julesjones: (Default)
I spent a chunk of the afternoon rummaging through my hard drive looking for my copies of some of Predatrix's stories that she wants to put on AO3 and/or submit to a New Zine. (I never thought I'd be typing that last phrase again.) Stuff that was only ever in my email spool courtesy of beta-reading may be beyond practical reach now that I've finally abandoned Turnpike, but I should have had copies of everything that was published in one of my zines. You will note the word "should".

I have all the Tales zines on my hard drive, with the emails, in-progress files and final proofs neatly arrayed in their individual folders. I have Endless Farce 2. I do not have Endless Farce 1, which is the thing she most particularly wanted, on account of having completely lost any trace of it on her own machine.

What I do have is a box full of CDs, with assorted backups from over the years. I grabbed a handful and started working my way through. And on the CD I burned on 25 April 2000 I found the missing sub-directory. A fifteen year old CD, and the data is still perfectly readable. I wasn't really expecting that.

I should probably think about putting some of my own stuff on AO3, or at least more of other people's stuff from the zines, but the thought of fighting with AO3's horrible interface wearies me, even though I am assured that it has improved since the last time I did battle with it. I'm not that desperate for opportunities to cat-vacuum on the profic WIP.
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I've copied Tales 5 (whole zine on one page) and the skeleton for Dead Boyfriend over to AO3, and there are collections set up should anyone wish to start adding their own stories to the relevant collections. I'll get around to doing Tales 6 some other time, because there's other stuff I need to do today.
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Tales 5 and 6 (from the 20th Anniversary Wake) are now on the WordPress site, at least in draft form. They need to be tidied up, but they're readable. Alas, I have not had time to copy them over to AO3. Nor have I had time to dig out one of my own stories to upload, but I think two zines is enough for now. :-)
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Well, that's a top collection for Tales set up at AO3, and sub-collections for "Dead Boyfriend of the Week" and Tales 1. Dead Boyfriend is populated with the cover art by Spacefall, a contents list, and links to all the contents, plus I've added my own story to AO3 and put it into the collection. I'm stopping there for the moment, but will put up sub-collections for the other zines at some point. Next experiment is to upload the entire zine of Dead Boyfriend as a single "story" so that anyone who wants to can dump the entire thing onto an ebook reader. However, that can wait -- I've done enough zine stuff for one weekend, and it's time to work on the writing that I get paid for.

Setting up the collection for Tales 1 necessitated trawling my hard drive looking for the editorial and contents list, which took longer than it might, mostly because that was 13 years ago. Urk. I also found the permissions list for Tales 1, which was a serious blast from the past. I've lost contact with a lot of those folk, and not just because I've gafiated from the fandom -- some of them gafiated before I did, and a lot more thoroughly. At least I still go to Redemption.
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Just put up "Memory is an encumbrance" as a test, as it's short and there's not much to warn for, so if I get it wrong I'm not going to get outraged email... I see it's not the first story from that zine on AO3. :-)
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All right, anyone got a spare AO3 invite so that I can experiment with using it as a host for stuff that might get booted from WordPress for naughtiness? (Also, it is long past time I put some more of my *own* fic online, and the Hermit Library is now pretty much read-only.)

Not having looked at AO3 other than grabbing some links for stuff already there, does anyone more familiar with it know if they have any facility for a zine editor to archive a complete anthology zine, or is it a case of you have to be the author to put a story on?
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The Dead Boyfriend page is now on a new WordPress blog set up in the name of the editorial pseudonym, complete with updated links and current availability of the treeware edition (i.e. OOP). This was decidedly less painful than working with Sites, and not just because I have at least some familiarity with WP's little quirks, so I'm going to go ahead and make WordPress the site's new home.

At the moment it has only the editorial material locally, and links to the stories on archives elsewhere (mainly Pink Asteroids). But something I need to consider for the future is whether to put a zine up as one single webpage, or to break it up into chapters (for the novels) or stories (for the anthologies). It doesn't make any practical layout difference for Dead Boyfriend because this zine was very plain internally, but most of the zines had a lot of filler material in the white space at the end of long stories -- ultra-shorts, snippets, amusing exchanges from the mailing list, oddments of art. They were explicitly designed to cram as much entertaining material from the list into a saddle-stapled booklet as possible while still being readable and nicely laid out, and they are very much designed and laid out as a treeware archive. A few items use typographical layout tricks akin to Lewis Carroll's "The Mouse's Tail". I'm going to have to think about the best way of putting that into a reflowable text display format.

Other things -- for now I'm inclined to leave comments on so that if people wish to comment on stories they can do so (which makes me lean towards a story per page format). I probably need to have a note somewhere to say that if people want their stories pulled or comments off, they should email
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Or at least being copied over and then not being updated at Google. This may not be its final home, but at least WordPress is open source and has tools to export a site easily, and I am a great deal the wiser and much less irritated after an hour of poking at WordPress than I was after an hour of of poking at Google Sites.

Because the site hasn't been updated for so long, some of the external links are out of date -- in particular, I know that Hafren's fics were linked to on GeoCities, and I'm fairly sure the Pink Asteroids links need to be updated. Do not panic if you find broken links. :-) But yes, let me know, in case I miss one or can't find where the item has moved to.

If anyone *doesn't* want material from Tales 3 to 10 and Dead Boyfriend of the Week up, speak now. It's going to take a long time, but eventually I do want to get most of it up, since they're now all out of print in dead tree format save for a few last copies Watervole may still have lying around.
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I set up a website some years ago for my fanzine activity on Google Page Creator, and temporarily stopped updating it when they announced that they were moving everyone to the shiny new toy called Sites. And waited for my site to be moved. And waited. And waited...

And eventually stopped bothering to check if my site had been moved, partly because by then I was burnt out on zines and it was too much effort. By the time I noticed that my site had at long last been moved, and mangled in the process, I didn't have any spare effort left for even the paying writing. But today I logged in with the intention of Doing Something about unmangling and then uploading at least one zine and/or some stories.


Some of this is just working with a new interface, but really, eewwwww. I suspect I'd have a less horrified reaction to the interface were I starting a brand new site, but trying to de-mangle my existing site that got moved over is driving me up the wall. I'd consider just starting a new site and copying the text over to that, but that would be work, and you know, given the G+ nym wars, I'm not sure I want to put that much effort into something that might vanish like the mist in the morning sun. It might be simpler to go and learn how to build a website on WordPress.

I still haven't worked out whether, let alone how, I can upload the pdfs of the zines. That was what I planned to do as a quick and dirty way of getting some of them online, because I do not fancy the amount of work involved in properly webifying them, and many modern e-readers can cope perfectly well with pdfs.
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Gacked from Making Light, an excellent article by Lev Grossman in Time Magazine about fanfic.

Grossman gets it -- this is one of the best mainstream articles I've seen.
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One of the reasons I wrote and wrote and wrote and published zines and wrote in my One True Fandom was that it was a *dead* show. This show was no more, it had ceased to be. It was an ex-show. Which offered the most marvellous opportunities for going in and writing more stories, safe in the knowledge of (mostly) benign neglect by the rights owners, and with a lot of fascinating loose ends just begging to be explored. I stopped cold turkey some years ago because I was having too much fun with my own universes, but I hadn't *quit* fanfic, you understand, I was just waiting for the time when the stories called to me again.

Apparently the show really was just pining for the fjords. Not only has there been an audio revival, it now has forthcoming novels and audiobooks from Big Finish.


The possibility of Jossing has come to B7 and apparently this means I utterly freeze at even the thought of picking up one of those unfinished pieces sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to feel the urge again.

[runs to hide under the bed]
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Jesse Wave's latest post about m/m romance being non-stop twenty-something white USAmericans inspired me to do a headcount. Let's see...

the tl;dr stats under the cut )

So, how do I fit that stereotype of writing twenty-something white USAmericans[*] in an unidentified cookie-cutter USAmerican city, doing jobs like writer or artist or BDSM club manager? [* specifying because Wave is Canadian.]

Not too many twenty-somethings in that lot. An awful lot of scientists and engineers, to the point where I have been accused of being unable to write characters that are *not* geeks. And not a single one of my main characters is an American. Every one of the humans is British, even the ones in stories set in interstellar empires. Funny, that... The leads are uniformly white, but that's partly a reflection of my personal experience of discrimination based on my ethnicity being about things that aren't as obvious as physical appearance -- though it took me years to consciously recognise where some of the stuff in my m/m fiction about passing was coming from.

I wasn't deliberately setting out to write diverse characters (in the sense of "diversity" that Wave was using). I was writing stuff that interested *me*, and for various reasons that means a lot of characters in their thirties. As I get older myself, it becomes easier to write convincing characters in their forties and fifties, and I expect to write more of them. I don't write about US characters because from my perspective they're the alien, not the default. The non-stop parade of scientists and engineers is both "write what you know", and "write what interests you". Less obviously, the political characters fall under those headings as well -- $EX_EMPLOYER was big on encouraging staff to participate in the community, and I had several colleagues who were involved in local politics. So I've been writing these characters because they reflected my world and my interests. And I've been doing it for a long time, in genre terms. From before most of the epubs would consider m/m, from when one of the biggest said that it wouldn't take m/m because women didn't want to read that stuff. All the way back to when I was writing mostly fanfic, and there you have one of the biggest reasons why I write stuff about thirty and forty somethings with a strong political thread running through it. Because what set me writing somewhere back in the late 1990s was a dystopian sf show with 1970s BBC sensibilities and a cast who were easy on the eye but very much not selected on their sex appeal for the demographic that American network tv is chasing. I'm a product of my time and place, and that influence is just as obvious in my original fiction as in my fanfiction.

Which leads back to a conversation elsewhere a few weeks ago about a new wave in that fandom that seems to have been born out of the culture of a specific group of mailing lists. One of the markers of that new wave was an interest in experimenting with literary form, but it wasn't the only one. As I said in that discussion, I wasn't that interested in exploring literary style in my own writing, but I was very much interested in using the background universe provided by canon to explore political and psychological concepts, and yes, *especially* in the X-rated material.

That hasn't changed just because I've gafiated from writing in that fandom. Indeed, I probably started writing in the first place because I was already interested in such concepts, and along came a discussion forum that allowed me to chew those concepts to death, both in essay format and in fiction. Branching into original fic (which happened only a couple of years after I started writing fanfic) simply gave me new ways of talking about this stuff. One of the ways this shows up is the constant harping about identity, what it is, and who controls it.

This is utterly overt in Mindscan, where mental invasion and coercion is the very basis of the book. Hardly surprising, you might think if you're aware that the core of that book started life as a fanfic piece; but the reality is that I wrote the original novelette as fanfic because fanfic was my primary format at the time. The basic story concept, I could and probably would have written as original fiction had there been anywhere at the time where I could have sold it. On the other hand, watching the show as a young teenager nearly twenty years earlier, with no thought then of writing, was probably a contributing factor in my interest in such things in the first place - a pretty little chicken and egg problem.

But it colours other books as well. Promises to Keep, Spindrift, Dolphin Dreams -- these all address in various ways the problems faced by paperless people in an increasingly cradle-to-grave documented society. Particularly people who are paperless because they are outside the norm. There is, of course, another specific influence on these books, and that's Heinlein's Methuselah's Children.

There are other examples, and other influences. But it does rather look as if part of the reason my stories don't fit that stereotype quoted above is because I'm using a slightly different toolkit to a lot of m/m romance writers, and yes, I am including some of the other writers who came out of fanfic in that. There are fandoms and fandoms, and My Fandom had a strong self-selection for people who were interested in the sort of things you find in dystopian space opera, as is rather obvious when I look at some of my fellow fen who went off to play with original universes. We're perfectly capable of writing pretty twenty-somethings if that's what the story requires, but it's unlikely to be because that's what the market requires.

So why write romance at all, if what my toolkit contains comes from science fiction and fantasy? Because there is room within romance for the stories that don't fit narrow stereotypes of what romance should be. Because the genre conventions can be a self-imposed framework to work within, rather than an externally imposed constriction of my writing choices. The requirement of the Happy Ever After doesn't have to be an artificial limit imposing a fake conflict and equally fake resolution; rather, it can be an intriguing puzzle for a writer, a game to play with your readers. There will be a conclusion where the rough general nature is guaranteed, just as there is with a mystery, but there are so many interesting ways to get there. And writing about a wider range of characters than that narrow stereotype falls naturally out of playing the game.
julesjones: Jack Harkness and a mug of coffee, Torchwood (coffee and Jack)
Book 78

And because I was in the mood this morning for something that reflected on war but was a little less traumatising than All Quiet On The Western Front, I went and re-read Sam the Storyteller's novel-length Torchwood fanfic story Your Face Is Turned. Torchwood's not shy about the price of war, and neither is this story, but it has a rather happier ending. Previously reviewed on April 12 this year.

Your Face Is Turned.
julesjones: (Default)
There's been another round of Author Has Fit Of The Vapours About Fanfic, although in fairness to said author I should point out that a) she has since posted a "I've considered what people have said, and have modified my position", b) I have read neither the original vapours nor the "okay, I see I got stuff wrong". Mostly because life's too short, and I had the UK election to satisfy all my train-wreck-watching needs this week.

This has naturally generated another round of angst on the whole subject. Until now my usual reaction has been to point at what Scalzi said about fanfic, and say, "That, only with the obvious exception about the yaoi fanart."

Now I can point to a variation on the theme, i.e. "And also, what Charlie Stross said about fanfic, with the obvious exception about producing/consuming fanfic." After all, I don't exactly keep it secret that I read and have written the stuff, or that I have published treeware zines of the stuff.

I wouldn't read fanfic of *my* stories, for the reasons given in the links above and in lots of other places, but my general reaction to the idea of fanfic of my profic is along the lines of "Oh dear god, that I could be so popular a writer that there was fanfic of my work."

On the other hand, I do know authors who are really, really freaked by the idea of fanfic of their work. And many of them are perfectly capable of understanding that this is their personal squick, rather than a law of nature. So as far as I'm concerned, if someone asks politely that people not Do That to their work because they find it upsetting, it's a very different matter to an author denigrating all fanfic, whether it be of their work or of someone else's.

Author Hal Duncan thinks fanfic is just fine himself, but in a previous iteration of the Great Fanfic Kerfuffle he posted a thoughtful discussion of why authors might find fanfic skeevy. It's long and chewy, and it's worth a read if you want to understand how and why fanfic can press hot buttons for authors.

I've seen in the current iteration a nice brief analysis by Xiphias of two things we're trying to do with copyright law, and how they relate to two approaches to writing which map onto the split between "Aieee! Get it away from me!" and "Cool! Just remember that I'm the one who gets to make money on my world."

So... I'm just fine with fanfic, but I'm also just fine with authors who are squicked by fanfic of their work and communicate that politely as a personal viewpoint without expecting that the entire world agree with them. Alas, the post by alg I used to point to because it matched my own thoughts pretty much exactly has been locked in the years since, but I may see what I can salvage of my own comments from that conversation. But that's a large post in its own right...

As for that tired old insult about fanfic writers only writing fanfic because they're not good enough to write their own, don't be so damned silly. There are lots of good reasons for writing fanfic. In fact, I think I might write some this weekend, as a break from fretting about the current WnotIP.
julesjones: Jack Harkness and a mug of coffee, Torchwood (coffee and Jack)
Another long piece of Whoniverse fanfic from Sam_Storyteller/Sam Starbuck/Copperbadge. This one's about 40k words long, i.e. short novel length, and uses those words to great effect. Sam has taken the "Doomsday" and "Cyberwoman" material, and linked it with some of the things we're shown about the classic Cybermen in the Hartnell and Troughton eras. The result is a story that takes Torchwood season 1, drops in one small fact a second or two after the credits roll in Cyberwoman, and makes you see parts of that season in a whole new light. It's beautifully written, with characterisations that build on and deepen what we get in canon. But this is more than good characterisation. There's a solid story here, one that would make a good tie-in novel.

The small fact is that Ianto wasn't physically converted, but *was* subject to direct mind control by Lisa's Cyber personality. With her death, the conscious control is gone, but that doesn't mean Ianto's free. Jack's interrogated more than one person who's survived an encounter with the Cybermen, he's heard enough about their methods to recognise what he's seeing, and he's not giving up Ianto without a fight.

It's not quite compatible with canon for me, because it doesn't quite mesh with the scene towards the end of Cyberwoman where Ianto is pleading with Lisa to remember who she is. But it makes a great deal of sense in the context of what we've been shown canonically about Cybermen over the years, both the original Mondas Cybermen of classic Who and the parallel universe Cybermen of new Who. This is an excellent piece of work, tying together elements of classic Who, new Who and Torchwood in a satisfying way.

Posted in five parts, plus author's notes on the canon material used, part 1 here. Sam's own description:
Rating: PG-13; R in the final chapter
Summary: Jack has studied the Cybermen for forty years, and he's damned if he'll let one take any of his people away from him without a fight.
julesjones: Jack Harkness and a mug of coffee, Torchwood (coffee and Jack)
This is a slightly unusual entry in the book log -- it's fanfic. But it's novel-length, and it's very good, and as far as I'm concerned it belongs in the book log.

A while back Sam Storyteller posted a Whoniverse short story about Jack Harkness, I Were The Heavens, Rating: PG for language, Summary: A sixteen-year-old boy from Boeshane is going to win the war. The Time Agency has a vested interest in children like him -- and so does the Admiral of the Fleet.

Now he's posted a novel-length story about what happened next. And it's set both just after that short story -- and just before Children of Earth. But this is no simple fix-it fic. This is a carefully crafted consideration of time paradoxes, and the potential for damaging your own past/future. It's difficult to discuss it in much detail without heading into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that Jack Harkness's convoluted timeline gives a distant future Jack a pressing reason to pull Ianto Jones into the 51st century -- and it's nothing to do with saving Ianto from an untimely death in the 21st century. Jack not only barely remembers Ianto, but to preserve the timeline will have to put Ianto back where he got him from once the job is done...

You'll need to have at least some familiarity with the Torchwood universe to follow this story, but it's a fine example of how good fanfic can be in the right hands.

Your Face Is Turned -- part 1 of 9
Sam's description:
Rating: R (more sex than you can shake a dick -- a stick! I mean a stick! More sex than you can shake a stick at.)
Summary: Lo Boeshane has a promising career ahead of him as he enters his first year of Fleet Officer Training, but the war is still with him and life at Quantico Station can be difficult. Meanwhile, Ianto Jones is just trying to figure out why the Doctor kidnapped him to the fifty-first century and why Jack abandoned him at a school for the Fleet's military elite. He suspects it may have something to do with Lo, but his attempts to help the troubled young veteran may damage his own timestream beyond repair.
julesjones: Jack Harkness and a mug of coffee, Torchwood (coffee and Jack)
Anyone want to beta-read this fanfic, then? 4700 words, Jack & Ianto go on a date and subtext ensues. You'll need to be familiar with Torchwood up to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and ideally the linked Who episodes (i.e. the attack on Canary Wharf and the Last of the Time Lords arc).
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The Halloween story [livejournal.com profile] predatrix and I wrote for the City a few years ago is now posted at my original LJ, in honour of Gauda Prime Day. Most people who'd have an interest in it will have seen it before, but I'm running out of GP-themed stories and the other obvious candidate is too long to post on LJ in one chunk.

For that section of my readership that didn't understand a word of that -- yes, it is free fiction by self and Alex Woolgrave. No, you will not enjoy reading it if you didn't understand the references without resorting to Google. I hope to post something of more general appeal later.
julesjones: (Default)
Blame [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble for this, though it's not her fault that what was meant to be cheerful porn about Ianto tying Jack's tie for him went in an entirely different direction when I started writing it.

Rosemary and Time

Jack/Ianto, with brief sex scene
Series 1
2100 words

At the shiny new fanfic LJ account:

julesjones: (Default)
Gacked from Scrivener's Error, although I think I've seen other references to it when I didn't have time to follow links:


Good, thoughtful article on the legalities of fanfic from a Canadian legal perspective, by someone who clearly knows something of the history of fanfic, rather than thinking that it's a product of the Web.

Response to the article in the letters to the editor section:


julesjones: (Default)

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