kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)
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Here's the full 30 days, for those who want to play along.

Oh, goodie! This is writing talk. I love this stuff. :)

Day 14: Ratings – how high are you comfortable with going? Have you ever written higher? If you're comfortable with NC-17, have you ever been shocked by finding that the story you're writing is G-rated instead?

I've written it all, I'm perfectly comfortable writing it all, and I don't feel like fanfic must have smut to be a good story. In fact, I feel like a lot of smut is tacked on, and I skim a lot of it, unless it's unusual in some way, or important to character development.

I know plenty of people who disagree with me on that one, but I stand firm. I am not here for the porn. I am here for more stories in a setting and with characters I love. Some of those stories have sex or are about sex. Great. Some of those stories have nothing to do with sex, sometimes not even anything to do with romantic relationships. Great! Some of the are about inanimate objects or the characters in the shape of inanimate objects. Those are fun too. In the end, I want everything in a story to have meaning. If the sex isn't meaningful in some way, I leave it off.

One of the reasons I started writing more porn is that I realized a couple of things. One, porn can be part of character development. Two, porn can forward plot. If my porn doesn't do one of those things, though, I dump it. If I'm writing PWP (does occasionally happen), then it's usually because there's a very particular scenario I'm looking for - and it also usually includes several thousands of words of set-up because even in what should be PWP situations, it's the build-up to why characters would do that that interests me, not usually the porn.

Day 15: Warnings – What do you feel it most important to warn for, and what's the strangest thing you've warned for in a fic?

Wow, so... I'm assuming the creator of this meme is new enough to fandom to have not gone through the warnings debates. It's cycled through a couple of times since I've been in fandom, but the last time was several years ago I think, pre-tumblr heyday.

There's an interesting thing here that I need to examine more carefully at some point in the future, but: I worry about this less since the AO3. I tick the warning boxes there if they're appropriate (non-con, graphic violence, underage, death) or if there's complex stuff that I can't really parse out (usually this happens on longer fic) I will use "Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings" and call it good. I'll tag my warnings, too, just in case, and I'll tag other things (particularly dub-con or self-harm situations, or stronger language for non-con (rape)), and I tag for any number of things that are included in my fic (I've used the pancakes tag more than once (yay fluff), and also vomiting, as I know that triggers one of my friends). I don't consider tagging the same things as warning and I actually have a whole ~thing~ about warnings that bothers me.

A while ago, people used to warn for M/M sex. And that just pissed me off. Because the verbiage "warning" is severe - it means that this is heavy stuff, it might trigger someone. And warning for M/M sex was equating it to things like rape, child abuse, and death. And that was not cool. Thankfully, that attitude seems to have subsided, but now there's the opposite side of the coin, where people seem to not separate the difference between squicks and triggers. Using the word trigger when what is really meant is squick is just blurring lines that are already too hard to define. Squick means you don't like a thing. Trigger means it sets off a reaction that is harmful to you, whether it be heart palpitations and difficulty breathing or a slow spiral into a depressive state. These are real reactions, and they aren't just "ew." The difference is important.

I have a number of squicks, but precious few triggers (found one last night, though). There are people that have all kinds of triggers, and some of them there is just no way to guess. Vomiting, for example. That's triggering for my friend. Who knew? That's why tagging appropriately is helpful. For those who don't want to be spoiled by tags, well. I didn't either, but I've learned how to skim my eyes past that stuff and just start reading. My desire not to be spoiled doesn't trump someone else's mental health.

Day 16: Summaries – Do you like them or hate them? How do you come up with them, if you use them?

This is a thing I've discussed with folks before, and I have a number of ways to summarize fic. For short fic, it's usually my first line, because the thing about my first lines is that they're meant to be hooks (as are summaries). Sometimes it's a concept, for a longer fic. For example, on The Three Body Problem, I used Cas asks the Winchesters on a date. Yes, both of them. Which is not at all a summary, but a premise. I think it's a fair premise, though, and honestly, I don't feel like a summary of the fic would've done anything more than spoil people for the journey. There's nothing that terrifying in the journey, either, and it doesn't go far afield from the basic premise, so that one seems to work.

I did something similar for Truth, Justice, and the Lantean Way ("I want to sue Sheppard for cockblocking.") and I think that was a mistake. There was so much in that journey that you could have never guessed from that premise that I think a summary would have been helpful to a lot of folks. I'm bad at novel-type summaries, though, so I never bothered. I am going to try to write one out for the current mini-epic I'm working on, though, because the title of the file is "Fake Marriage" and the story goes so far afield from there (including triggery things that would be a surprise in a fake marriage fic) that I feel like I have to give the novel-type summary a try. We'll see how that works.
Day 17: Titles – Are they the bane of your existence, or the easiest part of the fic? Also, if you do chaptered fic, do you give each chapter a title, or not?

As with everything else, this is different just about every time I sit down to write. Some titles come easily to me and some don't. Some stories come with a title built in, and I work the story the whole time knowing the title (one of my epics (the 100k or more one) has been titled since about 15k words - The Road Less Traveled). For fanfic, I love referencing other things, whether sayings or titles or lyrics or lines, and I feel like if you do it properly, it adds something to the fic.

If I finish a fic and it doesn't have a title, I usually cast about for a while looking for one (I'll google quotes and lyrics), and then pick a "good enough" title and slap it on. I don't agonize over titles. I don't want to hold up posting based on a title, I'm too anxious to get it out there after all that time spent writing and editing and whatever.

I will have to revisit this when and if I ever write original fic. I feel like titling is a very different situation when dealing with original fic - a lot like summaries are, actually. Though there are people that title fanfic like original fic, and I like that! I am just not generally like that, because my brain does not work that way. For me, for fanfic, the title is meant to be a touchstone. It should be familiar and memorable and descriptive. The familiar and memorable part is helped out by titles that are in some way familiar or explanatory (A Brief Sexual History of Dean Winchester and The Winchesters' Big Gay New Year's Eve Party are about as descriptive as it gets - and hilariously, I don't use summaries for those fic).

Chapters! Um, I don't write a lot of chaptered fic, but I seem to title more often than not. I like titles, mostly because of the way AO3 presents the fic, so. I also like to do things like alliteration (Apologies and Other Disasters' chapters all start with A (and it has a companion fic in my brain where all the chapters start with R)) and going with the next lyric in a series (like would it be a sin (which actually has a few more chapters to go, when I get back into a schmoopy Destiel mood)). When I finally start posting Dean Winchester and the Deck of Many Things, each chapter will start with the title of the card and possibly a parenthetical description of the meaning of the card).
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