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This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Fanfic Slash Thing

I had this whole blog about possessive men, but it's still half formed. I do have fun thinking about it though. Maybe next week.

But for the new contest. I'll try music again and make it a little more difficult. It's an 80s song that meant a lot to me. the lyric is I found a picture of you....those were the happiest days of my life...

Name the song and win a print copy of 'The Price of Surrender' or a lovely massage kit from Kama Sutra products. Tell me which song and artist inspired the one in the clue and the artist and win both 'Surrender Books' or a gift card to amazon.com. You will also impress the heck out of me.

WARNING MAJOR GEEK ALERT

Down to business. I discovered fanfic kinda late for a fan. I was a full grown adult when I first read Price of the Phoenix and Fate of the Phoenix, two really early Trek novels. In them, I found an uncomfortably close relationship between Kirk and Spock. When I asked a longtime friend and Trekkie about that, he told me of slash. I was appalled. In retrospect, I may have had the current version of the characters in my head (1980s era), and I just did not want to think of them having sex. Even the young Kirk I grew up with (for those of you who think you have trek street creds, I saw them first run and attended the second convention that was ever held), though hot, was not someone I ever wanted to think about naked. I rejected slash.

About ten years pass. Along with many other things that happened in my life, I learned a lot about writing in general. I realized that these slash writers were responding to the fact that these buddy characters in many TV shows were closest to each other. Women were transitory at best, and leathal at worst. I came to an understanding of why they would extrapolate that relationship to its logical conclusion. Heck, the Starsky and Hutch leads actually called the relationship a love story. It made more sense to me though I still couldn't see myself writing it.

When slash next came to my attention, I was in LA and trying to be an industry writer. Voyager turned up. I was fascinated with the characters who were well formed, but annoyed by the plots which were dopey. Before the show came out, I saw an interview with Kate Mulgrew who said she liked to say the word thruster. I liked the growl in her voice. I generally liked the way she barked orders. Oh, I forgot to mention, I realized I was a dominatrix shortly before moving to LA. Janeway sounded like one to me. Thus to amuse myself during the dopey plots I deigned to watch (any episode with the word anolmoly in it, I refused to watch -- that included the pilot), I would say things like 'yes, mistress!' to her commands.

I was stressed about trying to make LA work, and my mother was gravely ill thousands of miles away. I wrote the first of the Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway to get away from both situations and as an experiment with voice. I had trouble finding my writing voice in grad school, and this was a low pressure way of finding it. They were originally for me. I had no plans to post them anywhere. Origanally, they had no dialogue. They were meant to be a true journal. But they got posted first on the old usenet system and then to a web page a friend back home created.

Then, the weirdness that is LA began to happen. Jon was working in a Santa Monica toy store called Puzzle Zoo. It's fabulous and freqented by many celebrities. Anyway, one of those was Richard Hatch. His close friend, Sophie had sold some stories to Voyager. Conversations drifted from the Galactica blaster in the case to Voyager and my logs. It seemed I had a fan amongst the cast. The next thing I knew, Sophie and I were friends. That lead to attending Brannon Braga's birthday party. I am a girl raised with formalities. I don't attend parties without a present. I brought Mr. Braga a copy of the Logs which he hence kept on his desk. That's how the producers of Trekkies found it. I was the subject of an internet hunt that lead to the strangest day of my life to date in LA. I attended a premiere of Turbo: Power Rangers movie as Jon and I had befriended Tommy, the White Ranger. He would later figure prominently in how our first feature happened, but that is for another day. I was hiding my corsett under a heavy jacket during the kiddie film, because I had the Trekkies interview that afternoon.

Trekkies brought me infamy in fandom and in the SF TV community. It was fun and annoying. On the fan front, I got invited to conventions to speak about slash, and was even challenged to write for other fandoms. That's how I began writing for The Sentinel and Due South. All of it was experimental writing for me. I could play with characters and prose and had nothing at risk. I never imagined that the worlds would colide, but they did.

The first intersection came because of The Privateers. Karl Urban had been the subject of a lot of fic even while he was on Xena:Warrior Princess. And since he attended a lot of conventions where my work was known, I had to 'out' myself as a slash writer early in our negotiations. That was fine, because he thought it was funny, and I'd never written any Xena stuff. There wasn't a conflict. I had even pooh poohed a long time S&H writer over not being able to separate the actor from the character around then. I never thought I'd have that problem.

But then, Demon Under Glass happened. I was well into the Logs by then, and determined to finish the series. I had it on good authority that the Voyager cast read the and found them funny. I thought I could handle working with actors I'd written about. I 'outed' myself to my leads. Jason Carter already knew. We had met at my most infamous Toronto Trek where I spanked a Klingon and Richard Hatch reneged on reading from the Logs. Garett Maggart took it all in stride. I thought that I could continue writing slash and working with actors. But after the film, I spent three weeks traveling with Garett. I also found he's a neighborhood overform mine and it's close enough for frequent contact and Richard Burgi ended up in my kitchen at some point looking for chicken. Another long story. It wasn't so much that I felt guilty about writing the fic, but I no longer viewed them as sexy. I really like them, but they're like having really crazy brothers. Thoughts of them any other way is like --eeeewwww.

And artistically I was changing. I found my voice, and I found I liked writing novels again. Grad school nearly killed it, but slash brought it back. They became my refuge from the group think of film making. I wanted to create my own worlds and play in them. I did finish the Logs. The last one was posted in 2005. But slash was no longer as satisfying for me.

So, that's the history. I still have my fannish creds. I reach out to slash writers to get the best of them professionally published. I still read the stuff. And I'm back at conventions. I think fans create some wonderful things. I've been priviledged to see some fine works inspired by Demon Under Glass. I think it's possible to be of both worlds, but I wonder how many could continue writing while straddling.

10 comments:

KimW said...

Back On The Chain Gang - Pretenders
Chrissie Hynde's tribute to James Honeyman-Scott, the Pretenders guitarist who died of a drug overdose in 1982

bamabelle said...

The song is "Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders. I loved that song!

bamabelle said...

Oh, I found the rest of the answer. The song "Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders was written by singer Chrissie Hynde & inspired by Ray Davies of The Kinks.

jennybrat said...

Back on the Chain Gang by Pretenders.

Sanjay said...

“Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders, from the album Learning to Crawl (1983). Song is a tribute to former band mate James Honeymoon-Scott who tragically died from a heroin overdose.

Cathie said...

Back On The Chain Gang by The Pretenders from 1983? I can't hear but I remember music from the 70's and had to look for lyrics since I couldn't hear them. Love to know what the lyrics are. Reading them now.
Cathie

Amy S. said...

Back On The Chain Gang by The Pretenders from 1983

Andrea said...

'Back on the Chain Gang' by The Pretenders. I guess and 80's teenager never quite moves on !!! It was a tribute to their guitarist Honeyman-Scott who did die of an overdose at about the time the song was written,Chrissie Hind and Ray Davis had an on off thing back before she ended up with Jim Kerr. I did'nt know he helped to write the song though! Oh well you learn something new every day!!

jennybrat said...

The song's a tribute to James Honeyman-Scott and was finished with Ray Davies in mind.

Andria said...

Writing while straddling does sound like an awful lot of work.
*snort*
And fanfic isn't about work, it's about fun. :-)

It also sounds rather messy. *snickers at the images in her head*