blog is the only one that I find things to say about these days, etc. - will have to wait another day, and then some.