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Hermione Granger has had to accept a lot of weird shit since she turned 11.

Magic: real.

Witches and wizards: real.

Dragons: real.

That is a lot to swallow, which is why it always bewilders me that when Luna Lovegood comes up to tell her about Crumpled-Horned Snorkracks, Hermione’s first reason is to scoff that they’re not real.

When Hermoine was ten, she knew magic wasn’t real.

When Hermione was thirteen she knew Voldemort would not rise again.

When Hermione was fourteen she knew the Ministry of Magic was a force for good.

Why, as readers, are we supported to treat her assertions as anything but complacency and narrow-mindedness? There is nothing about a Crumple-Horned Snorkrack that makes it any less believable than, say, Quintapeds or Billywigs. They are all invented for Harry Potter and Hermione has never seen them, but she believes that exist because what? They’re written about in a book? The same books approved by the Ministry that is shown to be so very broken in that exact same book?

This isn’t an attack on Hermione Granger, btw, it’s an attack on a particular flaw in world building I call ‘A Very Specific Level of Disbelief.’

In short, this happens when the author or creator asks the reader to suspend their disbelief on a certain thing, than asks then to exercise skepticism on something very similar or identical to the original objects of suspension of disbelief. The result in jarring and confusing, and can result on losing the atmosphere of the story because why are we questioning this thing and not this other thing?

I’m a huge fan of the Blake and Mortimer series of French BD. However, it runs up against this problem in a big way with L’Affaire du Collier, a straightforward locked room mystery that comes right on the heels of books that included, among other things: ancient Egyptian magic, mind control rays, weather control devices, a time machine and the lost city of Atlantis.

Dude, it’s not an Enigma if you give it away in the bloody title.

After all that, all I could think while reading the book was why the main characters weren’t considering a teleportation device or a ray that can let you walk through walls or the aforementioned time machine. It would be entirely within the series’ tone and structure. But in fact there is nothing weird and it’s a straightforward heist that still stands out among the series as being the one of the only non-weird science installments. 

(One had flying saucers and time travel and raising people from the dead in the same episode. Yes, I will one day write a series of reviews covering these books. They’re crack).

And rainbows, because why the fuck not that this point?

Similarly, the world of Fallout asks us to accept that radiation is basically magic in that world. Okay, that’s cool. Yet that the same time asks us to dismiss the Children of the Atom who worship radiation as a god as stupid cultists. I was playing through Far Harbour yesterday and it struck me how much sense the Fallout world would make if their assertions were completely true. 

It would explain the various levels of weird science throughout the series and frankly the idea of a god of radiation rising through mass sacrifice of billions of beings is just so epic that my character converted to the Church of Atom on the spot and I’m thinking of modifying his character to give him an awesome Atom tattoo.

This woman has lived over 200 years because of radiation but worshipping it? How silly.

That being said, there are ways of showing a certain interpretation of the story’s lore is wrong without asking up to bend out suspension of disbelief into prezels. 

The trick is the old adage of show, not tell. Don’t assume the reader is just going to agree with you that said thing is impossible, show them why it is impossible. If Blake and Mortimer had explored the idea of a teleportation beam and decided it was impossible, we would feel a lot more centered in the story.

JKR actually pulls it off very well with Hermione’s disbelief of Divination. She is originally open to the subject, but after it is amply demonstrated to both her and the audience that Trelawney is a fraud, we come to the same decision as Hermione.

It also helps if the thing we are supposed to doubt in is very different from the original focus of our suspension of disbelief. For example, Star Trek wants us to accept their tech babble as actual reliable science. Asking up to disbelieve the existence of magic, therefore, is fine. Asking us to dismiss the existence of techno babble that allows people to turn others to toads, however, would be harder.

So, show not tell. If you want us to doubt the existence of unicorns, don’t start off by asking us to believe in dragons.
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Honestly, I have to say I'm not surprised, and not particularly excited either. Over the last few years we've seen an emergance into the mainstream for fic writers, and the mainstream has been trying to tap our demographic for a while. This is just the latest incarnation of trying to make money off of fic writers. Remember the whole LotR fiasco when an archive site started charging a few years back? This is just more of the same.

The problem is that various entrepreners are eyeing the fanfic community and thinking 'here is a prime bunch of people with their hobbies, and no one is making any money out of it, if I can be the one to make fanfic start paying, I will be rich.'

And they'd be probably right, but I'm not sure Amazon has cracked it yet either. Most likely case scenario is that they'll be inundated with the worst from the Pit of Voles because I can speak from experience that the people who think their fanfic is teh awesome and totally publishable are sixteen years old and can barely spell.

Again, speaking from experience. Those were dark days.

And the more talented fanfic writers tend to be those more deeply imbedded in the community and thus less likely to want people to pay for their fic. There's a sort of honour system at play. It's also the reason why Katie Forsythe doesn't get paid for her writing, even though she really really really deserves to be.

For me personally it's a bit irrelevant, the only thing I'm writing at the moment is Fic From Hell, and there is no way I'm making the people at Amazon read that. That fic is too hardcore for anyone but kinkememe graduates and long-term dwellers of Ao3.
skull_bearer: (Skull Bearer)
But I am starting to think I AM a New years Resolution. For something. Somewhere. Nothing else can explain why I am writing The Fic From Hell. Something has it's New Year's Resolution to have me write that fic.

oh god no help
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2 – Name the fandoms you've written in, and how much you've written in that fandom, and if you still write in it.

Harry Potter: 23 fics. I covered this in the last one, it was fun, I had fun, but the book finally broke me from my love of them, and while no longer a bitter ex-fan. It'll be a while before I can really consider writing in it again.

Elric: Okay, that one was weird, but then it's Elric so weird is de jour. Two fics, one a poem, both short. Not much to write in that series because after Stormbringer it was all wrapped up cleanly (if not happily) and I've sort of wandered away from the series. I still love it, and Elric is brilliant, but I have no urge to write in it any more.

Warhammer: That was even worse. Don't wanna talk about it. I was way too warped.

Dragonlance: *sigh* I don't know, I really don't any more. It's been seven years and a wordcount so huge I can't even estimate it. I&E is not finished, but I've lost a lot of the love that was carrying me through this series. Raistlin and Dalamar are sweethearts, but... Arg, I don't know. I may come back to it someday, and probably will add a few chapters on, but it's just not holding me any more. Maybe I'll just write a happy ending to tie it all off and keep everyone happy, and leave it at that.

House MD: A bit like Harry Potter, only less so. I liked the series, I wrote a fic or two. The series got shit and I lost any reason to care for the fuckers passing themselves off as the characters, and left the fandom. The End.

X-men: :3 Love. So much love. Weird that I got in during the film that was the series' death knell for a while, X-3. Hated it, but Magneto was hot and Xavier and him were so fucking and then I read Renata's Evolution and wheee- I was gone. Past Tense was born. I toddled along for a whiole because that story was eating me up, but when it was done and I saw no one was really reading it I kinda lost heart. It didn't help that I knew where it was going and it no longer had any surprises for me. So I let it lag, wrote some original fic, and then First Class came out and whee- the rollercoaster was on again and the fandom exploded. Hence the fics.
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2 – Name the fandoms you've written in, and how much you've written in that fandom, and if you still write in it.

Harry Potter: 23 fics. I covered this in the last one, it was fun, I had fun, but the book finally broke me from my love of them, and while no longer a bitter ex-fan. It'll be a while before I can really consider writing in it again.

Elric: Okay, that one was weird, but then it's Elric so weird is de jour. Two fics, one a poem, both short. Not much to write in that series because after Stormbringer it was all wrapped up cleanly (if not happily) and I've sort of wandered away from the series. I still love it, and Elric is brilliant, but I have no urge to write in it any more.

Warhammer: That was even worse. Don't wanna talk about it. I was way too warped.

Dragonlance: *sigh* I don't know, I really don't any more. It's been seven years and a wordcount so huge I can't even estimate it. I&E is not finished, but I've lost a lot of the love that was carrying me through this series. Raistlin and Dalamar are sweethearts, but... Arg, I don't know. I may come back to it someday, and probably will add a few chapters on, but it's just not holding me any more. Maybe I'll just write a happy ending to tie it all off and keep everyone happy, and leave it at that.

House MD: A bit like Harry Potter, only less so. I liked the series, I wrote a fic or two. The series got shit and I lost any reason to care for the fuckers passing themselves off as the characters, and left the fandom. The End.

X-men: :3 Love. So much love. Weird that I got in during the film that was the series' death knell for a while, X-3. Hated it, but Magneto was hot and Xavier and him were so fucking and then I read Renata's Evolution and wheee- I was gone. Past Tense was born. I toddled along for a whiole because that story was eating me up, but when it was done and I saw no one was really reading it I kinda lost heart. It didn't help that I knew where it was going and it no longer had any surprises for me. So I let it lag, wrote some original fic, and then First Class came out and whee- the rollercoaster was on again and the fandom exploded. Hence the fics.
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An article on fanfiction by someone with an actual brain. Granted, it's the same people who made Hitler man of the year, so maybe we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate... (no, we will never let you live that down).
skull_bearer: (Default)
An article on fanfiction by someone with an actual brain. Granted, it's the same people who made Hitler man of the year, so maybe we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate... (no, we will never let you live that down).
skull_bearer: (Default)
... Either I'm a far better writer than I knew, or these people have been horrendously failed by Higher Education History.

You know, I'm feeling a lot more positive about this Holocaust Studies shtik.
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... Either I'm a far better writer than I knew, or these people have been horrendously failed by Higher Education History.

You know, I'm feeling a lot more positive about this Holocaust Studies shtik.
skull_bearer: (Default)
I want to write something for X-Men First Class, I have no bunnies. People of the internet! Send me your bunnies! Please not too much crack, AU is great (duh), Charles/Erik is preferable.

Please, it's hot and boring at this end of the net.
skull_bearer: (Default)
I want to write something for X-Men First Class, I have no bunnies. People of the internet! Send me your bunnies! Please not too much crack, AU is great (duh), Charles/Erik is preferable.

Please, it's hot and boring at this end of the net.
skull_bearer: (Default)

 

The Writer
—Sujata Bhatt

 

The best story of course,
is the one you can't write,
you won't write,
It's something that can only live
in your heart,
not on paper.

Paper is dry, flat.
Where is the soil
for the roots, and how do I lift out
entire trees, a whole forest
from the earth of the spirit
and transplant it on paper
without disturbing the birds?

And what about the mountain
on which the forest grows?
The waterfalls
making rivers,
rivers with throngs of trees
elbowing each other aside
to have a look
at the fish.

Beneath the fish
there are clouds.
Here, the sky ripples,
the river thunders.
How would things move on paper?

Now watch the way
the tigers' walking
shreds the paper.

*chews off own fingers. Today is not a good writing day. I've already got all of Present Perfect mapped out so it's no longer interesting. So I'm just writing and fucking up my own plans because I swear my subconscious has better ideas than I do*
skull_bearer: (Default)

 

The Writer
—Sujata Bhatt

 

The best story of course,
is the one you can't write,
you won't write,
It's something that can only live
in your heart,
not on paper.

Paper is dry, flat.
Where is the soil
for the roots, and how do I lift out
entire trees, a whole forest
from the earth of the spirit
and transplant it on paper
without disturbing the birds?

And what about the mountain
on which the forest grows?
The waterfalls
making rivers,
rivers with throngs of trees
elbowing each other aside
to have a look
at the fish.

Beneath the fish
there are clouds.
Here, the sky ripples,
the river thunders.
How would things move on paper?

Now watch the way
the tigers' walking
shreds the paper.

*chews off own fingers. Today is not a good writing day. I've already got all of Present Perfect mapped out so it's no longer interesting. So I'm just writing and fucking up my own plans because I swear my subconscious has better ideas than I do*

Note

Jun. 15th, 2011 06:13 pm
skull_bearer: (Default)
Build me the horizon.w

Note

Jun. 15th, 2011 06:13 pm
skull_bearer: (Default)
Build me the horizon.w
skull_bearer: (Default)
Now I only have 2 chapters left of AIoM to write, I'm starting to wonder what I'll do next. I've had a few ideas bouncing around, some sci-fi, some fantasty, even a sequel to AIoM. I think it'll be the fantasy I'll go for next, for two reasons, first, as much as I love Mirek and Johannes, I'd like to hang around with some others for a while, and secondly, with my acceptance into Royal Holloway, I'll probably have enough Holocaust stuff to fill the Olympia stadium, and will want something else.
Cut for weirdness and possible I&E spoilers )
skull_bearer: (Default)
Now I only have 2 chapters left of AIoM to write, I'm starting to wonder what I'll do next. I've had a few ideas bouncing around, some sci-fi, some fantasty, even a sequel to AIoM. I think it'll be the fantasy I'll go for next, for two reasons, first, as much as I love Mirek and Johannes, I'd like to hang around with some others for a while, and secondly, with my acceptance into Royal Holloway, I'll probably have enough Holocaust stuff to fill the Olympia stadium, and will want something else.
Cut for weirdness and possible I&E spoilers )
skull_bearer: (Default)
Crawled a little closer to finishing AIoM. Fingers crossed it'll be done by December, or at least January 25th ;-). Today was writing down in longhand in my notebook a summary of everything I'd written so far so I could reference it while brainstorming what to put into the blank months between October 7th (Sonderkommando rebellion, pretty much last mass killings in Birkenau) and late January in which everything that's left (which isn't much) hits the fan and the story's all over bar the epilogues. I've already written October, and I know exactly what's happening in January, but I'm left with this kind of limbo between the two in which nothing really happens and there's nothing for Mirek to do except scrounge food, dodge guards, dismantle barracks and try not to get deported just yet.

Oh well, I'm up to 86,000 words now.

In other news, I now have an ebook reader, it's actually a sony, which is more flexible and has touchscreen, and finally won me over and never mind the Kindle.

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