Losing the Plot

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

I’ve just finished code monkeying issue 03 of lost luggage, the Doctor Who fanzine that even non-fanfic lovers enjoy. It was going to come out in November, but we were both too busy running about with other stuff (Kelly with her excellent crafty stuff and Thanskgiving, and me with work and diamonds).

When moosifer 2 fell over forever it took with it the Book, my notes on how to run the archive. Most of it I can redo but I just wasted half an hour because I’d lost the note that said “tick the box marked ‘run PHP code?’ to enable this function”. Still, I got there in the end.

There’s a heap of stories about love and/or sex as well as a revamp of an article I first wrote in SKARO in 1996 on why it’s OK for the Doctor to snog people. It’s surprisingly hard to find stories involving love and/or sex and fit the raison d’etre of the archive – to showcase the best writing out there. But we’ve some fun ones (Precious Little Dumplings and At Last cause me to giggle and snort with laughter), some surprisingly romantic ones (And Hate the Idle Pleasures… is lovely) and some darker stuff (including the classic Best of Enemies).

Now we have to pick a theme for a future issue…

Lost Luggage and Lost Souls

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Late last night, we finally made Lost Luggage live.

This is the Doctor Who ezine on which I am code monkey. There are still things I need to do (not least as I made a mistake last night and had to rebuild four pages from scratch) but it is available for all to read. If you register, then you can leave comments on the stories and essays. We’ve started with a lovely intro from Paul Cornell and an issue themed around the certainty of chance.

A universe of terrors

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

There are many things which, though perfectly sane when in isolation, appear insane when taken in context. Agreeing to be code-monkey on a fanfic archive when in the midst of changing career paths is probably one on them. I can see my own logic – I like poking about with code to the extent I find it relaxing after a hard day writing about the front ends of code, and as I am about to move away from it being my day job I clearly have an urge to hang on to it – but I can also see how mad it might be.

For reasons long and boring to go into and partially due to the need to make the thing easy to maintain and navigate*, I’m producing the archive via wordpress, which is giving me a fun learning curve. Soon I can add ‘php cut’n'pasting code skills’ to my CV. So if I’m quiet right now it’s because I’m trying to download my brain by day and fill it with new code at night.

Who geekery follows…

*really, just think about it for a moment. A Buffy archive has the ten or so main characters, including one eponymous hero, plus regular guests. That’s not counting Angel regulars. Or Harmony. Even if you only include the TV and novels, Who has ten eponymous heroes and forty-one companions**.

Not counting the Brigadier or ‘missing adventures’ companions like Grant Markham. Nor any Doctors or companions from the audio stories (ah, the Richard E Grant ninth Doctor…wiped history by the Dalek Time War…maybe…). Nor the stage play Doctors. Nor the Cushing Doctor (I simply can’t accept Roy Castle as Ian Chesterton, the sexiest science teacher until Doctor John Smith started at Sunnyvale High). Nor anyone from Torchwood.

And that’s before you factor in regular guests like the Master, Mike Yates, the Rani, Davros or Sister Hain, or the Boe, or Mickey. If you think a list of the possible pairings for Buffy was long, imagine the possibilites Who raises… and it has to be navigatible. Eep.

**Susan, Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Katrina, Sara, Steven, Dodo, Ben, Polly, Jamie, Victoria, Zoe, Liz, Jo, Sarah Jane, Harry, Leela, Romana 1, Romana 2, K9, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, Turlough, Kamelion, Peri, Mel, Ace….Benny, Chris, Roz, Grace, Sam, Fitz, Compassion, Anji, Trix…Rose, Jack, Martha… that was from memory. The shame.

It was that or make a cunning jacket out of the receipts

Monday, 29 January 2007

Fanfic or taxes?


I was assuming I was going to have to pay something for the 05/06 year but it looks like I’ve made a loss still. Hmmm. Some bit of my brain is thinking “They’ll get suspicious! Lose some of the receipts down the back of the sofa! Make some profit or they’ll come and inspect you!”. My last novel was paid in Yankee Dollar, however, so the pitiful income is at least explicable.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s wonderful Holmes book is out and is getting the praise it deserves. Sexy, sassy and deeply disturbing. I was listening to an adaptation of The Sign of Four on BBC7 tonight. There’s a moment near the start when Holmes takes a watch and deduces the character of its owner, successfully claiming it to have belonged to Watson’s dissolute elder brother.

“My dear doctor,” said he kindly, “pray accept my apologies. Viewing the matter as an abstract problem, I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you.”

This is one of the things Kel captures: that Holmes is so easily lured into a puzzle that he can forget there are people and feelings and love involved. It’s great.

My other writing is stalled in a mire of Too Much Else to do, including those pesky tax returns.

I’ve been ficced

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

I’m big on fanfic. I think it’s an interesting interaction of the fan with the text, and I read way too much of it. And not all of my reading is Spuffy (trans. Spike/Buffy romance and/or sex). Tonight I discovered that someone has mentioned Cousin Octavia, one of the main protogonists of Warring States, in a little mini-fic. The posters are creating entries for a mythical second Book of the War. All of which is fine and good, totally in line with my attitude towards fic, but, well, I want to say “she wouldn’t say that! Not in that way!”. I’ve managed not to in the discussion thread on Outpost Gallifrey but it’s bugging me enough to end up squeaking it here. And I still feel vaguely guilty for any implicit criticism of the fanfic impulse in my own reaction. And, er, sorry.

Writing the end of Warring States was a bit of a tricky one: I’d spent so long inside the heads of Octavia and Liu that letting them go, effectively ending their lives inside my head, was difficult. Once I had managed it, I thought that was that but it turns out I am a little protective of my girls after all.

A year ago, Octavia was all mine. She’d been in the Book of the War, true, but in that she had very much been a character added in order to support a different character. Cousin Anastasia had to be defeated by a former ally, a close battle companion, so Octavia was created to be that nemesis. She was a doodled outline, nothing more. This time last year, only myself and my beta-readers, Kelly and Naomi, knew Octavia. I went to lunch every day with Octavia and Liu, as I sat in various cafes scribbling in my notebook or editing the drafts. In the evenings and at weekends, they’d be there. Sometimes they’d watch too much Buffy and start speaking like wise-cracking SoCal Vampire Slayers but I think most of that never made it to the page.

There were times when I was heartily sick of having them both in my head but now, seeing Octavia doing something I didn’t write, I want her back. I’m starting to wonder if the real reason most writers don’t read fanfic is not because of the potential Being Accused of Stealing a Fanfic Idea Problem but because it’s a bit of a surprise to see your characters alive and well inside other people’s heads.

(Stendec, the other character named in that bit, is also one of mine but as I’ve not spent two years writing a novel about him, I’m less startled to see him hanging about cadging some limelight)

I don’t care, cuz I’m still free

Thursday, 22 December 2005

John, over on Fraggmented, thinks it would be lovely – and financially viable – to have official Firefly fiction. Like the New Adventures and the Eighth Doctor Adventures which were a comfortable earner for their publishers for the sixteen years Doctor Who was off-air. Wouldn’t that be lovely? They could be pre-movie or post-movie (or pre-series) and there’s just a heap of worlds Serenity hasn’t visited yet, and crime barons for Mal to cock a snoot at, and rich guys for him to get all jealous at over Inara, and the “just what were Inara and Book doing on the ship?” threads to pick up and weave into new stories.

John wants everyone to start talking about what a lovely idea it is in order to lure the PTB into saying “hey, here’s an idea!”, so this is my little addition to it. And if any PTB happen to find this: my rates are reasonable and I would love to write Firefly fiction.

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