Date: 2012-11-28 11:49 pm (UTC)
ailis_fictive: Ailis (Default)
[re-post to thread correctly. Argh]

...there should be an inarticulate noise here, but it's not coming across on the keyboard very well...

I have more scattered thoughts than an actual coherent reply, but here goes. (You seem to have an excellent start on the essay-I'm-not-writing, by the way, and I really like adding in the small idea-clusters--which I want to link to the way that certain shots or images, say, will crop up over and over again in a TV show, echoing on each other. Though this is certainly thinking about moving from essay towards PhD thesis, or possibly Life's Work.)

On a second-or-third reading, the phrase "story-told-over" jumped out, flashed a couple of times, and then pointed over towards mythology. I haven't done nearly enough work on comparative mythology and oral culture to even start this discussion, but..there's something there, about communal stories and communal story-making, and I rather want to start building an argument that fanfic is reaching back towards that. (Which wanders over into communal versus dictated story, and modern mythologies, and now we are totally in PhD territory.)

There's also something I haven't quite gotten my head all the way 'round yet, about the...breadth of the story. This might be me and my limited tolerance for romance (I've gotten better!) but I think...any story that is moving towards two characters getting together has a fairly constrained plot structure. Not just the end point but so many of the beats are dictated or at least strongly suggested. Again, I'm not sure I'm the one to be making this argument, because I *don't understand* romance novels. Oh, I will read them occupationally, when one comes highly recommended, because I try to appreciate good writing where I find it, and I've been reading urban fantasy since waaay back, which means I get a fair chunk of romance along with my fantasy--but there's usually a bright line for me between romance in service to the plot and plot in service to the romance, and I like the one and don't like the other.

Which--sorry to be so digressive--ties back into the kind of stories we tell. I think there's something to look at in romance versus mystery (as genres) as a parallel to a fic-verse dominated by ship-fic* versus a fic-verse that's more open. When the story-told-over is "Gregor (or Miles) finds out about Escobar"...you have an idea, a single transition, from not-knowing to knowing, rather than a story-shape--it's a fixed point, but where you start, where you travel, where you end...those are very open. When it's "Lewis and Hathaway decide they belong together" you have more of the shape of the story. It's still, I suppose, a single transition, from not-together to together, but there's a lot more baggage carried along by transition.

I do feel kind of like the blind man trying to describe an elephant, here, because there are only two fandoms of any size with which I'd claim a reasonable familiarity with the breadth and preoccupations of the fan-verse. (Vorkosigan and Merlin. I've read some Harry Potter over the years too, but I'm not sure it's possible, at this point to get an overall grasp there...) "And they live happily ever" also is not the story I tell--never has been, even years ago when I was writing** in my own worlds. The slash story that I've just finished is...well, a fanfic for a TV show that exists only in a fanfic, and the two pairings are...well, one is ongoing, one is a one-off encounter implied to be not without precedent, and both are seriously messed up.*** The Aral/Simon is...well, canon-compliant Aral/Simon, which says it all.

(On a side note here, I'm running into one of my usual problems, which is that as soon as I start setting out categories I immediately notice that we're on a continuum and start seeing the things that occupy the middle ground...)

I seem to have ambled to something of a stop here, but I do want to note all the love for "like an infectious disease passed around the fandom." And while canon sets us up, we don't always take the openings canon gives us...and yanno, I had a great example this morning and now I can't remember it. Faugh. Something in _Memory_, I think...

And I do look forward to your Lewis piece. Soon I *will* get back my re-watch. Soon. And then I will try not to read All The Fic.

*if you can clarify my terminology, please do! I've read a bit of theory and meta, but if there's a better vocabulary here, I don't know it!

**short version of the intro post, since it just became relevant; I'm mid-thrties, geek since childhood, wrote fanfic and original fiction from 8 to about 22, then my ability to write fiction of any sort--to hold a story in my head and move it to paper--went away. Eight weeks ago, it came back. With a vengeance.

***I've been warning my betas for a dub-con blowjob and BDSM that is clearly consensual but not safe or sane. And am still very weirded out by the fact that the sex was hard to write but the really screwed-up relationship wasn't.
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