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28 December 2008 @ 08:14 pm
A Rec, Voting, and Awards  

Over Christmas,[info]only_passenger posted a really wonderful canon-based Buffy/Xander fic set between seasons 6 & 7 called Surfacing. I'll admit, it's not a pairing I really ship, but it's a pairing that has intrigued me for some time mostly because no one writes it. You'd think there'd be more, but I couldn't even point to one story I've seen that pairs the two of them. Lately, I've really been enjoying the idea of Xander and the more I write him, the more sympathetic I am to his character and his strengths, such as his loyalty. He can be an utter douche, judgemental and harsh, but he's also proven to be a true friend, heroic, protective and a stand-up sort of guy. Pass weaves together a scenario that does a lot explain how the rift between Buffy and Xander in S6 was closed by S7. It's beautifully written, true to character, and brings closure and healing to the two of them and their friendship that was never adequately explored on the show (without much angst!). Go, read, enjoy. It's wonderful and I only wish there were more thoughtful character explorations like this story out there.

Voting is now open at Spuffy Awards, so I encourage all the Spuffy fans on my flist to go over, check out the nominees, and cast your vote. Two of my Spuffy fics - The Cross/Burn Marks and Pre-Nuptial Bliss - are up, as well. I'll also throw in a reminder that Fang Fetish Awards can still use nominations for their current round, which closes in mid-January.

I've picked up a few pretties for a handful of recent fics at the rwsawards and the SunnyD Awards. Every time I receive an award at a fan voting site I'm always really shocked, so thank you so much to those of you that voted. It means a lot. And, of course, thanks to the judges, graphics people and fandom members that do the nominating. My hat's off to you guys. 

And the winners are:

Off Route 17 ~ Buffy/Angel, R Season 6
I'm really over the moon about this one because I put so much work into this fic and really, really love it. I think it may be one of my best to date.

Severed and Sewn - Buffy/Faith, R, post-NFA
Similarly, this is also a fic that I really like. It hits some beautiful emotional notes and really serves as a eulogy, in its barest sense, to the deaths of Angel of Spike. Who would these two have been without them? Also, it's my first femmeslash, so woot woot!

The Hard Choices - Angel, Joyce, Buffy, PG, set during Forever in S5
This was a great concept. I wrote it in a very bare bones sort of style and I think it came off rather well. Angel POVs are not my fortay, but I think I managed to pull it off here while exploring his thoughts on a relationship we got very little from in canon - Angel & Joyce Summers. 

Wool Over My Eyes - Dawn/Xander, NC-17, post-NFA
It's in second person, it's a pairing I'd never written, it explores the strength one finds in BDSM, and it was inspired from a fantastic prompt. For me that's pretty much a recipe for fic love. I had a mission with this baby, and I accomplished it.


I've been thinking about writing a meta/process post on sex scenes. I've thought about doing this before, but I wasn't sure what I wanted my focus to be. Simply going at it from the angle of "how to write a good sex scene" is a bit played out and a matter of opinion. Anything I say will be subjective, so I was wondering if my flist had any feelings or were particularly interested in a specific area of erotic writing. A few things that I think might be worth discussing are word usage (something I'm very careful about), tone, and pacing. All of these things, hand in hand with characterization and the other elements that contribute to an effective piece of writing, are on the table. Any thoughts?  

eowyn_315eowyn_315 on December 29th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
Congrats on the awards!

As for sex scene meta, I'd say the thing I'm most interested in is variety. How do you keep them fresh and exciting and unique when you're writing so many of them? I guess that would apply to both the sex itself (positions, etc.) as well as the writing style (word choice, description, etc.)
ClawofCat: think sexclawofcat on December 29th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks. Was certainly a surprise. Looking at some of the winners though, I gotta say I have no idea who they are. My only guess is that some of the writers are on archives rather than LJ.

How do you keep them fresh and exciting and unique when you're writing so many of them?
Ah, that is a good question. I often think I keep repeating myself, honestly. Part of what helps though is writing different characters and pairings. I don't think I could write only one pairing and keep the sex scenes fresh. At least if you switch up the characters the dynamics and personalities change and, as an extension, the sex they have gets altered a bit.

I'll definately think on this and try and come up with something informative and interesting. Thanks, hon.
eowyn_315eowyn_315 on December 29th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I wish they'd kept the nominee list up, so I could see who didn't win... I don't remember who else was nommed, or if I was more familiar with them than the winners.

As for the sex, I'm sure it does help to write different pairings. Maybe that's a better question for someone who writes a lot of sex for their OTP. I don't even write all that much sex, and I still feel like I'm repeating myself.
Barbrahirah on December 29th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
Buffy/Xander used to see a smallish but fairly steady number of fics - you might have to hunt down Xander-centric fan boards to find them, though.
ClawofCat: Xander thinkingclawofcat on December 29th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the B/X tip. I'm not really dedicated enough to the idea to go in serious search of the pairing, but at least that's a direction. I know checking out Xander sites is going to put me in contact with Spander and Xander slash, too. Kinda want to steer a wide berth around that, if possible.

FYI - I haven't been around or commenting, but I did want to say I do enjoy reading your process and meta posts. They usually generate some interesting commentary from your flist, which is always fun to skim through.
petzipellepingo: congrats balloons by eyesthatslaypetzipellepingo on December 29th, 2008 09:33 am (UTC)
Congratulations on winning those shiny awards.
ClawofCat: Buffy love cryclawofcat on December 29th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, petzi. It was definately a surprise to me.
Shapinglightshapinglight on December 29th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
No time for in-depth LJ reading and commenting at the mo, but :waves: in passing and congrats on the nominations.
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on December 29th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
Hee. *waves back* I'm off to work myself. Must hurry!

I actually just read "Obstacles" last night before bed. I have to come back and comment on it tonight.
Shapinglightshapinglight on January 2nd, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
That's kind of you. I hope you enjoyed it.
louise39: x congrats  well/ done  clemlouise39 on December 29th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
ClawofCat: Buffy break freeclawofcat on December 29th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I feel so out of sorts posting about anything. My head just hasn't been in a fandom place at all this month. But... trying!
they call me genius jen: angel cordelia smell your brainsgirlpire on January 10th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
hurrah for awards! :)

most of the sex scenes that i read on eljay are already pretty good - but that's probably because i'm very discriminating when it comes to what i read. (i'm sort of terrified that if i read too much bad or mediocre fic, i would stop being able to tell the difference, and then my own writing would suffer.) if there's something that i've noticed anyone needing advice about, though, it would be making sure to engage all of the senses. i've read quite a few sex scenes that only describe what the characters look like they're doing, and you sort of just have to imagine what the characters are actually feeling/hearing/smelling/tasting. it's much sexier when all the bases are covered. to be honest, though, i think this is something that a lot of fic writers (often including myself) could work on in all sorts of scenes, not just sex scenes.

i think it's great that there are people in fandom willing to help other people out with their writing. i don't think i've ever actually read a fanfic how-to. can you think of any that i should check out? i'm interested in the kind of advice people are giving each other.
ClawofCat: think sexclawofcat on January 10th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
i'm sort of terrified that if i read too much bad or mediocre fic, i would stop being able to tell the difference, and then my own writing would suffer.
Heh. Like an infestation. I've come to the point where my reading is pretty limited. At the same time though, I always try to give new authors a fair shake and seek out new-to-me people that I'm fairly sure, through reputation or what have you, that I think I'll like. I can't say I've been disappointed.

The only pairing I hardly ever take chances with is Spuffy. It's not something I actively read anymore and there are only a few people whose work I care to read. I think it's more a matter of liking that pairing written in a very specific way and sticking with the writers I know are going to deliver and not piss me off in the proces.

if there's something that i've noticed anyone needing advice about, though, it would be making sure to engage all of the senses.
Absolutely. The full sensory experience is what can make sex scenes very engaging. I always try to infuse that sense of presence into my sex scenes, particularly what the characters are feeling/thinking as I tend to write tight POVs. I think only_passenger might be the best author I've seen that engaged the senses in her writing. It's something she calls, "the grit." All those little uncomfortable details that tally up to make the big picture of your experience. I think one of her best examples was in a fic where Buffy is rimming Spike and she's disgusted, but has the impulse to sniff him in the interest of full disclosure and does. It was sort of squicky, but such a natural reaction. It's up to an author to tread that fine line between a more sanitized, idealized version of sex and what it really is like - loud, messy, wet, squishy, awkward, etc.

i don't think i've ever actually read a fanfic how-to. can you think of any that i should check out?
Sure thing. There's an entire community devoted to just that. It's called shared_wisdom where the mods invite a guest speaker to talk about a specific topic as it relates to writing/art/fandom. Members can also pose questions. Most of the members are a mix between BtVS/QaF fandom. A few threads that I participated in and liked were:

Second Person POV - a writer asks the community's opinion about writing/reading it and any advice they might have.

Salute to the Beta - a mod talks about different types of betaing. The discussion was great and fascinating.

How to Write Smokin' Hot Smut by nautibitz.

You can puruse by speaker in the tags. I'm sure some of the names will be quiet familiar to you. There is also a multi-fandom community I watch called writing_sex where community members pose questions, usually roadblocks they come across while writing a sex scene, and then solicit advice from the comm.
Carolinejamalov29 on January 11th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
Congratulations for these lovely awards.

I just wanted to say that I've friended you. :)
ClawofCat: yayclawofcat on January 11th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I'm happy to be friended. I've been rather quiet lately due to RL things, but hopefully I'll update soon. Not sure when I'll have time for fic though :(
Caroline: Sexy readingjamalov29 on January 11th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Not sure when I'll have time for fic though :( Don't worry about this . I've enjoyed our little chats over at buffyversetop5 and I'm pleased to have you on my flist.