The problem with fanfiction (story time!)

Wrote this fanfic, sort of, in my notebook during my brief break from the Internet. I made my relatives hide my Internet-accessible devices for 24 hours, for the duration of Thanksgiving, so I once again grabbed a notebook and started writing.

But I wrote fluff, and writing (/sigh) fluff about Regina is really strange, to me. I imagine Regina in the following fluffy situations, canon-wise:

-Sneaking off to have picnics and make-out with Daniel

-Raising Henry like a normal mother (or as normal as Regina is going to get)

-Gardening, or something

-Watching “The View,” or something

-Learning to ride horses and shit with her Dad, growing up

Some fucked up fluffy:

-Hanging out in her evil castle chilling out all evil-like, like a female, magical Tony Montana (before he gets killed)

-Playing Texas Hold’em with other evil sorceresses, or something.

Other than that, I can’t really see Regina being fluffy. Her years in Storybrooke were relaxing, I can only assume. I bet she decorated that office of hers, because I’m not totally certain what designer could have come in with a crew to do it. Surely someone did most of the painting.

I’m sure Regina’s life was kinda miserable, however, before she adopted Henry. Sure she was sleeping with Graham, but in my head!canon (Eris, seriously, stop with the head!canon), he and the other citizens of Storybrooke had really faulty, bad memories that would reset every so often, so even if their relationship progressed in a normal way people in love (or in this case, in a creepy arrangement of *very* dubious consent) do, it wouldn’t be entirely normal, because he wouldn’t perceive all those many, many years going by.

Sure she had Sydney to hang out with and stick in the Friend Zone, but I can’t really see them chilling at Granny’s Diner or something. Regina had no one to talk to about her past, but then again, part of the reason she transported them somewhere like Maine was to get away from that past, wasn’t it?

Sure she enjoyed seeing Mary Margaret squirm and be sad and away from her husband and child, but that doesn’t really pass the time, does it?

So anyway, Regina’s life isn’t very fluffy back in her youth either, since she was constantly getting shit from her mother Cora. She got her fun and escape from being anywhere away from Cora she could get. I’m sure she snuck off as much as possible, getting her Dad to cover for her.

But I wrote something fluffy, because I suck, and it came out as Not About Regina At All, which one might say is forgivable, because I’m supposed to be writing original fiction anyway.

It ended up including Jefferson, but with a distinctly different personality than he had in the series or in my previous angsty AU-y fanfic. In that, he pretty much treats Regina like crap, in a very subtle, insidious way. I get that across in a couple of short chapters.

In the fluff I scribbled yesterday, he doesn’t act like that, and he actually does her a favor. Inspired by the creepy threesome ‘fic I found, Regina hasn’t bumped uglies with anybody but Leopold, sooo….

It’s a bit too fluffy, because they treat each other like equals, and we know from the show that, at this point, she is already a heart-crushing murderer. I have him take her to the Discworld, because it’s my “fanfic” and shush.

It would stand to reason that the Discworld would be one of the places you can access in the Portal of Doors. It is a big time fantasy world, in contemporary literature, and it was really the safest place he could take her. The ‘fic in my notebook is ALL OVER THE PLACE. It goes from fluffy sex to angsty potions to meeting Rincewind and trying to steal his magic. It’s fucking ridiculous.

My story begins…

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You need to do your research

Wrote this on Tumblr:

It’s really dumb, considering I wrote, mostly unapologetically incorrect “Xena” fanfiction off and on for ten years, that I would think a few (notable) mistakes and some intentional canon-altering in my (very few) “Once Upon a Time” ‘fics would be criminal.

But then I wonder, “Well, wait…Couldn’t I just…Change this word here…What about this…?”

It seems the only times I stop giving a shit are when it’s something I know people won’t read.

Imagine if I wrote a novel. It would print and sell thousands of copies (let’s be optimistic, here) and then I’d be reading my courtesy copy, (after having re-combed the manuscript a million times with an actual editor before publishing) (which is, obviously, something I don’t do now), and perhaps admiring the flattering reviews on the book jacket, and then discover I fucked up a sentence.

image

I suppose that’s a bigger problem.

Keep your head (get it?), Eris. Remember that ‘fic “Voting for Obama.”

Making pretty people make out

Wrote this on Tumblr:

I wasn’t into writing or reading fanfiction for a very long time, so I had taken the content of my Fanfiction.Net account down a long time ago, and also stopped going to the site.

When I thought of going back, I remembered that officially you aren’t allowed to post Erotica/Explicit fanfiction on there. Considering like half of the things I write fit that description, but I still have a goody-two-shoes nature of not flouting rules (even though I used to post that sort of thing back in the day), I didn’t kickstart the old account.

Or LiveJournal, for that matter. I thought original fiction and nonfiction would be my future, anyway. Why go back to fanfiction? What would be the point?

You end up forgetting how much content is on Fanfiction.Net, and how much is good, or not good, and how much is/was on LiveJournal (no new content, now), while the interface on Archive of Our Own is the most appealing, now. But honestly I haven’t read any in a very, very long time, from any fandom. I idly put in a request for an account on AO3 because I started writing fanfiction again, and then got the email saying I now had one. It kind of leaves you wondering, if you’re not really engrossed in fandom or anything, trying to promote yourself, participating/reviewing things on FF.Net, why restart an old FF.Net account?

So I dunno if putting my old ‘fics on AO3 is weird or something people do. You can back-date things, I noticed, and organize them in such a way I don’t recall you being able to do on FF.Net. You don’t have to upload documents of your own, merely copy-paste content. Then again, maybe having a crush on a website’s interface is as goofy as having a crush on a fictional character.

I wonder if perhaps fanfiction, as a genre of writing, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. My friend recently made a very convincing argument – one of many – that not only is the practice illegal, it is also lazy. Well, yes, of course it’s lazy. But no, he said. It’s incredibly lazy. To the point of disgusting him, considering he is a fan of good fiction. If the writer must rely on someone else’s writing, and then the reader must rely upon knowledge from that original writer in order to understand the references in the new writer’s writing…I dunno, he phrased it much more eloquently. He said fanfiction loses the most important thing about writing fiction – characterization. You are not developing characters or stories. You are also not explaining or exploring the background of these characters or settings. I noted that what I do, personally, is write snapshots in time, so to speak. And that’s what many people who write fanfiction do as well. He said it’s still not a good form of fiction. It just bugs him. And bugs many people, duly. I commented/confessed that yes, most fanfiction is just like playing with Barbie dolls, in a way. You take two pretty characters and you make them “make-out.” It’s a simplification, considering I have done just that and still managed to make it more complex/nuanced, and so have others, but essentially that’s what I am interested in. Mostly shamelessly, until someone points it out to me. Making pretty people make out.

Mad Queen FTW

So someone wrote a comment on my shit on AO3, which I was very nervous about but also wanting. Anyway, someone on Tumblr was like, “Hey! That was great!” and then someone on AO3, like, broke down exactly what I was trying to convey about the evolution of Jefferson and Regina’s relationship and my interpretation of it, and told me how much they loved it and how heartbreaking it was. ❤

Tumblr and the Mad Queen

Took to writing about television and movies on Tumblr, because that’s where it’s at. Mostly teenage girls, but regardless, everyone clusters over there for fandom-type things. I think I wrote somewhere, too, that professionals cluster on Tumblr. It’s pretty much THE hippest website out there, if you think about it, for posting media like photographs and artwork. At least, in the same manner as a Twitter feed. Not anything to compile an archive with, or anything, where it’s easy to navigate from entry to entry, but certainly easy to share, by “reblogging,” and “liking,” which they do on Twitter and Facebook. Social media, which sucks us in so powerfully it’s startling to me, even to this day.

In the dark, during the hurricane, it was a relief to get away, but then again, I was still wrapped in fictions, wracking my brain writing a story. I edited and re-edited the story today and yesterday, which is pretty lame and kinda sad. I don’t think other people would like it. I know it’s not “in character.” I don’t know how to still convey what I wanted to convey without stomping on canon – that foolish restriction that comes with playing with other people’s copyrighted work. You can make your own characters do what you want.

Other people’s characters – their thoughts are mere speculation. I know that in canon, Regina wouldn’t let herself be seen as vulnerable in front of Jefferson. If they fucked, it would be impersonal. Fun. A challenge. A sort of contest, competition, struggle for control. If anything, she’d pull him apart, leave him broken and hating her, because that’s what we see, so far, in the show. (Of course I’m talking about that ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time.) 

It’s heavily implied that once she lets go of Daniel, realizes he’s lost to her, truly deceased, that she begins to unravel – old Regina is buried, replaced by a vindictive dictator that would go on to manipulate herself into power, wearing a mask of compliance until she had the opportunity to kill her husband and send a huntsman after her step-daughter. We know this about Regina’s past, from all the Lost-style flashbacks over last season and this season. All we know about Jefferson is he’s shattered in the present, and he was once haughty and kind of an asshole in his youth. Anything in between is pure speculation, at this point, and because Regina is one of the five main characters, we see all of her, and her development. Her origins and how she’s evolved.

“Evil is not born, it’s made.”

For about five minutes, we see a naive Regina put her faith in Jefferson, despite the fact he’s a brusque businessman who feigns sympathy so obviously it’s shocking she doesn’t notice. But this is an origin story, after all. Of Regina’s final push into evil queen territory. Of their relationship, if we get to see anymore of their history together. In the final scene of the episode, she kills a woman in cold blood, to the giddy delight of her tutor Rumpelstiltskin. Like two flashbacks earlier, she’s crying over her dead boyfriend, crumbling with the agony of crushed hopes. She’d been hugging onto Jefferson in fear of Victor’s lightning just a second ago. (BTW, worst fake-out ever. Victor spent like two seconds pretending to resurrect Daniel. You’d think he and Jefferson would put a little more effort into the act, but Regina saw what she wanted to see.)

It came out and nags at me, that she’d still be uncertain about her evil-queen-ness just after this incident. But Rumpel cheerily tells Victor and Jefferson they successfully helped him make his monster (Victor Frankenstein objects to people saying he’s created a monster back home; he’s just trying to resurrect his own brother, or at least he thinks he is) and sends them on their way. Victor gets his heart, Jefferson gets his money, and Rumpel gets Regina.

Regina swans in and kills the girl. And maybe she’d still fuck Jefferson anyway, for fun, but in my story she worries, throughout internal monologue, that this rebound sex (Leopold doesn’t count) will crack her mask. I partly wrote it because it’s happened to me in real life, and partly because they wear dual identities in Storybrooke, anyway. Everyone there tells Jefferson he’s insane, that he’s imagining the 28 years repeating over and over and over, with only subtle differences and fake backstories. No one aging, until Emma walks into town.

Regina could swan in and confuse him. She’s a lawyer. She’s a sorceress. He’s had a mental breakdown. Or…he’s had a mental breakdown in another universe, in Wonderland. She broke him and he had to slowly patch himself back together, unsuccessfully, because no one understood or believed him. An even worse fate, he thinks, than anything else that she’s done to him.

So it’s such a delight to see him so very, very different when the two of them were young. Sebastian Stan is the hammiest fucking ham in the show, after Robert Carlyle, but it works, I think, even though I cringe a little at it. He’s a smarmy fake, and that’s the point. So if anyone could get into young!Regina’s pants, it would probably be him. In the present, it seems obvious they used to fuck. I hate that few others see it.

I don’t know why we hope for non-canon pairings to be canon so badly. For one thing, about every fan – mostly lesbians; some straight, I believe? – slashes Emma and Regina. They find the pairing undeniably obvious, but I never saw it. Yes, I saw the slashy vibe, but I don’t slash them, myself. I don’t know if it’s because they’re women, or because I honestly don’t see it. I think it’s because they’re women, and I’m a straight woman, because if it was a man and a woman, or two men, I’d probably be ‘shipping/slashing it as loudly as anyone else.

It IS a relief that this show has strong female characters who pass the Bechdel Test. But that’s par for the course in an adventure show, where there are much more dire things at stake than your love life. One romantic comedy that passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors was Bridesmaids, which was refreshing as ever. (It also had people shitting in sinks, and they were women, and they could be as crude as any guy from the Hangover.) It was about female friendship. And Once Upon a Time is about female friendship and family. Sure, Snow White spends most of her time running around trying to find her husband, but she also spends most of her time running around trying to fight evil. Trying to survive. Trying to find justice. Her daughter, grandson and husband, her friends and her kingdom, all take turns in her heart, as her priorities. Snow White is a strong woman. Mary Margaret spent a lot of time whinging over David, but in her flashbacks, she didn’t always need him. She fell in love with him, not because he awakened her with a kiss, but because he was there fighting by her side during the years before it.

Or maybe Snow White just whines about her man. I dunno. But Emma and Regina fight over their son, and Regina’s hold over the community, and her schemes against Mary Margaret, and her general evil attitude. Emma and Regina, if they were men – their slashiness would be obvious to me because of that tired trope of Foe-Yay. I’m a straight woman, so I see two straight women duking it out.

I will admit that Emma wants to see some good in Regina, but it’s next to impossible. It is impossible to feel sympathy for her, I have Jefferson say, in my fanfic’s narration. Others start to feel it, though, and see behind her carefully constructed mask. Archie does. Now David does. Henry may, in the future, if she treats him better and stops bullshitting him. Stops trying to force her love, buy her love, and merely nurture that familial love her neglected son always needed. Stop lying to him. Even Victor did something selfless for her, out of a stupid notion that lost him his arm. I’m sure he’ll go back to hating her again, especially since he got his arm ripped off.

Ugggggh, this show makes me want to tear my hair out, just like Lost used to. A part of me wants to marathon through Season 1 again, but then that blush would rise to my cheeks and I’d feel embarrassed, like I always do, about the fanfiction I wrote. Which is strange, because plenty people write playfully bad fanfiction and they don’t get worked up about it. They have “real” writing to do, elsewhere. Essays. News reports. Press releases. Research papers. Advertising copy.

We know how they first met, and we know how he first fooled her into trusting him. But what was their relationship like after that? And why do I care so much? The Mad Hatter is kinda douchey, though you do feel sorry for him. So sorry for him, until that cathartic moment he’s reunited with his daughter. His story has come full circle – leaving his daughter in EF (“You don’t abandon family”), because he had to do one. last. favor. for Regina. Trapped in Wonderland and driven crazy, trapped in Storybrooke and convinced he’s sick, counting the hours until he either got his old life back or died.

Some people wonder if, perhaps, it was karma, that the smarmy conman tricking a young Regina for money would end up so undone by the evil sorceress he unwittingly helped create. But that’s not really fair. The responsibility for how she turned out rests on Cora and Rumpelstiltskin. Victor and Jefferson just did as they were told. They couldn’t even conceive what Regina would become. It’s not fair to think they should be punished so harshly for it. But it’s kinda funny, in a twisted way, that Jefferson was.

I see why they wrote that this season. And perhaps you can stomp your feet and get mad about it – excuse me; angry – but it doesn’t not fit him.

This crush is embarrassing. This ‘ship is embarrassing. I wish I could feel like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but mostly I feel like this:

 

 

 

 

 

But remember when we had this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

and then I feel like this:

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, we can wonder about other people’s fictional characters all we want, but I have a feeling I’d have trouble constructing a romance from scratch, anyway. My uncle said if I’m so damn keen on writing erotica, then I should give it a shot doing my own Fifty Shades, because me and half the Internet would do such a better job, and now that it’s acceptable, people would eat it up.

I have this inability to write PWP. Or to separate sex from emotion. Not from love, necessarily, but from infatuation, certainly. I can’t really see any of these characters in Once Upon a Time not caring, inside, about what they’re doing. Blah blah blah, Regina is an awful person with a cold heart. Yeah, I know. But we know her Achilles Heel was Daniel, blah blah blah. If you won’t let me have her feel conflicted over fucking Jefferson, then give me some great PWP with none of that. But I recently read the greatest PWP to ever grace my screen in years, and still, in internal monologue, the two of them had thoughts about what it was like before they were so hateful. Blah blah blah, being a ‘shipper is messed up and so…