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24 August 2008 @ 11:16 am
On the Streets with the Caddy, or Thoughts on Prompts  
Several weeks past, I told butterflykiki that I would make this post, with her permission.  I'm just now catching up.

When you think "internal combustion engine" and "FK," the first thing that comes to mind is Nick's Cadillac, right?  And then perhaps one thinks of Nick's motorcycle.  But the list goes on!  Cars and related vehicles are quietly integral to the culture in which present-day FK functions. 

Nick

  • The Caddy (with all its high-maintenance peculiarities like the heater that rarely works, and its ample trunk space, and the way it was sabotaged and crashed in "Dark Knight," and the way Nick gets distracted by years past while driving and says in "Be My Valentine" that it's his favorite way to think, and Vachon's comment on predatory fins in -- what, "Trophy Girl"?)
  • Nick's motorcycle (that he's always working on but never riding)
  • The city bus that Nick wrangles in "Fatal Mistake"
  • Nick drives a jeep in the "Can't Run, Can't Hide" flashbacks
  • Nick takes the keys of the drunk driver in "Blood Money"
  • The police van from which Nick escapes in "Killer Instinct"
  • With everything else different in "Curiouser & Curiouser," has anyone ever speculated that the Caddy might be different, too? What does Nick feel he has denied his car? ;-)


Janette

  • The vehicle driven by someone else from which Janette emerges on her way to Nick in "Cherry Blossoms"
  • The car she's driving in "The Human Factor," in which she and Patrick have apparently been staying


Natalie

  • Natalie's car that gets blown up in "Spin Doctor"
  • Natalie's car that she leaves unlocked in "Fallen Idol"
  • The bad guy insists on taking Natalie's car in "Only the Lonely"
  • The car sacrificed in "Bad Blood" (whose is that? Natalie's? haven't seen that episode in a while)
  • Richard Lambert's car that breaks down in the teaser of "I Will Repay" such that Natalie comes to get him


Schanke

  • Schanke's car that stalls in "The Code"
  • Driving and washing the Caddy in "Close Call"


Stonetree

  • Stonetree drives his own car in "Fatal Mistake"
  • The moving of the tow truck makes Stonetree look guilty in "Fatal Mistake"
  • Fiori abducts Stonetree in a car in "Dead Issue"


Vachon

  • Vachon's general preference for "the roar of the engines" according to Urs in "Black Buddha"
  • Vachon's motorcycle ("Blackwing")


Tracy

  • Tracy drives a light-blue Ford Taurus with "dual airbags, ABS" and "great mileage." Vachon mocks it. ("Black Buddha")
  • Tracy is abducted while changing a tire in "Trophy Girl"
  • The ghost of Susan tries to lure Tracy into the street where she'd be hit by a car


Refuse to Categorize

  • The airplane in "Black Buddha"


Minor Characters

  • "Forward into the Past" includes a car crash and an attempted murder by car exhaust and the big clue is the shape of the car's hood ornament
  • Charles duChamps is murdered in his car in "Blood Money"
  • Tawny Teller and her crew ride along in "Unreality TV"
  • Alex Logan rides along in "Amateur Night"
  • Is Rebecca hitchhiking in that final vision of her in "Dying for Fame"?
  • Jody's helicopters that she can no longer fly in "Blind Faith," also the city bus where Perry scents the killer
  • Monica follows Nick's car in "Feeding the Beast," and her sister murders a man in his car
  • Agnes gets lost among the cars in "If Looks Could Kill"
  • The last Delabar is hit by a car in "The Queen of Harps"
  • The car from which the murdered woman is abducted in the teaser of "For I Have Sinned"
  • The car in which the women are abducted (and whose driver is murdered) in "Dying to Know You"
  • The radio psychiatrist is reached on her car phone in "Dead Air"
  • The murderer abducts the candidate and takes her to City Hall in a car in "Spin Doctor"
  • The Humbar Nurseries van that is the clue in "Only the Lonely"
  • Junkyard full of cars in "Fatal Mistake"
  • An officer doing surveillance is murdered in his car in "Stranger than Fiction"
  • The old don arrives in a car after Lacroix has converted him in "Father's Day"
  • The female officer is murdered in the car in "Capital Offense"
  • A car is used to cover up a crime in "Beyond the Law"
  • The psychiatrist transports her attempted final victim in her red car in "Crazy Love"


It may be worth noting Lacroix's conspicuous absence from this list.  I cannot think of any canonical incidents that place him inside an internal-combustion engine vehicle.  Can you?  Or does he get no closer to them than their radios?

In the first oldschoolfic ficathon, the three prompts I submitted were for FK, HL and Young Blades, all of which I love.  butterflykiki chose the HL prompt and cleverly made an outstanding story of it starring Methos and Tessa (noted here).  "But why didn't she choose the FK prompt?" wailed the FK-first part of my brain.  Well, all other reasons aside, it was a lousy prompt, I've concluded.  "Internal combustion engine," as a prompt, is less intriguing, less inspiring, than any one of the more specific items in the list above, not to mention a number of other things from history and circumstance under that heading alone.

For future prompt construction, I'm taking the lesson that more specificity is better.  Not so much that the recipient feels dictated to, of course, but enough to gather up the tinder before whipping out the lighter.  And also that curious conjunctions -- for example "Urs and Schanke" (nod to wiliqueen) may be inherently more interesting than common ones -- for example "Urs and Screed" -- because they present a problem to be solved.

What do you think of "What if?" questions as prompts?

 
 
 
Havoc: storytime spikedawnhavocthecat on August 24th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
*snerk* I was talking with Kiki about that prompt - after she'd written the HL story - and I was theorizing that if you'd said "road trip," that would'be been the perfect prompt related to internal combustion engines, because it gives just enough of a plot to go off of, without being an outline for a story.

I think some day I need to write up my opinion on the perfect prompt and how to spin it out. There are so many potential prompts out there, and ways to prompt, that it's hard to figure out the best ones until you get a set of them.

I've bewailed many a series of prompts received, actually, and I even tend to run prompts past a friend, almost like a betareader. Weird? But it makes me feel better.
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on September 1st, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
>"There are so many potential prompts out there, and ways to prompt, that it's hard to figure out the best ones until you get a set of them."

Also, I suspect that multi-fandom situations -- especially with sleepy, out-of-production fandoms -- may require different prompts than single-fandom games in a still-in-production universe. Addressing someone currently hip-deep in FK, or someone who loved it fifteen years ago but hasn't often looked back... the prompter needs to propose an idea that can grow well in either kind of soil.

Just something I've been thinking about. I practiced with the open prompts system for the second oldschoolfic ficathon, and I'll keep working at it.
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 25th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
When I read this, especially that marvellous list of internal combustion engines, there was only one "what if" that came into my mind:
"What if" you were inspired to come and help us get Gaylin's FK wiki whipped into shape?
When Susan decided not to continue with Fan History (and her reasons struck me as totally right), Gaylin offered her abortive wiki over at Wikia. Susan looked and nodded—though she's been busy since, and Gaylin promptly went on summer holiday for two weeks. But she's back now, and we're working on it.

Most of the Fan History pages have been ported over, and a lot more done besides. Have a look: Forever Knight wiki.

Seriously, any help you feel you could provide would be much appreciated. I feel as though I've been moving mountains here.

A section on cars, maybe? An essay on the effects of injecting vampire blood into humans? All is grist....
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on September 1st, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
>""What if" you were inspired to come and help us get Gaylin's FK wiki whipped into shape?"

Thank you very much! But I have so many projects in progress, and hobby-time is so difficult to come by, that I don't think I can at this time. Good luck!
greerwatsongreerwatson on September 6th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Excuses, excuses. (sigh) However....

When you do finally get around to updating your "Things" page, pop over and look at the following:
- Nick's passport
- Nick's Social Security card
- Chicago library card
- Driver's permit
Lots more numbers for you. Far too many for me to copy them down here.
tv-elftv_elf on August 25th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
I like the idea of what ifs... It gives a hint without demanding.
Christina K  (jackelope hunter!): Amused & Bemusedbutterflykiki on September 4th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
*just found this again, bah* Heee. See, yes, if you'd said 'car' or 'bus' or yeah, 'road trip', I might have gone 'hmmm' when it was paired with Natalie and Janette, who never got enough screen time together, imo. I am enough of an engineer that 'internal combustion engine' brings up these responses in my brain:

* what fuel does it run on?
* what horsepower are we talking?
* when exactly was it invented for the purposes of our conversation?
* as opposed to horse-drawn carriages, which is better for the environment?
* really, we need to get more electric and hydro cars.
* Ooo, let's look up prices on the MiddleMobile 2!

... which does not get us a story based in FK, I'm afraid. heh.
Amy R.: Nickbrightknightie on September 6th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
>"... which does not get us a story based in FK, I'm afraid. heh."

Not so much. :-) I have a lot to learn about prompts. I like to think I could adequately manage an old-fashioned list challenge, but that's really an entirely different game.

I'll submit "Natalie and Janette / road trip" -- or something similar -- over at the galpalficathon, if someone else doesn't do so first. We'll see what happens. :-)