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10 December 2007 @ 02:19 pm
Random Questions for Writers/Artists  

To all the wonderful writers/artists on my flist - 
I've been hankering for interaction the last few days as a result of my sequestered paper writing. I came up with a few questions I'm genuinely curious about concerning your fics/artwork. 

What is your favorite story you've written and why? 
Your least favorite and why?  
Favorite and least favorite story title?
A memorable line from your fics that you either loved or hated

Feel free to link me, if you're so inclined. 

ETA: Gah, I can't forget about the artists. If you manip, do banners, and/or icons feel free to apply those same questions to your visual work.

To date, my favorite story is Window-Dressing, which should come as no surprise to anyone given how much I talk about it. The impetous for that particular fic was a feedmykink prompt calling for "anonymous sex." Originally, I wanted to write a Spuffy story, but I couldn't really think of a scenario where they would be strangers without it going seriously AU or all-human. I like writing within the borders of canon, so I had to think of a character that Spike had never met before. Faith was the obvious choice. One of my favorite Faith scenes is the dancing scene during "5x5," which I thought was particularly appropriate given that Spike meets Buffy for the first time when he sees her dancing at the Bronze. What I liked most about this fic was the alternate endings. I knew I wanted to do them when I first thought of the idea, and I had a lot of fun generating the two plausible "what if" scenarios. Not to mention that Spike and Faith are hot, so writing the sex was a blast. They both are crude and violent, so I didn't have to hold myself back with them. And they both have very distinct ways of talking, which made writing their dialogue much easier for me. And I really, really got into writing Faith. Getting into her tragic, twisted, sad headspace was a fantastic writing exercise, and I really liked the direction I took her. The fic was a real process. It didn't come easily like some of my other fics, so I feel like the quality of it was really earned. My beta wasn't crazy about it initially, so before I posted I added about another 1000 words on the fly to further flesh out Faith's internal state, which I think the story truly benefited from.  

My least favorite fic is Your Vacant Eyes. That fic was also written based on a prompt, in which I had to highlight Giles. Old Rupert is not someone whose dialogue comes easily to me. It feels very unnatural. Generally, I'm able to get into the mental process of female characters much more easily, which is why (for many reasons) I write het. My idea for this ficlet was somewhat half-baked, and I was working on a deadline to churn it out, which never makes for good writing. Initially, I only wanted to write the bit about he and Jenny, but the challenge required more than 750 words, hence the tacked on second part which never flowed as well as the first. Also, the POV style really isn't my fortay. 

Although I really like the title Window-Dressing, Drive it Home takes the cake for favorite title. I like to do plays on words or concepts in my titles, and this one achieves it the best. The working title for the fic was "Bound," but I found that to be too pedestrian, and started listing words that I associated with the story. "Drive it Home" came to mind because it's a phrase associated with staking a vamp. And oh does Spike get thoroughly staked in that story *G* I also liked it because Buffy drives home a point concerning control and her need for Spike to be on her side and back her up. So, I liked both the meta and action implication of the phrase as it related to the fic. 

Least favorite title has to be Tea for Two. I was eager to post something, no title immediately came to mind, my beta suggested it, and I agreed. It's really straight forward and not too clever, but then they can't all be brilliant  =)

Oh man. Favorite line. There are so many. I take a real care with how I use words and really go for picture painting and visuality in my fics, so that's a toughy. I like having neat, tidy little endings to my fics, so in terms of a really strong concluding line, I'd have to say the final sentence in Beneath Us: "He has sampled any number of emotions in the blood of his victims. Rocking himself back and forth, he realizes, until now, he has never tasted forgiveness."  That's also probably the most commented on phrase in any of my fics, so I'll go with public opinion on that one.  

A funny anecdote about lines in my fic. Occasionally, because I'm a huge dork, I'll give myself little challenges, like working certain words into a fic. For whatever reason, A Tale of Two Cities was on my mind when I wrote Why Won't You Go, so I challenged myself to work the words ballast and grindstone into the story somewhere. I was pleased with the results:

"She used his tattered ego as her grindstone, sharpening her retorts on the anger and pain that flashed across his features with every syllable." 

"But the pleasure that swirled in her groin was her ballast, making her forget, keeping her concentration away from the morbid place she languished in on a daily, hourly, minute by minute, second by second basis."

Shapinglightshapinglight on December 10th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
Interesting post. I'll have a bash at answering it.

What is your favorite story you've written and why?

Brief Encounter, my 1940s historical fic featuring Spike and Darla. I re-read it recently and it needs some small bits of tidying up, but mostly I'm still pleased with it. It just seems to work and to feel authentic.

If we're talking long fics, I like Family Reunion the best, though again, it needs some little bits of tidying. I'm proud of the OCs and still think the plot/characterisation are some of the best I've written.

Your least favorite and why?

Aide Memoire, my Spike and Fred fic. I feel annoyed now about the premise I took - that Spike told Angel what happened that day in Buffy's bathroom and allowed Angel to take revenge on him. I just don't think he'd do that now, and also I should've made it clearer it was a one-time deal and not something they were doing regularly. Plus, there's a Spike POV bit at the end that I'd ditch completely if I re-wrote it.

Just goes to show that you should never write a story just because you were annoyed about something you read another fan saying, which in this case was that Spike wasn't sorry for what he did to Buffy. Ironically, the person who said this read the story and liked it without having the least clue how much she'd annoyed me.

Favorite and least favorite story title?

I don't know if I have a favourite story title. Maybe Vampire Winter because it's a bit different and you can't tell what the story's about from the title. Least favourite - well, Protector is a bit dull and not very appropriate.

A memorable line from your fics that you either loved or hated

I think my favourite is from a very early, very kinky William/Angelus fic, told from Angelus's POV, which ends with the line to break this boy, he had to love you. I like this because I like working in lines from the show and changing them like this.

Edited at 2007-12-10 08:46 pm (UTC)
ClawofCat: darlaclawofcat on December 10th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, I do love Brief Encounter and Family Reunion myself. BE might have been the first fic I read of yours. That and the hilarious Spike vs. Santa Christmas fic. *snorfles* That had me laughing my arse off. I agree with you on the authenticity and wonderful OCs. Both fics have a real sense of time and place, and the details are what really make them. I
don't think I could have waxed on enough about Spike/Errol either. And I love your Darla. No one writes her like you.

Just goes to show that you should never write a story just because you were annoyed about something you read another fan saying
Ah, I do love the story behind a story. How was it a Spike and Fred fic if Angelus was having his wicked, Daddy way with him?

I like working in lines from the show and changing them like this.
Oh, me too. Or having characters mentally reference events, but expanding on their perception of it. That was a great s2 Angelus line.

Thanks for sharing!
Shapinglightshapinglight on December 10th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Ah, I do love the story behind a story. How was it a Spike and Fred fic if Angelus was having his wicked, Daddy way with him?

Oh dear! I didn't write Angelus by mistake, did I?
No, they were two different stories. The Spike and Fred one, Aide Memoire, is set during AtS season 5 whereas the William/Angelus one is pre-series.
darkdreams1222dreamsofspike on December 10th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...interesting questions, all :)

For me my most favorite of all I've written would probably have to be White Magic, because I love Spara, and I love to analyze the power dynamic, emotional and psychological effects of abusive relationships, that sort of thing.

And ironically, my least favorite is Boys and Girls, which can basically be summed up as another version of White Magic, written as my very first fic, before I had much experience and knew how to write very well at all. White Magic basically came about because I hated the sucky job I did on Boys and Girls :P hehe

Favorite Title...hmmm...probably White Magic, just because it applies so well to the effect that Tara has on Spike in the story.

Least favorite title, A Funny Kind of Forgiveness...too wordy, too blah.

Favorite line...hmmmm. For me it's a little mini-scene at the end of Chapter two of my Spillyria fic with TwilightChild, Her Pet...Illyria's been experimenting, learning about sex and human pleasure on Spike. When he let her know he was done for the moment, she knocked him unconscious to keep him from leaving...and this little exchange with Angel followed: :D hehe

She finished pulling Spike's pants up, fastening them so as not to draw the attention of those they might pass in the hall, before easily lifting the unconscious vampire into her arms and heading out the door into the hallway.

She passed Angel, heading toward his office from the deeper part of the building, and the dark vampire did a double take, staring at her with wide, disbelieving eyes.

"Illyria -- what are you doing?" he asked, shaking his head, bewildered.

She looked at him blankly as she replied without hesitation, "I told you. I wish to keep Spike as my pet."

They stood still in the hallway for a long moment, before Angel finally broke the standoff by shrugging casually. "Oh, okay," he replied, before turning and heading off toward his office.

Unhindered, Illyria continued down the hall toward the living chambers near the center of the building, where she spent her nights.

She still had much to learn.

That's prolly my favorite :P
ClawofCat: Sparaclawofcat on December 10th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
White Magic basically came about because I hated the sucky job I did on Boys and Girls.
Wow, that's really cool. Like calling for a do-over! I wrote my first Spara a few weeks ago and really loved working on it. She's such a peach. It's no wonder people like writing her. She brings out the best in all characters =)

Least favorite title, A Funny Kind of Forgiveness...
How ironic! My favorite fic title was the one I wrote for you, and your least favorite was the one you wrote for me. *G*

Favorite line...hmmmm. For me it's a little mini-scene at the end of Chapter two of my Spillyria fic
*snorfle* I remember that line well, and thinking how hilarious it was that Angel just doesn't care and dismisses it. *whistles* Oh, just business as usual at Wolfram & Hart.

Thanks for sharing!
Swayxheartrockx on December 10th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
What is your favorite story you've written and why?
That would be Brothers in Arms. While I like my lengthy AU fics, this is the first lengthy canon fic. It actually has a plot and a nemesis and character developement. I just feel that my other stories were lacking that a bit. So that's probably my fave.

Your least favorite and why?
Relief and Do you trust me?
These are the first English fics I ever wrote. And you can tell. I wasn't quite as "familiar" with the character as I claim to be now. And the English was really bad back then *lol*

Favorite and least favorite story title?
Fave: either Spinning the Wheel or Kill To Get Crimson which technically isn't mine (album title), if that counts.
Least fave: Happy Birthday I like the story but the title is just dull, don't you think? ;)

A memorable line from your fics that you either loved or hated

This is from Brothers in Arms. It's probably my fave because I had it in my head the whole time I wrote the story. Couldn't wait to finally write it down. So yeah... and ain't it beautiful ;)

“Tell me.” His voice was quiet, soft. His gaze met hers, drawing him half a step closer to her. “Tell me again.”

A beat passed between them where she just looked up at him. When she spoke, her voice sounded warm and gentle. “I love you.”

Spike exhaled a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He swayed a little on his feet, and his eyes flickered shut. A slow smile spread on his lips as he was bathing in the sunlight of her words.

When he looked at her again, his eyes were sparkling with an inner light. “And I love you, too.”

eowyn_315eowyn_315 on December 10th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... interesting questions.

What is your favorite story you've written and why?

Haha, I think my favorite story is always my most recent story. Which I guess is a good thing, right? Because I think I'm improving. So, right now it's "Ebbing of the Tide." I kind of surprised myself, because I wrote it in a different style than my usual writing, pretty much unintentionally. I just let the mood dictate the style, and I think it turned out really well.

Your least favorite and why?

I think it's "Other Things the Road to Hell is Paved With." Now that it's finished, I don't hate it as much, but when I couldn't get those last two chapters out, it was the bane of my existence. I just kept thinking of things I wished I'd done differently (like, ended it sooner) and until I finally worked out the ending (by which I mean "wrote a sequel so I wouldn't actually have to wrap anything up"), I felt like I'd written myself into a corner.

Oh, or possibly that unposted duster fic. What kinda crack was I on? lol

Favorite and least favorite story title?

Hmm... favorite is "Shadows of a Brighter Day." I stole it from a song lyric, ironically from my ex-boyfriend's band. He was a huge Buffy fan when we were dating and I totally mocked him for it. I feel like I should call him to apologize.

Least favorite... I don't know. I agonize over titles, so I rarely post something until I've settled on a really good one. I kind of wish I'd mulled a bit more before picking "Ebbing of the Tide" but to this day, I can't think of anything better. Also, "Other Things," while I love the concept behind the title, it's pretty cumbersome.

A memorable line from your fics that you either loved or hated

Oh, lordy. I'll have to think about this one and come back to it. I feel like an actor asked what their favorite line is, and they can't think of any because they've had to memorize about a billion lines. Once I'm finished writing a fic, I mostly forget about it (to the point where I've surprised myself in rereading - "did I write that?"), so I can't come up with one off the top of my head.
Sevensevendeadlyfun on December 10th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
Hrm...Okay. I'll do this, but be warned. The tl;dr will be epic...

My favorite short story that I've written is Erthe Upon Erthe, a gen fic focusing on Spike in the last minutes of NFA. I enjoy taking a look at the characters' "inner lives" and this one, I think, is probably the best one like that I've ever written.

My most favorite long story is A Road Covered With Blood. I wrote this for the Fang Fetish Alternate Universes Challenge and I had such a good time writing it. AU can be so challenging to do well, and I enjoyed making Xander the hero without giving him any powers he didn't have in canon.

My least favorite story is So Late, So Soon. It was supposed to be about Angel redeeming Connor and it went arse over teakettle. I didn't enjoy the whole Connor storyline and I'm not terribly fond of the Connor character in general. So, I probably shouldn't have even gone here. But, I did. Sigh...

I think my favorite title is probably What Dies Inside Us. It's taken from a longer quote by Norman Cousins that says "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live". I still think this fits the fic perfectly and really speaks volumes about the show as whole. If JW showed us anything, it was that death is not the worst thing that can happen.

My least favorite title? Easy. Hostile Fire. This was an FmK request for Shanshu'ed Spike/Angel as Liam and WIlliam with a Riley twist and Riley had to be nice and sweet and protective of them and...yeah. I wasn't really digging it, it was just a self-test to see if I could it. I did, but I didn't enjoy it and the title shows it.

My favorite line? Well, I think all writers are convinced most of their lines are good ones. But, if I had to pick one line it would be from the most recent chapter of Ashes to Ashes, written for the prompt "crawl"...

Buffy is dead and Xander and Spike are having an "affair". Xander's fighting his attraction to Spike and it's taking its toll on him. He's sent Spike away and now Spike is avoiding him. Consequently, Spike is on Xander's mind all the time. So, when Anya mentions that Spike was looking for him....

Oh hi, Spike, Xander thought tiredly. Here I thought I could get through a whole thirty seconds without you showing up. Crawl? How would Sir like his groveling this evening? Medium mortified with a crazy sauce? Sir has excellent taste…

Hope that gives you at least a little bit of fun interaction! I'd do one for my art, but I'm pretty sure I've used up waaay more comment space than is allowed :)

Re-posted for borked HTML...GRR
The Anti-OTPsnowpuppies on December 11th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
What is your favorite story you've written and why?

Well, it would have to be Dawn Summers, Matchmaking Genius, because, well, it was so much fun to write and read and it's funny and amusing and just a little hot and a lot naughty, and it's utterly different from anything I've ever done.

As a runner-up, and a nod to HP, a fandom in which I've also written a good bit, I'd have to go with my Plans of Paper series, which is Hermione/Ginny, and was such a surprise to me when the first (then second, third and fourth) piece came out, and I really enjoyed them! I think this was so enjoyable because they were both characters that I'd never written/really thought about before, so I got to poke about in someone else's head!

Your least favorite and why?

That would be "Bitch", a Spike-centric fic that was actually my first fic. Although not utterly horrible, it was poorly done and rushed - I got caught up in the feedback and the pleas for "more" and allowed myself to barrel ahead without respect to the plot I actually wanted to write, and the piece was the poorer for it. As evidenced by the lack of link, it is no longer on the web! LOL.

Favorite and least favorite story title?

Degrees of Homicide is a fave title. I like how it fits the piece and really sums the whole thing up, in a nutshell. I also have to give a nod to Between these sheets, a Galaxy, which just makes me happy, and again, fits the piece really well.

My least fave? Variations on an anniversary - I think I was trying to be clever or something, but it just falls flat for me (it did, even then). :(

A memorable line from your fics that you either loved or hated

I've got two faves here, both from HP drabbles:

"He’d been waiting all his life for this moment, but a knot of dread pulsed, stubbornly, in his stomach; his father’s pride, his mother’s joy, coalescing, draped over thin shoulders."
- from breath & blood (which also has a nice title)


"Next to him, the sheets twist fervently. An arm emerges, flailing in terror. Harry’s trapped in a dream: crimson-spatters and phosphorescent green laughter."
- from In Watches of the Night

Edited at 2007-12-11 02:44 am (UTC)
ClawofCat: knowing faceclawofcat on December 19th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: Least fav fic
That would be "Bitch", a Spike-centric fic that was actually my first fic. Although not utterly horrible, it was poorly done and rushed - I got caught up in the feedback and the pleas for "more" and allowed myself to barrel ahead without respect to the plot I actually wanted to write, and the piece was the poorer for it.

Geez, I know what you mean. The first Spuffy story I wrote was "Heart of Her," which got tons of f/b and people asking for more. I had conceived it as a one-shot, but wanted to please the readers and cranked out a sequel that I didn't have any passion or inspiration for. Because it was so hard for me to write, I secretly really hate "Show Me How." Reading it now, it's really not all that bad, and I even genuinely like a few parts, but it never felt like a fully formed idea. I sort of resented the pressure and now I'll straight up say to readers "Nope, sorry. This is a one-shot. I'm not writing another part for you."

This is turning into a rant, but it really annoys me when fans ask for more without giving anything back in return. It takes time and effort to produce these things. What do I get out of this aside from getting my writing itch scratched and self-satisfaction? Reviews, of course. And if someone just demands "OMG, gimme more pleaz, nao!" I just get irritated and want to say, "Give me some feedback about why you want more, and then I might even consider it."

*grumbles* Dunno where that came from. I always figure the people that leave reviews like that are not writers themselves and have no idea what sort of process has to happen to even get ideas off the ground.
kcarolj65: Fanfic Writerkcarolj65 on December 11th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Difficult and interesting request, evoking nostalgia, a frisson of regret, and maybe a little pride and satisfaction.

Favorite fic? Hmm. Probably A Sort of Homecoming, a FITB following "Lies My Parents Told Me." Also my first (and only successful) ficathon entry. Probably also my fave title, because I'm a big U2 fan, and the live version of that song is one of my all-time favorites. I'm also rather fond of Insider Information, in which Buffy attempts to set fanfic writers straight about Spike's sexual prowess.

Least favorite story - "Surprise." A sappy bit of fluff that's so saccharine, it deserves a Surgeon General's warning.

Favorite line(s): This part of Pain, which is barely more than 1000 words but required about 3 weeks of effort before I was satisfied with it: In his blurred kaleidoscope vision she is a backlit smudge of color against the night, her hair a golden halo tilted askew. He can feel her stare upon him, weighted with horror and dismay and contempt. For herself or for him? He hopes it's for him, because it pains her and maybe that makes it, and him, and them real for her, too.

{{we have something Buffy / it's not pretty and it's messy but it's real}}

His lips move but nothing issues forth; his battered diaphragm spasms as he tries to draw breath to speak. Finally, through broken lips, "You always hurt...the one you love, pet," fractured irony that means It's all right, don't worry, I don't mind in their strange dialect of taloned truth and slaughterhouse passion, but he doubts she hears him because she's turning away. Putting him behind her, like Satan in the wilderness.

She turns away and leaves him there.

And that's okay too, love.

That is all. Thanks!
ClawofCat: happy holidaysclawofcat on December 19th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
Hi, Kristen! Gosh, it's been awhile since I've heard from you. How is everything? Apologies for the delayed response. I've been working through finals and only just now got a chance to breath.

I actually just noticed that you were nom'd at SOTHA Awards for "A Sort of Homecoming." I read it and it's excellent! I was really impressed with your Spike characterization and had no trouble completely believing that the scenario happened. I really adored how Buffy does want the monster, fist and fangs and all despite the implicit danger. She really is a moth to a flame, and also a piece of work. Gotta love her. Also an interesting place to add a scene. So many LMPTM fics add a scene after she closes the door on Giles. So I appreciated the originality behind their conversation and its placement in the episode.

Ah, yes. "Pain" is also wonderful, as well. Once your writer's block lifts, I can't wait to read more of your work. Your style is incredible, and the way you use words...yeah, I love it. Pretty, descriptive, gutting angst makes my heart go boom =)