May. 31st, 2017

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Igel, designed by ekaterina lukasheva, 30 units

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Writing and reading fanfic is a masterclass in characterisation. 

Consider: in order to successfully write two different “versions” of the same character - let alone ten, or fifty, or a hundred - you have to make an informed judgement about their core personality traits, distinguishing between the results of nature and nurture, and decide how best to replicate those conditions in a new narrative context. The character you produce has to be recognisably congruent with the canonical version, yet distinct enough to fit within a different - perhaps wildly so - story. And you physically can’t accomplish this if the character in question is poorly understood, or viewed as a stereotype, or one-dimensional. Yes, you can still produce the fic, but chances are, if your interest in or knowledge of the character(s) is that shallow, you’re not going to bother in the first place. 

Because ficwriters care about nuance, and they especially care about continuity - not just literal continuity, in the sense of corroborating established facts, but the far more important (and yet more frequently neglected) emotional continuity. Too often in film and TV canons in particular, emotional continuity is mistakenly viewed as a synonym for static characterisation, and therefore held anathema: if the character(s) don’t change, then where’s the story? But emotional continuity isn’t anti-change; it’s pro-context. It means showing how the character gets from Point A to Point B as an actual journey, not just dumping them in a new location and yelling Because Reasons! while moving on to the next development. Emotional continuity requires a close reading, not just of the letter of the canon, but its spirit - the beats between the dialogue; the implications never overtly stated, but which must logically occur off-screen. As such, emotional continuity is often the first casualty of canonical forward momentum: when each new TV season demands the creation of a new challenge for the protagonists, regardless of where and how we left them last, then dealing with the consequences of what’s already happened is automatically put on the backburner.

Fanfic does not do this. 

Fanfic embraces the gaps in the narrative, the gracenotes in characterisation that the original story glosses, forgets or simply doesn’t find time for. That’s not all it does, of course, but in the context of learning how to write characters, it’s vital, because it teaches ficwriters - and fic readers - the difference between rich and cardboard characters. A rich character is one whose original incarnation is detailed enough that, in order to put them in fanfic, the writer has to consider which elements of their personality are integral to their existence, which clash irreparably with the new setting, and which can be modified to fit, to say nothing of how this adapted version works with other similarly adapted characters. A cardboard character, by contrast, boasts so few original or distinct attributes that the ficwriter has to invent them almost out of whole cloth. Note, please, that attributes are not necessarily synonymous with details in this context: we might know a character’s favourite song and their number of siblings, but if this information gives us no actual insight into them as a person, then it’s only window-dressing. By the same token, we might know very few concrete facts about a character, but still have an incredibly well-developed sense of their personhood on the basis of their actions. 

The fact that ficwriters en masse - or even the same ficwriter in different AUs - can produce multiple contradictory yet still fundamentally believable incarnations of the same person is a testament to their understanding of characterisation, emotional continuity and narrative. 

So I was reading this rumination on fanfic and I was thinking about something @involuntaryorange once talked to me about, about fanfic being its own genre, and something about this way of thinking really rocked my world? Because for a long time I have thought like a lawyer, and I have defined fanfiction as “fiction using characters that originated elsewhere,” or something like that. And now I feel like…fanfiction has nothing to do with using other people’s characters, it’s just a character-driven *genre* that is so character-driven that it can be more effective to use other people’s characters because then we can really get the impact of the storyteller’s message but I feel like it could also be not using other people’s characters, just a more character-driven story. Like, I feel like my original stuff–the novellas I have up on AO3, the draft I just finished–are probably really fanfiction, even though they’re original, because they’re hitting fanfic beats. And my frustration with getting original stuff published has been, all along, that I’m calling it a genre it really isn’t. 

And this is why many people who discover fic stop reading other stuff. Once you find the genre you prefer, you tend to read a lot in that genre. Some people love mysteries, some people love high-fantasy. Saying you love “fic” really means you love this character-driven genre. 

So when I hear people be dismissive of fic I used to think, Are they just not reading the good fic? Maybe I need to put the good fic in front of them? But I think it turns out that fanfiction is a genre that is so entirely character-focused that it actually feels weird and different, because most of our fiction is not that character-focused. 

It turns out, when I think about it, I am simply a character-based consumer of pop culture. I will read and watch almost anything but the stuff that’s going to stick with me is because I fall for a particular character. This is why once a show falters and disagrees with my view of the character, I can’t just, like, push past it, because the show *was* the character for me. 

Right now my big thing is the Juno Steel stories, and I know that they’re doing all this genre stuff and they have mysteries and there’s sci-fi and meanwhile I’m just like, “Okay, whatever, I don’t care about that, JUNO STEEL IS THE BEST AND I WANT TO JUST ROLL AROUND IN HIS SARCASTIC, HILARIOUS, EMOTIONALLY PINING HEAD.” That is the fanfiction-genre fan in me coming out. Someone looking for sci-fi might not care about that, but I’m the type of consumer (and I think most fic-people are) who will spend a week focusing on what one throwaway line might reveal about a character’s state of mind. That’s why so many fics *focus* on those one throwaway lines. That’s what we’re thinking about. 

And this is what makes coffee shop AUs so amazing. Like, you take some characters and you stick them in a coffee shop. That’s it. And yet I love every single one of them. Because the focus is entirely on the characters. There is no plot. The plot is they get coffee every day and fall in love. That’s the entire plot. And that’s the perfect fanfic plot. Fanfic plots are almost always like that. Almost always references to other things that clue you in to where the story is going. Think of “friends to lovers” or “enemies to lovers” or “fake relationship,” and you’re like, “Yes. I love those. Give me those,” and you know it’s going to be the same plot, but that’s okay, you’re not reading for the plot. It’s like that Tumblr post that goes around that’s like, “Me starting a fake relationship fic: Ooooh, do you think they’ll fall in love for real????” But you’re not reading for the suspense. Fic frees you up from having to spend effort thinking about the plot. Fic gives your brain space to focus entirely on the characters. And, especially in an age of plot-twist-heavy pop culture, that almost feels like a luxury. “Come in. Spend a little time in this character’s head. SPEND HOURS OF YOUR LIFE READING SO MANY STORIES ABOUT THIS CHARACTER’S HEAD. Until you know them like a friend. Until you know them so well that you miss them when you’re not hanging out with them.” 

When that is your story, when the characters become like your friends, it makes sense that you’re freed from plot. It’s like how many people don’t really have a “plot” to hanging out with their friends. There’s this huge obsession with plot, but lives don’t have plots. Lives just happen. We try to shape them into plots later, but that’s just this organizational fiction we’re imposing. Plot doesn’t have to be the raison d’etre of all story-telling, and fic reminds us of that. 

Idk, this was a lot of random rambling but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. 

Agree with all of the above. I have abandoned many a cultural property once it “betrayed” my vision of a character or relationship. Because I wasn’t in it for the plot, I was invested in the characters. Plot should be subordinate to characterization, at least to suit my taste.

It also explains to me why Iris Murdoch is my favorite novelist, as her books are far more about the characters’ and their interpersonal dynamics than any kind of plot.

Seconding so hard, up to and including the commentary on Iris Murdoch!  I’d add Connie Willis to the list of novelists whose works are so character-driven that they remind me of fanfiction (while at the same time consisting of diamond-grade, stunningly poetic prose).  I’ve long believed that I fell into writing this genre because many of the first novelists to whom I was exposed wrote primarily character-driven narratives; they showed me how it was done, and then I sought out the place I could best replicate that effect. 

In my published-writing life, I’m far more of a poet than a fiction writer, but the small handful of original short stories I’ve bothered to submit and sell have, I’m told, more than a little in common with the work I do in fandom.  I’m usually taking stories already in existence (historical events, mythologies, works of classic modern literature) and transforming them in some way.  Adaptation is as much part of the art of fanfiction as pulling apart and analyzing the clockwork of characterization. 

In this respect, I feel like the art of writing transformative works also has a lot in common with screenwriting, and even with covering songs.  You look at as much canon and para-canon source material as you can, you determine which parts are best suited to the purpose, and then the rest of the sorcery is yours.
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if you’re having a bad day, just watch this video and thank me later. 😍

Credits to @my_aussie_gal on instagram!
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We need to serperate from these demons if we are going to survive

It’s honestly the worst here, the ones out working in the public office buildings…. workers there are informed you can not speak to them, can’t even say thank you if they empty your cubicle trash you are instructed to pretend they’re not there. Like the fuck.

And as many people in this stupid state and city that try to change it or anything it seems to always fall on deaf ears and is met with just outright ridicule.

Angola prison rodeo is such a… Like it’s praised it’s seen as a great thing, if an inmate does wrong the “privilege ” to participate is taken….

Not to mention parts of Angola do not have air conditioners. Think about that Louisiana where is rarely under 100% humidity all the time….. in August summer where tempts at 9am are near fuckomg 100 degrees already…. no a/c

Fuck Louisiana’s idea of justice and police.

there is a reason “Louisiana’s politics is as dirty as their rice” is a saying and it’s not cause it’s cute.

This is an embarrassment and a crime against humanity.
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In which Holt surprises Jake with a visit at the VA, and introduces him to some family… (headcanon that Sam and Ray are related is based on this magnificent fanfic that you all need to read)

more Steve Rogers gifs /// more Jake Peralta gifs /// more Sam Wilson gifs /// more Ray Holt gifs /// all gifs

I used to play Captain America with Gina, when we were kids. She was always Cap, of course, I used to play the sidekick.

This is perfect on so many levels! You gotta check this out, @the-other-sam.

My face at the end of this is Andy Samberg’s face.
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Stunning Fishnet Tights Will Make You Feel Like A Mermaid On Earth

New York based artist Lirika Matoshi creates stunning fishnet tights, that are beautifully embellished with faux flowers, stones, beads. The unique pieces remind us of one of our favorite childhood Disney princesses, Ariel. Rejoice your inner mermaid this summer! Find the collection in her Etsy shop.

View similar posts here!

Keep reading
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Teen Vogue showing what real journalism looks like

America has been reticent to label white male mass shooters as domestic terrorists, and there’s a hesitation from politicians, law enforcement agencies, and society as a whole, to investigate what animates the brutal actions of these attackers, who are mostly white and male, and whose actions are often rationalized.

In America, where antiterrorist thought has ruled the century, a citizen’s safety faces far greater risk due to texting while driving or tripping down the stairs than being killed by a foreign-born refugee jihadist. Women in America face more danger from their husbands than they do a Muslim terrorist. In America, where predominantly white and predominantly male antigovernment militias rank as law enforcement’s most prevalent threat, according to a 2015 report, law enforcement agents face more significant danger from armed white men than Jihadists. Yet here we are, willfully aiming to dismantle any semblance of growing extremist thought, while ignoring the many different forms of radicalization that are resulting in a large swath of vicious behavior.

In America, citizens must grapple with reality. Not only is white male terrorism as dangerous as Islamic extremism, but our collective safety rests in rooting out the source of their radicalization.

Read the full article at

teen vogue constantly kicking goals

Cause a black woman’s in charge
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I wonder if the Star Wars universe has its own version of McDonalds. You know, a fast food conglomerate that somehow manages to pop up *everywhere*, no matter how backwater the planet or the political climate. “Doesn’t matter if you’re Separatist or Republic, Jedi or Sith, Imperial or Rebel, Outer or Inner Rim, you can be sure there’s a Twgly’s down the street ready to serve you delicious, never frozen bantha burgers.”

THERE IS.  It’s called biscuit baron and fugging Admiral Tagge is an admiral becuase his family owns it.

Gallus, I could kiss you and your wealth of SW trivia right now.

Biscuit Baron IM SCREAMING

reminds me of a fast food restaurant I saw in North Carolina called Biscuitville

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Cosmic tiles are treated like pathways. This makes me happy.
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Navy Admiral / Captain Steve as requested on twitter c: 

The ribbon he wears in his hair belonged to a long lost lover, who was lost at sea one stormy night. He spends his days and nights travelling the seas with his crew in search of him  – the man who had stolen his heart those years ago, never giving up – in hopes of finding him once again. 


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