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Here you will find feedback for and against our site that we found intriguing, amusing or thought-provoking. In most cases, the names have been removed and the commentary was posted in a public forum, like the message board or guestbook, rather than e-mailed to us. Any e-mails appear with permission from the authors. The commentary that appears here is unedited. -Jane
I'm a bit late; I was on vacation. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for publishing SKitzo's letter about being underage in the slash world. I'm sixteen, and while I'm far from an active writer(I've got about eight short fics to my name) I do participate in slash fandom, and have been doing so for three years. The problems SKitzo mentioned about being dismissed out of hand annoy me as well, and it's nice to see someone take complaints seriously.
Not to be conceited--well, too much--but I know that I'm better than a lot of 20- and 30-something writers whose stories I've read. (Of course, I'm also worse than a lot of them. Par for the course.) It would be nice to get a bit of respect without having to lie about my age. (Regarding age statements, of course list-owners have to cover their asses legally. I'm talking about people who are downright nasty to any minors they can dig out. And they are out there.) By the way, the Harry Potter fandom--perhaps to be expected--is excellent on this score. Several respected writers, both slash and gen, are under 18, and no one cares.
::delicately steps off soapbox and returns it to the original owner::
I enjoyed your site. Your essays about the slash ego thing and about how to behave on mailing lists are hysterical--lots of fun to read. I don't agree with you about the Harry Potter fandom, though. No, the characters aren't 10. Most people who do HPslash write them as being about the same age as other high school kids who have sex, or they write about the adult characters. Finally, Hogwarts is an English boarding school--you think there's not gonna be any buggery there?
I completely understand HPslash and completely don't get BBS, which makes me the exact opposite of you guys, I guess.
I have a been a fan of Boy Band Slash for about a year and half, mainly BSB. I think it could really be a viable fandom, but it's main weakness is a lack of organization in many ways.
Writing is hard, I know. I've tried to write BBS in the past, and I have ended up deleting most of it. Having said that, if you post a chapter of a story, finish the d*mn thing! Posting a story in parts is a promise you make to the readers. If you can't finish a story, it just disappoints fans who decided your story was worth reading.
A lot of people do write in this genre, I see plenty on 20 or lists I'm on. I know there are stories being written, but I will just them once on a posting and that is it. BBS needs more slash archives not just individual websites.
I mean there are a lot of personal websites on there with BBS on it, but it is just the authors and a few hosted stories. I am not going to keep coming back to a site that I know just has six stories and never updates their content. I am not trying to say that maintaining a huge archive is a walk in the park, but those are the sites that impress people. I have to admit, the Nifty Archive is a pain, but the amount of BBS they have is impressive.
Besides, nifty.org, I have yet to see a website with extensive BBS stories from multiple authors. Popular fandoms have easy access to stories. I Want It That Way is definitely making an effort in that direction.
BTW- The most annoying thing I see on personal BBS websites are story titles, but no summary. The hell? Do you think people buy books based on the title only? I normally like to have an idea of what I am about to read before I read it. I back out of sites like that quick because it is not worth the my time to look. Sorry about the side comment.
Thanks for reading.
I think you made some excellent points and I am in complete agreement. There is a distinct lack of list archives so that anyone who wants to find a story has to either join the list to search the old messages or find the author's web site. I don't know about BSB, but the only 'N Sync list archive I know of is Slashy Goodness, which is strictly JC/Justin. (If there are more, mail me and I'll list them.) Going to the sites of individual writers is time consuming and leads to people only frequenting the sites of authors they know they like, which can leave less popular authors without exposure. BBS writers with coding ability, where are you? And maybe if the authors knew they were being archived it would give them more incentive to finish something. - Jane
Jane Doe, June Cleaver, and CABS at large -
For purposes of communication (and self-defense), here is my response to June Cleaver's review of my "Highlander" story "Gather."
Gather begins with the following caveat: [Wherein Adam Pierson says, "It's my mouth, I'll do with it what I want"; eggs are insulted and assaulted unnecessarily; and the writers draws on a few fanonical MacLeod stereotypes.]
"Writers draws." Good, Matthew. The version on the story itself is correct, but on the story links page, it was flawed. Alix wrote to me just today to let me know, and I've fixed it since then.
I do wish that June had taken the correct version from the story, not the idiotic version from the other page, but that was her choice. It strikes me that she was very selective in which passages she chose to quote. She picked the worst examples and discussed them out of context.
This is your first clue that Matthew is writing in his own little world, and that his world has very little, if anything at all, to do with the canonical Highlander universe. I will give Matthew extra cookies for being ballsy enough to admit up-front that he doesn't know jack-shit about MacLeod; although on second thought, I don't know why I should give him more cookies - he isn't asking for leniency. Instead, he appears quite proud of his ignorance of Mac's character. Whatever. Besides, anyone who reads this story will realize that on their own within the first page or two. Within four or five pages, it'll become equally apparent that he doesn't know diddly about Methos, either.
I wasn't admitting that I know nothing about MacLeod. I was warning readers that I was playing with fanonical stereotypes, so that they would know going into the story that I was borrowing some of the main themes I've found in slash. I'm hardly proud that I don't have MacLeod or Methos down to a science.
As well, this story could serve as a prime example of telling not showing. Here's the first example of this problem; sadly, it's hardly the worst. Although, given its importance to the story, and the fact that we've got to believe this if we're going to believe any of it... Maybe this is the worst example, after all.
For what it's worth, "Gather" is one of the earlier stories on my site. I've gotten better. Really.
It's very likely that MacLeod could have the reactions that June suggests.
Instead, he swills his tea, and assumes ho-hum, it's the time of the Gathering. I'm trying, and I can't think of a single reason why Mac would react (or fail to react) the way he does. Wait, it's coming to me. The story's title is Gather, hence, it's the time of the Gathering, and MT needs Duncan to play along. Gotcha. It all makes sense now - it's lazy writing, but at least I've solved the mystery.
I probably should have gone into more detail on what MacLeod is feeling. (Probably?) I was trying to explain that he knows that the end is here. He knows. He can feel it. It seems likely to me that, just as they know that "now is the time of the Gathering," they'll know when the end has come.
Okay, so Methos believes it's here too. Or at least that's what the author seems to be telling us. Here we find that telling not showing problem again. The guys start discussing the bloody, violent end of everything they've ever known, and the impending brutal deaths of all their friends and lovers with all the passion of last week's hockey scores. I know I'm on the edge of my seat here.
Some people are very passionate about hockey.
I swear I've gotten better on the show-and-tell routine. I'll keep working on it.
And sentient Holy Ground?!? Kicking Immies off, all by itself? Where in the hell did that idea come from? No place in the series, that's for damn sure.
I'm not allowed to create new ideas? Isn't slash about taking canon and shaping it with our own theories?
Walter Skinner, huh? Was there any logical reason to add the good AD into this, or was the author trying to jolt readers back out of whatever suspension of disbelief (and this story requires quite a bit) they might have going?
Creating new names every time I need an OC gets boring. I have a habit of borrowing names from outside sources. I didn't actually mean that Walter Skinner, John Steinbeck, an "E.R." actress, Jake Barnes, or anyone else, is immortal. I've used this practice in other stories as well. It doesn't mean anything.
Not to mention, Methos sure shows a lot of compassion for Mac when he tells him about the death of one of Mac's best friends, a woman he's loved for almost 350 years, doesn't he? Oh well, it fits nicely with Mac's total lack of reaction.
Did you want Methos to take MacLeod's hand, sit him on the sofa, and say, "Now, Duncan, there's something I have to tell you. It's going to hurt, but you have to understand that sometimes these things happen."
I see two sides to MacLeod. There's the side of him that would take the time to stop and mourn, pay tribute to the dearly departed, and grieve properly. There's also the side of him that would take action, seek vengeance, and right wrongs.
What I meant about sitting and sobbing for hours is that I don't see MacLeod as someone who's going to drop to his knees and wail like a child. I see his grief as much more mature than that.
It was my job to explain why MacLeod sees Methos as the greatest person he's known. I didn't do my job.
Is it just me, or don't you think the guys would've noticed that they're not tempted to fight one another, and might even comment on that fact?
It's not just you.
Wow, actual character stuff. For the first time, I find myself wondering what Methos is thinking, and what's really going on. Cool.
Wow. Imagine. I've done something right! Three cheers for Matthew!Regarding John Steinbeck:
Okay, I get it now: MT's being clever, artistic, showing individual flair...whatever. It's still annoying as hell.
No, no. I'm not. I'm not the type of person who's clever just for the sake of being clever. It's not some attention-getting technique. I needed a name, and The Grapes of Wrath was right there on my desk. That's all. I'm sorry that you find it annoying.
And it's the sort of cutesy little trick you'd expect from a 15 year old teeny-bopper writing about the objects of her first crush. Now that I think about it, adding in the totally depth free plot, and the utter absence of any emotional growth or intensity in this story...one wonders. At least this one does.
I'm not a fifteen-year-old girl.
I swear my writing has gotten better. Honest.
It's nice to see that MT believes in equal opportunity fannish stereotypes. Fanonically, Methos is as good at throwing a knife as he is at hacking into the Pentagon's inner sanctum. Canonically, there's no evidence of this at all.
I read way too much "Highlander" slash for a while.
Unless canon suggests that Methos has never held a knife, or that he has horrendous aim, I see no real problem with saying that he's good with knives.
Misspellings aside, of course Mac wouldn't have the slightest idea about survival strategies; it's obviously sheer luck that he's lived this long in the first place. Does MT have any idea just how silly Methos lecturing Mac about being prepared sounds?
According to Webster, "garrotte" can be spelled three different ways. And I see nothing else in the quotation that looks misspelled to me.
"Misspellings," plural. What did I spell incorrectly?
Methos isn't lecturing MacLeod. He isn't. I honestly believe that June has been reading the tone wrong throughout the story. That, of course, makes a big difference in her attitude towards it.
Color me confused, but, in this story, Richie was alive and well until a few paragraphs ago, when Methos killed the immie who had just taken Richie's head. Not to mention the Clan Denial type disclaimers. So why is Richie's name listed among those whose deaths should cause Mac excessive pain? Am I missing something here? Or was this just another excuse to dump on Mac?
Richie was alive. Yes. I really should have explained that concept better.
(Let me say once again that this story is an early one. I wrote it before I even thought of having a website. I've gotten much better.)
Sometimes, the theory behind my stories is that MacLeod killed Richie, but Richie's all better now. Sometimes, my theory is that MacLeod didn't really kill Richie at all, only thought that he did, was tricked into believing it by Ahriman, etc. So there's still a lot of MacLeod angst, but we get to keep Richie.
Oh, good lord, can I kill this Methos myself? Please?
After reciting a list of the many and varied ways Mac's failed him, Our Noble Side-Kick is prepared to sacrifice himself to the depths of his love for his unworthy Highlander. And let's not forget to add the obligatory Dark Quickening rape scene (that Methos told us about in blandly, one-dimensional tones), which serves to enhance Methos' helpless victim status.
About the rape. I wasn't going to include that idea. I really wasn't. Especially since I have a problem with all of the rape I've found in slash. But I've read too much "Highlander" slash, and I gave in to the common theme.
The Game is ending. They can't both live. One of them has to die. June says that MacLeod would die for Methos. Why wouldn't Methos die for MacLeod? He's demonstrated that he's willing to do so in canon.
Methos, a helpless victim?
Mac, of course, apologizes for the depths of his stupidity, insensitivity, and overall wrong-headedness within five paragraphs. And while the apology wasn't as grovelish as I'd expected (kudos to MT for resisting some temptation), I still think his Methos needs to see someone about these desires he has for someone who clearly doesn't deserve or appreciate him.
We all know that Methos is too good for anyone. But I'm willing to let MacLeod borrow him.
MacLeod's apology is simple, yes. When Methos lets him get a word in edgewise. But if you're seeing him apologizing "for the depths of his stupidity, insensitivity, and overall wrong-headedness within five paragraphs," you're reading the scene wrong.
Okay, so our guys are finally feeling it. Which still doesn't really explain why they weren't feeling it before, when everyone else was, or why, now that they are feeling it, they aren't being driven to fight each other...but at this point, I'll take what I can get.
They've been feeling it throughout the story. It's just more intense now, because it's the final fight.
I'm beginning to wonder if MT's keeping track of the most common fanonincal beliefs and making certain to hit them all.
I'm wondering that, too.
Outside of one brief moment in Forgive Us Our Trespasses, when Amanda woke him from a nightmare about Culloden, Mac hasn't had an unintentional accent, of any variety, since the mid 1800's.
That's why I mentioned that he has one now. It's a very emotional moment.
At least he didn't try spelling anything phonetically. If I never read another 'dinna', 'canna', or 'yew', it'll be way, way too soon.
No thank you.
Well, of course, MT wants Methos to. After all, Mac doesn't have an unweaned kitten's worth of brains in his head; heaven forefend he be able to decode Methos when Methos thinks he's being clever.
MacLeod has been thinking about the Prize for 400 years now. I'm sure that he's developed and discarded various theories on what it might be. I'm sure that none of those theories involved the man standing in front of him. He probably thinks that Methos is being impossible again, and is waiting for the moment to pass.
Now that's cute, and even more incredible, believable characterization.
Aha! That's the second thing I've done remotely well. Thank you.
However, I've gotta say, if Methos is right about the Prize, this is story then becomes silly enough to rank it with the best parodies. However, I'm really afraid MT is serious...
I like the idea of Methos being the Prize.
If it weren't so tragic that MT hasn't a clue how many things are wrong with this picture, I'd consider laughing at the irony of it all. Well, I could, if I totally despised Methos and MacLeod; then I could enjoy watching the destruction of everything they've cared about, and the deaths of everyone they've ever loved at their own hands, just so they could screw forevermore without distraction.
I have read a story where someone took my characters and twisted them into offensive unrecognizability. If that's what June believes that I've done here, I'm very sorry. That was not my intention.
I'd offer to make a list of all the other reasons that this resolution is so offensive, but I suspect Matthew is the only one who needs me to connect the dots for him.
She called me Matthew!
I wasn't quite sure why I was being called "MT." "Matthew" works well. If that's too personal, "Haldeman-Time" is fine. If that's too long, "Time" would be okay.
Highlander is a very complex show, with equally complex characters, layered over a tightly interwoven canon. Nothing happens in a vacuum in this show, and there's never been a reset button. Unlike many other shows, a hopeful Highlander writer can't just read a selection of the fic, watch an ep or three, and then start typing. Just doesn't work that way.
I was watching and taping "Highlander" before I ever heard of slash. If you can't tell, I'm doing something wrong.
Writing slash is very tricky. Fan fiction itself is tricky. You're writing in a borrowed world. If you do anything remotely out of place, everyone in your audience knows about it.
I'll be the first to admit that June raises some good points in her review. I skimmed over some areas that deserved more investigation.
Have I mentioned that I'm a better writer now?
I do believe that there was a problem in audience. "Gather" is supposed to be fun, rather than deadly serious. It's supposed to suggest the theory of Methos as the Prize. If you're a strict "Highlander" slasher living in a lit-crit world, "Gather" may not be for you.
I'll try to be a better writer.
I'd like June to be a better reviewer.
- Matthew Haldeman-Time