ariadnes_string: (Default)
[personal profile] thirdbird asked me “what was the most difficult fanfic you've written? Which one are you most proud of and why?”

And since I’ve been trying to wrangle my Yuletide assignments this week, it seems a good time to answer it.

The short answer is: whatever fic I’m writing at the moment seems the most difficult fic I’ve ever written! And then, if they are really too difficult, I don’t write them at all, because I am a writing wuss.

The only-slightly-longer answer is: any fic over about 3,500 words is the most difficult fic I’ve ever written. Maybe 5,000. Almost without exception, the fics I’ve written that are longer than that, I’ve stalled out after about 5-6k, and taken months or years to come up with a second half. I suck at plot. Even the last fic I wrote over 5k, which literally took it’s whole plot from A Study in Pink, so I didn’t have to come up with anything, was really hard to write. I don’t know why I ever embark on such ventures, except that sometimes it seems like the only way to fulfill an assignment or prompt. Or maybe I think I’ll learn something as I go along—but I think my brain just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes they come out okay, despite the difficulties, but I hardly ever re-read them. I’ve been wanting to write a sequel to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” and failing because: plot.

So I guess it makes sense that the fics I’m proudest of are short! I like the fics I’ve managed to write that allow my own intense feelings about characters, and the characters’ intense feelings about each other, to shine through. Often, I feel like I get distracted by descriptive or figurative language, and that mutes the emotion in a story—or, the emotion is muted by my aforementioned difficulties with plot—so when I can get those things to combine, I’m happy. Often, these fics are the first stories I write in a fandom, since I guess the emotions are new and bright then—this is true of two stories I’m proud of: The Khyber Knife (John/Sherlock, R) (which just happened, so I’m amazed, more than proud); and A wind that passeth Away and cometh not again (Homeland), which I worked a lot harder on, and thus correspondingly prouder.

But sometimes I get a bit more into a fandom before I write something I like. For example, Four Kisses, which is a Southland fic, (Cooper/Sherman, R), and which was the third and last story I wrote in that fandom. I’m proud of it for a bunch of reasons: I think it’s in character, though the characters were hard for me to write—I certainly never thought I’d plausibly get them into a pairing; it has a 4X structure, but it still manages to have something of a plot; moreover, it has a “first time” plot, which is something I’m not very good at imagining; it’s not a particularly dark or gritty fic, but it has enough of an edge to it to make me happy—a lot of its emotional intensity is not connected to the romance; it has some nice images, but the story doesn’t get bogged down in them. And when I read it, it reminds of how much I loved the first few seasons of the show. It’s not one of my most read or best-liked stories, but it makes me happy.
ariadnes_string: (Blu)
That time again, folks—chime in here or at your own journal. I have no fun pictures or links—but there is TV for once.

What I’m Reading

The Far Side of the World, Patrick O’Brian (Aubrey #10) (audiobook). Almost finished with it, too. Some truly crazy shit happens in this one, almost none of which made it into the movie (for obvious reasons, mostly). There are a surprising number of comic episodes (surprising--see what I did there, in a Jack-like way ;)), which appear to be just POB flexing his writing chops, which are considerable. I’m not complaining; the whole thing is a delight. This is the one where, like Keats, they all declaim upon the delights of first reading Chapman's Homer. There is also a sailor named Macbeth.

When I started listening to these things, I couldn’t believe there were 21. Now, I can’t believe there are only 21. They seem to be dominating my year.

I haven’t cracked the spine of a print book since I finished the Kate Atkinson below. Busy and unpleasant week so far, sadly.

What I Just Finished

Treason’s Harbour, Patrick O’Brian (Aubreyad #9) (audiobook). Nothing to say about that I didn’t say last week. I liked this one, and was sorry to see Jack and Stephen leave the Mediterranean, even if they weren’t.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. I liked this (witness the fact that I made it through all 500+ pages, unlike 80% of the books I start)—and I absolutely recommend it, especially as a beach or plane novel, or for a book club.

cut for length, not spoilers )

What I’m Reading Next

Dunno. Life After Life made me want to read more about the Blitz, so I have Sarah Waters’s Night Watch on hold at the library—but I’ve tried to read it before and found it hard going. I’ve read good reviews of The Woman Upstairs, so want to give that a try, too.


Now that you can stream Top of the Lake on Netflix, I feel I should make a proper rec for it. Watch it, if you can face the sexual violence—it’s very, very good. In the end, it’s harsh, but not dark, if that makes sense, with much more faith in human resilience and agency than lots of things I’ve watched lately. The acting is superb, and it’s an interesting meditation on the problem of justice outside the law. And, like I said a few weeks ago, for a show that is so centrally about rape, it’s very sex positive, with a broader representation of the shapes and practices of desire than, again, you’re likely to see elsewhere.

I also saw all of Broadchurch, which I also recommend, if you have a chance. The plot was so similar to Top of the Lake it was almost confusing. Of the two, however, Broadchurch was by far the more conservative and the more depressing. I’ve already ranted to [personal profile] thirdbird about the finale, so I’ll spare you, but up until the penultimate episode, it was damn fine TV.

I’m not sure I’m even going to say anything about the season/series finale of Southland (tragic? Inevitable?), but I’d love to hear what you thought of it, if you watched it.

What should I watch now? I seem to be out of miniseries.

Caught up!

Apr. 15th, 2013 10:34 am
ariadnes_string: (Default)
I watched too much TV yesterday, when I should have been doing more remunerative things. But, since I did, I thought I’d seize this rare moment of being caught up with four (4!) shows.

Okay, I am caught up with Southland, and...I kind of wish I wasn’t. Or, maybe I wish I’d been spoiled for the latest episode (5.9) before I watched it. spoilers )

I am also caught up with two mystery miniseries—just because I totally can’t wait to find out what happens next/who did it. Top of the Lake and Broadchurch are both variations on the old Twin Peaks formula of “dead child in a tiny community that is not as bucolic as it seems; outside detective (with demons of their own) arrives to solve the case." You've seen the formula many times—but these shows do it well.

Top of the Lake. There’s this moment in Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain when, Jack Aubrey asks a young girl who's in a ship that has been taken by the French, "I hope I see you well. Quite well?" and the narrator points out that what he really means is "no too much raped?"

So, okay, that’s not a question you’d want to ask any of the female characters in Top of the Lake. ‘Cause you’d get some pretty explicit answers. The show has maybe the harshest worldview I’ve seen on TV—no one is trustworthy, violence is around every bend.

There are a bunch of reasons to watch it, though. 1) Elizabeth Moss is astonishingly good—strong, smart, vulnerable, violent, complicated, sexy. The other acting—particularly by Peter Mullan—is excellent as well. 2) The New Zealand scenery is as spectacular as you’d expect. The human scenery is also amazing: the show is probably worth watching for the tattoos alone. 3) Aside from the preoccupation with rape (or along with it?), the show’s take on sexuality is really interesting. You see a lot of middle-aged people, with realistically middle-aged bodies, having sex. This never happens on TV.

Another thing about Top of the Lake is that it makes the ongoing family angst of Broadchurch seem fluffy by comparison. This is the ITV series with the Dr. Who actors—David Tennant and Arthur Darvill—and a whole bunch of actors you’ve seen before somewhere. It’s total crack: everyone is alternately suspicious and sympathetic, and the seaside landscape shimmers endlessly. The last two episodes have been a little draggy (montages, slow motion walks, etc.)—but who am I kidding? I’d watch these guys stare moodily into the sea forever.

I am also caught up on Grimm, and I don’t have much to say about it, except that much as I like Juliette and want her and Nick to get together again, the Nick-Monroe domesticity is endlessly pleasing (plaid flannel bathrobe!) and I can’t believe there aren’t a million fics about it.
ariadnes_string: (Default)
Actually, probably more like blonde Mack trucks.

I was supposed to be in New York City this morning for some interesting work-related stuff, but I had to cancel due to ongoing family circumstances. So, yeah, feeling a little sorry for myself, but, hey, at least TV has been consoling.

I know that this journal has been inhabited mostly by pocket commandos of late, but hey, let’s hear it for the big blond guys:

Southland 4x04

I don’t think it’s a spoiler for the episode to say that I have never loved John Cooper more.

slightly more spoilery )

Whitechapel 3x03

How about a guy who looks like this from behind.

And this from the front:

spoilers )

Feel free to post pics of either big blonde dudes or pocket commandos in comments *g*
ariadnes_string: (Josie)
So, that finale was a fist around the heart, huh? And I mean that in the best possible way.

Read more... )

Please let them get a fourth season!
ariadnes_string: (Ben-John-guns)
You may have heard me say how little I like writing kisses in m/m fic. And you many also have heard me say that I would probably never write Cooper/Sherman slash. This is me eating my words.

Title: Four Kisses
Rating: hard R
Pairing: Sherman/ Cooper
Word count: ~4K
Spoilers: none, really, but it makes more sense if you think of it happening before 3.09.
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit
a/n: many thanks to [ profile] linaerys for the beta!

Summary: It felt like if he just tried hard enough, he could learn everything he needed to know about John from this alone.

Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Steve-Danny-boat)
H50 1.17

Read more... )

Southland 3.07, because I didn’t get around to it last week

Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Josie)
You know, the last episode of H50 was so awesome, I had no desire to watch another TV show for days. And so it took me until Thursday and Friday nights to watch the shows that were on on Tuesday.

Southland 3.06
Read more... )

White Collar 2.13
Read more... )

Yes, I am two episodes of SPN down now. And I’ma get right on that. Right after I write up my thoughts on The Eagle.
ariadnes_string: (Josie)
Yes, that is the sound of worlds colliding, as these two incredibly dissimilar shows (which occupy the same time slot on Tuesday nights) attempt to occupy the same lj post.

Except that both worlds seem to be preoccupied with the problem of bad fathers (does anyone in Hollywood think about anything else?).

Extra short this week:

White Collar:

Read more... )


Read more... )

I'm going out of town tomorrow, so I won't be able to see the new SPN episode until....late next week probably. Happy viewing, y'all!
ariadnes_string: (Ben-John-guns)
I can’t quite believe I wrote this kind of fic for Southland, and I’m kind of embarrassed that I have. I’ve had the idea for a while, but it morphed into something that takes place after 3.04 (though there aren’t any explicit spoilers for the ep.). I’m posting in something of a hurry, because I think 3.05 might be a game changer.

Title: A Voice in Ramah
Rating: gen, pg-13
Genre: straight-up h/c, y’all—insofar as that is possible for Southland.
Word count: ~3.4K
Warnings/spoilers: it’s set after 3.04, but there aren’t any explicit spoilers in the fic.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit.
a/n: title from Jeremiah 31.15

Summary: It was Monday morning, John’s back was killing him, and Ben seemed to have caught a cold. Or at least he was sniffling and rooting around the car trying to find things to blow his nose with like someone who had a cold. It was driving John crazy. Nothing like starting out the week already on your last nerve.
Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Josie)
Apparently every show gets its own post this week. I’m sure we’ll be back to the omnibus style next week.

Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Steve-Danny-boat)
H50 1.15

Read more... )

And, catching up on last week:

White Collar 2.10

Read more... )

Southland 3.03

And, um, for a somewhat different take on masculinity.

Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Steve-Danny-boat)
I was wondering how I would fit two such dissimilar shows into the same post, but look—they practically joined themselves. Daddy issues? They've all got 'em.

H50 1.14

Read more... )

Southland 3.02

Read more... )
ariadnes_string: (Ben-John-guns)
Not exactly the first Southland fic I thought I’d write. But I needed some jumpstarting, and the Five Acts meme provide it.

Title: (Well, they say this place is evil) That Ain’t Why I Stay
Rating: R
Pairings: slight Ben/OMC, slight John/OMC.
a/n: title from Warren Zevon, “Join me in LA.”
a/n: kind of an AU coda to 3.01, but no spoilers for the episode.
a/n: written for [ profile] write_light as part of the Five Acts meme. The acts included are: UST (wanting but not getting); public/anonymous sex and voyeurism thereof.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit.

Summary: Ben follows John home. But John doesn’t go home.
Read more... )


Jan. 4th, 2011 01:00 pm
ariadnes_string: (Default)
So, I spent part of the holidays watching the first two seasons of Southland--which luckily for me was only 13 episodes worth of TV. Yes, you may start laughing now at my attempt to pick up another TV show, given my complete inability to keep up with more than one or two at a time. Still, Merlin is over now. White Collar, however, is coming back. So, we’ll see what happens once things start up again.

But, whatever happens, I do want to note that Southland is awesome. I think the thing I like best about it, in a meta kind of way, is how it presents cops and detectives not just as people who solve crimes and save people, but as people who are forced to be witnesses to the worst things human beings can do to each other—and how much of the show is about dealing with being that kind of witness.

I thought maybe I’d be able to write fic for it. I even really like the central slash pairing of the fandom (Cooper/Sherman) even though that kind of 20+ yr. age difference is usually a turn-off for me. But, for the moment, anyway, I’m stymied. I do best, I think, with characters who talk a lot (hello, Sherlock Holmes), and these guys—well, they give new meaning to the word taciturn. Watchful, and smoldering and taciturn. Hot as hell, but difficult to write…

So, instead of fic, you have the following: a kind of introduction/imitation/pastiche. The Cooper/Sherman part of it started as a genuine attempt to try and map out the rhythm of their interactions, but it ended up more parodic than anything else.

Which means that it comes off kind of snarky in parts, but I’m hoping y’all know me well enough to know that my snark comes from a place of genuine love.

Also, in this case, from my frustration with being unable to capture how incredibly touching the show it—it’s heart-clenching pathos….

But in honor of Season 3 (ie, episode 14) premiering tonight, here you go:
Read more... )

Okay—I think that’s the end of the spamming for this week--thanks for bearing with me!
ariadnes_string: (Default)
Sadly, I haven’t done any kind of organized or concerted reading of the Yuletide 2010 archive. I’ve mostly justly been wandering around—in a virtual way, that is—stunned that people are writing fic for the fondly remembered authors of my childhood: Swallows and Amazons! Rosemary Sutcliffe! The Dark is Rising! I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to read any of this fic—I just stare at it, kind of gobsmacked at the wonders of fandom.

Still, I wanted to pass along three recs:
Read more... )

We are leaving Friday to spend New Year’s with my parents, so I’ll miss the reveal. I’ll have to catch up with everything next week.

And a question of etiquette: do people re-post their stories after the reveal? Or just leave them in the archive?

Happy New Year, folks!


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