25 January 2015 @ 11:51 am
Quick QAF S1 question  
I need to know this for a fic I'm working on: Does Brian call Ted "Theodore" in Season 1?

If so, can anyone help me with when?

Thank you!!!!
16 May 2014 @ 11:33 pm
Fic question  
So, I was thinking about finishing my WIP "Feeling Good," the non-crack fic where Brian is a figure skater.

But is there anyone left who would read it?
25 September 2012 @ 04:14 pm
An AU writing dilemma  
So, here's my problem.

I'm writing a story called Discovery, in which Brian is a criminal defense attorney in New York. He left Pittsburgh long before the timeframe of season one, so he not only never met Justin, lots of things in his life and the lives of the gang are different. Additionally, Brian has lost touch with everyone in Pittsburgh, even Michael.

This story is set during the Stockwell mayoral race, and is a murder mystery. Since we learn the premise within a few paragraphs of the first chapter, I'll just spoil you now and tell you that Michael has been arrested for murder, and Debbie wants Brian to come home and defend him.

Now, enough about the plot, and here's the dilemma. And I'm guessing that it will be fic writers more than readers who are going to understand what I am struggling with, but I could be wrong.

I've already written an AU in which Brian and Justin meet at an older age, and in which Brian has a different career -- Pulse Point. I don't want to just do that again with a different job and a mystery added to the plot.

But more than wanting to break away plot-wise, I wanted to try to use a different feel or tone for my story. Normally, my fics "feel" like episodes of the show, albeit more focused on Brian and Justin than the show was. I love that about them, and I think my readers do as well. I certainly get a lot of positive comments about that aspect of my style.

In this story, however, I'm not trying to create that. I'm writing it like a mystery novel. I believe I still have the essence of the characters, but the rhythm of their speech, the flow of the story, are not like my other fiction, by design. I set out to do this. Only.... I keep thinking of all the writers I've seen get bored with their fandom, the canon, or their own work, and start writing AUs or different pairings (which I'm not doing), and losing the connection with the canonical characters and themes.

Of course I know it's fine for them to do that. I know it's fine for ME to do it if I want to. This isn't about giving myself permission to do what I want.

What it's about is that I'm really, really having a lot of self-doubt right now, feeling like I'm being overly loose with the characters, but equally feeling I'm caught between two stories, the one I set out to tell, and the "easy" one I keep thinking people will want to read.

I know it sounds like I'm saying, "OMG, people might not like this!", but I'm not. If I'm happy with the story, I can accept that it doesn't work for my readers. (Although honestly, given how "A" some of the "AUs" people in fandom enjoy, I doubt this will be difficult for my readers to accept, LOL.) What is worrying me is, am I just telling myself this is a challenge I've set, to move away from the familiar pace and tone of my fiction and still see if I can keep the essence of the canonical characters and themes, but actually just losing touch with those things and indulging myself in writing "canon characters in name only" original fiction, as I've seen so many writers do?

I would love, love, to hear from other writers, in any fandom, who have struggled with setting themselves new goals and challenges while still honoring the themes and characters from their canon, or anyone who might have some thoughts on this struggle. Because it's interfering with my writing, and I really don't have anyone to talk to about this. :(

30 June 2012 @ 10:41 pm
Ode to a beta, and a fic update  
I honestly don't understand those writers who don't use a beta reader. I'm a professional writer and editor, and I often find myself wishing I had a beta for my professional work. (My first fic beta,[livejournal.com profile] justinlovesart, actually did beta an article for me once, now that I think about it!) The tradition of the the beta is one of the greatest treasures of fandom.

For me, the beta is not someone who looks at your finished work, but a part of the creative process. My betas have talked me through my plotting, read rough drafts, outlines, and fragments, helped me pick quotes for the chapters of my "Only Time" series, and even tried to talk me through being blocked on a story.

They've caught continuity errors, lazy writing, fanon, poor pacing, and mundane things like repeated words or inappropriate punctuation -- although it's really my proof-reader,[livejournal.com profile] vlredreign, who is in charge of that!

I started the "Only Time" series with [livejournal.com profile] justinlovesart as my beta. When she bowed out,[livejournal.com profile] testdog65 agreed to be my beta, and was with me through the years... yes, years... it took me to finish that story, and beta'd my many other fics during that same time period.

I want to thank both of them for helping shape me as a fiction writer, and especially to[livejournal.com profile] testdog65, who isn't really in fandom anymore, and yet spent countless hours working with me on the final chapter of "Directions" -- without her, believe me, it would never have been completed. Thank you so much, Ellen, for your friendship and mentoring.

And thank you, too, Claudia, for helping lay the foundation for so much of how I see Justin, Brian, and the gang today, and inspiring me to post my very first fic.

When I realized I'd yet again have to find a new beta, I was in despair. There was exactly one single person who was herself a very good writer, who also shared my vision of the show. Who loved "the gang" as much as Brian and Justin. Who loved strong Justin. Who had already agreed to work with me on my skater!fic AU, "Feeling Good," as soon as I completed "Only Time." Who I knew, lliked, and trusted. That's [livejournal.com profile] jule1122. So with my fingers crossed and battling hyperventilation, I threw myself on her mercy and asked: Would you?

She said yes. To my huge, gigantic, enormous, immeasurable gratitude.

So, as I complete "Feeling Good," and work on my new AU murder mystery multi-chapter series, "Discovery" -- with Brian as a defense attorney in New York City, who comes back to Pittsburgh, after not seeing anyone there for years, when Michael is arrested for the murder of Kenneth Reichert -- it will be with the wonderful Jule as my creative partner. (So much so in "Feeling Good" that I think we'll be finishing it with both of us as authors -- she's much more the figure skating expert than I am, so that's a very, very good thing!).

Thank you, Jule! I can't wait!

And for those who might want a teaser about "Discovery," here is the beautiful banner created for me by my graphics muse, [livejournal.com profile] brianslave68:


08 June 2012 @ 08:47 am
The fic-length two-step  
Damn. The final chapter of "Directions" is 18K words, too long for a single post. The last time this happened, I published it in two posts, which is weird because the second half appears on people's flists BEFORE the first half... and posting the halves in the opposite order doesn't have a good flow, either.

And it truly is all one single chapter; it doesn't have the flow or structure to be two separate chapters.

So, a quick poll for those of you who plan to read it:
[Poll #1845632]
29 May 2012 @ 11:39 pm
A day I was starting to think would never come  
I just finished the last of the revisions to the final chapter of "Directions." I'm going to sleep on it, do one last read-through, and send it to my beta on Wednesday.

This is not the first beta round, so my guess is that any changes will be more of the proofreading variety. I think I'll be able to post it this weekend, but I can't know for sure when my beta will get to it, so that's tentative.

My feelings are a mix of euphoria and sorrow. On the one hand, I'm so glad I finally finished it, because number one, the endless emails, messages, and posts begging me to finish it were stressing me out horribly -- not that I blame anyone, given how many fics get abandoned and how long it's been since I posted the last chapter -- and number two, I love this whole series insanely and really wanted to produce a finale to it that I felt reflected what I was trying to do when I started it all those years ago.

BUT.... it also marks an ending. Of the series, of my first experience writing fan fiction -- "Plans," the first in the series, was the first fan fic I ever wrote -- and the whole crazy ride that's been my involvement in QAF fandom.

And it also triggers me a bit for all the trauma and tragedy around my mom's long struggle with cancer and horrible death, since it was dealing with all that that took me away from writing and this story in particular in the first place.

Still, it's beyond wonderful to sit here and run my eyes down the pages and not see anything like "FIX THIS" or "BRIDGE THIS" or "WEAK DIALOG" -- all the little notes I leave myself when I don't like something, or my beta had a suggestion, or I just felt something could be better or more fully fleshed out.

And speaking of "fleshed out," I also feel really good about the erotic components of this chapter. Getting the sex right is so important in a Brian/Justin story, because it was such an important part of canon, and it constitutes a big piece of how they communicate and how their story gets told to us. So I always want to honor that and never make it "insert sex scene here" or gratuitous. And sometimes, that's not easy.

Anyway, it's late. I'm babbling. But I just felt like I wanted to let people know, even if it does mean my inbox will end up being totally empty from now on, LOL.

Oh, and I am still writing even though this series is done. I have another fic ready to be beta'd, and I'm going to be contributing to a couple of upcoming challenges that I'll post about here later. For reasons that I don't fully understand, I still feel inspired to write in the QAF world, and I still love Brian and Justin.

And you know, I don't feel even one little bit bad about that.



25 January 2012 @ 02:39 pm
How to Write  
From Elmore Leonard via The Trad:

23 October 2011 @ 12:37 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day 19  
19 – When you have bunnies ideas, do you sit down and start writing right away, or do you write down the idea for further use?

I have two writing methods.

One is I just sit down and write it. The other is that I "pre-write" in my head, a process without any real timeline, where I just tell myself the story in various ways until one day I write it.

I can write a story I'm happy with in half an hour, or it can take me months.

The rest of the questions... )
22 October 2011 @ 10:45 pm
"Only Time"  
I haven't wanted to give any kind of update on my progress with the final chapter of "Directions," because I don't want to be one of these authors who drifts away from a fic and never finishes it but keeps promising to.

Unless there's some natural disaster or I get a disease or something horrible happens, I intend to fix the one last section of this chapter that is plagued with my old continuity error (trust me, finding something like this in the LAST chapter of a bazillion-word series bites bad) and then it will be done.

I never forgot it, I never stopped wanting to finish it, I never drifted away. I think I just didn't want it to be over. I'm sorry for taking so long. But you should see it this week, depending on my beta's ability to get to it -- I think she's given up on me, too, LOL.
22 October 2011 @ 08:53 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day 18  
18 – Where do you get the most inspiration for your stories (aka "bunnies") from?

Mostly, from my own imagination thinking about what would happen next. Now and then I am inspired by a sort of reverse-challenge... where my conscious mind decides something is impossible or hard or not worthwhile or whatever, and my muses disagree, and I end up writing the thing I didn't think I could write, or didn't want to, or thought would come out cracky or wrong.

Although I like to write for challenges and the gift exchange, I'm not one of those writers who "needs" that to write or to get inspired. I have more stories in my head than  come close to having time to write. It makes me sad.

The rest of the questions... )
20 October 2011 @ 03:02 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Days 12-17  
I'm tackling a few questions because my answers were short and I got behind due to Xiefest. :)

12 – Have you ever attempted an "adaptation" story of a favorite book or movie but set in a different fandom?

I didn't quite follow this question. Is this like, "A famous movie or book but written over with the characters from QAF"? If so, then no.

13 – Do you prefer canon or fanon when you write? Has writing fanfic for a fandom changed the way you see some or even all of the original source material?

Canon, except for humor, satire and crack, at which point I will often mock incorporate elements of fanon.

I would say that the process of writing fiction deepens my understanding of canon, but the main way my view on something in canon is changed is through discussions with other fans, not fiction, mine or someone else's.

14 – Ratings – how high are you comfortable with going? Have you ever written higher? If you're comfortable with NC-17, have you ever been shocked by finding that the story you're writing is G-rated instead?

The amount and type of erotic content in a story is irrelevant to me beyond that it should be appropriate for the story and the characters. I find an overly-conscious attitude about ratings and sex ruins much fan fiction. It's just another way to tell a story and/or element of characterization. RELAX, PEOPLE!

15 – Warnings – What do you feel it most important to warn for, and what's the strangest thing you've warned for in a story?

I usually use warnings for humorous purposes only. I don't really like them for anything other than death and non-con, which I won't read and don't write (although I did once write minor character death).

I think warnings about same-sex erotica are homophobic and they infuriate me.

16 – Summaries – Do you like them or hate them? How do you come up with them, if you use them?

I have a love-hate relationship with summaries. I have gone from using them to not using them to being against them to realizing that they're part of how we decide to read something... I don't know. Right now, I guess I would try to do a brief summary that would give people an idea of what the story is about, and try to keep it interesting and perhaps a little tantalizing. Ask me again tomorrow and I might have a totally different answer, LOL.

17 – Titles – Are they the bane of your existence, or the easiest part of the story? Also, if you do chaptered story, do you give each chapter a title, or not?

I suck at titles. I generally come up with one word that more or less covers it. I do not title my chapters.

The rest of the questions... )
13 October 2011 @ 09:04 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day eleven  
11 – Genre – do you prefer certain genres of fic when you're writing? What kind do you tend to write most?

In QAF, I typically write post-series canon-based fic. That's my default, it's what my imagination does all the time (kind of like [livejournal.com profile] not_yet_defined's "What are Brian and Justin doing now?" -- and I even often see current events through the lens of how they might affect Brian and Justin, like Steve Jobs' death, for instance. /geeky fan girl confession)

I also like writing erotica in the QAF fandom, which is, after all, based on a very sexed up canon, LOL.

Now and then an AU bunny gets hold of my brain, usually in the form of a challenge. Even more rarely am I tempted to write "gapfiller" fic.

I also seem to have an insatiable desire to write holiday-themed fic, LOL.

And then there's humor and satire, which I also love writing a lot.

After I post the next chapter of "Only Time" (which is FINISHED, folks, it just needs a final edit. I'm so sorry for making you all wait so long!) and wrapping up "Feeling Good," which the lovely [livejournal.com profile] jule1122 has agreed to collaborate with me on to keep the ice skating stuff as real as possible, I am going to tackle an entirely new genre: A murder mystery. It's an AU. That's all I'll say for now. :)

In Xena, my favorite genre is what we call "Classic Xena" fan fiction. It's set in the main timeline of canon, and my favorite time period is after Gabrielle becomes an Amazon but before the Rift. I could write in that era forever.

I can't even answer this for any other fandom as I write so infrequently in them... one fic each so far, LOL. One was a character study sent in current canon, one is a post-series, and one a gapfiller. Go figure.

The rest of the questions... )
12 October 2011 @ 10:26 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day ten  
10 – Pairings – Have you ever gone outside your comfort zone and written a pairing you liked, but found you couldn't write, or a pairing you didn't like, and found you could?

This meme is more obssessed with "pairings" than I am. I think in terms of characters, or characters in particular settings or situations, not "pairings."

I also only write canon couples, so maybe they mean "made up/slashed pairings" and therefore I just don't understand the entire premise of the question.

I can only answer in terms that DO make sense to me, which is, there have been times I felt I couldn't get a handle on writing a certain character, or a certain character in a particular situation, and then I did, and found out that it worked really well.

For example, I wrote "Plans" from Melanie and Justin's first person POVs, and I was SURE I couldn't write Brian for the sequel and rest of the series. I was totally freaked out about it. Then I found one line -- "There is absolutely no question that Justin is a scheming little shit." -- and that was the opening line of "Decisions" and that was it. From then on, I had no more worry about writing Brian.

But I was SURE I couldn't write Brian getting fucked from Brian's POV, only from Justin's. And then I had this idea or glimpse of him looking over his shoulder at Justin, and bam, just like that, I was in his head and it was no problem.

So yes, that's happened to me. :)

The rest of the questions... )
11 October 2011 @ 08:37 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day nine  
9 – Pairings – For each of the fandoms from day two, what are your three favorite pairings to write?

For QAF, it's Brian and Justin. I don't really think of the other characters as "pairings" per se, but just as other characters. I like to write Melanie and Ted best after Brian and Justin, but obviously not as a pairing, LOL.

For Xena, it's Xena and Gabrielle. I can sometimes have an interest in Xena and Lao Ma.

For Glee, Santana and Brittany. I like Kurt and Blaine, but I don't feel any pull to write them, although of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure some mutant Klaine bunny is going to start eating my brain.

My real Glee addiction is the idea of Kurt and Santana as friends. Bizarre, I know.

The rest of the questions... )
10 October 2011 @ 10:02 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day eight  
8 – Do you write OCs? And if so, what do you do to make certain they're not Mary Sues, and if not, explain your thoughts on OCs.

Ah yes, one of my FAVORITE topics/least favorite things to find in fic, LOL.

I am not a fan of original characters in fan fiction. The reason is simple: I am a fan of the original source material, ie, canon.

When I read fan fiction, it's because I want to revisit the places and people I loved in canon.

If I want to read about original characters, I read non-fan-fiction.

I don't CARE about OCs. I don't WANT them in my fan fic. I resent every original character I've ever had to write for a story of my own, I do my best to make sure they have no storyline or purpose in the story that isn't related to one of my main canon characters, and I break my brain first trying to figure out if I can make a canon character serve the purpose. Because I write post-series fic, I've from time to time had to add new characters, but I try to do it in the way the show sometimes did, by just bringing them in, using them, then sending them on their way. (Exceptions in QAF would be Ben and Hunter. MAYBE Carl, although he didn't really have MUCH of his own storyline. I can't think of anyone else, because even Stockwell and Ethan were, in the end, just plot devices.)

I don't have any trouble keeping Mary Sues out of my fic. I have no desire to be in the lives of the QAF characters. Brian and Justin already have best friends, and they don't need me to invent new ones for them.

When I read fic that has Mary Sues in it, it makes me immediately stop reading. It's always so obvious, and it pulls me right out of the story!

I remember once, a long time ago, in a fic written in the earlier days of our fandom by someone who is no longer in fandom at all, I read this long multi-chaptered fic in which the author created new characters all over the place -- the idealized female best friend, a screwed up family member for Brian, a nice older lady who gave the boys good advice... and I wanted to scream.

BRIAN HAS A FEMALE BEST FRIEND. Her name is Lindsay. He also has a MALE BEST FRIEND, whose name is Michael.


They both already have screwed up family members a-plenty -- Claire, Joan, Craig.

And they have a nice older lady who gives them advice. Her name is Debbie.

I presume the reason authors do these things is that they don't like the canon characters. That's totally fine, I'm just saying, I LOVE the canon characters. I believe that's what makes me a fan of the show. So I just don't understand creating new ones, nor wanting to read about them mixed into your fan fiction. It's not like there's some shortage of original fiction out there that I don't know about, right?

So that's my take on OCs and Mary Sues. DO NOT WANT. And if I HAVE TO write them, I just want to make sure they don't have their own story. They're there to make a point about my main characters, period.

Which brings up the one time I broke this rule, or almost broke it: A fic called "The Good Chinese Daughter." It was a bunny that ate at me for a while, that grew, as is so often the case, out of a cracky conversation about things we hate in fic or don't believe can be done well.

I was on a rant about how people take very minor characters who were no more than plot devices and turn them into major characters. My contention is that they are in reality OCs.

And the character of Lin Liu came to mind. And I couldn't get her out of my mind, even though we know nothing about her, really.

So I wrote her story for a character of color challenge, and I really liked it. She wasn't an idealized best friend for Justin; she was just someone he barely knew, who he ran into in New York. And while she did have a purpose in Justin's story, she had her own story and he was a part of HER story, more so then vice versa, because this was future fic set at a time when Justin was very settled, secure and solid with Brian, not having any crises, etc.

However, having done it, I still feel the same way. It's not REALLY fan fiction. Only by showing a LOT Of Brian and Justin in the fic could I even make it feel like fan fiction. It was really a story about Lin Liu, and while I love it and am happy with it, deep in my heart I do know it was original fic with Justin and Brian making a drop-in visit.

And that is, finally, the end. :)

The rest of the questions... )
04 October 2011 @ 07:17 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Days five-seven  
I don't mean to cheat, but the next three questions have kind of "yes or no" answers, so to keep this from being totally boring, I'm doing them all in one post.

5 –If you have ever had a character try to push their way into a story, whether your "muse" or not, what did you do about it?

Never have.

6 – When you write, do you prefer writing male or female characters?

I don't care. It's about who the character is, not their gender.

7 – Have you ever had a story change your opinion of a character?

Not one I wrote, and not one I read. Discussions with other fans have done so, however.

Wow, that was fast! Fortunately number 8, which I'll do tomorrow, is gonna prompt an essay. ;)

The rest of the questions... )
03 October 2011 @ 08:13 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day four  
4 – Do you have a "muse" character, that speaks to you more than others, or that tries to push their way in, even when the story isn't about them? Who are they, and why did that character became your muse?

Definitely not. I have BUNNIES that take over my mind, and perplexing challenges of writing that I can't shake off -- could you write Brian as a figure skater without it being crack? How to write Brian asking Justin to fuck him and have it be IC... how to write a fic about a character so minor she's essentially an original character and still have it feel organic to the story?... but I don't relate at all to a character being a "muse" and I don't have any experience of a character "pushing their way" into a story. Not really sure what that would mean, either.

I do sometimes joke that a character "made me" do something, but it's not along these lines at all.

The rest of the questions... )
02 October 2011 @ 08:56 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day three  
3 – For each of the fandoms from day two, what were your favorite characters to write?

In Queer as Folk, I started out writing Justin and Melanie, alternating first person POVs. I found their voices came to me very easily, and I absolutely believed I could not possibly write from inside Brian's head.

Then one day I did it, and it was easy, and now I think Brian's voice comes to me more easily than anyone else's.

I tend to enjoy writing the ensemble, and get my greatest pleasure from experiencing a sense of "hearing" ensemble dialog when I write it. It makes me feel like the show is back on!

In other fandoms: Xena and Gabrielle (XWP), Santana (Glee), and Matt Santos and Josh (West Wing). (Not in a slashy way; I write canon-consistent always.)

The rest of the questions... )
01 October 2011 @ 12:08 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day two  
2 – Name the fandoms you've written in, and how much you've written in that fandom, and if you still write in it.

My primary fandom for writing is Queer as Folk-US. Prior to discovering this fandom, I didn't read or write or respect fan fiction. I thought it was adolescent and silly. I had this idea based on the vast experience of having NEVER read one word of it, ever.

The first fan fic I ever read was Plumsuede's "Framed." While I've come to feel that story presents a Brian and Justin that don't really resonate for me, what first powerfully struck me when I read it was how GOOD it was as a work of fiction. I'd swallowed all kinds of writerly snobbishness about people who write fan fic, and reading that story showed me that the people from whom I'd absorbed that view had no freaking idea what they were talking about.

Because I'm a professional writer (non-fiction), trying my hand at writing fic seemed  very natural. I have written a TON of fic... I haven't actually counted how many, but they're on my fic index page and it's a LOT. Bazillions. And if I had more time, there'd be a bazillion more. I really haven't even come close to getting tired of writing QAF fic, even though the audience for it has become small. And my main issue is that although I love Brian and Justin and love writing about them, I have a lot of bunnies that involve the other characters, and there's even less interest in reading those.

As to other fandoms, after I fell into writing QAF fan fiction, I tried my hand at writing some Xena: Warrior Princess fic. That was my first fandom, although as I said, it didn't involve fan fic in any way. I really like writing XWP fic, but because I've never connected up with their fic archives, and XWP fandom is not active on the journals, I didn't write very much of it. Still, every  now and then I can't resist.

Other than that, I've written one story set in the post-series West Wing world, for a character of color challenge. That was fun, as I loved the dialog on West Wing and I enjoyed trying to write it. I think it turned out well, and if I had enough time, I think I'd probably keep writing  post-series Santos presidency fic.

Finally, I wrote a story set in the Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer world, Christmas Town, and have an almost-completed sequel, Silver and Gold, that I hope to post this holiday season. I have no clue where that came from.

The rest of the questions... )
30 September 2011 @ 09:50 pm
Thirty-day fan fic meme: Day one  
Gakked from [livejournal.com profile] _alicesprings.

Day 1 – How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in?

I started writing Queer as Folk fan fiction to please another fan. It was "Plans," and I was too new to QAF fandom, and fandom in general, to understand that using Melanie as a main character was actually outrageous. I had no idea, I just liked her and thought her perspective would be very interesting, so I wrote it in alternating Justin and Melanie points of view. A couple of  people have, over the years, suggested that I was being very brave, but however much I might want to raise the banner high of reclaiming the voice of one of television's few out lesbian characters, I had no idea what I was doing.

What pulled me in about QAF was the combination of seeing same-sex couples who were fully realized as sexual beings, romantic beings and complete human beings. I had never seen that before on television. And as a lesbian, I loved seeing this all-queer world, even though of course it was in many ways very unrealistic and was perhaps even back in 2000 somewhat dated. And yet... it spoke to me very deeply.

The rest of the questions... )