January 30th, 2008

JSquaredLove

Ramblings on Fic and Characterization

I went on a J-squared reading binge late last week, and found myself running up against two issues that seem to hit me again and again in fanfic in general.

The first is British bleed into American settings, that just throws me right out of the story. One minute it's all good, and then a snigger or have a go or for f**k's sake or wonky or the like pops up, and then more start piling in and that's it— the story's ruined for me. *cries* I know not everyone is bothered by this, but to me it's like someone singing off-key (which is intolerable when you're pitch-sensitive, believe me). I've thought many times about creating a 'helper' page for equivalent British=>American phrasing or "things to avoid", because I see this in both of my main fandoms, but I haven't found the time yet.

That said, I have similar thoughts about a quick-and-dirty summary for writers of all origins regarding how to format dialogue, or the whole lay/lie distinction and how to tell what tense you're in and the red flag words that belong with one tense but not the other (can/could, may/might, will/would— you get the idea). Potentially helpful! But where is the time?

The second area, which is probably an even more personal issue than the first, is AUs and ensuing characterization. Collapse )

Actual dreck: Sure, there's badfic out there, but fanfic has some incredible writers in every fandom. And there are times when what people write for free on the Interwebs SO easily exceeds some of the things I find in published books that it boggles my mind. Cases in point:
* The mystery that began with two cats discussing their owner (Uh-oh). When they progressed to something they'd read in the newspaper, I bailed. *shudders*
* The mystery where the hairdresser (?) kept having her "feelings," and went to a family reunion where it turned out that every member of the family had some kind of ESP-capability. Ack! *done by page 3*
* Today's disaster: a mystery with supernatural elements (according to bookcover) where some demons convene to discuss a problem, and a werejaguar is displeased (Uh-oh). The next chapter begins with a heroine who curses— oh wait, doesn't, because Good Catholic Girls don't curse and— *thud* *tosses book back in return pile*


Wow, look— I totally avoided slamming Jonathan Kellerman and his "Mary Sue" mysteries involving Alex Delaware! Oh, wait. Um...


Venus

Movie Madness

First, stories for Round Six of the Prison Break Fic Exchange are being posted up. Drop by and see!

In the previous post I mentioned an actual book with talking cats who also read the newspaper. It turns out that daybright is also familiar with the awfulness of this book! *clings to her* Something that uniquely terrible IS kind of memorable. But who would publish such a thing? Honestly, if someone pitched that idea to you or, god forbid, sent you the manuscript, wouldn't you practically injure yourself leaping over your desk to get away from it as fast as you could?

Movies on DVD:
The Squid And The Whale got lots of positive reviews, but gosh— an unpleasant movie with unpleasant people (you only hate them more over time), and when the title suddenly flashed up on black at the end, I actually said, "You're kidding! You didn't even finish your story arc!"
I didn't expect much from The Simpsons Movie, but if I'd known it was going to be that funny I'd have gone to see it in the theater! Whoo-hoo! SO much to love. But where was the Scottish janitor? Did I miss him?