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Entitlement - LOLMac
u can has RDA
Huzzah! The final chapter of Revision is complete at last; I'm just waiting for one of my betas to come back with results from the sneeze test. It will probably go online tomorrow. The story came out at just under 20k words, so it’s teetering on the borderline between novellette and novella.

For those who haven’t been following the story but might be interested: it’s online here at ff.net. And I’m a hopeless feedback junkie, so consider this a hint.

Revision is a Post-Stringer MacGyver story: in fact, it’s set immediately after the end of the series, and is my take on the first leg of Mac and Sam’s road trip. There are a lot of fics written about What Happens Next, of course – enough that Post-Stringer is basically its own genre, much like Post-Gauda Prime (PGP) was (and is) for Blake’s 7. At this very moment, in fact, there’s a woman on ff.net who is proudly posting a trilogy (!) about how Mac meets the perfect woman and settles down. You can guess my reaction to that, especially since she named her MS character ‘Beth’.

Oddly enough, the worst part of it is that she’s an excellent writer – or at least, when I read the first version of what is now the first installment of her epic, I was tremendously impressed by the quality of her writing. If she’d give up fanfic and simply write an autobiography, it would probably be at least readable, and possibly publishable.

I’ve maintained for years that Mary Sues can be well written; bad writing and character failure aren’t automatically the same thing. On the other hand, from my new perspective as an actual writer, I now believe that MS writing tends to degrade rather than improve. I don’t see how the mental state required to sustain the distorted plot structures that result from that level of character failure can possibly lead to growth as a writer. So I haven’t tried to read any of the recent installments. Possibly I’m shortchanging her; but once I’d started writing Revision, I needed to focus on my own mental picture of Mac and Sam’s first few months together.

And damn, it was fun. It’s the first time a story of mine has gone through a title change: the original working title was “Compass”, intended to reflect, first, the idea that they were free to go anywhere, in any direction; second, that there was a fixed centre around which they would move (as in a drawing compass), and a common sense of direction that would keep them from getting lost. That’s a sense and a theme that I’ll probably stick with if I write more stories set in this period of Mac’s life.

But the story retitled itself, partway through the second chapter, when I realised the key theme was a change of perception – a new way of looking at the world and at oneself. There are a lot of references to visual elements, both metaphoric and literal. Sam’s a photographer, and I chose to assume that he was a talented one (he’s self-sufficient at the age of 19, after all, riding an expensive motorcycle).

I love titles. Finding the right title is an incredibly powerful moment. I’ve been lucky; most of my stories have acquired their titles relatively easily, early in the process (sometimes even before I’ve really started writing). Of my finished pieces, 101 Uses For a Dead Uzi is undoubtedly the clunkiest title of the lot, and I was stuck with that one from the outset. But at least it’s funny. I finally started calling the thing “101 UDU” for short.

I sometimes wonder, though, if the title is offputting. 101 UDU gets less casual traffic than a lot of the others. It’s the only short story of the lot; it represents less of a time commitment to a reader than the novellas and novels; it’s even conveniently perched at the top of the alphabetical list in my profile. I’m quite proud of it; I think it’s one of my best pieces to date. It’s certainly better writing than I could have accomplished a year ago. It even has major whumpage. Maybe I should put a whumpage note in the summary. “Caution! Whumpage Alert! Whumped!Mac in chains! Enter at your own risk!” It’s all in the advertisement, right?

I did warn you all that my weekend posts about writing were likely to be rambling episodes of meaningless egotism, didn't I?  I didn't?  Shoot.  Well, tomorrow we'll have more lovely screen caps of RDA.  Thanks for indulging me, mes cheries!



12 comments or Leave a comment
lothithil From: lothithil Date: 3rd August 2009 06:06 (UTC) (Link)
LOL! Caution! Whumpage Alert!

that ought to turn a few heads :-D

Most of my earlier work qualifies solidly in the 'fluff' category. Blissfully, I think I managed to dodge the MS bullet--at least in so far as I have managed to keep self-gratifying OCs as small, supporting roles... *smiles*

But then, I wrote a lot of poetry, too... which I am sure I own an apology for to someone. *blush*

I'm for one certainly glad you took up the ink pot again... your stories are a treat to read! You've also taught me a lot, as a writer and as a reader of fanfic. Your 'education' has been instructive for me, too!

We should collaborate someday... Zombies Vs. the MarySues! Who will win? *wonders aloud*

lolmac From: lolmac Date: 3rd August 2009 07:10 (UTC) (Link)
Ooo! Zombies vs. Mary Sues? Cool. We might end up with Mary Sue Zombies, though. *is worried* How could we tell?
lothithil From: lothithil Date: 3rd August 2009 07:11 (UTC) (Link)
There's no way a Zombie would attack a Mary Sue.. they only eat brains! lol!
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 3rd August 2009 07:13 (UTC) (Link)
*facepalm* Owww!!!
lothithil From: lothithil Date: 3rd August 2009 07:16 (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand... even a synapse-sucking zombie has the urge to smother a MS with a pillow if provoked... *giggles*
From: technoshaman Date: 3rd August 2009 07:27 (UTC) (Link)
Well, hello, Mary Sue, goodbye plot
Sweet Mary Sue I'm so in love with you...

(I haven't had the heart to finish the instyfilk... :)

Wait. 19, and riding *that*? eep.
idlewild_ From: idlewild_ Date: 3rd August 2009 14:35 (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to come right out and confess: If my plot summary/title has lacked pizazz, I have, on occasion, played the coy warnings for all they're worth. With carefully applied restraint. I have no shame.

I also experiment on my audience. With the author's notes. It's really interesting to see what sways people toward feedback or not.

(Er... and as usual, I owe you some feedback... but this is good, because it means you wrote, which makes me happy. It's like a benign universe is looking out for me. ;) )
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 6th August 2009 18:50 (UTC) (Link)
With your advice support enablement, I've revised the summary for 101 UDU. Looking at it again, it was, in fact, mind-bogglingly bland. I had originally dashed it off in a hurry, mostly assuming that people who had just read Aftershocks would recognise the title; but they’re no longer the prospective target audience, as it were!

So what kind of wheedling author’s notes do you find works best to prompt feedback? It’s ridiculous that it weighs so much with me, but I’m practically a feedback junkie. Admittedly, you and a couple of others spoil me, but I do hope you’ll continue (RL and megrims permitting).

As far as ‘owing’ me feedback yourself: in an ideal world, I continue to write, I post, it’s worth a response, so I’m always a step ahead. I always get the white pieces and the first move. Even with your extraordinary talents you can’t actually comment on something before it’s posted!

Hopefully, while I'm between projects, I'll finally curl up and watch some Due South so I can finally return the favour! Although "between projects" didn't last very long the last time around.
idlewild_ From: idlewild_ Date: 10th August 2009 03:23 (UTC) (Link)
If I could lean on the husband to finish the time machine I told him he has to build (so that, when in the future he builds a teleporter, he can send it back and I can use it now) I might be able to sneak in preemptive comments and startle the heck out of you.

Unfortunately, as we all know, if I don't have a teleporter now, that means he doesn't build the time machine and send it back, so yes, I suppose I'll have to wait for linear time to do its thing and write comments after you post stories. Hmmph.

I have found, and mind you, this is empirical evidence, not statistical, that when I thank the readers for their feedback in the author's note, they tend to post it. It's odd. Asking for feedback doesn't make a difference in how much I get, but framing it as praise for their support of me does. Which makes me sound highly manipulative, but frankly, I'm more comfortable with that way around anyway.

Then there's the damn obsession with cliff-hangers. Which I don't intentionally feed, but since I do write everything in advance and then rearrange my chapter breaks, leaving Our Heroes in Peril is often a terribly convenient way to end the chapter. Done with enough subtlety that'll provoke howls of (really terribly pleased and titillated) outrage.

Mmm. While I think you would enjoy Due South, I am slightly terrified by what you'd make of my crowd-pleasing little wonders.
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 11th August 2009 05:23 (UTC) (Link)
Cliffhangers . . . I have nooo idea what you mean. Oh, no.

I had originally intended to set the chapter break between Chapters 4 and 5 of Revision at an even worse place -- Sam cuffed to the tree and Mac being taken off for Nefarious Purposes. That would have been one of the unkinder cuts, especially since the lag between posting was pretty long at that point. I was posting chapters as I completed them, and not working ahead at all at that point, which feels rather like wiredancing without a net.

Thanks for the tip about pimping asking for feedback!
curuchamion From: curuchamion Date: 20th October 2009 22:01 (UTC) (Link)
"Sneeze test"?
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 21st October 2009 05:51 (UTC) (Link)

sneeze testing

I was waiting to see if anything I'd put into the last chapter would cause an allergic reaction in my beta reader, who by definition was an expert in one or more affected topics. I have amazing beta readers -- usually, whoever has been the Expert on Tap for the research phase, whether it's motorcycles or firearms or toxic chemicals, ends up betaing the resulting work.

Wandering around in the archives, huh? I occasionally do these long posts about writing on weekends; then I change the date on the post to a previous year, and the post jumps back into the archive. I hadn't imagined anyone would actualy wander back this far -- that's really cool.
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