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My 2007 in review (part 2)

31st December 2007 (19:48)
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Yes, I wrote a lot this year. :-)  Part one (January-June) is here

July

I finished the annotated scripts of 'The Long Way Home', and even made an index page to them all. And isn't that last comment from Anonymous 70.71.64.26 the coolest thing ever? 

The comic had a month's hiatus, but my review of The Chain still squeaked in before the end of the month.

July was an interesting month in fic. I wrote That Kiss, a 748-word Buffy & Willow conversation piece set in season 8, where Buffy tries (unsuccessfully) to persuade Willow to reveal who gave her the Kiss of True Love. It's light and funny and only has a teeny-tiny bit of angst, honestly. Sample quote: Buffy sighed. "I suppose you're right. As usual." She gave Willow a jaundiced look. "But you don't have to look quite so smug about it." "Huh? No, no smug. I just had a thought." She giggled, and Buffy's eyes turned suspicious. "What?"

However, while writing that story I threw in an off-hand reference to Buffy and Willow having once kissed each other after a party while drunk on tequila, and that demanded a prequel. That Other Kiss had 1337 words - yes, I kept the word count to that number deliberately when revising - and was my first experiment with writing smut. Since it's set during the summer between seasons 4 and 5, though, I was puzzled how to have Willow and Buffy kissing without Tara feeling betrayed, until I hit on the logical solution: make it a threesome. :-) Sample quote: "S-sorry." Tara wiggled around to face her, which felt distracting and confusing and kind of nice; and Buffy was quite surprised to see that Willow's supposedly shy, quiet girlfriend had what could only be described as a sly grin on her face. "We're not supposed to use m-magic for trivial things, so perhaps you'd b-better just take them off instead?" 

Of course, graduating into the unholy ranks of porn writers branded me as a rebel in the exciting new LJ world of strikethroughs and boldthroughs, so I had to publish a Disclaimer. I'll reprint it here since it's just so important: This journal in no way condones or supports underage sex, necrophilia, slaying, smoking in public buildings, summoning or worshipping demons or the forces of darkness, sacrificing goats to Beelzebub, theft, assault, rape, flaying people alive, reanimating people after they have been flayed alive, setting fire to school gymnasia, eating high school principals, eating unbaked cookie dough, turning into giant snakes, using hyperdimensional physics to open portals except under the supervision of a certified quantum mechanic, engaging in sexual activity with members of different species, assassinating foreign heads of state or elected officials other than those currently attempting to become true demons (which probably excludes George W Bush, so he's safe for the moment), or any other form of black, naughty evil – except where permitted by law.

And finally, I wrote an essay on Willow, Faith and repentance: Tell Me How To Make It Better. This was for the metathon peasant_ set up, which would be a great thing to turn into an annual tradition (hint hint). Sample quote: There's a danger for the audience, too. Viewers can watch a character who did wrong sit about angsting about it and beating themselves up, and feel satisfaction that they are repenting. However, if the writers then show the character moving on with her life and, especially, going back to certain old patterns of behaviour, some fans can resent that. They see backsliding, a character who obviously didn't feel sorry enough about what she did – or worse, someone whose sins will be artificially forgiven because of fan pressure on the writers to bring back a popular character.


August

This month saw me actually managing to finish a fan vid. Boy From The Mouth of Hell is a character study of Spike, to the music of the Pogues. Now tell me honestly, can't you just imagine 1880s Spike describing Angelus in these terms: "And he was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen. And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore, And he was a miserable bollocks and a bitch's bastard's whore." ? There's also a Director's Commentary on the vid.

As a successor to 'It's About Power', I wrote a long meta essay on 'The Chain': Identity, choice and heroism (with a digression on Existentialism). Sample quote: So how does this work for the unnamed protagonist of 'The Chain'? The very fact that she is unnamed is suggestive: she is a blank canvas on which we are invited to project our own definition of her identity. For some readers, she is a victim. A nameless footsoldier in Buffy's army; Chosen without being given any choice about it, manipulated and moulded, sent half-trained and alone into a battle she failed to survive. To other readers, she is a hero: playing the hand fate dealt her with grace and skill, accepting her responsibilities, and ultimately sacrificing her life willingly for a cause she believed was important. Which is the true picture?

I created some Angel/Spike/Buffy OT3 artwork and icons for elisi, to illustrate one of her fics. And I created some Angel/Princess Bride crossover motivational posters, which a few people found quite amusing. :-)  Incidentally, try hovering your mouse over the pictures, assuming your browser supports such a thing.

Finally, in honour of Pepsi Max's (very brief) sponsorship of LJ V-gifts, I wrote Product Placement, a 398-word Willow & Dawn fic that could have been the future of fanfic on LiveJournal, but fortunately wasn't.


September

A new month, a new Seasons 8 arc, and so I wrote my review of No Future For You Part 1. In response to the usual kerfuffle, this time over Faith's acceptance of the mission to kill a Slayer, I wrote a pic-heavy analysis of her character, Keeping The Faith... which, um, may have got a tad sarcastic in parts. Sorry.

More season 8 meta: I attempted to work out the Timeline, based mostly on Dawn's age. Some interesting suggestions from people in the comments. And I wrote an essay on Why Is Dawn A Giant?, accompanied by some desktop wallpaper which is actually on my computer now as I type. As well as dealing with the actual question, I also discussed the whole business of the comics starting in medias res, which provoked lots and lots of discussion in the comments. Sample quote: Personally, I suspect that Joss is deliberately playing with our expectations here. We all now presume that there'll be a big magical metaphor in any Buffy story: what was once fresh and surprising is now predictable. So instead he gives us a situation that everybody - even the characters themselves! - assumes must obviously be a metaphor, and just steps back and watches to see what we make of it.

I created some Buffy macros, including a canonical one. My favourite of these is "nom nom nom"...

However, September was mostly noticeable for the fic. First, I wrote For A Few Kisses More, which as you might expect from the Clint Eastwood flavoured title, is a sequel to That Other Kiss. Hopefully the title is the only thing that's Clint Eastwood flavoured, however, since this was my first attempt at writing out-and-out explicit femslash - for the 'Bring Back The Porn Day' challenge. 1673 words, Buffy/Willow/Tara. (Tries to find a sample quote that's not too explicit): Tara nodded, then blushed, coyly hiding her face in Willow's neck as she added. "I w-was just being lazy. Poor Will's tongue's probably all numb and achy now. It's h-hard work, you know." "No it's not!" Willow protested. "I can still-" Tara's finger on her lips silenced her, then her lover gripped her shoulders and tried to pull Willow back onto the grass. The redhead squealed, then giggled and tried to wrestle her way free, but Tara had the advantage of surprise and leverage.

However, that wasn't the only smut I wrote this month. What can I say about Netherlands to Nepal, my 3364-word Willow/Giant Dawn season 8 femslash story? Maybe it's best to quote some of the comments instead: "insane and absurd" - mrs_underhill. "You may have ruined sex for me... WRONG WRONG WRONG" - beer_good_foamy. "Now that was just wrong!" - lilred26x. "the unsexiest non-badfic NC17 crack!fic ever!" - diachrony. "So many kinds of wrong this is" - firefly124. Not sure I dare quote from this, but here goes anyway: In fact, she was inescapably reminded of the medical textbook her parents had bought when she was 12, because they hadn't trusted the local school board to teach human reproductive biology in a fair and balanced fashion. Specifically, the double-page labelled diagram of the female genitalia which she'd studied with fascination, some confusion, and a mirror. (The similar page on males had mostly caused her to giggle).

Astonishingly, I even managed to write chapter five of Hiywan's Story. See, it's not dead...  Sample quote: I wondered if any of the strangers were as bored as I was. They all seemed to be watching their chieftains respectfully, when they weren't doing their own yelling. I did notice one young man, taller than his companions, who seemed especially enthusiastic when he shouted and stamped. His long hair wasn't braided like the others around him, and swung around his face as he shook his spear. I suddenly imagined myself running my hand through that hair, pushing it gently back from his face and tangling my fingers in its knots. An unfamiliar warmth kindled within me. It was frightening and confusing, and I looked away from him hastily, searching for distraction.

And finally, we were treated to the first previews of Angel:After The Fall, and the big reveal that Angel didn't slay the dragon in 'Not Fade Away' after all, but befriended it. So that inspired two crossover fics. The first and longest, Angel and the Dragon (3275 words) sends Angel to Pern, where he discovers that he and F'lar really don't like each other. And that green dragons from another dimension who happen to be male cause all sorts of problems during Weyr mating flights...  Sample quote: How did he do that? Nothing human could move so fast, exert such strength. He staggered back, looking cautiously at his knife which now rested in the stranger's hand. The newcomer grinned evilly. "Now, perhaps we can talk properly? I - awwk!" His words were cruelly interrupted as Mnementh's sword-like talons closed around him, and the dragon plucked him high into the air. Hot phosphine-laden breath puffed into the stranger's face as the bronze dangled him upside down, thirty feet above the ground, and peered at him curiously. Lessa laughed. "No, Mnementh, you can't eat him. Even if he did threaten your rider." 

And secondly, a shorter ficlet sends Angel and his dragon to Melniboné and a confrontation with Elric and Stormbringer. Stealer of Souls is 179 words, and definitely not canonical for the Eternal Champion [multi]verse... :-)


October

A review of 'No Future For You Part 2', of course.  I also posted a few season 8 icons, with malice aforethought (or at least a point to be made).

I wrote some meta on Willow's Telepathy,  reviewing all the canonical examples of her using telepathic powers, then presenting my own conclusions and extrapolations as to the nature and limits of her powers. Sample quote: Can sense other people's thoughts and feelings as a constant faint murmur in the background, like traffic noises or birdsong. If someone feels a sudden strong emotion, it's like a loud noise - and if someone thinks her name or visualises her in their mind, it draws her attention like someone saying her name out loud would. (This is based on what she does in 'Showtime': she was able to notice Buffy thinking at her. It's also what I assume happened in 8.03; she 'heard' Satsu's strong emotions.)

I also did a visual analysis of the show's Opening Credits during seasons 1 through 7, complete with pretty pictures, and added a (humorous) analysis of the gender balance of the main cast over the years.

On the fic front, I wrote '...And Shopping', which is implied Buffy/Satsu and was intended to prove to elisi that Buffy can still go shopping even when living in Scotland. (I don't think my argument was convincing, though... :-( ) 1127 words. Sample quote: "Reactions: not too shabby. Awareness of surroundings: you do know you'd already be dead if I'd wanted to kill you?" "Yes, ma'am. Sorry, ma'am." "I know all that 'don't turn your back on a door' stuff is over-dramatic, but you should at least keep your senses alert for people coming up behind you. Don't let yourself get distracted by - ooh! Clothes! Scroll back, let me see the menu." 

I also wrote Slumming, a drabble which was my attempt to prove that Gigi and Faith are sisters. I still think it could be true...

And a third drabble, also for elisi, an After the Fall Angel/Spike thing: But then again, too few to mention. (I presume it's obvious where the title comes from? Maybe there should be a "where do your titles come from?" meme...)

And finally, I did another vid! About the fastest I've ever done one, and I think it worked pretty well. Since we now know it's canon that Faith likes Arctic Monkeys, I chose to show her (and her relationship with Buffy) to the music of I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Favourite moment: the confrontation scene between Faith and the Mayor, and Buffy, Angel and the gang, over the line about "Montagues and Capulets." Favourite discovery made while vidding: that at the end of the same episode where Faith reveals that slaying always makes you hungry and horny, Buffy and Faith slay the bad guy then Buffy turns to Faith and asks "You hungry?" The follow-up question is left to our imagination... :-)


November

Well, I wrote a review of 'No Future For You' Part 3. And I also started writing reviews of the Angel comic, After The Fall Part 1.  I'm trying, with mixed success, to avoid comparing them directly... I also asked my flist for suggestions on casting Satsu, since I have no ideas about contemporary Japanese actresses. Ito Misaki won the poll, incidentally

I also created yet another fan vid - my 4th of the year! - a season 8 opening credits sequence. Now also available on YouTube.

I wrote what I think is one of my most powerful works of fiction, Unstylish Yet High-Priced Boots, 1521 words. It's a look at Buffy in season 8: her state of mind, her feelings, and why she now wears combat boots and a kevlar jacket. Also with an added snippet of Buffy-Satsu interaction for fans of that relationship...   She knelt to unfasten her combat boots, and tugged futilely at the laces. They were matted and sticky and shrunk taut, and she hoped desperately that it was demon blood and not Jacqueline's blood that made the leather clammy and smeared red stains all over her hands as she struggled with them. The boots wouldn't come off. Hands that could bend steel bars in half scrabbled helplessly over bindings that wouldn't come undone, knots she couldn't untie. I also wrote meta about Buffy's fashion sense, using a commentary on Unstylish Yet High-Priced Boots as the backbone of the essay.


December

 As usual, there were reviews of No Future for You Part 4 and After The Fall Part 2. I also posted some thoughts on Georges Jeanty's artwork and the relationship between Buffy and Giles in season 8.

And I wrote three pieces of fiction. The Phonecall is a missing scene from just after 'Chosen': Faith rings Angel to tell him what happened in Sunnydale that day. 1100 words. Sample quote: "I should talk to her. I'll drive up to Sunnydale tomorrow night." "Yeah, well, point the first, there ain't no Sunnydale any more, just a huge-ass crater. And point the second, you've not been listening, dude. B don't want to talk right now. Not to you, not to me, not to anyone."

Getting in the Game is short, just 305 words, and dark and creepy. It's my take on a familiar trope in fandom: a look at Faith's unhappy and abused childhood.

And the last thing I've published in 2007 is yet another Faith fic: this one was partially inspired by the line I wrote in 'From Ancient Grudge' earlier in the year, about the inmates in women's prisons passing the time by painting each others' toenails. Well, when they're not having sex with each other. Stockton Gala Days is 955 words about Faith's experiences in jail, and there's no toenail painting anywhere. Maybe in the sequel? :-) Sample quote: She didn’t take much persuading. She claimed to be straight, but the joke at Stockton was, you checked your heterosexuality at the door, got it back in 12 to 18. Faith, of course, was in for life. So sooner rather than later they found themselves in the laundry stock room with a clear 25 minutes before the guards came back through.


And that was my year! Thanks to everybody for reading, commenting, and generally being interesting and friendly people. :-) Let's see what 2008 will bring...

Comments

Posted by: counteragent (counteragent)
Posted at: 1st January 2008 02:01 (UTC)
Buffy counteragent

Happy New Year! Thanks for the meta and the fic! And the vids!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st January 2008 11:52 (UTC)

Thank you - and same to you!

Posted by: I write tragedies, not sins (mabus101)
Posted at: 1st January 2008 06:31 (UTC)

I had to hunt down most of this stuff once I read the posts....you rock, Stephen.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st January 2008 11:53 (UTC)

Thanks! (and Yay!) Happy New Year.

Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 2nd January 2008 15:54 (UTC)

Ooh, I didn't know you'd done a Pogues video! Must check that out, love them Pogues. Fairytale of New York...heh, that could make a funny future!Bangel fic theme, with Angel turned human with his blood belly and Buffy with her crushed dreams...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 2nd January 2008 18:03 (UTC)

Not sure I'd call that 'funny', more 'tragic'... Maybe Angelus (with his bad Irish accent) and Darla, though?

Thanks!

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th January 2008 00:17 (UTC)

Maybe there should be a "where do your titles come from?" meme...

You know, I was just thinking that today. I'm wondering if there should be some sort of formal framework to it, or just that one question? I'm thinking it would be interesting to see how much work people put into choosing a title, how often they find themselves wishing they'd picked a different title, etc etc... any other ideas?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th January 2008 13:04 (UTC)

Maybe something like:

Where do your titles come from?
List the ten most recent fanfics you wrote. For each one, explain how you came up with its title, what it means and why you went with that idea.

Or just:
List the ten most recent fanfics you wrote. For each one, explain how you came up with its title.


We probably don't want to get too involved or complicated, or people might think it's too much work to do the meme. Which isn't to stop people going into more detail in their replies, of course...

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 13th January 2008 22:37 (UTC)

I like the idea of limiting it to a certain number, though maybe 10 is pushing it (not everyone cranks out drabbles and ficlets on a weekly basis - and those of us who do aren't always all that inspired when it comes to picking titles of every single one (personally, I'd gladly skip explaining titles like "Five People Who Didn't Know They Were In A Crosover.")) ;-)

How about something like "List five recent fanfics you've written. For each one, explain how you came up with the title and what it means"?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 13th January 2008 23:18 (UTC)

That sounds fine. You could always add a note after the actual meme saying "I decided to miss out the really obvious ones like 'Five [whatevers]', because there's nothing really there to explain."

And I could say "The meme says five, but I decided to do ten"... :-)

So, are you going for it?

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