I first did NaNoWriMo in 2009. My mother had just passed away (like, less than two months before), and it completely fucked me up. I'd never written a novel before and I hadn't finished anything longer than a thousand words in many many years... It was definitely a case of throw myself headlong into something that would consume me completely so I didn't have to deal with the fact that I'd lost the only person I'd ever been able to rely on completely.
I still can't believe I won that year, and went on to complete the novel through December (because fuck Christmas when I'd just lost my Mum), finally coming out with a tally of 110,000 words and a complete novel. I still maintain that it's my best NaNo ever, though it's a typical first novel, meandering and tangented, cheesy and cliché. It was a learning experience, and one of the things I'm most proud of (even though there's very few people in the world that I'd ever let read it).
It was also my first slash fic. It wasn't meant to be. I wasn't even a slash writer back then, and the story began with a het pairing, but by the first quarter it was plainly obvious that it wasn't going to end that way. It was an epiphany, you might say, and once it was done I found it very difficult to write het afterward.
So NaNo kind of means a lot to me, and after doing it (and winning) every year since, it's become a habit, an institution. I almost didn't do it in 2012 because I hadn't written anything in about six months, but an acquaintance pushed me to do it again and I said fuck it, and just did it, and it got me writing again.
Every year I'd come out with something plainly unpublishable. Some years were more shit than others, but every time it was kind of a reset button for my writing habit, and I'd come out the other end of November with an inability to not write.
So, this year, like every other year, I expected I would NaNo again. The fact that NaNo was designed to fall in the deep dark of winter but actually fell in the summer for me never really bothered me before. We'd just bought a house when Mum died, and before we bought it I had lots of ideas for the garden, and because Mum was a gardener and I had two black thumbs, she was supposed to help me with it. Well, that, of course, never happened. Summer was no different to winter, in fact, I was even more inclined to hide inside because everything about summer reminded me of her.
It took me 5 years and the death of my grandfather (the other gardener in the family) to even get to the point where I could bear to think about having a proper garden. Then instead of bringing up painful memories, growing stuff was suddenly a way of connecting to them both. So last year I both gardened and NaNo'd.
It wasn't hard or anything, it's not like either suffered greatly. But because my mind was consumed with tomatoes as well as words, I just didn't care as much about the words.
About a month ago, when I was thinking I should start planning for NaNo, while I was already planning the garden, the truth really kind of hit me. Another epiphany, perhaps. I realised that I'd rather put all my energy into growing shit than I would into a book that I know from experience I'll never publish.
And all the 'thou shalt write every day and not let real life intrude if you want to be a real writer' stuff that people spout can kiss my arse, frankly. I'll still write every day, there's nothing going to stop me from doing that, but I'll put my intense effort into it at a time of year when there's very little to be done in the garden. Thank god for Camp NaNo, July is a much better time of year to be doing that shit around here.
And next month, I'll grow some stuff :D I'm as proud of my erratic, overgrown garden as I am of my first laughable novel.
Spoiler warning for SPN 11x03 (and the previous eps in the season by default).
( Spoilers )
[please don't tell me anything that might have been indicated regarding the rest of the season—I am spoiler-free, and prefer to remain that way, thank you]
totally not a recap
So, the new season of Supernatural completely crept up on me. Feels like S10 only just finished O.o, but I guess it's been a while. I would have completely missed it had it not been for the fact that I decided to clear out my overflowing RSS feeds tonight and happened to see a mention of it.
Well. I dived on my fave torrent site at the speed of light and had it in mere minutes. I've been doing a slow rewatch of S10, and I only had four eps to go, so I was kind of up in the air as to whether I should do that before starting S11. I don't have the time I used to have for marathoning shows, so I would have either had to do an all nighter to watch 11x01 tonight, or get through an ep a night for 4 nights and then watch 11x01.
It took me about 30 seconds to decide that I couldn't abide either of those options, and I dived right in :D
Without spoilering, and without doing a big old recap and cross-examination of the ep, I'm just gonna say some things had me like \o/ and some things had me like :/ and some things had me like O.o and some things had me like O.O
And if the next ep could please hurry the fuck up I'd be very happy. Yup yup.
So I'm doing another Xmas exchange thingy
You know how when you sign up for a thing, exchange or whatnot, and there's that horror-period of uncertainty and fear and almost regret when you're awaiting your assignment (because who hasn't gotten an assignment that technically fits your offer but isn't quite your comfort zone and the entire process is a stress thing like OMG THIS IS SO HARD)?
In the past I've written comedic Christmas Dinner genfic (what the hell do I know about Northern Hemisphere Christmas? Nothing. And I'm NOT funny, nope), and fluffy kidfic (soo far out of my ballpark), and 'trimming the tree' (again with the unfamiliar traditions), so Xmas exchanges always instill a kind of cold sweat terror (and yet I continue to sign up).
I got my assignment for spn_j2_xmas yesterday, and I frickin danced around the kitchen with joy. It just FITS. I was like, here are all the things I like, and these are all things I can do!
Prompts even fit things I have been wanting to write but just needed an excuse, and my recipient's likes are all my happy places, and I'm just so pleased!
Epic kudos to the matching mods, they certainly know their stuff.
So I sat down last night and picked one of many bunnies that hit me almost immediately, and roughly planned a thing out, and I'm totally psyched :D I'm not saying there won't be stress (there always is when crafting a thing especially for a person), but I'm feeling very hopeful, because I know I'm capable, I just have to make it work :D
Totally not to diminish the value of challenging oneself to leave ones safe wee box, but sometimes, it's just nice when things come easy, you know?
It's considered the height of rudeness to demand updates of a fic author like this, and that's just basic logic. We don't get paid, this isn't a job. I do this shit for love, and in most cases, I write for myself.
I'll never understand the entitled attitude of some readers. This kind of thing has me more inclined to give the whole thing the big middle finger than to actually bother writing ANYTHING that might placate this selfish twit. Jeez.
I'd never come across the Alpha/Beta/Omega phenomenon before I hit the Teen Wolf fandom. It just wasn't a thing in my previous fandoms. While there's elements of the trope that I enjoy (mpreg, male lactation, knotting, made them do it), I steadfastly resisted it in Teen Wolf.
Mostly because I'm a canon whore, and IMO, Teen Wolf already had a perfectly good Alpha/Beta/Omega mythology, and Omegaverse wasn't it.
But also, because it was, more often than not, kinda rapey. Sometimes very rapey.
I like a good non-con fic as much as the next deviant, and I love dub-con. The rape/non-con warning has never scared me away. But within ABO, where the balance of power is significantly uneven because biology, it's a squick.
I'm the same with BDSM fic. If consent isn't explicit, or if the bottom has any 'they don't love me' hangups even if it's revealed to be a misunderstanding later, or if the top is using subjugation and pejorative language in regards to the bottom, I'm running a mile fighting the urge to vom.
So ABO, if I read it, like BDSM (on the extremely rare occasion I might read that), has to be fairly fluffy and with all the consent and explicit feelings and communication and stuff. Or eww.
I've been reading a fair amount of ABO in Supernatural lately. Mostly it's good. Rape/non-con warnings are there to cover the dubious consent of biological imperative, there's respect for the omega, at least in the main pairing, lots of lovely mpreg and I don't have to completely disregard a canon mythology in order to read it.
Then I was reading a fic that had no rape/non-con warning, not even a dub-con tag, and was trucking along nicely with what seems to be a fairly common 'Dean hides his omega status from Sam for years and then spontaneously goes into heat when they're adults and they fuck' trope.
Then when Dean's heat is revealed, Sam suddenly turns into this rapey asshole, all 'I own you' and barely saying two words before throwing Dean down and fucking him.
Urgh. I squicked hard, and now I'm all shaken and kind of put off. And it all could have been avoided with a little dub-con or 'controlling language' tag or at least some hint in the summary that it was going to go that way.
I'm going to be wary of ABO going forward now, when I'd almost lost that fear because most of it is well tagged and doesn't ping my squicks. And that kind of sucks.
There's all these questions in my head now, too. Do I have the right to be pissed at getting squicked by this fic? Or is rapeyness to be assumed simply because of the biological imperative of ABO?
In my experience, a rapey vibe shouldn't be automatically assumed just because ABO, because it's not all like that. I feel like the author should have used the archive warning, or at least a dub-con tag (the work was 'no archive warnings apply' so the rapey vibe really was a surprise).
I guess I'm a little hesitant to leave a comment to that effect, though, because I ignore requests for top/bottom 'warnings'. There's a difference between an official archive warning vs a tag for something that shouldn't ever be a 'warning' at all, though, right?
I guess I'm afraid I'd get called out as a hypocrite :/
I've just realised I should have posted about teenwolfremix here a little earlier, but I've been away with the goddamn fairies. Half of that is school holidays and the fact that I never get on the computer until late when the kids are home and my brain is utterly fried by then :D
But Remix! Participation looks like it'll be a little lower than last year, which is likely related to my own personal fail at promo, but it'll make for a nice cosy wee fest :)
So if you're up for a little transformative working, you ever wondered what someone else might do with your version of the Teen Wolf universe, or you know someone who might be into it, you can check out the full deets on AO3.
Signups close Wednesday 14th January.
You know what it's like on Amazon and Goodreads. The rating system that makes me thankful that I don't write OF. It has a point there, despite the potential for abuse (I've heard of authors using socks to rate their own stuff up, of enlisting friends to do it, and of people who don't like the author one-starring out of malice). You check out the ratings and reviews before you shell out hard earned cash. All of the logic.
Thank god this built in rating system will never be a thing on AO3, those who decide these things having rejected that particular new feature proposal in part due to the potential for abuse.
No one has to pay to read fic, therefore there's no danger in flouncing after the first paragraph if a fic is not to your taste.
I occasionally look at bookmarks of my own stuff on AO3. I like to read the comments, I get all fluttery and excited when someone ticks the rec box, and I look for tags they've applied that I might like to add to the fic.
And I wander through other peoples bookmarks, looking for their recs and comments and often add things to my TBR from there.
From time to time I see readers using a rating system in their bookmarks. I'm not particularly precious about my work, I think I've been doing it long enough that I know my limitations and I know that most of what I post (especially lately) is seriously lacking in one way or another. So when I see a low rating on one of my own personal faves, and one of my highest kudos'd works, I can shrug it off without too much of a hit to my ego.
I realise that most of the time these rating systems have little to do with the quality of the work and more to do with the readers own tastes, and for many are likely only meant for the readers own reference. I keep a rating system of my own, but I keep it in Calibre, safely private on my own personal computer. There's no way in hell I'd let the authors of the works I read see those ratings, because they are for my own future re-reading reference, and have everything to do with my own personal tastes and almost nothing to do with quality.
I never see these ratings by a reader with any works of their own on AO3. It's only readers who make these ratings public. I won't say that before they criticise they should try writing themselves because IMO that's not what they're doing. I imagine that the majority of them simply have no concept of how hard it is to create something and share it.
To all those non-writers who use a rating system: Fic authors (and artists, and podficcers, and all the creators in all the media) put hours upon hours of their own time, and blood, and sweat, and tears, into creating fanworks and then share them for free, for love. It's a very vulnerable position, and particularly for those new to sharing, one knock is all it takes to make them not want to share again. Imagine if this happened to your favourite author way back when they began. If they simply gave up before they'd really started, before they had a chance to hone thier writing. Imagine how little fic we'd have to read now!
AO3 is not Amazon, and it's not Goodreads. Public ratings don't belong here.
If we got paid for this shit it might make public rating systems easier to take, but we don't. All we get in return is a few kudos or comments. Personally, I'm happy with that. I don't want to get paid for writing fic, because this way I get to write whatever the hell I want to write, I don't have to please anyone but myself, and I write to my tastes.
And for those readers who choose to rate to their tastes, that's fine, too, but you should keep it to yourselves. Don't put it where the author is highly likely to see it, in places like public AO3 bookmarks.
The ridiculous thing is that it's very easy to make ratings and comments in an AO3 bookmark private. All you need to do is tick the private bookmark box! Unless you're intentionally trying to make the writers feel bad, but that's kind of an asshole thing to do.