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the island of conclusions

DVD commentary meme

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DVD commentary meme

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I have one of those Saturdays to myself I get once in a while, and that seems to make me want to do memes ;)

Here's one I've never tried, and I have no idea if anybody has any interest, but I'll leave it up for a while.

(snagged from elrhiarhodan)

DVD Commentary Meme.

Take a look at my Master List, and see if there are any stories or a genres you'd like to ask me a question about.

Pick a passage from my stories, up to 500 words, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the story, and anything else that you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

You can ask me anything - character motivation, writing process, or if you disagree with the direction I took in a story, ask me to defend it.

(as you probably know or have guessed, I have a tendency to overthink everything, so I guarantee I'll have something to say--I will try hard to avoid being long and boring in my answers :))
  • Sometimes a Blue Macaw

    This is my favorite story you have written. I LOVE IT. I have no particular questions. Tell me whatever you want. And anything else about the fic you want too. I would put the whole thing in here if I could. <3


    “Jesus, McGarrett,” a voice was saying, faint, and very far away. “I swear I didn’t undress Rachel this many times on our honeymoon. Coupla southern states where we’re probably legally married by now.”

    Steve honed in on the voice, dragging himself back to awareness. He was somehow back in the bedroom and Danny was trying to wrestle his soaked t-shirt over his head.

    “Work with me, buddy? Just a little?” Danny coaxed. And Steve tried, he did, and must have succeeded, because soon he was free of the shirt and Danny let him lie down.

    He was so exhausted his eyelid felt like lead weights, but true sleep or unconsciousness wouldn’t come. Instead, reality darted in at him in blips and flashes.

    Danny was coming back into the room—though Steve hadn’t seen him leave. He slipped something—a towel—under Steve’s head, and said, “Yeah, yeah, I’m just about to do that.”

    Confused, Steve tried to remember if he’d asked for something and then forgotten about it. Then he realized Danny had a phone tucked between his ear and his shoulder, was addressing the words to someone else.

    Who? Steve wondered vaguely, as Danny stuck the thermometer in his ear again, hoping it wasn’t the 911 dispatcher. Chin, maybe?

    “104.2,” Danny told whomever was on the other end of the line. “Yeah—that’s what he said. You’re lucky she agrees with you, pal.” This last was definitely directed at Steve, though Danny didn’t seem to expect an answer. “She”? So not Chin.

    Things slipped away from him again, and when they came back, Danny had a chair pulled up next to the bed and was dragging a damp washcloth over Steve’s neck and chest. It felt so good, such a relief from the net of fire suffocating him, that it took him a while to figure out that Danny was still on the phone.

    “Okay,” he was saying. “I will. I think it’s down a bit already. But yeah—definitely. And—hey—thanks, Rach, I appreciate it.”

    Rachel? Had Danny missed his time with Grace because he’d been looking after Steve? That was an awful thought—worse than anything else that had gone on that night. Steve struggled for a moment to say something—apologize, anything. But it was no use—he couldn’t get his lips and tongue to cooperate. So he gave up, le the darkness take him.
    • Re: Sometimes a Blue Macaw

      Oh, I'm so glad you like that fic--thanks for asking about it! I'll try not to go on too long :)

      It wasn't one of those stories that are really hard to write, but I did end up having it on my hard drive for a long time--tinkering with it, and adding bits and pieces. The line you started the excerpt from is one I tinkered around with a lot, trying to get it to sound colloquial--like something Danny would say. I'm still not sure it's exactly right.

      It's funny, but absolutely the last thing I did with it was go back and put in some kind of emotional arc for Steve (other than: he gets sick, then he feels better), and the part in the next section where he realizes that he likes having Danny in his personal space is part of that final addition. I always think most people must work the other way--and know what the emotional arc is before they map out the action--but I don't know.

      And, um, two polemical things about writing h/c fic, feel free to skip.

      1) I always knew I was going to have Danny call Rachel--even though she hadn't even been cast when I wrote this (and I was pretty glad the character and the relationship between them turned out to support this choice:)). But I also did it because I feel like caretakers in h/c fics often seem isolated, when in rl, if you were worried about someone, you might very well call another friend for advice. I really hate it, for instance, when someone ends up in the hospital, and no one bothers calling their family/parents about it. H50 fic, though, is very good about both these things :)

      2) People often seem to like that the fic is from Steve's POV, which I'm happy about. Most practically, I did it that way so I could get the flashback about Bolivia in there--because I'm interested in Steve's past, and I like malaria because it always has a history :) And it was an interesting challenge to write a slightly disjointed POV. But I also did it because I think people often dismiss h/c because they think it's all about about identifying with the comforter--a fantasy about "saving" someone or "fixing" them. But I think it's just as often an exploration of needing and accepting comfort, about what it feels like to have someone look after you, especially if it doesn't happen to you often (as with Steve). So, I'm glad the fic seems to work on that level.

      whew! TMI, huh?
      • Re: Sometimes a Blue Macaw -- now that's a good question

        I always think most people must work the other way--and know what the emotional arc is before they map out the action--but I don't know.

        I tried to answer this in my own head, and I'm having a harder time than I thought I would. I think that the answer for me is that the action and the emotional arc(s) are intertwined. Like, if I'm writing a story where, say, someone gets abducted, I'd add in segments about how his lover is dealing with what happened and trying to find him. I think that for me, if the story has an emotional arc at all, it's going to be part of the plot when I'm thinking of it. It probably helps that the scenes that generally show up first in my head are the most emotionally-charged ones. :)
        • Re: Sometimes a Blue Macaw -- now that's a good question

          the action and the emotional arc(s) are intertwined.
          Yeah--this seems more organic. And sometimes it's like that for me--or the action is the emotion--like the scene you mentioned in "Anchored." But sometimes I just get action and dialogue first--like in this one, and in the Sherlock & bats story--and then I have to remind myself that something psychological needs to happen/develop too....

          Strangely, when I try to go the other way--ie, I have an idea of an emotional arc I'd like to see, and conjure up some action to produce it--I'm not nearly as happy with the fic....
    • Re: Sometimes a Blue Macaw

      Hey, thanks for picking this story! Beat me to it. ;->
  • This is more general (consider it a career retrospective interview on the last disk in the Special Edition Complete Works DVD collection):

    What's with the Malaria there, baby?

    Chances are I'll be back with a snippet as well... Give me a few minutes. :D
    • I feel a little bad about the malaria, actually--because of course it's still such a significant global health problem, fought on the macro-level -- and not so much for first-world middle-class white guys. So it seems a little irresponsible to use it as a plot device/kink...

      But, in less scrupulous terms, malaria is kind of a perfect disease for fever!kink, because really, pain and fever are its major symptoms -- none of the muck of snot and congestion and coughing. Plus, it's serious, but doesn't necessarily require hospitalization, and it's cyclical, but finite.

      Plus, if you're like me, and half of your fever!kink is about altered perceptions and surfacing memories, malaria is great. First of all, because it always has a history. Or at least it does for someone like Watson or Steve, who doesn't usually live in a malaria-ridden part of the world. Quite an adventurous history. So a recurrence brings the past into the presence, so to speak.

      And yeah, high fevers, what can I say....

      Heh--betcha didn't think I had so much to say about it!

      (there's quite an interesting novel about malaria and memory--The Calcutta Chromosome, by Amitav Ghosh)
      • I was hoping you'd have so much to say about it... :D

        I can understand your conflicted feelings about using something that is real and devastating as a plot device, but you could also say that any illness or calamity that's been used as a plot device is unfair to the people who have suffered it in real life. (Amnesia immediately comes to mind as just one example.) Yes you're using Malaria, but you're not making light of it or dismissing it. It's very obvious how completely unfunny and dangerous it is. It was pretty clear in the story that not only was Steve probably too ill to even get to his medicine on his own, but that he probably would have died without it (he was so sick even with the medicine after all). Definitely not cute or funny.

        I've heard of The Calcutta Chromosome, but as is quite common with me I've never read it. Thank you for reminding me about it.
  • Okay, got one!

    Both of these are from Anchored, another story of yours that I love. And coincidentally about a fever, too!

    “He’s a grown man, El,” Peter had protested, “he’s capable of getting his own flu shot.” But she’d just given him an unvarnished who-do-you-think-you’re-kidding? glare, and Peter had had to agree, Who did he think he was kidding? He should’ve dragged Neal along when he went to get his own.

    I haven't watched this series, so I suspect I'm asking about canon characterization rather than your personal take on Neal, but what is it about Neal that inspired you to write this paragraph? And why didn't Peter take him to get a flu shot?

    It was starting to scare Peter a little, force him to entertain the possibility that Neal was truly delirious, or, worse, had suffered some kind of mental break, when a horrible insight came to him.

    He took one hand off Neal’s shoulder and wrapped it, tight, around his left ankle.

    This part was fascinating and sad, and the moment that has stuck with me the most in the story. And it made me curious: how was Peter able to realize that mimicking the feel of the tracking anklet would be what calmed Neal down?
    • Re: Okay, got one!

      Thanks for asking about that story! I'm glad you like it, even without knowing the series.

      1) Yeah, I think that is canon characterization. The show (and fandom) plays around quite explicitly with how much the relationship b/w Peter and Neal (and Neal and Peter & El) is a parental relationship. There's a good 15 year span between the actors, and that adds to it. But Neal is hardly an incompetent child--he's extremely good at taking care of himself in most ways. The only way in which he's childlike, really, is that he has not-so-great impulse control. So, I actually think Neal might have gotten a flu shot--he takes pretty good care of himself...

      I think Peter probably goes back and forth on the issue himself--how much should he be making sure Neal keeps up on things like flu shots? But of course, being Peter, he blames himself for Neal not getting one.

      2) I'm glad that second bit stuck with you. It was actually the kernel of the story for me, as it were--the part I built everything else around.

      I always say about WC that it's the happiest show based on a bondage relationship you're ever likely to see. If it were a fantasy novel, you'd have enforced soul-bonding instead of the anklet. And if it were porn, Neal would wear a collar. It really is the ever present sign of Peter's control.

      But, like a good bondage relationship, it's not just punishment--Neal bitches about it, but here I wanted to explore the possibility that he likes it, or at least on some level needs it, is happy with it. It's the anchor of the title--the limit that keeps him from being swept out to sea, and that structures his life when without it it would be anarchic, lawless, incoherent.

      And I think Peter knows this on some level (they are soul bonded, after all *g*), so he has kind of a flash of insight there--maybe especially because the moment of taking off the anklet was so charged for him before--maybe because he knows Neal is dreaming about being swept out to sea? I quite wanted to have a slightly weird moment of connection b/w them there, so I'm glad it worked.
      • Re: Okay, got one!

        It did work, and I appreciate the explanation. Since I haven't seen the show I didn't know about the bondage aspect of it. (And now I'm wondering where I can find all the fics where Neal is soul-bounded or has a collar. Because like fevers, as long as the bondage is fictional it is awesome.) And if one takes the idea of Neal being bonded to Peter, then it actually makes even more sense that Peter would feel responsible for Neal's well-being.

        On a more canon level, perhaps that impulsiveness you mentioned might have kept Neal from remembering something like a flu shot, or making it a priority? Just wondering.

        Thanks for this! It was interesting and fun. :)
        • Re: Okay, got one!

          yeah, he might have meant to get a flu shot, and then something else came up that he needed to do right this minute.

          There is a lot, a lot of various discipline kink!fic in WC fandom, as you might imagine--so I expect there are collar!fic out there, though I haven't read one. It would be interesting to some kind of fantasy AU where the anklet was replaced with a soul-bond or spell (I got rabidchild to write a fic for me (for some exchange) in which the anklet produces a telepathic bond b/w Neal and Peter :)
  • Oooh, this is a really cool meme! I know, I know! I want commentary on your WC/Sherlock crossover! Although I can't really pick a snippet from it: just ramble about the parts you're most proud of and the ones you think work less well, yeah?
    • Thanks for asking about that one! Maybe I'll just say the things I think about when I think about that story?

      1. I can't believe how long it took me to write it. I left the prompt at the kink meme last July--no one took it up (though there is another WC/Sherlock xover that I still haven't read). I started writing something in the fall--and then just finished it this spring.....

      2. This may be the story I've written that benefited most from being beta'd (though they all have). I think I have a tendency to slip really far inside my POV character and kind of forget what everyone else is doing there (this is probably why I like to write things where one character is unconscious or asleep). When innie_darling beta'd it, she kept saying, "but why is Sherlock there?" "why does he have a gun?" etc.--and I went back tried to make a narrative for him more present, even though it's never explicit. (she did the same thing for my Sherlock remix fic -- reminding me to include some indication of what John was thinking. It's been a good lesson).

      3. Really, for me, the meat of the story is that scene b/w Neal and Sherlock in the past--Neal's fascination w/ Sherlock, Sherlock's need for drugs, Neal's almost seduction. I don't think I got any of the other scenes to be that vivid, and I wish I had.

      4. I loved the idea of these two gorgeous, well-dressed, brilliant men--one of whom relies on charm and his way with people to get things done and one of whom doesn't understand people at all and is abrasive to an extreme. In some versions of the scenes I was more explicit about this--especially Sherlock's contempt for Neal's charmingness--but I wish I'd found a way to do more with it without making it clunky.

      And, I missed John--I wish there'd been more of him in the fic!
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