jlh: Seamus and Dean, in uniform, hugging and looking at the viewer (SD Clio)
[personal profile] jlh
Before I go off on an entry filled with weird ego-feelings and the usual bittersweet memories, I'm excited to say that [personal profile] reena_jenkins has recorded a podfic of my Natasha/Pepper story, The Shoes Make the Woman, for the KISSES II podfic fest [community profile] audiofemme is hosting for International Day of Femmeslash! You can also find it here on AO3! Go, go, listen! It's really super good! I am flabbergasted and can barely contain my excitement.

So! I went off to Ascendio last weekend, and it was a blast! Got to spend plenty of quality time with my pal [personal profile] catja_mikhailovic, whom I don't see enough, and roomed with [personal profile] heidi, whom I've been lucky enough to see a whole bunch this year, plus cherished convos with [personal profile] stinaleigh when she wasn't wrangling celebs, [personal profile] bookshop when she wasn't on a panel, and [personal profile] zorb when she wasn't Merlin's Circling it up. Heidi also gifted me with the general hilarity of sharing a suite with two thirteen-year-old boys who mostly wanted to hit each other over the head with a pillow shaped like a giant Duff beer can.

This next bit I'm putting behind the cut because it contains weird egotistical ramblings about fandom. As many of you have noticed (especially those of you who follow me on tumblr) I've been wading in the shallow end of Avengers fandom for some months now, and started writing in April. It's been a lot of fun—I've fallen in with a super nice crew of Clint/Coulson shippers on tumblr and twitter and LJ to some extent, and I've also been writing a bunch of Natasha/Pepper. I'm about to dive into the deep end with [profile] avengers_rbb and [profile] marvel_bang both on my plate for this summer. But you know, new fandom, new people, and I really am kind of shy; it's hard to break in on a conversation that feels like it's been going on for a while. Plus the fandom is enormous, churning out fics at a rate I know I can't keep up with as a reader, and has a number of BNFs who've brought their hundreds of readers over from other fantoms, so it's easy to feel lost. I'm pretty lousy at making a place for myself anyway, and I don't feel like I've found my feet yet.

On top of THAT, I've been feeling lately like I just hate everything I'm writing. It isn't matching what's in my head and it all feels dead and lifeless. I hate first drafts at the best of times, and being surrounded in Avengers by the kinds of people who write really well and really fast hasn't helped. Not to mention that I've been working on previous commitments that aren't Avengers and so aren't a part of the conversation, and the always-tricky idea of moving more and more into femslash all the time where it doesn't feel like there's much community to support me.

K/Mc is still home, of course, but it's a steady warm home, neither up nor down for me, and so serves as a nice backbone to all this change.

And then I show up at Ascendio and, I mean, my serious hard-core Harry Potter fic-writing days were a good seven years ago, even though I did post quite a lot in the past year what with the sequel and all. Yet—and this is an odd thing to say, bear with me—I kept getting the sense that people know who I am, which is super weird, isn't it? Cat and Aja kept giving me shootouts from panels that I wasn't on and I found myself waving from the audience; people were asking me about Seamus/Dean (and is there a resurgence of that? because yes, please) and gosh, even the Harry/Draco people knew me and I don't even write that pairing!

I feel that at heart, I'm a fairly solid mid-list fic writer. If I'm writing in your pairing, you may know me, but if I'm not, you almost certainly don't. I get rec'd here and there which, awesome, but it's not like people are all, "if you only read one fic IT MUST BE THIS ONE" or that killer app of recs, "it will break you in the right ways." My fics aren't going to break anyone. As for my "thoughts on yaoi", sure, I have SJ-ish and other meta thoughts, but they are rarely the sort that get a billion reflags on tumblr or get linked to a lot. I always have a sense of being just slightly out of the slipstream of fandom, not ever really being the thing that people want.

So to have on the one hand people being all over me at Ascendio, and on the other hand not quite hitting it in Avengers, was too drastic a shift for one weekend. I think I have the fandom bends. I'm not really sure where I stand or where other people think I stand or about the quality of my work or the things that I say about fandom or, jeez, any of it. I'm very off-balance at the moment.

Does any of this make sense? Any thoughts or advice would be very, very welcome.

In the meantime I think I might send out an email to some pals to ask for fix cheerleaders for all this stuff I have coming up. I've always been shy about actually talking about what I'm writing—it just seems weirdly egotistical to me, not to see others doing but to do myself; you know, "nobody cares about your rpg character" etc.—but I see lots of folks doing it and maybe it will make me feel better about my first drafts. Hmm. Anyway if anyone has actually read this far and has any interest in that, I would appreciate it!

Date: 2012-07-19 03:53 pm (UTC)
delicatale: (Default)
From: [personal profile] delicatale
(if you don't know, this is ellievolia from Twitter)

I am so, so understanding everything here. I feel the exact same way, and it's like you put the things I've wanted to say for a while down for me. The whole mid-list fic writer, that will never write that ONE FIC everybody has to write...yeah. I get it.

However, for the talking to Avengers people and asking for cheerleading, you shouldn't be afraid to do so! At least not on Twitter, I'm sure people would be more than happy to help. Seems like a good collection of people there =D.

Date: 2012-07-19 05:05 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I am always cheerleading you in my heart! I don't usually volunteer just because I don't know Avengers fandom very well, but I could probably still read a story and get stuff out of it. It's not like I haven't read stories you've written in fandoms I didn't really know and enjoy them in the past!

Re: going into other fandoms...yeah, it's weird. Because you're not a RMS who moves from place to place taking your audience with you, so to an extent every fandom is a brand new place where you're a stranger, even if there are some people who know you from a different place. Besides which, on the net sometimes you don't even know who knows you. There may be lots of lurkers who know who you are that you would never have known about because you never have a good idea of how you come across to other people, you know? I mean, if somebody was discussing the fandom you don't know if you'd be one of the people they'd mention and if so, how they'd mention you.

Are there a lot of fandoms that have that one fic people should read? In H/D fandom there were definitely a few big heavy hitters but none of the other fandoms I've been in worked quite the same as HP, at least not on that level. Avengers seems like it could because it produces so much, but I don't know if it's got the same kind of breakdown of factions all producing the kinds of stories that compete for that.

I sometimes wonder if part of it wasn't that HP was a book series with a long waiting period between a limited amount of books. There are just so many big fics that seem to be about that particular time in the series and they change from book to book.

Date: 2012-07-20 04:17 am (UTC)
verity: willow and tara embrace, from the episode Family (willow + tara (family))
From: [personal profile] verity
*loves*

I never know who knows who I am in the lands of fandom! The internet is so STRANGE sometimes. I hear your confusion.

*hugs*

Date: 2012-07-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ikyoto.livejournal.com
I really liked your describing this set of issues as "fandom bends." You and I may have different personalities, but I really see this as an opportunity to balance getting different things out of different parts of fandom. Being such a notable figure in the HP fandom attests to your ability to be noticed as a productive part of the conversation and author of fic over a period of time, and is a warm place to go back to if you need reassurance. The Avengers is your chance to help build the kind of femslash community that you would like to be a part of. Also Avengers fandom seems like because it is so enduring means you will have as much time as you need to find your place. This kind of growth is frequently painful (I could tell you in person about creative growing experiences/new communities where I frequently ended up in tears), but you are an amazing person with smart insights, so I look forward to hearing about your journey.

Date: 2012-07-22 04:46 pm (UTC)
melodiousb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] melodiousb
That your fics aren't ever the most popular doesn't mean that you're not the best at a certain kind of thing, because I think you are. Sure, sometimes I want to be a little bit broken. But sometimes I want to read something undramatically and realistically positive, and I don't know that anyone does that better than you.

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jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Clio, a vibrating mass of YES!

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