ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
Okay, so this probably has happened to many of us, that you read a story, that intersects with your life or experiences in some way. When that happens to me and I start writing a comment, my own experience is then what's in my head as reaction, and basically I recount whatever episode or life experience resonated with that story. Only then at the end of this, I come to the realization that my comment on the story doesn't actually talk about the story as such at all, but just about me. Then I feel really awkward, and more often than not I don't post that comment, and just click the kudo button instead.

However, most authors seem to like comments better than kudos. Does this still hold true for comments that don't actually talk about your story as such but are more or less (over)sharing of personal experiences a story resonated with?

Like okay, say you wrote a roadtrip fic where your characters look at a giant ball of rubber bands or whatever, and then you get a comment that is along the line of "here's my roadtrip experience of looking at a giant rubber band ball". It's not totally unrelated to your story, but not about praising your great characterization, awesome writerly skill or perfect timing either. And of course often it's not about a rubber band ball but some more personal resonance.

What do you think about such comments? Awkward? Still better than kudos? Better not posted because you don't really want to hear random strangers' anecdotes?
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
As I'm still pondering whether or not to sign up for the upcoming [livejournal.com profile] xmenreversebang, that made me once again been wonder why there isn't some place/infrastructure besides (Reverse) Big Bangs to facilitate collaborations. Fests are good insofar that the moderators usually try hard to get everyone paired up, but there is the whole issue of the schedules and deadlines. Why aren't there non-fest places for authors and artists to pitch some project idea to find another fan who would be interested in working together?

Like, it kind of compares to getting a prompt filled somehow, which you can attempt by signing up to a fest or by throwing it out in a kinkmeme, hoping to find someone interested from a random but larger pool. Of course most don't get filled in kinkmemes (mine never have been so far), but the chance is still better than just putting out your idea in your own journal.

I guess the obstacles are the potential social awkwardness (you might have to reject offers of collaboration, because you dislike someone's writing/art/podfic/whatever style or even their proficiency), and also that the likelihood of matching (or even the general interest in collaborations outside of close friends) might not be high enough to make such a forum worthwhile.

OTOH fandoms these days don't have central places anymore, so there isn't even anywhere where you could put up your notice individually for many others to see, like a central (or at least large) general discussion list or a noticeboard.
ratcreature: grumpy (grumpy)
I've seen a bunch of links to an anon end of year feedback meme, and I checked it out, but once again, as so many memes, it is only for fic writers, not any other fanworks, even though no modifications in the feedback meme setup would be needed to make it more inclusive. Doing anything else but fic writing in this corner of fandom feels like being invisible sometimes.
ratcreature: RatCreatures as Magneto (magneto)
After considering my new health insurance card, now upgraded with a photo ID to "prevent fraud" and an RFID chip with the capability to store all sorts of health information in the future as they expand the electronic systems (all totally secure and confidential of course, we are assured), it occurred to me, that in Modern AUs there is no way the government would try to push a mutant id marker directly in the personal government ID or in a separate database.

They would just "improve" the health insurance system to store medically relevant information, include mutations in that, while assuring of course that it was all confidential to health care providers and no way would the government read it or make a central database. But of course with them setting the security standards in the health care laws, they could access and read such information at any time. And since people often just carry their insurance cards with them in their wallets, probably even more so once they'll store emergency information like allergies or special conditions relevant for emergency medicine, like being on blood thinners, and obviously mutations would be put in that category (for safety of patients and medical personnel), all mutants would just carry their RFID chip identification tag on them.

Of course there wouldn't be 100% compliance, because I assume mutants living illegally like Brotherhood members would not sign up for a health insurance, but then they wouldn't voluntarily line up for extra registration either. And most regular mutants would just get their health insurance card like everyone else, even though in advance of implementing such a system some mutant rights activists probably issued dire warnings that X-gene mutations were included as routinely stored health markers, along with genetic diseases or such, but for the majority it probably didn't look like discrimination.
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
First, how hard it is to follow a simple discussion with more than two participants. (I know, not what Tumblr is built for, but people still use it for that.) I mean, even if you ignore the unfortunate formatting, that makes it so hard to attribute what is quote and who said what, as soon as a conversation branches, you are never going to see all threads in a single of the reblogs, and if you go to the notes of the original post you can see all the responses and reblogs (i.e. the "A reblogged from B and added" bits) but there they are cut off and shortened, so you have to click and end up with a gazillion tabs to read one post with three comment threads. It's maddening. Unless there is some other reading method I missed to find and display responses? *nurses futile hope*

Second, a more subjective dissonance for me, is how Tumblr is one of the places where publicly celebrating popularity numbers is done by some (on dA it also happens, there with page view milestones mostly). I mean, from what I can tell you can't see the follower numbers like you can on LJ-clone platforms as default with friend-of/subscriber lists, so maybe that's why some people make posts going "yay over 4000 followers!" or the like instead. But of course only the ridiculously popular people do this as far as I can tell, and I can't help feeling kind of crushed in comparison. Though perhaps I wouldn't take notice so much if on Tumblr you weren't seeing "reblog/like" numbers all the time, that draw attention to the audience size constantly, even without extra action.

Which on the one hand I know is silly, because it's not like without these kinds of follower-numbers squee posts I would be unaware that someone else is very popular and has cool content, but still. I mean, with the LJ/DW model that moment of comparison is there whenever you subscribe, but you become aware of a range of numbers, and also then it fades somewhat from awareness for me. However on Tumblr you (or at least I) mostly notice the really popular numbers. For example I'm hardly going to celebrate my next Tumblr milestone which would be if ever the number of followers inched up to a round ten instead of currently eight. And I assume most other people with non-popular Tumblrs feel the same, so the impression gets distorted.

It's of course a completely irrational response to feel bad to have less audience than cool Tumblr X, but at the same time not even do anything to attract more people. If I wanted non-embarrassing follower milestone posts to happen, I would probably need to switch my topics from "mostly crappy doodles" to something with popularity potential, like say "James McAvoy with baby sloths" or something (as a side note, does that already exist? it should, I'd probably follow that), and post consistently and do all the other things that make a Tumblr attractive.
ratcreature: RatCreature is conflicted, and ponders under the influence of hovering angel- and devil-RatCreatures. (conflicted)
I've started to post a bunch of my fanart on AO3 even though sadly you can still only embed art, not upload it, so it's not truly archiving yet. But the advantage is that many of the stories I've illustrated are there and thus I could take advantage of the associations, and also I like having tagging options.

Anyway, I've wondered what to do about drawbles, which for me outnumber "regular" fanart more than 2:1. On dA I put them in the scrapbook so they don't swamp the rest of my gallery, on my website they are in a different section, and in my fanart blog and journals are mostly bundled in a couple of drawble posts after the prompt rounds. But what do you do in an archive like AO3?

On the one hand I'm a completist in the sense that I want to have all my stuff in the places I pick (my personal website shows drawings I did in elementary school -- it's a thing), OTOH I naturally want the art that took a lot of effort to be somewhat more prominent, so that the first impression for visitors is not that I do only sloppy, quick doodles, when they browse my works in a fandom.

So how do you resolve that problem? I assume writers must have similar issues when deciding how to archive quick prompt response fic, drabbles, meme fic and the like. Do you bundle several into a single work? If so by which method? All of one fandom? Or maybe bundle chronologically somehow, like all you did for a prompt post? Some other solution? Or do you just let your other stuff get swamped and trust the audience will sort it out via tags? What's your presentation strategy?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Erik Lehnsherr (erik lehnsherr)
I'm reading quite a bit of Charles/Erik right now, and a number of those feature some variation of telepathic sex.

And it occurred to me that of course direct brain stimulation of the reward system is one of the most addictive things (like those experiments on the unfortunate rats who press brain stimulation levers until they die because they like that better than eating and drinking), and of course some people think even regular sex can become an addiction. So obviously sex with Charles could be addictive, especially if he couldn't control what he does with his brain fully during sex and somehow instinctively tries to pleasure his partner telepathically.

Also this offers fabulous opportunities for angst if Charles is worried about this. According to the wikipedia page on this these rat experiments were first done in the early 1950s, so assuming Charles would be interested in neuroscience to understand his mutation, he would know about these experiments by the time the movie takes place, and could worry. Actually if anyone wanted to write virgin!Charles, you could argue that it is possible he read about these experiments before he ever became sexually active and developed a worried hang-up over whether or not he'd be safe for his partners.

Surely there has to be angsty fic that explores telepathic sex as highly addictive?
ratcreature: RatCreatures as Magneto (magneto)
This occurred to me when I commented in another journal, but one of the reasons why I like XMFC fix-it scenarios where the beach scene isn't the moment when Erik embarks upon an ideology of genocidal mutant separatism is that I can't imagine how Erik would even be able to make a sound judgment at this early point that a mutant-only society is a viable future option.

All the mutants Erik knows seem to be first generation mutants, presumably with regular human parents, and at this point none he encountered have reproduced. I'm no geneticist but it seems to me that just then they have nothing but hope that mutants will produce viable and fertile offspring with each other, who will also be mutants on top of that. And it's all well and good for your ideology to hope that you are the next evolutionary step rather than some dead-end (like Charles does too), but it's somewhat premature to burn all bridges to the larger genetic base when you haven't even seen the first mutant-mutant baby be born and reach puberty.

For all they know the mutations that give them awesome powers might lead to illness and early death kind of birth defects when two mutants have children, or they could be infertile, or just have a really high chance of either. It's probably best not to think too much about how Marvel's "X gene" is supposed to work in terms of real genetics, and I don't know much about the latter anyway, but still. I can't imagine anyone would just assume these mutations would breed true and without complications.
ratcreature: Flail! (flail)
The discussions of the pros and cons of "kudos" on AO3 reminded me that I've wanted to post about whether others found the comment culture and discussions about them (and long critiques as well as the favorite and collection buttons) on deviantArt even more neurotic and fraught than on the typical fan archive/forum or fannishly used LJ/DW.

I mean, whenever I see discussions over this in posts on dA it's likely to be some sort of screed how these days people were only doing "fav and run" instead of how it supposedly was in some mythical ancient time when everybody wrote lengthy comments to help artists improve. (For an example, see this recent post and the comments on it, as well as the second part more about the group feature.)

First, seriously, what is it with that expression, as if it was a bad thing akin to a "hit and run" to bookmark an artwork as a favorite and give it more exposure through people browsing the favorites of artists they like to find new stuff? I know I find most art on dA like that, and more recently also through groups (that I also find by accident when an artwork I like has a group button), since neither the search function nor the categories are up to cope with the sheer number of works.

And second, all this whining about how the quality of the comments sucks and nobody was posting long comments (anymore -- it's always combined with nostalgic projections, which I can't verify, since I have used dA for a bit over two years), actually makes me even less likely to comment on the site, even though I can't quite believe the majority of users would really expect the average comment to be some sort of indepth analysis or review, rather than a quick "Awesome! I like the costume." or "Cool how the fur turned out." or something like that.

I mean, I freely admit that on dA my interaction is mostly of the "adding as favorite" type, because to me it seems a "win-win". I get a bookmark of great art I liked for myself with one click, and the artist gets a quick notification that I added it as favorite, and potentially more viewers if people who landed in my gallery also take a look at what art I liked. And that with none of the social awkwardness of commenting on strangers.

As for the complaint that even comments that are made are of the "worthless" kind, I'm not about to offer unwanted technical advice to random strangers, not to mention that more often than not I'm not actually more technically versed or knowledgeable etc. than the poster, or in the habit of doing technical art reviews, so what could I even say in a comment that would satisfy these demands? For the record, personally I'm happy to get fav'ed, and like short comments. Longer ones would be awesome of course, but I don't expect them as the norm.

Perhaps it is the huge range of users, from professional artists with many followers to the occasional inept doodle poster showing a sketch to some friends, that makes the popularity issues even more central on dA than on fanfic archives, because the displayed stats (number of views, downloads, favorites, and comments) aren't that different from fanfic archives like the AO3 that display hits, comments, and bookmarks.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I'm sure most people are familiar with the situation that when you look back at works of any kind (writing, art, crafts, whatever) that you finished some time ago, you come across one for which you still find the idea/concept really awesome, but now you kind of cringe at the technical execution, or at least some of it, because you've gotten better with practice since, and if you realized the same idea now, it could have been so much better. And while you still know that you were really proud of it then, and still love the concept behind it, the less accomplished realization now almost seems like a waste of a great idea.

And then some people may redo their old work if they find an idea compelling enough, i.e. rewrite that old novel in a second version, redo a painting, etc., while others may revisit similar themes or mine their old work for ideas, but don't go back to finished things to do the same thing again, just better. Personally I'm in the second "camp" and don't think I've ever done a remake version, but I wonder how others feel, thus a poll:

Poll #5503 remaking your works
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18


Do you ever redo old works?

View Answers

Yes.
8 (44.4%)

No.
10 (55.6%)

I'm more complicated than your radio buttons, and will explain this in a comment.
0 (0.0%)

ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
My latest tedious digital experience made me curious about the "time efficiency" of digital vs. traditional media for people overall. Obviously there are some things that are really easy/fast digitally compared to doing it by hand, e.g. messing with the color balance, or after you are almost finished with the details it becomes apparent that you failed to notice that a head is disproportionately large. Select and scale with some minor re-merging effort is all fixing the latter takes digitally, whereas you have to start over by hand. But when looking at the whole process I often find that doing something digitally takes me longer than on paper (and I'm slow there already), even if I take into account the beloved undo and that corrections go much faster. Of course that could be just a matter of practice, but then it's not as if I paint traditionally all that often either, and digital stuff seems to have a really steep and frustrating learning curve.

Of course you can always mix both to take advantage, e.g. do a sketch in pencil, scan it, resize and rearrange stuff digitally, then base the drawing on that, or do an initial rough color sketch digitally, mess around with color sliders until you like the mood, then do the painting traditionally, then scan it and do a touch up digitally etc. But still, a poll about when you don't mix the two.

Poll #5337 traditional vs. digital
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5


for initial sketching (whether a study or the base of later picture), what is faster for you?

View Answers

traditional media (i.e. physical pigments applied to surfaces in some manner)
3 (60.0%)

digital (i.e. whatever software you like best for a task: GIMP, Photoshop, Painter, ArtRage...)
1 (20.0%)

no difference
1 (20.0%)

don't know/can't say (b/c you never keep track of time, have only ever used one method for this, always mix both...)
0 (0.0%)

for a fully rendered drawing, what is faster for you? (presuming about equally detailed/skilled results are the goal)

View Answers

traditional
1 (20.0%)

digital
3 (60.0%)

no difference
1 (20.0%)

don't know
0 (0.0%)

for inking line art, what is faster for you?

View Answers

traditional
2 (40.0%)

digital
3 (60.0%)

no difference
0 (0.0%)

don't know
0 (0.0%)

for coloring line art, what is faster for you?

View Answers

traditional
1 (20.0%)

digital
4 (80.0%)

no difference
0 (0.0%)

don't know
0 (0.0%)

for a fully rendered painting, what is faster for you?

View Answers

traditional
2 (40.0%)

digital
1 (20.0%)

no difference
0 (0.0%)

don't know
2 (40.0%)

how important is such time/effort efficiency on average when choosing your medium for an artwork? 10 meaning "most important", 0 meaning "not important" compared to other consideration (e.g. wanting to have a physical object, not wanting to have a mess with paints everywhere, having some effect you can only get digitally etc.)

View Answers
Mean: 3.20 Median: 3 Std. Dev 1.33
00 (0.0%)
11 (20.0%)
20 (0.0%)
32 (40.0%)
41 (20.0%)
51 (20.0%)
60 (0.0%)
70 (0.0%)
80 (0.0%)
90 (0.0%)
100 (0.0%)
ratcreature: Flail! (flail)
With the proliferation of Tumblr, what do you do if another fan just reblogs your pictures? I understand that one of the reasons people like Tumblr is because it is so easy to just post a bunch of pictures and video and such, but I do have a notice that I don't want my art distributed without permission, because I'd rather like traffic to come to my site than some random Tumblr or other site. (This seems to be an ongoing problem for me of late.) Am I just behind on the new fannish normal?
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I'm curious what kind of fanart styles/types people like best for live action fandoms. For the purpose of this poll assume that the artist is skilled at the style in question, e.g. just because there are a ton of badly done "my hed iz pastede on" photomanips that shouldn't count against the style as such, if you can appreciate well done manips of that type. For this poll consider 0="don't like the style at all" and 5="like this style very much".

Poll #4052 What fanart styles do you like in live action fandoms?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 49


artwork in traditional media that is very realistic in style and used identifiable promo/screencap images as reference, e.g. many realist character portrait paintings/drawings or collage paintings that merge several portrait images for effect (like a collage of canon h/c scenes)

View Answers
Mean: 2.57 Median: 3 Std. Dev 1.32
04 (8.2%)
15 (10.2%)
215 (30.6%)
313 (26.5%)
48 (16.3%)
54 (8.2%)

the same but done with digital media, e.g. "paintovers" and such

View Answers
Mean: 2.10 Median: 2 Std. Dev 1.42
08 (16.3%)
110 (20.4%)
211 (22.4%)
311 (22.4%)
47 (14.3%)
52 (4.1%)

artwork in traditional media that is very realistic in style but shows fully imaginary scenes rather than character portraits and drawings based canon scenes

View Answers
Mean: 4.14 Median: 4 Std. Dev 0.99
00 (0.0%)
11 (2.0%)
21 (2.0%)
312 (24.5%)
411 (22.4%)
524 (49.0%)

the same but done with digital media

View Answers
Mean: 4.06 Median: 4 Std. Dev 1.13
01 (2.0%)
11 (2.0%)
21 (2.0%)
311 (22.4%)
412 (24.5%)
523 (46.9%)

artwork in traditional media that is basically still realist (e.g. in proportions etc.) but more stylized, e.g. characters rendered in art noveau style, a realistic comic style etc.

View Answers
Mean: 4.45 Median: 5 Std. Dev 0.83
00 (0.0%)
10 (0.0%)
22 (4.1%)
35 (10.2%)
411 (22.4%)
531 (63.3%)

the same but done with digital media

View Answers
Mean: 4.35 Median: 5 Std. Dev 1.04
01 (2.0%)
10 (0.0%)
22 (4.1%)
35 (10.2%)
411 (22.4%)
530 (61.2%)

manga-style artwork

View Answers
Mean: 2.90 Median: 3 Std. Dev 1.40
03 (6.2%)
16 (12.5%)
28 (16.7%)
313 (27.1%)
412 (25.0%)
56 (12.5%)

cartoony artwork

View Answers
Mean: 3.69 Median: 4 Std. Dev 1.26
01 (2.1%)
12 (4.2%)
25 (10.4%)
311 (22.9%)
413 (27.1%)
516 (33.3%)

photomanips of the collage-type, e.g. multiple pictures from canon and non-canon sources are arranged, layered, changed with textures etc.

View Answers
Mean: 2.16 Median: 2 Std. Dev 1.40
06 (12.2%)
113 (26.5%)
28 (16.3%)
314 (28.6%)
45 (10.2%)
53 (6.1%)

photomanips of the type that merges/blends pictures into a single non-collage image, e.g. putting characters in period costumes, giving characters wings, head/body mergers to get explicit art etc.

View Answers
Mean: 2.18 Median: 2 Std. Dev 1.38
07 (14.3%)
110 (20.4%)
29 (18.4%)
315 (30.6%)
46 (12.2%)
52 (4.1%)

digital artwork that is not painted or manipped but primarily 3D rendered

View Answers
Mean: 1.49 Median: 1 Std. Dev 1.24
013 (28.9%)
110 (22.2%)
212 (26.7%)
37 (15.6%)
43 (6.7%)
50 (0.0%)


ETA: I probably should have been more precise in that what I'm curious about is preferences for styles of 2D, non-moving picture-type fanart; the phrasing was not meant to imply that things like fannish fiber crafts, sculpture or vidding or other arts weren't "fanart".
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I've been browsing a couple of the VVC related discussion posts, and the parts about labelling vids made me wonder about similar problems for fanart. I like useful and detailed content labels (anyone who has seen my delicious account could have guessed that *g*) to help fans find what they like and avoid what they don't like. And I think for non-narrative fanart the "spoiling the plot twists" aspects of detailed labels are mostly moot since you see it all at once anyway, but instead there is the problem to balance the usefulness of the preview thumbnail against avoiding things that may look disturbing even when reduced to a tiny size.

Mostly I want the header/outside of the cut to attract viewers to click on the full thing, and make it so that the labels are most useful for the potential audience. Having a small but still interesting preview is essential for that, IMO. I don't mind giving much information in text, but I like to show the part I consider best and/or most suited to size-reduction in my preview as a teaser.

OTOH I wouldn't want someone have an unintentional goatse.cx like experience on their reading list either, and there is the consideration that to reach a wide audience it can be beneficial to keep uncut things "worksafe" so that people don't feel apprehensive to include a journal, community or blog on a regular reading list that they might check from public computers or during their lunch break as well. For example in the one art community I set up ([community profile] slothsdraw, which admittedly never gained traction) the rules ask all previews to be small and suitable for general audiences ("worksafe"), while behind cuts all kind of adult content is welcome as long as it is labelled as such, though more specific information is optional.

I myself don't draw very disturbing pictures (at least not if you don't count the occasional proportion or perspective fail as disturbing *g*), but if I did anything really extreme, while I would probably try to be careful with the preview, so that it is not too bad when seen at a small size, I would still do a preview to entice people who like the same kind of art I do. So at least in my own journal that is not subject to additional community considerations, I might not pick a "worksafe" thumbnail cut (my preview is usually a square cut of the central area of interest reduced to 120x120px) if I didn't think it represented the art the best. So my posts could be problematic, even with me using all kinds of text labels.

For example one of the few times one of my pictures actually had any kind of warnings was when I drew Roy as junkie, which was thus rated "PG" and clarified in the header that this was for "drug use", but my preview thumbnail outside already showed him depicted as drug addict with his arm with track marks and drug paraphernalia. So the text warning would have only functioned as an advance warning for people cautious enough to have turned off images when coming across the cut post, because you'd notice the image before ever reading the detailed header.

I admit that even though I set up a similar rule myself for a community (in part because it was centered around drawing practice itself, not any fannish content or topic), I dislike it when I come across previews for explicit pictures on fannish comms and notice boards where you can't really see much of anything in the preview anymore, because it is a section chosen to be safe outside the cut that isn't all that representative of the style or picture. Some of this I think is just people picking a section badly (at least for my taste), but some is an inherent problem. I mean, if you have picture that is about gory, explicit violence and the center of attention is really gross, and there is no truly non-disturbing part that is still interesting (even the daisy flower off to the side is trampled and splattered with blood from an intestine!) you end up with previews that show stuff like a bit of the stormy sky above, when the image is of a demonic zombie battlefield or whatever. That is not a very useful preview.

So how to best balance between useful previews and not wanting to ambush people with disturbing pictures? Is the small size of a preview enough, because you can't see it in detail? Do most fans who are concerned about avoiding certain pictures browse with all turned off and only see them after clicking one specifically, so that text labels work as a heads up for images too? Do you still click on fanart cuts without any image preview if it has just a text header describing it?
ratcreature: RatCreature with an ear-trumpet: What? (what?)
I just came across a header with the line "Warnings: miscsquick". What is that supposed to mean? I guess there is a typo in there somewhere so the warning could be "misc. squick" which has to be the most useless warning ever, because just knowing that "miscellaneous squicks" are in there doesn't help you any to decide whether to read or not, unless you are sure that you have no squicks whatsoever. After all "miscellaneous" could mean the story was say someone killing puppies and then molesting their corpses in necrophiliac bestiality. (Glancing through the story I think the warning was just intended for a worn underwear fetish, not puppy necrophilia. That was just my mind combining the first miscellaneous squick I thought of, i.e. animal harm, with the PWP genre of the story, in a guess.)

Or the line could have been intended as "might squick" which is equally useless, because any kink is someone else's squick. I guess both could just be a variant of "caveat, author doesn't use warnings", which is fine, but then why not say so?

Seriously, if you warn for some squicks, say what the potentially squicky things are, or say outright that you don't warn.
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
Because I'm procrastinating on my SGA Reverse Bang piece, I've decided to do a process post about my last fanart, the one for the Trek Reverse Bang. That painting took me a long time, and quite a lot of work spread out of over three months, and maybe some are interested how I get from the first idea to a finished painting.

image heavy )
ratcreature: The lurkers support me in email. (lurkers)
I have to say that the more I hang out in storyfinder comms that allow mixing specific with general searches (like the Star Trek one I follow, [livejournal.com profile] st_ficfinder) the more cumbersome and pointless the strict separation of the SGA comms in story- and genre-finders seems to me.

Because the rules are enforced rigidly, you frequently have dual queries: Either because a poster remembers a specific story, but wants similar ones right away too, or someone posts a general search first, then someone else remembers a story that fits but not its title, and has to make yet another post in a separate comm, wary of the mods' wrath if they asked others in the comments. And then shortly after you get another modly reminder post anyway, because someone else has forgotten yet again to keep the chocolate away from the hazelnuts.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
I'm curious, how many, if any, WIPs do you currently follow? Also which they are, especially if they are in one of my current main fandoms, to see whether I'm missing anything good. I know not everyone likes WIPs, so obviously this is not the post for WIP haters. I like following WIPs along, which has become obvious to me once again now that I read ST: Reboot, where WIPs seem more common than they are in SGA, so the number I keep track of has increased greatly in a short time.

So here's the list of WIPs I currently follow, i.e. WIPs I subscribe to updates for or regularly check (I stopped reading some HP WIPs I used to follow, because currently I'm not much interested in HP, so I'm not listing those). For simplicity it's just title and author with a link, as these are not recs, though I recced some before, and obviously want to know what happens next for all of them:

cut for length )
That were actually fewer than I thought, though I may have forgotten some.
Poll #2497 do you follow (m)any WIPs?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 39


How many WIPs do you follow?

View Answers

none
5 (12.8%)

none in principle, but there is that one special story I broke my no-WIPs rule for...
8 (20.5%)

a few (say less than ten)
16 (41.0%)

more than a few but not that many (say more than ten but less than 25)
4 (10.3%)

more than 25 but (probably) less than 100
2 (5.1%)

more than 100
0 (0.0%)

more than 200
0 (0.0%)

too many for me to keep track the number even approximately
2 (5.1%)

I have no idea how many, but not because the number is too large
2 (5.1%)

ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
As another decade ends (I can't believe it's going to be 2010 in just a few days. yikes!) you see all the usual retrospectives etc.; also I've been editing fanlore (and you should too, the wiki needs more people /end shameless plug). This led me to wonder: if you've been in fandom a long(-ish) time, do you ever feel nostalgia for fandom how it used to be? ("Fandom" in this case intentionally vague as I just mean whatever form of fandom you were involved in the era you are nostalgic for.) And if so, for which time period? So I thought I'd do a poll.

The first is a question of whether you feel nostalgia, and in the second you can check tickyboxes to indicate for which time period you are feeling nostalgia. That I have split into two options for each period for an indication whether you actually were in fandom in that time period and feel nostalgia due to firsthand experience, or feel nostaligia because you have read or heard about that time and wish you had been in fandom then, because it just sounds more awesome to you than fandom now. I did give up to the early 2000s as options to feel nostalgia for, though I am a bit dubious whether you can call it "nostalgia" proper if it's less than ten years ago.
fandom nostalgia poll, cut to spare your f-list )
ratcreature: Flail! (flail)
I have just seen a Kirk/Spock/McCoy fic tagged as "Mckick". Granted, on the story itself rather than the journal's tags it was written out, so don't know whether this was just for tag brevity or is really used as pairing name proper somewhere, but even with knowing the pairing it took me a bit to decipher what this tag on the post meant. Smooshes just get the more confusing the more people are involved.
ratcreature: TMI! RatCreature is embarrassed while holding up a dildo. (tmi)
I've been reading a slash story in which a heated argument between the couple (who are also friends) results in punch being thrown, and then the one punched actually finds the aggression a turn on and it goes on to sex. Somehow this combination of sex and violence doesn't work for me at all, not even in fiction, where I'm not averse to combinations of sex and violence.

Like, I can go along fine if the aggression is against some kind of third party, and one character is turned on by the other being violent, or they are turned on mutually, say if they are both in a barfight or even slaughter others. I can also go along with non-con that involves violence with the victim not being turned on, but I as a reader like it. But if the violence is between the couple (and they are supposed to like each other), uncontrolled violence segueing into sex (rather than say rough sex that is mutually agreed upon) is squicky for me, more so if the violence is not mutual (the latter would be more fighting leading to fucking in some kind of hate sex, which I also don't like, but it is not as bad as one sided violence).

Most often this is shown from the POV of the character the aggression is turned upon rather than the violent character being turned on by the escalation, i.e. A hits B, usually after some provocation, then B somehow finds that aggression/violence (or sometimes the loss of control) hot, and sex follows. I have to admit that I find this particular combination of sex and violence to be surprising as a kink, and it always startles me, but I see this every now and then, and I'm wondering whether it is something that many people like in sex scenes.

So, a poll:

Poll #1787 fictional sex & violence, when are they like hazelnuts and chocolate?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 130


Which combinations of sex & violence do you like in fiction?

View Answers

none
15 (11.5%)

violence against outsiders is a turn-on for the characters, and followed by sex between them
76 (58.5%)

consensual, planned violence between partners (e.g. agreed upon rough sex, with bruising or hitting)
102 (78.5%)

unplanned, but mutual violence against each other (with both being equally aggressive/violent) then leads to sex
89 (68.5%)

unplanned, violent aggression (e.g. during an escalating argument) of character A against their partner B is a turn-on for B, and then leads to sex
34 (26.2%)

unplanned, violent aggression (e.g. during an escalating argument) of character A against their partner B is a turn-on for A, and then leads to sex
15 (11.5%)

violence with non-con sex
32 (24.6%)

ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
I've seen some fans say that these days they primarily use delicious to find fanfic to read rather than following fic comms or watching archives directly. I also do that when I search for specific stuff and look for tags, but I don't really use the social network functions. Every now and then I try adding someone, especially if a rec comm also keeps track of their recs on delicious, but somehow I never really stick with it. (And only part of the reason is that delicious often tends to crash or freeze my browser if I view it with javascript enabled, which I suspect is because it can't deal well with my large number of tags or something. It's really quite pathetic -- ~4900 tags is not that many.)

So do any of you use delicious' network feature? Which people (or comm accounts) do you follow to find new fanfic? Currently I'm particularly interested in ST:AOS (though TOS also to some degree), SGA (*clutches*), Merlin, Supernatural (non-Wincest, non-RPS only), and Numb3rs, but as I'm really multifannish and fickle in my interests I'd be interested in what you follow for other fandoms too. Do you have any recs whom I should follow there?

ETA: And please feel free to point out your own account if it fits what I'm looking for.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spock (trek)
It drives me absolutely crazy when in ST:AOS fic the older, time-traveling Spock is called "Spock Prime" within the story text, assuming the story is told from a POV character withing the fictional universe rather than some jokey outside parody narrator or omniscient meta fiction narrator. It's fine for a pairing label, but please, please find some other way to distinguish the character from the younger Spock in the text. I am usually not that picky about narrative voice, but this just throws me out of the story in a way from which I can't recover. It's one of the few things that will just make me stop reading immediately in this fandom.
ratcreature: headdesk (headdesk)
I'm beginning to feel oddly understanding about the stupid "sex kitten" poses female characters are so often stuck with on covers and such. It's not that I'm getting fond of the sexism, but it is frelling hard to come up with engaging poses when you just want to draw some character, portrait-like I mean rather than some scene with an inherent action. And while the message isn't great, at least the stripper body language says something rather than having the character stand around dumbly, looking very boring.

How do people who are good at portraits figure out how to arrange the character? I totally fail at this. My attempts always look stiff or stupid or both.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spock (trek)
I've been thinking about the ST:AOS timeline. Presumably it is like the TOS reality until the Kelvin is destroyed by Nero. But when I thought about that, how do the timetravel events work that have various future crews (from the regular timeline) interact with the past pre-split? Like how did the events of Star Trek: First Contact happen in the AOS reality? I mean, which version of the future characters have now ended up in the past? Or am I approaching this wrong? This makes my head hurt.
ratcreature: RatCreature with an ear-trumpet: What? (what?)
Up to now I've thought that "Snermione" was the most unfortunate smooshed pairing name I've seen "in the wild" (i.e. used by someone unironically just to name the pairing rather than in posts mocking the most hilarious potential name combinations), but I think I may have to revise this in light of having just seen "Spirk" on a story search. I'm not completely sure what I object to in particular, except that calling it "Kock" would be as easy to pronounce, even funnier and comply with the traditional K/S order. Seriously though, "Spirk"?!?
ratcreature: navel-gazing RatCreature (navel-gazing)
When I was drawing my latest piece, i.e. the SGA/Avatar fusion with Teyla as Waterbender, I was reminded again why I'm rather reluctant to try drawing fanart for tv/movie fandoms, my recent forays into SGA notwithstanding: I have a hard time with character-likeness if the character has to look like a real person.

Because my style of drawing is more comic/illustration-like than truly realist, e.g. that I like to have lineart, it needs a certain amount of simplification in facial features. Which then presents the problem of how to get there from the starting point of a realistic and fully rendered face. (Not that I can do realistic portraits, but in theory I mean.)

The first thing that usually comes to mind for trying to get a handle on how a character looks is to start with a photo of the character's actor or a screenshot of the character, and then somehow simplify from there. The reasoning is that after all basing your art on a decent photo works well enough for realistic character portraits in fanart, which are often recognizably based on promo pics and such. Yet this approach is somewhat hazardous as anyone who has seen a bad tv comic, one where the artist visibly just traced screenshots, can attest to. It's the phenomenon that in its extreme is lineart that you could even actually map over a screenshot and the lines "fit," yet if you look at the lineart alone it doesn't really look like the character at all.

The problem is of course in the nature of lineart. If you have ever tried to trace a photo, you've run into the problem that there aren't really any "lines", so usually you tend pick mostly the "high contrast borders" with a bit of abstract knowledge of how the form of the thing is thrown in. And this works okay if you have say the contrast of a leg against a bright background, but much less for things like facial features. And it is not merely distortions due to a specific photo, i.e. that depending on the light and angle your best guess for lines may not emphasize the really prominent features, but put stress on the wrong parts. It's that any reduction of photos to lines with a face makes it a caricature, even if you don't add intentional "distortions," simply because having just one line where there used to be color gradients introduces emphasis, and likeness decreases if you put that emphasis "wrong", i.e. not on the recognizable, outstanding features.

In theory this is not much of a problem, after all the goal all along is to draw the character, not to trace photos, and you just have to adjust your degree of caricature to compensate for the reduction of rendering, that is to figure out which facial features of said person deviate from the average proportion, the mean of facial features in a way, and exaggerate. I've read that even computers can do this with algorithms based on photos and make caricatures of people.

The problem I'm having is that so many actors are pretty people. See, I'm not that good with faces. It's one thing to spot how someone differs from "average" if they have huge ears (think all the Prince Charles caricatures), or a big nose, or a very distinct skull shape, but humans tend to find regular, even features more attractive, so tv characters are hard to figure out. It's not that there are no differences, obviously I recognize these people when I see them (well for the most part anyway, like I said, I'm not that good at memorizing faces), but I have no idea which features are the ones standing out most to me on a conscious level with faces like that.

I think it would be really cool if one of those caricature algorithms was made into a webtoy somewhere, and I could just give it a photo and it would warp the features to point out how it differs from the average face. Then, even though my style doesn't need outright caricature, I could use those hints for more subtle exaggeration suited for my purposes.

I guess I just wish some technology could help make up for my lack of talent/practice in character portrayal/caricature. *sigh*

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