I'm Lazy Jane. I live in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Time has flewn is an apt discription of my life thus far - I seem to be forever lost in thought, and consequently spend much of my time in vain trying to catch up.
"How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?" - Dr. Suess
This is mostly a BBC Sherlock and Doctor Who blog (you have been warned). I also post food, politics and art. All aboard!
A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.
Crap is a sign of life. New bad stories are a sign that this genre — fan fiction, the genre I adore the most - is alive and well. Bad stories mean new people are trying to write in it, and people are trying to do new things with it, and maybe new people are joining the audience, too. When only the best and most popular are writing in a genre, it’s on its deathbed. (See: Westerns and Louis L’Amour.) I want this genre to be here forever, because I want to read it forever. So I’m happy that teenagers are posting Mary Sue stories to the Archive of Our Own.
Does that mean you have to be happy? Nope. I can’t make you do anything. (I can think you’re wrong, but hey, being wrong on the internet is a time-honored tradition among our people.) But when you start making fun of a writer and bullying her in the comments of her story, simply because she’s writing something you think is bad and embarrassing, well, that’s when I say: shut the fuck up or get the fuck out. Because she’s not a problem. She’s just doing what we’re all doing — having fun, playing with words, throwing something out there on the internet to see if other people like it.
But you. You’re trying to stop someone from having fun. You’re trying to shame people into not writing anymore. And that, folks — that is the definition of shitty behavior. (Mary Sue fantasies, on the other hand, are just the definition of human behavior.) It’s bad for people, it’s bad for the future, and it’s bad for the genre. So you’re a problem.
This? Is really, really important (not re: me, as I am old, mean, and soulless, but re: writers who are not old, mean, and soulless), especially when you are talking about public commentary, and especially when you are talking about commentary that is unsolicited.
If you really want to improve the quality of Fic At Large, by all means, strike up relationships where you can have meaningful dialogues with other writers and provide trustworthy and meaningful commentary on their work, and (ideally! mutual beta love is the best love!) where they can do the same for you. In fact, if such a concept tickles your fancy, I know of a writing/making shit club that you might find interesting! But there is a world of difference between participating in a community in which people mutually solicit and provide suggestions for one another to help each other out, and leaving mean, snarky, abusive comments directly on someone else’s fic.
This is extra extra true if you could be construed as being in a position of power relative to them, which, if they are a new writer and you are not, you are.
I do not have enough words or reaction gifs to truly emphasize just how incredibly, incredibly important this is. The culture of mocking fanfiction on the internet (which almost always entails mocking girls when they write, and particularly young girls) is toxic and really sexist at its core, and, in a culture that mocks literally almost anything and everything young girls do, takes away one more space for young girls to do things. And those spaces are really, really important, because they’re places where young girls are creating and sharing things because they want to—they have a vested interest in this thing, and are taking a really big risk by trying something new (writing) and sharing it publicly (AO3, FF.net, wherever) for others to read (who are, more often than not, strangers, even in fandom communities). And mocking that process or leaving vitriolic, spiteful comments, mocks the girl who took that risk. And that’s teaching her to not take risks; to not share her work; to not, in fact, write or create ever again. And that’s the most detrimental thing you can do—to a girl, to a community, to a genre, and to art and creating in general.
Truer fucking words, man, all ‘round.
Forget the room of one’s own - write in the kitchen, lock yourself up in the bathroom. Write on the bus or on the welfare line, on the job or during meals, between sleeping and waking. I write while sitting on the john. No long stretches at the typewriter unless you’re wealthy or have a patron - you may not even own a typewriter. While you wash the floor or clothes listen to the words chanting in your body. When you’re depressed, angry, hurt, when compassion and love possess you. When you cannot help but write.
trying to write the first paragraph of a thing
Most of us have probably heard Dickens’s works often criticised, want of art in the choice of words and want of nature in the creation of character having been the faults most frequently attributed to him. But his words have been so potent, whether they may be right or wrong according to any fixed rule, that they have justified themselves by making themselves into a language which is in itself popular; and his characters, if unnatural, have made a second nature by their own force. It is fatuous to condemn that as deficient in art which has been so full of art as to captivate all men. If the thing be done which was the aim of the artist,—fully done,—done beyond the power of other artists to accomplish,—the time for criticising the mode of doing it is gone by. Rules are needed in order that a certain effect may be obtained;—but if the effect has certainly been obtained, what need to seek whether or not the rule has been obeyed?
I wish I wrote the way I thought
With maddening hunger
I’d write to the point of suffocation
I’d write myself into nervous breakdowns
Manuscripts spiralling out like tentacles into abysmal nothing
And I’d write about you
a lot more
than I should
1. Don’t think that being published will make you happy. It will for four weeks, if you are lucky. Then it’s the same old fucking shit.
2. Hemingway was fucking wrong. You shouldn’t write drunk. (See my third novel for details.)
3. Hemingway was also right. ‘The first draft of everything is shit.’
4. Never ask a publisher or agent what they are looking for. The best ones, if they are honest, don’t have a fucking clue, because the best books are the ones that seemingly come from nowhere.
5. In five years time the semi-colon is going to be nothing more than a fucking wink.
6. In five years time every fucking person on Twitter will be a writer.
7. Ignore the fucking snobs. Write that space zombie sex opera. Just give it some fucking soul.
8. If it’s not worth fucking reading, it’s not worth fucking writing. If it doesn’t make people laugh or cry or blow their fucking minds then why bother?
9. Don’t be the next Stephen King or the next Zadie Smith or the next Neil Gaiman or the next Jonathan Safran fucking Foer. Be the next fucking you.
10. Stories are fucking easy. PLOT OF EVERY BOOK EVER: Someone is looking for something. COMMERCIAL VERSION: They find it. LITERARY VERSION: They don’t find it. (That’s fucking it.)
11. No-one knows anything. Especially fucking me. Except:
12. Don’t kill off the fucking dog.
13. Oh, yeah, and lastly: write whatever you fucking want.
All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey towards the lost land.