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Amy R.
05 October 2014 @ 03:07 pm
The 2014 hlh_shortcuts Highlander exchange fiction is accepting sign-ups through this Thursday, October 9. Submissions are due December 15.

I won't be playing. I will be watching, reading, and hoping for excellent HL stories! Some extremely talented writers participate. (While this event has no genre limitations, it has historically favored slash, Methos and the final seasons of the series; if those are your favorites, you won't want to miss this game.)

This is the only HL game still in regular operation that I know of.

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Amy R.
21 September 2014 @ 06:53 pm
No mainstream media content specifically relevant to my own dearest fandoms again this week, but I did bump into two essays that I thought could be of general interest fandom-wide:

  • "Can ‘Harry Potter’ Change the World?" by Hanna Kozlowska (The New York Times; September 17, 2014)
    Kozlowska discusses studies in which fiction readers, once exposed to story passages in which the protagonists are treated badly for belonging to a fictional minority group, are later less likely to express hostility toward real minority groups. The experiments in question all used passages from Rowling's novels, but I would presume that the effect, if real, would be easily duplicated with e.g. well-chosen Uncanny X-Men selections and so on. Stories matter! (You and I knew that, even if they didn't.)

  • "The Last Amazon: Wonder Woman Returns" by Jill Lepore (The New Yorker; September 22, 2014)
    Lepore recounts the history of the character as a media property (from her 1941 premiere to the upcoming Dawn of Justice* movie) through the biographies of the people who originally created the Wonder Woman character, the history of the United States and the history of feminism. Even though I knew the bones of Wonder Woman's creation by William Moulton Marston and have read excerpts from her early years, I was still unaware just how deeply, profoundly, blatantly, daringly — and yes, even pow!bam! ludicrously — feminist those early stories were. I learned a lot. Take a look!

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Amy R.
19 September 2014 @ 07:12 am
[personal profile] skieswideopen shared a brilliant idea, which has come as a relief to me for hopes of perhaps successfully holding another FKFicFest again next year.

While the 2014 FKFicFest wonderfully brought us 9 writers re-energizing our favorite characters in 9 bright-new stories, I've been worrying and failure-analysis-ing over declining readership in general and a precipitous drop from the beginning to end of the fest in particular. The first few stories released easily garnered over 100 hits each; the final few stories released just crept over 55 hits each. The 2 most commented-upon stories won 6 unique-reader comments each; 3 got 5; 1 got 4; 3 got 3. Again, there's a distinct bias toward the earliest stories released. And all forms of acknowledgment are down overall from previous years.

I want every FKFicFest writer to be read and to know it, to be appreciated and to feel it!

So I've fretted over whether I'd put the stories in an ineffective order or made impossible matches, or whether we should switch from an over-time release schedule to all-on-one-day. (And of course this year saw the fewest players yet, with all the many possible reasons for that.) Every factor may well have played a role, but the over-time release seemed the most telling. On the AO3, many readers seem to skim the latest "Recent Works" across fandoms only; they don't, naturally, continue scrolling down to discover later releases with earlier dates. I mustered all the FK-specific readers I could with promo posts on other communities and ForKni-L (and here), but it just doesn't compare with those eyes across fandoms. Must we switch to all-on-one-day release? It looked like it.

Then [personal profile] skieswideopen shared her observation that some other ficathons that release stories over time have begun urging their writers to update the publication date from the loading date to the release date on their stories as soon as they're released! This bumps the later stories to their rightful places on that vital AO3 "Recent Works" list, giving every story a fair shot at those cross-fandom eyes. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! I backdated all my own fanfic to its genuine original antique email-list-posting dates (more or less) when I loaded it to the AO3, but it simply never occurred to me to forward-date anything. (Indeed, forward-dating made things invisible on f-lists on LJ back in the day, so I'd learned a lasting lesson to never, ever forward-date.)

So we'll want to consider both of those possibilities — all-on-one-day release, and forward-dating from posting date to release date — if we do decide to play again next year.

(I'll keep fussing about how to improve the rest, but it's very nice to have a way to address that factor, at least.)

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Amy R.
14 September 2014 @ 06:36 pm
Any Forever Knight fans who are also lighthouse lovers reading this?

I read an essay/article in the New York Times today about lighthouses, which reminded me of an FK flashback story idea that I had ages ago — Nick as a nineteenth-century lighthouse keeper on a particularly fog-ridden stretch of the west coast of North America — but, though I did the research (and even visited the model RL lighthouse!), never got around to writing.

Story Structure and Real Historical Figure ConsiderationsCollapse )

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Amy R.
07 September 2014 @ 05:27 pm
I didn't happen see any articles this week that specifically pinged the Forever Knight corner of my fannish imagination, but I did see these three with general fannish implications, and thought that you might be interested in them, too:

  • "From 'Doctor Who' to 'The Leftovers,' TV tries to regenerate the hero" by Jeff Jensen (9/6/14, EW)
    Jensen proposes that the age of the TV anti-hero is ending, and that perhaps we're seeing the dawn of a new age of genuinely good protagonists, who, where they have troubled pasts, have repented their misdeeds and work to repay society for their sins... to put right what once went wrong... to battle the forces of evil... to go where no one has gone before... (I'd so love him to be right!)

  • "Why 1994 Was One of Network TV’s Last Truly Great Seasons" by Josef Adalian (9/2/14, Slate/Vulture)
    The glory days of traditional television, network and syndicated? Adalian makes a strong argument for the 94-95 season. He even mentions that two Treks (DS9 and Voyager) aired simultaneously around that time, though he (not inexplicably, but, you know) fails to mention FK's second season or HL's third. Along with the qualitative comparisons, he offers some eye-opening quantitative comparisons of eyeballs on screens. (The numbers that FK was pulling then, network executives would drool over today.)

  • "The Body and the Spirit" by David Brooks (9/4/14, NYT)
    Regarding the horrific murders by so-called "ISIS" of the US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Brooks reflects on the very particular barbarism of decapitation. I don't mean to belittle this serious reflection by saying that after considering it in what I hope is its proper real-life context, I also then considered what its analysis could mean to Highlander fandom, how we read and write about our characters, as well as how our characters themselves cope within the stories.

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Amy R.
06 September 2014 @ 10:06 pm
(aka What do you call a gen story that sets the stage for a future romance? Anything?)

Is "pre-slash" still a significant genre label, or has it been subsumed into the orientation-agnostic "UST" label? If "pre-slash" is still in wide, active use, did it ever develop a het-specific equivalent? The nuances would be wrong for a precisely mirror term, I realize, as "pre-slash" often applied when building realizations or admissions from subtext rather than text, and het rarely requires foundation-up construction from subtext, but the precise use of words always interests me, and I've seen "pre-relationship" popping up more, too. How similar and how different are all these terms in today's general expectations? Has the emphasis shifted in recent years? Is it still "pre-slash" when the slash is canon?

(I've been reading OuaT, mainly Mulan/Aurora and Hook/Emma, so the question is primarily f/f-inspired now, though past experience with the term was primarily m/m from the sidelines of assorted other fandoms. The term never had wide utility in FK.)

Just curious!

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Amy R.

For the month of August, in Forever Knight, in my corners of social journaling, here are the items that I spotted:

Ficathons, Fests and Communities

  • [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest released 9 all-new FK stories!
  • spook_me, a multifandom horror ficathon, has sign-ups through 9/15, with stories due 10/26. FK is eligible.
  • "Big Bang" games in progress include [community profile] journeystory, [community profile] screenplaystory and [community profile] polybigbang. FK is eligible for all.
  • [community profile] femslashex is an annual multifandom f/f exchange game. FK is eligible, but it looks like nobody requested it.
  • [community profile] fancake, the multifandom fanwork recommendation community, is currently focused on the theme "pining." FK is eligible.
  • [community profile] genprompt_bingo is a multifandom challenge game with gen prompts (fills may or may not be gen). FK is eligible.
  • [community profile] ladiesbingo is a multifandom challenge game for all kinds of relationships between female characters. FK is eligible.


Meta (Discussion, Essays, Etc.)

  • 8/23: [personal profile] pj1228 pointed to FKFicFest and linked to the fest story that LastScorpion wrote for her prompt, and the story that she wrote for Twilight2000's prompt.
  • 8/24: [personal profile] pj1228 noted Lacroix's "Conversion Day" and linked to two commemorative stories she'd written for that anniversary in past years.
  • 9/02: [personal profile] greerwatson described her busy summer holiday at FKFicFest time and mentioned the fest story that I wrote for her prompt.
  • 9/06: [personal profile] greerwatson is looking to coordinate on Yuletide character nominations with anyone else planning to nominate FK.

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Amy R.
02 September 2014 @ 10:38 pm
I often go months without cracking open a ForKni-L digest at this end of history, but luckily I'm still in my [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest-season habit of checking, because today a nice person posted in reply to my last fest announcement from two weeks ago: "I know this is coming late. Thanks to ISP issues. But I want to thank all of the [FKFicFest] writers."

So, writers, please add this to your tally of readers who appreciate all you do in keeping Forever Knight vital for us all! You make the difference!

And, everybody, please remember that you can read this year's fest stories, or stories from all fest years, at any time. (Also: it's never too late for feedback.)

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Amy R.
I self-indulgently did little with my Labor Day weekend Saturday but read fanfic on the AO3 for dearly remembered ~'80s-shows (mostly Saturday-morning cartoons). I wanted the comfort of, first, stories written for shows I'd personally absorbed with my whole imagination, and second, stories written for sheer love of a canceled show's entirety (not in competitive argument over a still-in-production show's evolving direction), and, finally, not to be poked at too much for time passing.

I happily found such stories. What's in this corner of the AO3 seem to be mostly unasked, unrewarded labors of pure fannish love, and the rest written for Yuletide wishes. (Much of the surviving incompetent fanfic for these series probably sits in spiral notebooks in cardboard boxes in storage units, handwritten in childish but practiced cursive. And I know this because... ~grin~) BSG'78, Sailor Moon and RobotechCollapse )

Mostly, though, I spent my self-indulgent fanfic day inside the unforgettable realm of the cartoon Dungeons and Dragons (1983-1985). That was my show in its day, my turn choosing the channel on Saturday morning. (When I first bought the DVD set, I'd promised to loan it to Abby when I finished watching; I dragged my feet about whether and how to approach the unmade finale "radio show" — I have a thing about "closing" a beloved canon — so I hadn't yet shared when she died, and I'm forever sorry about that.) As I mainlined its fanfic yesterday, I noticed that post-unmade-finale is naturally a large percentage of the stories, a fannish touchstone obviously available only once that script became available.

So directly from that post-unmade-finale subgenre and my reading binge, I'd like to recommend "The Good Life" by [ profile] Evidence (PG, ~19K words), as a rich, post-series story from Eric's perspective, with the protagonists back in the real world and suffering appropriate levels and manifestations of PTSD after their three-year struggle for survival in a pseudo-medieval fantasy realm dumped them suddenly back not only into the early '80s US, but into their own three-years-prior bodies. (Imagine suddenly being 15 again in the late twentieth century after reaching 18 on Middle Earth!) I would happily have kept reading that story for many thousand words more, seeing every character in his or her home or school, with parents or siblings or friends.

On the other side of the big subgenre divide is ignoring, overwriting or not knowing the unmade finale. There, I'd like to recommend the 8-story series "The Trial by Existence" by [ profile] astolat (R, ~54K words). It's tagged Venger/Sheila, but if you can give it the leeway of calculating Sheila as at least 18 in the realm by then (otherwise, it's statutory rape on top of everything else; let's be clear and trigger-warned), that element pays off as a full-fledged plot device (not as a mere ship) in an effective, if ingenuous, way (having been responsible for FK's Light Cousins and Faithfuls, I feel that I know an angle like this all too blushingly well). However! That's not the point of the story (or of my recommendation)! What is the point is Eric's growth from cavalier to paladin, from ordinary knight to holy knight. Oh, yes, you can guess how delightfully that pushes my buttons; it is indeed a treat!

Eric as a perspective characterCollapse )

One last thing? Among all the cartoon D&D fanfics I read yesterday, two referred to the characters, on coming back to the real world, buying/using bottled water (one from a grocery store, one in the amusement park). Anachronism! :-) In the '80s, in my part of the US, anyway, you got water from drinking fountains. If you paid money, you got soda pop (or maybe milk). Bottled water meant glass bottles that rich, pretentious adults ordered in restaurants on TV shows (if it meant anything at all; I don't think I'd yet heard of bottled water at that time). In the early '80s, for most of us, there wasn't yet any such thing as natural food, remember; everything was heavily processed and made primarily of unpronounceable chemicals, and that was considered very good, because: science!

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Amy R.
24 August 2014 @ 12:53 pm
While we're anticipating the [community profile] fkcommentfic/fkcommentfic event, I thought I'd note that [ profile] merfilly coincidentally posted two FK ficlets during [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest, one 400 words and the other 275 words.

And home in FKFicFest's 2014 AO3 Sub-collection itself, many stories could still use some love! If you haven't yet, please do take a peek and find just one to enjoy! Across this year's nine FK stories, we saw one crossover, two comedies, three historical flashbacks, two explicit sex scenes, three diverge-from-canon AUs, four police plots, three mistakenly believed deaths, and five assorted approaches to vampires moving on. Uncredited cameos include Stonetree, Miklos, Aristotle and Merlin! We spanned FK's native range from defeated depression to renewed hope.

If you've already read all the stories — good for you! thank you! — here are two articles that I happened to bump into recently that tickled the FK part of my imagination:

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