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13 June 2010 @ 02:02 am
Fandomy bits, and HAIR  
I just thought to actually read through my notifications, and there was a sweet wee lemur there from filmatleven , thanks love! But it had a twin! romaine24  had also sent me a wide-eyed wacky mammal, with a note, to tell me that Snatched was this weekend's fic at hp_weekend_fics , which both made me do a mad little dance of glee at the same time as hang my head in shame, since I have meant to read several of the last weekend fics, but have instead been writing selfishly.

But THANK YOU, Roma and Maggie! I have such love for that mad Next-Gen set in their studio of Great Ego and Peril. Having spent most of the time since writing that working with a TV team as well as my mag set, I have mentally revised the level of ego I ought to have included upwards, but these are newspeople, who are usually a little saner ;-) And touched does not begin to describe my response to your words. Charmed and filled with love is a bit closer.

All of which reminds me that there are other fandom things Of Great Import happening! gunshandcuffs  has the fandom-wide H/D Most Read Bookshelf poll still underway! If you've not voted, please go over there and do so now! However, you don't need to vote for me -- in fact, I'd probably not cope, I like thinking of myself as a slightly acquired taste, like pismanye or Kurt Weill (NOT like Marmite! Bleagh!) What I DO ask is that if you have ever followed my previous recs, you vote for some of the other great fics out there that SHOULD be on the bookshelf but which look like slipping off due to lack of promotion. 

In particular, I would love to see  A Tale of Horns by pushdragon , Crup-tion of the Not-So Innocent by calanthe_fics , and The Simple Joy of Living by mahaliem  make it on. They're all everything that fandom generally loves: tightly written, well characterised, funny and porny, and all had massive responses when they were posted, but are all dropping off for some reason or other (probably because they are from 2008). Go and read them if you haven't -- each and every one is a complete delight (and none are awfully long). There are a bunch of other fics on that list that I would also be pimping were it a best fic list,  but these are the three that I remember having fantastic public responses and recs abungo, which seem to be merely in need of a bit of publicity.

So if you've ever trusted me on a rec and felt it worth the hour of your time, trust me again on these three! (Or check out the gunshandcuffs list for any number of great fics!)

In hair news, I now have dark brown-black hair with pillar box red racing stripes. It is FANTASTIC. I may have found the style I wish to keep for the next decade! (Unless the red runs out as quickly as the old 80s bright colours used to, in which case, expect griping and possibly an experiment with white badger stripes ;-))

And Rage, the Friday and Saturday night music clip show on the ABC, has an all-covers special on which has been unbelievably brilliant. Right now they are playing the Housemartin's version of Caravan of Love -- I am filled with joy!
Cheryl Dysondysonrules on June 12th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhh, I love Snatched! I'ma read it again!

*runs to waste loads of writing time on fandomy miscellany*
emansil_08 on June 12th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
I've not read Simple Joy of Living, so another to add to the ever growing list. I did however read one of her others, the name escapes me at the moment, that I fraking adored!

you have red strips in your hair? how awesome is that!

Congrats on the weekend fic of the weekend. I never have time on weekends to read anything. *wipes tear from face* lol.

Edited at 2010-06-12 05:58 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
I LOVE the stripes! They held up to washing *Sighs of relief*

And yes, I spent last weekend running around like a headless chicken, so the idea of having a lovely read makes me very jealous indeed: I have a long list to get to!

SJoL is BRILLIANT, I thoroughly recommend it. Mahaliem is one of my reliable authors -- but there are stacks of hers I've not read doe to the aforementioned time issues ...
Vaysh Swiftstorm: a.New H/D Favesvaysh on June 12th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks!!! ♥

Will. Read. Snatched.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
Indeed! It will change forever your appreciation of Finnish jokes ;-)
calanthe_fics on June 12th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
I must see the hair! Photos please.

Guns N Handcuffs has astounded me. I think what makes me sad about it is that 4 or 5 authors will have big/ish multiples of fics on the list. I wonder if that means that there are less writers, less people writing reader pleasers, fewer 'good' authors. I just think that overall it's a sad trend. It was there in the first bookshelf, but not to this extent. It doesn't blow the trumpet for genre diversity much does it?
maggiemarguerite_26 on June 12th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
i've been thinking about this...
I wonder if that means that there are less writers, less people writing reader pleasers, fewer 'good' authors.

hmm.. you know, I don't think so at all. I think it shows that there are a few really great writers who also happen to write in a style that pleases the masses. They are romance fics, passionate and funny with clever plots and great characterisation and really hot sex. crowd pleaser, yes, but for good reason.

The reason there are few of them, well... there aren't that many writers that churn out LOTS of great long fics. Years of consistent writing of fics that people remember get you a following. Add to that writing in a genre that gathers more readers than others, they will always be the most read authors because ppl know they can click that 30k and it's a guaranteed good read and they will remember reading it.

If the poll were different (favourite 'author'/favourite 'fic'/fic you've read the most number of times) the results might have been different. but we didn't do that because that shit gets wanky. This was 'have you read' and yeah - those authors get read. A LOT apparently. LOL. but I do not see that as a bad thing. I see that as an indication of who readers know to click and remember clicking.

Edited at 2010-06-12 10:17 pm (UTC)
calanthe_fics on June 13th, 2010 09:46 am (UTC)
Re: i've been thinking about this...
Easy, tiger!

To me 'reader pleaser' isn't a derogatory term or one that levels criticism at the author. To write mainstream romance in such a way that engages without feeling stale in the boundaries of arguably the largest genre in fandom writing takes skill and ongoing investment from the writer. It's easy to be noticed in smaller genres, but not so easy to hold the ground in mainstream romance.

I participated heavily in Sulky Rhino's poll, and as someone who was lucky enough to be included on that first bookshelf I participated in and listened in on lots of conversations about the pros and cons of the list. I think the methodology of the poll is the correct one - did back then, too. I understand what the poll is measuring. The consequence of doing anything like this is that it will stimulate debate. I think that's a good thing, especially if it gets fandom to look at itself and ask some questions.

I remain disappointed that a wider spread of authors looks unlikely to be represented in the final list. There is no implied criticism of any of the final authors in me saying that. My view is that since canon ended there hasn't been the widespread domination of reader time by the small number of authors that the poll seems to suggest. I think Femmequixotic owns fandom at the moment, maybe for the last year or so, but other than her there hasn't been that sort of author 'supremacy' for want of a better word. My experience has been that there has been a broader range of highly recced authors who appear to have garnered a lot of readers. Or maybe the readers of this small number of super-authors just don't rec them very much within the corner of fandom where I reside. There are a lot of variables, but I think it's interesting to examine your own feelings on the subject.
wemyss: true bluewemyss on June 13th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough....
Taking midnight GMT last night / this ack emma as a cut-off point – because I don’t, actually, expect a sudden surge of votes – I took a shufti at the leading stories (not authors) w/r/t their nationalities.

Now I must say at once that in many instances, these are on my spreadsheet (yes, really) as UNK: unknown. Unless they have declared their nationality, I don’t guess. That being said, I can say what any critic should say, that internal indications clearly put these unknown-nationality authors almost invariably in the North American camp: at the very least, the ethos, the diction, and the cultural capital clearly underpinning the stories are North American, even in minor cultural references. This is not a condemnation: Femmequixotic, for one, writes like an angel and does her research.

Of course the poll is self-selecting, from nomination to balloting. Of course some authors have several stories with huge numbers. Of course ‘I have read this’ needn’t mean ‘… and liked it’: I for one dutifully ticked every story I had read, and not infrequently they were stories I’d not read again on a bet. (Also, I at least, when participating in a fest, read every story posted and find something nice to say in comments, if only, ‘What an interesting use of the prompt’: like a Royal Duchess at a prize-giving, it’s cringe-making.) No other methodology could have been employed, and I applaud the work that went into the poll.

The fact is, HP fandom is an odd duck indeed. The canon is thoroughly British, and presumably this has its place in attracting readers. The readers and the subset of readers who are fen are international, and inevitably Americans and the Americanised predominate. Yet it is rather odd that Americanised visions of the British canon seem to be the most popular. Of the top of the 25 pops when I did the maths, there are two pieces by a British author or authors, two by Canadians (or possibly the same Canadian, I deleted identifying information after I did the tables), eight by Yanks, and the remainder by those whose nationality is not stated but who I make absolutely certain are, through no fault of their own, Not British.

Aussies begin to appear in the top 100 (although of course the UK can claim Brammers as well as Oz may do). There is one Irish author, at about the 70th rank at time of dekko. No EU author is in the top 150. I know of two British authors who, Malfoy-like, actually dwell in the ceremonial country of Wilts (although one, poor dear, technically lives in Swindon, God knows why); between them, they have some 110 votes all together.

I did not mark for the ballot paper any story I hadn’t yet read on polling day; I have since read many of the top stories I’d not read before, including those by authors whose nationality is nowhere to be found. They’re perfectly good stories. They are also an Americanised interpretation, actually or culturally, of the thoroughly British canon. I am not using these terms pejoratively, and I am far too likely as it stands to be mistaken for Boris, which I do try avoiding; but I think this does suggest a conclusion that may be of interest. The fandom being international, it prefers its Potterfic, I rather think, to be more familiar than faithful, and not to make too many demands of it w/r/t the Briticism of canon. The films are doubtless largely to blame. Equally, it does expect its authors to be Anglophone and part of the Anglosphere. Again, I am not judging quality of work here, merely cultural familiarity (both ways).

I should be very interested to hear what others make of this.

Edited at 2010-06-13 03:56 pm (UTC)
calanthe_fics on June 14th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC)
Re: Oddly enough....
I think people may be avoiding responding to you on the basis of trying not to unintentionally offend anyone. You managed that beautifully in your comment!

I loved your comment - nodded along with all of it, and I think you have got the measure of the situation.

I think what's hard for people, all people, to maintain a consistent grip on is that the poll is not about 'the best' but about 'the most read'. Being at the top of a list surely implies you must in some way be 'better' than the others, right? I don't think there are many people who could hand on heart say that they haven't though that, or that they haven't looked at where their own fic ranks compared to other authors, particularly the ones they don't think are better than them! It's human nature and nothing to be ashamed of. We all have a pecking order mapped out, even if it stays in our own heads and we pretend to the outside world that it isn't there.

When 'favourite' and 'most read' are being used interchangeably on a wide scale it's inevitable that the old competitive elephant will stroll into the room and drop a big fart. People can stop breathing if they want, but there's still a room full of fart smells.

And on that note of cataclysmic wisdom, I leave you. Good day! (or is it g'day?)
wemyss: CofETorywemyss on June 14th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Heffalumps and woozles aren't what they were when I was young.
They were far too well-bred to act in that fashion in those High and Far-Off Days.

I do hope that the equivocal reading of 'managed that beautifully' is not to be taken as 'managing beautifully unintentionally to offend', but I quite agree the situation is perilous.

I really think that what the poll means to do, and does do, despite the inevitability of even its managers slipping into the use of 'best' and 'guaranteed good read', is to measure a Sellar-and-Yeatman Index of Memorability, as you and Brammers acutely note and as Maggie of course quite properly asserts. There is simply no better methodology to hand, and if people will misread memorable as best, there's nothing to be done.
calanthe_fics on June 14th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Heffalumps and woozles aren't what they were when I was young.
Ha ha, yes of course - I meant that your comment was beautifully phrased.

Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on June 14th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Oddly enough....
*shakes head* You have a nationality spreadsheet of H/D authors????? Now that's what I call obsession. :D Please to be putting me amongst those poor, underrepresented EU authors.

Some of the predominance (if one should call it that) of a supposedly Americanised vision of British HP canon may have to do with the fact that its editors thought it had that much of an international appeal that they published an Americanised version of canon. ;)
wemyss: better off OUT!wemyss on June 14th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
You're already thus scheduled.
(See icon.)

And yes, of course I am that great an anorak.
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on June 14th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: You're already thus scheduled.
*lol* Anorak is definitely my new favourite word. I love the etymology that www.etymology.com gives (pirate radio!). But is it correct, do you think?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 14th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Re: i've been thinking about this...
I'm not sure that's entirely accurate.

I should start off by saying that I am a massive fan of the G&H longlist. While there are a couple of fics missing, on the whole it is a really good place for people to go to catch up on post-canon fic and I will be working my way through the shocking number I had not read.

But looking at the current final 25, I'm with Cal in thinking that it is a bit skewed. The G&H shortlist is fantastic at giving the stats for the writers and fics that most people who took the poll are willing to vote for, but I don't know that that translates directly to most popular, nor to great fics. Which is not to say that it doesn't, either, simply that the mechanism that is there for voting isn't one that gives you greatest fics.

What it gives you is a list of the fics that the most people who are motivated to take the poll remember reading. Which is exactly what it said it was going to in the original posts :-) But this means it is skewed both by who participates and by how thorough they are in their participation. I know that several of the fics I ticked were ones I thought were less than great (a lot less in one case!), but I read them nonetheless!

And several fics that I KNOW are great are ones that I have only glanced at and put aside to read later (I had hopes to get to them through the polling process, deranged hopes, I tell you!), so I could not vote for them in good conscience. But I would rank them more as favourites if that was the criterion!

I think that the problem is language such as 'great' and 'favourite' has crept in. 'Most read' was perfect, because it was accurate and allowed for all the reasons a fic will be most read, which include that it is a great fic, that the author is a gorgeous human being, and that the author is a brilliant self-promoter. These things are as true in fandom as they are in real life publishing.

You're absolutely right that going for other mechanisms could have resulted in major-league wank, and I think it was sensible to steer clear. But by the same token, I see what Cal's getting at, too. I have to say that I very nearly did not vote for anything because when I went to the polling post it said "New Harry/Draco Favourites" -- what I voted for certainly was not a list of my favourites, it was a list of fics that I had read for one reason or another. My favourites list would have been very very different indeed!

I do think that there are more writers than the small number with the highest grosses on the list who turn out reliably great long fics. And I thoroughly agree with Wemyss below that some of that is due to cultural positioning. He and I were sharing giggles that we would never be winners in fandom popularity contests, which I think is unfair for him since he at least includes the occasional spot of quite eye-opening sex. But what has surprised me most with the poll is the way that it is reflective of such a short period of time. The position of Fray's Wings is the most indicative example of what I am talking about: 12 or 24 months ago it would have been a rampant leader -- no one has unread it in the time since, fashions have simply shifted.

So, yeah, in the end, I love the longlist, and I think it will give a terrific 'most-read' list, but I don't agree that it will be the same as a 'great fic' list, nor as a most popular fics list -- neither of which are the goals that G&H set out at the beginning.

And MASSIVE apologies for the rambliness -- it is far too late here!
wemyss: CofETorywemyss on June 14th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
... but two of them were not memorable.
Again, I think we agree the poll does, and can only, measure Memorability on the Sellar-Yeatman Index. On which hangs all the rest of this law-and-prophets discussion.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
Re: ... but two of them were not memorable.
I have a terrible urge for 1066 of the Voldemort Wars now ... ARGH! Must finish writing Fathers and spend the next month on RL novel. You're a TERRIBLE influence, but with such flair.
gracefulfoolgracefulfool on June 13th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Ooh, new hair for you, too? It sounds awesome! Everything is better with red racing stripes. ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 13th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
You inspired me! I was going to faff about with the same old style, but I went back to my old hairdresser and was richly rewarded! :-)
Hueyphoenixacid on June 13th, 2010 05:58 am (UTC)
I TOTALLY SECOND Snatched, Simple Joy, Horns and Crup-tion!!!! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 13th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
That's because you have excellent taste ;-)
It's a Deensedeensey on June 13th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
I need to see the hair!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 13th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
I have no idea what we are doing tomorrow (er, today, I am up watching the Grand Prix), but will catch up with you v soon so you can see it!
It's a Deensedeensey on June 14th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
I'm studying and watching True Blood. Oh and fitting in some hooping. Exciting day!
Randy: Up to no good SPNdrgaellon on June 13th, 2010 10:58 am (UTC)
I thought the point of the poll was to find out which are already the most read fics - to click on the ones you've already read and remembered, not to go read them now then click on them. (And that may be why they've dropped off - lack of memorability. I've only read "Crup-tion," so I can't say for sure.)

I thought the Housemartins' version of "Caravan of Love" was the original. I've never found an earlier.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 13th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
Came out a year earlier as a much less good tune: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravan_of_Love (I couldn't begin to tell you who it was by without looking it up!)

And, well, I think that was theoretically the idea, but the polls don't seem to be reflecting that at all. When you look at the polling numbers for The Price We Pay for Wings and compare it to the comments on its original hd_hols appearance alone, they are nothing like. It is certainly a very memorable fic, as are Simple Joy and Tale of Horns, though I would understand people who mixed up Cruption and Bryoney's Bunny fic that came out about the same time.
wemyss: cheddar (let's gorge!)wemyss on June 13th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
... I was simply relieved when the number of votes for my story finally exceeded the number of beta-readers who'd kindly midwifed the damned thing. It has now I think five times the votes as the number of editors for it, which I find pleasantly surprising, as I well know no-one reads my work (save a select few, dear, save a select few: you're in brilliant, if limited, company).
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 13th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Personally...
There is something very pleasant about being preferred by a particular audience! I was very pleased to have been nominated at all (my first time for any fandom anything!), and was thrilled to be in your company.
wemyss: CofETorywemyss on June 14th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Likewise, I'm sure, as charwomen used always to be written as saying.
Not Marmite so much as Perigord truffles, perhaps?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Likewise, I'm sure, as charwomen used always to be written as saying.
You are kind. I have a profoundly different response to the latter. Though they do look almost as unappealling as the former ...
prone to mischief: A victim of that lust for bookstreacle_tartlet on June 22nd, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
I would just like to say that I read and adore both of you, but never leave comments because I can't think of something appropriate to say.

'*squeee* *flail* I ♥ you!', while accurate, seems woefully inadequate, but leaving as essay about how much I enjoy your writing seems like overkill.

*packs bag and heads off in search of middle ground*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 23rd, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Obviously you should write essays for both of us! Or mime it in interpretive dance! *Mwah!*
prone to mischief: Johnny Weir's fluffy hat!treacle_tartlet on June 23rd, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Interpretive dance! DRINK! Can I have topless beefcakes covered in glitter, pyrotechnics, and a wind machine as well?

Also, have you seen this blog? SO VERY PRETTY! And there's a Mildred Pierce remake in the works, starring Kate Winslet!

&helena;uminohikari on June 14th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Pics or it didn't happen! XD

I haven't read most of those fics! I'm a bad fic reader~
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
I keep trying to take a photo that does not show my face! Will try again outdoors tomorrow, in hopes the natural light makes everything work better.

And there were a shocking number that I had not read -- I am a bad fandomeer!