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First, ze links. We had an exciting weekend at HDJM because we have our first advertisers going up, slowly but surely. Be sure to click on our supporters when you go for a visit (and check their fabulous products, etc. More to come this week.) Also, SPARTACUS IS BACK! And Liz is back with her breathless and energetic recaps.

Merlin! Melody has this week's recap waiting for you and your juicy thoughts.

And thank you again to everyone that is helping us get noticed by tweeting links, tumbling, liking - it's just a click for you, but it helps us TREMENDOUSLY. <3

My poor kid was sick all through the weekend, but rallied mid-day yesterday (his actual birthday) and we had a small family dinner. He'll get to have a proper party this coming weekend, but still. Poor buddy.

But now for my shock. SHOCK, I SAY! So, most of y'all that have been around here for a while know that I LOVE reading crappy fanfic. Like, really really bad. Comically bad. "He egressed in the seat of her audience" bad. (That remains one of my favorites. That and "he put his think in her butt.") That stuff is hilarious and entertaining. Then there are the stories that you think, "Huh, that's really boring." Or, "What the hell? This is the story everyone is going on about? REALLY?"

I am not going to link you or post names, because that's shitty. But I haven't been able to get these two stories out of my head for DAYS NOW, because I am so AGGRAVATED by their hit counts. <-- I am a child, yes. Your point? Lol.

That's an awesome concept! But LAWS, what terrible execution.
This is the worst, in my opinion. A story that sounds good on paper, and then you read it and think, why aren't you working with a proper beta? NOTE TO BABY WRITERS OUT THERE: you need a beta. YES. Yes, you do. And a beta isn't your BFF who thinks you are wonderful. A beta is someone that actually understands composition and grammar, that (hopefully) understands the characters, and is willing to tell you NO. That last one is the most important part.

"NO. No, Laura, you do not need fourteen paragraphs of fart jokes in this story."

(For example. Which we know is a lie, because fourteen paragraphs of fart jokes is AWESOME.)

Things a Good Beta Does:
  • tells you to stop abusing the same word. (I read "keen/keening" FIVE TIMES in one paragraph. And no one was confronted with a banshee, huh.)
  • tells you to not drop the ball on emotion - if it's important enough to write about, it's important enough to finish the thought
  • tells you when a joke doesn't land
  • tells you when you've used a word INCORRECTLY. (omg, clamor doesn't mean to get on top of, the fuck?)
  • tells you when you've misspelled a word. Oh, you may have spelled the wrong word correctly, but if it's not the RIGHT WORD, it's spelled wrong. (Leaks for leeks, for example.)
  • tells you when your characterization is slipping.
  • when you've written the same damn thing over and over for the space of three pages. We don't need multiple paragraphs about the bare trees. The trees are bare, it's cold and stark. BOOM, move on to the story.


They also encourage you to keep going and to improve. I highly recommend you get one. Lord knows my writing has improved tenfold since I started working with flaming_muse.

The other kind of story... hmm.

The kind of story that is the literary equivalent of watching paint dry - and yet it has thousands of hits.

I almost called flaming_muse last night until I realized that it was 1:30am where she lives and she would be very mad at me if I had done so. And why? because I came across a story on the AO3 (which I am loving for multiple reasons) that had just over a couple thousand hits, loads of kudos, and I thought, "You know, normally I don't care for this author's story telling [to be honest, I'd only tried to read one or two of their stories and found them not to be my liking] but hey, maybe all of these people know something I don't?"

Nope. The public is stupid, I had it reconfirmed. (I am making up examples, because I'm not actually a finger pointing jack ass, so bear that in mind.)

***
CHAPTER ONE:

Character A called Character B and asked about laundry sorting. B said, "Well, I find that sorting clothes by color first, and then texture second, leads to the best results."

A, "Oh? That's so fascinating. Did you know that the codes on your clothing were instituted by a Federal Law crafted in 1983 after John Henry, a laundress with a man's name--"

B interrupting, saying, "Oh, that's so unbelievably interesting! A man's name for a laundress?"

A said, "It is unusual, is it not? However, back to the riveting tale of how a triangle and a circle mean dry cleaning and so forth. I would like to talk for another nine paragraphs about how this works."

B said, "I would also like that. I would like that a lot. I like that."

A, "(nine paragraphs later) By the way, my cock is hard, shall we suddenly be boyfriends and have sex?"

Narrator: and they did.

CHAPTER TWO!

Character A has bought a day planner and is going to outline all of his life's goals in excruciating detail...

***

WHAT THE FUCK?! Wait, wait. The writer established a friendship, they yammered bullshit about laundry, and then they had sex OFF CAMERA?! I hate you. I hate your parents for making you. I hate the teachers that educated your parents enough to put them in a place in life where they were free to make you. Also, I hate your dog. JUST BECAUSE.

No one wants to read minutia. They don't. Details are not minutia. POR EJEMPLO:

Minutia:

Billy loved ballet When he was three and a half years old his mother took him specifically to the Ballet on Bleaker Street because it was close to his house and his mother only had a few minutes a day to devote to things that didn't involve her job because she worked for Mrs. Johnson up the street, and Mrs. Johnson was really mean to her and her husband was a banker so they had a big house with a lot of rooms for Billy's mother to clean, like lots of floors and windows and carpets and things to dust like knick knacks and lamps and tchotchkes and books and statues and small dogs. The bank often had tens of millions of dollars in transactions each day, transactions like deposits and withdrawals and other types of transactions that I would list if wikipedia was up today, and Mr. Johnson was happy about that, but he usually stayed at work for long hours, which made Mrs. Johnson unhappy because she was lonely. Her own parents had been workaholics and also she loved the color orange.

So Billy went to his first ballet and his mother went back to work for Mrs. Johnson where she pulled out all of the cleaning products and lined them up alphabetically and--



vs. Details:

It was a hardscrabble life in Manchester where the women worked their fingers to the bone and their children suffered for it. Billy was no different. Billy wanted to join the ballet, but no boy from a neighborhood like his would allow it, nor would his mother, a housekeeper for a mid-level banker, be able to afford it. But Billy continued to dream, even as his mother continued scrubbing floors.


No one gives a shit about Mrs. Johnson, unless she suddenly pays for Billy to go to ballet school. Or has sex with him. LOOK, I DON'T WANT TO STIFLE YOUR CREATIVITY.

Just...Christ. Details matter, minutia doesn't. I haaaaaaaate stories that aren't about the people, but about the thing they're doing. Like taking pictures, for example. I don't want to learn how to use a dark room, I want to read about the people USING THE DARK ROOM. In that they're doing something, then they do something else. I don't need the chemicals used, the length of time explained for each process... that shit is BORING. Are they developing pictures of a murder scene? Tell me about the pictures! Otherwise, no one gives a shit that you read three wikipedia pages. Really. I'm telling you this so you can get better.

(This is not to say that I think I'm an amazing writer. Because HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, no. Anyone that knows me knows that i have horrible self esteem. BUT. I do know how to keep an audience. After all, you read this, didn't you? BOOM, gotcha. Lol.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to write a story about Abraham Lincoln trying to make a light bulb. And then I am going to write it in real time so it takes you 24 hours to read about his 24 hours.

Comments

entrenous88
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Oh Lord Lord, the paint-drying fics out there. I mean, there are some people who write fascinating world-building that includes amazing sharp descriptions of seemingly every-day stuff, or atmospheric shaping of a setting. It's the kind of going-on about surroundings and landscapes I would never do, because I'm all about the character and dialogue, and because while I admire it in people who hit it out of the park, it's not my forte.

So obviously it can be done so, so well -- exactly your point with the details versus minutiae.

But so often, my god, just stab me now instead of going on and on and on about the characters' interior decorating choices.

I would like to talk for another nine paragraphs about how this works."

B said, "I would also like that. I would like that a lot. I like that."


*sets A & B on a raft and pushes them out to sea*

Also -- *keens at you* -- Sometimes I want to make a newbie guide to certain fandoms that include the overused words there -- it may be certain writers dominating the scene, or just the hive buzz, but why oh why is it that all Andrew/Xander writers abused the word whine while HP/DM and HP/SS deserve to have the word smirk literally obliviated from their heads? It's bad enough when one story hammers a phrase or word into the ground; so much worse when you cannot take a step in a particular pairing or fandom without having the word constantly barked.
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
God, remember the awesome icons from Bad Fic? Senor Draco...
Yes! This is not to say that world building is bad, because I love breathing, smelling, seeing the places you're writing. But...it takes a deft hand to take details that DON'T MATTER TO THE STORY and leave them by the wayside and find the correct way to help the reader see/smell/etc. But we don't need things EXPLAINED. I think that's the key - if you're having to explain the process (by having a character drop a shit ton of exposition) then you're doing it wrong.

And oh, your dialog! *kisses fingers* I want you writing screenplays (or teleplays) You are an EXPERT at dialog writing, have been for years. FOLKS: read EntreNous' fics for how to get dialog snapping and right!

I just laughed so hard the dog jumped at you keening at me. Oh, the other thing that kills me is when someone "shrieks" or "screams" when the dick goes in. WOW THAT SHOULDN'T HURT THAT MUCH. Not if you're calling it "love-making." O_O Shriek. Try that, writer, try shrieking next time you're having sex and see how that goes over with your partner.

The thing this past summer in Glee/Klaine fic was "spread out below him, undone" or "his pupils blown" <-- that was in almost EVERYTHING I read for weeks. WHINE!! Yes! Oy, find a new way to say it and blow fandom's mind, folks!
entrenous88
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Re: God, remember the awesome icons from Bad Fic? Senor Draco...
LOLOLOL, I am picturing "his pupils blown" -- BLOWN OUT BY GUNFIRE, and I'm sorry, my mind is weird this morning.

I agree with you 10000% on the screaming. Penetration-related screaming *shudders* that's got to be the worst. Your partner would be like, "Omg, GET THE MEDIC! DDDDDD:" and if they didn't, if they thought, "Oh, totes normal, screaming as I jab my think (see what I did there?) into you," then maybe, just maybe, they are not the best choice for a partner. 0_o

And screaming when they come, that's such a pet peeve -- by god, especially with the amount of Business Time these porny-fic characters get up to, they would have permanent laryngitis. Which...I would read a story like that, in which Harry can no longer speak because of how he screams like a harpy whenever Lucius does him. In the butt.

And oh, your dialog! *kisses fingers* I want you writing screenplays (or teleplays) You are an EXPERT at dialog writing, have been for years. FOLKS: read EntreNous' fics for how to get dialog snapping and right!

You are a total sweetheart for saying this, and making me feel tons better on a tough writing day/week. All the hugs and kisses to you for your kindness! <333333333
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
.
If you're "making love" to Hannibal Lecter, for example, he's probably into the screaming. Blaine Anderson or Ron Weasley? They're going to be concerned and freaked.

AHAHAHA, you should write that crack fic about Lucius/Harry Potter and The Sex-Induced Laryngitis. I'D READ IT.

<3 <3 <3 I only speak the truth!
flaming_muse
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: .
If you're "making love" to Hannibal Lecter, for example, he's probably into the screaming. Blaine Anderson or Ron Weasley? They're going to be concerned and freaked.

God damn it, I have bergamot in my sinuses again.

STOP BEING SO DAMN FUNNY. (Except don't ever stop.)

I had to close a pretty decent fic over the weekend because of all of the shrieking and screaming during sex. It just isn't a good sign to most people.
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: .
It is a sign of non-con and possible medical emergencies to me, but then, I've had sex and know how things work. (*cough*)

LOOK AT YOUR ICON!!! HEE.
flaming_muse
Jan. 30th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
Re: .
So... since you've never seen AVPM, do you even know who that is with Rupert?

LOL

(It's Joey from Starkid, who plays Ron; the line is what he says when he comes on stage the first time. He kind of lost his mind with excitement when he met Rupert, as you might imagine.)
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: .
YES I DO KNOW WHO IT IS I KNOW THE STARKIDS. If anything, it's because I've been on tumblr enough to have been bombarded with their images. ;D (And he's also - or was - Darren's roommate!)
flaming_muse
Jan. 30th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: .
OKAY, WHEW. I should have known Tumblr would teach you that if nothing else.

Darren's lived with a couple of the Starkids over the years, but, yeah, I think he may still live with Joey in LA. God knows somebody needs to be there to put the trash out and pay the bills, because Darren's never home.
flaming_muse
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: God, remember the awesome icons from Bad Fic? Senor Draco...
But we don't need things EXPLAINED. I think that's the key - if you're having to explain the process (by having a character drop a shit ton of exposition) then you're doing it wrong.

Yes, I think that's important. Like, to use your developing photographs example, say we're in a fic where Blaine is a photography major in college, and he brings Kurt to the darkroom with him while he's working. Kurt could ask what he's doing, because he takes an interest in Blaine and is a curious person, and Blaine could tell and show him... but the point of the scene is them connecting and maybe Kurt being impressed by Blaine's knowledge and Blaine being happy and proud that Kurt is impressed. The point is not about the photographs being developed. The narrative needs to be skewed to the emotional undercurrents, even if the dialogue could possibly feel like an infodump... but it's an infodump because Blaine is nervous and wants to show off, not because we should care about the different kinds of fixer.
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
This is why I love you.
YES!!!!

How does the ACTION affect the CHARACTERS? Does it bring them together emotionally? How? Does it remind one of something painful in the past (that is important to the story arc) and how does the other person deal with bringing up painful memories?

EMOTIONAL THROUGH LINES, PEOPLE. <3 <3
flaming_muse
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: This is why I love you.
Showing my age here in this example:

The pottery wheel scene in Ghost was not about making a damn pot, people.
stoney321
Jan. 30th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: This is why I love you.
THIS IS THE MOST PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ALL OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
wowbright
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: God, remember the awesome icons from Bad Fic? Senor Draco...
I have read "his pupils blown" or "his pupils blown wide" so many times in Klaine fanfic, and have yet to notice it happen in real life.

Tags

Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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