Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey All

Well, I can't remember the last time I posted, or if anyone really cares, but I finally managed to post the rest of YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN. Even though there are parts that are incomplete, I finally decided to post it, mainly because I don't know if I can really get around to finishing it, what with school and graduation and real life coming up.

I also wanted to post it because it's the section I worked on the most. It's what I've always wanted to see in a Firefly fanfic (the stuff with the elder Tams and Gabriel's descent, not the rock music angle which I'll admit is a bit dated), and I want it out there just get it off my hard drive. I've been sitting on this for about two years.

So if you please comment on my last chapters, that would be great.



Saturday, March 29, 2008 5:51 PM


Heyya RR

So, I did look over your fic. I don't have the focus to read through it all, but I checked in a chapter here and there and read the most recent four, which you recommended.

Let me just stress that I am picky. Super super picky. Little details gotten wrong kill everything for me. So I’m very pleased that you can maintain a POV. Your sentence structure is pleasing, with a nice variation of rhythm and length. You’ve got some skills man!

On the down side, you might want to brush up on the rules of dialogue punctuation. I don’t know why, but fic writers never seem to get that right, and it’s become my favorite pet peeve. I mean… it’s not really that hard! *sigh* I could pass on a few other technical details that my tough beta taught me – capitalization rules for titles like “captain” for example – but no biggy. I can get past that.

On to storyline. Like I told you, I have a hard time with Simon/Kaylee. I am biased and opinionated, and my attitude toward S/K is complicated. Suffice it to say, whenever Simon and Kaylee get to be all couple-y, my eyes generally glaze over. Them having a baby? I’m out the door! But that’s my thing, and I will try not to bore you with it, and will minimize my criticisms of the S/K relationship in your fic. In fact, I’ll just leave it alone entirely.

As far as River as a musician. I really like the idea. I can see that she'd find something like that, an identity that isn't the productive Alliance cog she might have been and not the violent tool the Academy tried to make of her. She's creative and brilliant, and music would be a lovely escape for her, a way to find her own voice and define life on her own terms. I do feel that there's a little lack of personality, though, in making her a rock guitarist, and in the Green Day thing. Hey, I like Green Day, but when I read that section I felt like it was the author (you) talking, not River. I think this girl would be a little too weird to get into 1990s pop music. I think she’d have an edge of insanity, a creative mad genius that would do crazy shit with music, same as she did crazy shit with Book’s Bible. She might start with Green Day, but there’d also be, say, Bach and a classic Chinese musician (do an internet search) mixed with some fictional 23rd century post-punk style thing (of your own creation). You know? It’s sci-fi, and you’re the writer. Why be just Green Day when you can make it so much more? Then River would have taste and personality beyond that of her writer (you again). She’d have life of her own. And this future world would gain a bit more texture through these passing details.

So. I started reading for serious in your chapter 12, which was funeral time. That was a hard place to come into, because I felt no personal grief over this dead woman. Which is my bad, for not reading your whole fic. So I’ll leave it alone.

The part with Gabriel in Chapter 13 was my favorite. This is similar to my take on the Tam parents – that he thought he was doing right by his kids, upholding his family name, and I really like how his own ego was so tightly wound in it. I’m with you – I don’t think the Tams are flat villains, just flawed humans. Joss took too much care in presenting Gabriel as loving and flexible to young Simon. This man did his best. Even when River was in the Academy and Simon was trying to get her out, I think Gabriel did what he thought was right. But he was limited by his biases and his pride and his fear. You covered that quite well, and made him sadly human.

Now, let me get critical again (it’s that picky thing) I’d have been much more taken with the scene if Gabriel was less self-aware. It’s too easy to have him describe his own mentality and motivations so clearly. Again, this is just me, but I think human beings are not so often aware of themselves, and I’m more taken by fiction that shows the depths of a character without the character coming out and saying it. I’d find it much more compelling to have Gabriel still a bit caught in his blindness, still fighting to ward off his guilt and believe that he’s done the best he could by his children, while Mal watches and sees right through him.

In a somewhat similar vein, I found several places in your fic that tell without showing. Chapter 2 – the narrative voice says “there was so much platinum being transferred that Jayne actually got sick of the sight of it.” Isn’t there some way of having a scene where Jayne says words to this effect while platinum trickles through his fingers? That would give me the same information, but I get to see Jayne being Jayne, instead of having some narrator tell me flat out. Really, the narrative voice is dull! I don’t want a generic narrator talking at me. I want to see these wonderful characters living in their world.

Which isn’t easy. It takes a hella lot of work to arrange your scenes so that the reader gets the storyline out of the characters’ actions and observations. Jayne would need to pass on the lots-of-platinum info while other plot details are also covered. Maybe Mal’s describing something about the current job and River’s happening by on her way to play her guitar, muttering about her music, and the setting behind them all is another little bit which gives this future world texture. You see? Add layers. Show. Don’t tell. Every scene serves several purposes, and there’s never a generic narrator voice unless there’s a damned good reason for it, a reason that fits the overall narrative structure.

Am I too critical? Maybe. But hey – arranging the passing of information is what fiction is about. Read Dangerous Liaisons and think about the work that went into that! Passing the plot though letters only… it’s brilliant.

Ok, I think I’ve worn myself out. Told you I was critical LOL! I do mean to be constructive – hope it helps and doesn’t sting. Feel free to ignore as much as you like. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:36 PM


HUGS of course we missed you...good to have you back, if only for a moment. Good luck on the life stuff!!


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