chalice well

GLEE Contest at SmartPop

In case anyone else loves the TV show Glee, HERE is a chance to win copies of an upcoming anthology of essays about the show by sharing your own, real-life account of what Glee has meant to you as a fan.

Along with $50, you can win 5 copies of the book once it's published next Fall. I'll have an essay in it, and I only get 2 copies :-)

Happy writing.

chalice well

ESSAY: TV Romance - The Way, if Writers Will

Part Three of a 3-part series.

Part one of this three-part series, "TV Romance," looked at the how romance on television changed with the introduction of serial elements, as well as the myth! myth! it's a myth! of the Moonlighting Curse. Myths in television—especially the symbolic underpinnings powering the One True Pairing—are great. But myths about television, especially this one? Not so much.

Part two explored ways television writers—in the fear of losing their precious Unresolved Sexual Tension (UST)—have destroyed far too many character romances and disappointed too many fans by refusing to let the characters move on to sex or commitment.)

This final chapter provides assurance that we need not fear advancing the shows' romance. A good relationship needn't destroy a show. It needn't tank the ratings. It can, if handled right, work.

Yeah. "If handled right." You caught that, huh?

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The Paradox

(A seeming contradiction which is nevertheless somehow true)

Hardly anyone will notice that I've gone quiet on Paradox: The Sheldon/Penny fan community. I'm not that important, and I haven't been there that long. I do plan to post "happy faces" of encouragement to those people whose work I greatly admire, and let them know more about my love for their work in private. A "Goodbye Cruel List!" would be overly dramatic and inaccurate.

It's not even a permanent silence. The majority of the paradoxers are talented and good. I'll be writing more essays and eventually want to share them. I'm making progress on my "Penny gets Possessed" fiction.

But here's my own paradox, folks.

1. I love the site. I love the idea of Penny and Sheldon together. I rejoice that people have put together a site to celebrate that idea. But....

2. I hate the fact that enough people on the site--Paradoxers all--have spent over a week running down authors, mods, and other scapegoats in 
over 4000 entries (as of tonight) of mob mentality. To be fair, some of them are just discussing fictions, sharing prompts, etcl, albeit anonymously. But more of them are venting hostility, and some even pursued a victim onto to read her work just to bitch about it.

Think about that for a moment. Would you want to associate yourself, even one degree removed, with this behavior?

One of my favorite quotes from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is this:
"Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline."

After 18 novels and twenty years teaching college level writing? Wow, do I understand that.

The people on the hate meme are actively stomping on the enthusiasm of others, literally killing creativity. I find this blasphemous. I even find this evil--neither the drawn out word nor all-caps, but nevertheless small grains of evil, the kind that can nevertheless collect and darken the world. If that's just me, so be it. I'm okay with that.

But as long as the anonymice are feeding off the Paradox site--despite this not being the fault of Paradox itself--I cannot feed the site.

My apologies to the best, even those who lack conviction. Sadly, the worst are full of passionate intensity.

chalice well

ESSAY: My RSVP to Anonymemes--Just Sayin' No

Did you know this was a thing? I didn't know it was a thing.


Blogger X creates a journal and invites others to post—anonymously—about a shared Internet community. Emboldened by virtual invisibility, participants complain vehemently about everything from over-eager moderators to which fics get the most comments authors are attention whores. At least, that's what I discovered when I was "friended" into one earlier this week, checked it out, then sat blinking in surprise at my monitor.

 Superiority wafted from many posts like nicotine off smokers who can't smell their own stink.

 I skimmed the first of a reported 8 pages (and counting) of comments before exiting the site and deleting the link. I felt nothing so dramatic as shock or fury; more a general distaste and confusion. I mean… huh?

 Other than fostering herd conformity—when did this become fun?

 The attempt at possible catharsis, even criticism, reads as spite. Worse, this one resulted in a mod resigning, popular authors reconsidering their contributions, and a pall of assorted hurt, discomfort, or simple confusion dimming the original community.

 So let me take this moment to decline any future invitations to an anonymeme. Your mileage may vary, but as for me?  

1)       Anonymity is for cowards. People pretend it engenders "honesty," but when has sincerity ever worn an invisibility cloak?

2)       Everyone you complain about did something, or you wouldn't know them. Skillful or stumbling (often a matter of taste), they work to maintain a community. They dare expose their own work—their creative progeny—to an audience that might and apparently does scorn it. In a world of passivity, their efforts merit, if not praise, a minimal gracious acceptance.

3)       To complain about these efforts reeks of ingratitude like rolling one's eyes at a received, handmade gift (even if you didn't want it).

4)       It also encourages people to keep a low profile and thus not draw fire. Is that the community you want?

5)       Quality of writing is relative. Was the chapter you just read by a 35-year-old journalist, or a 12-year-old newbie? Just because you don't enjoy a piece or subgenre of fiction doesn't mean it can't improve someone else's bad day.

6)       Speaking of bad days? You never know whether the person you so gleefully mock just lost her father, his job, her dog. You don't know if they're ill, or struggling financially, or heartbroken from a failed relationship. Your comments might twist the knife in someone who is already wounded. Are you truly willing to take responsibility for that? Because if the words came off your fingertips, they at least are your responsibility.

7)       Whether you believe in any form of karma, "do unto others," the rule of three, The Secret style law-of-attraction, or Gandhi's "Be the change you wish to see in the world," anonymemes take you in the wrong direction.

 And then there's the GIF Theory (again, see the fandomwank wiki)

 Hence my RSVP for any future anonymemes invites.


 I'm not saying I'm a better person—people exist on these communities who make me look like Voldemort. I'm not saying I can't act superior, descend into spite, or otherwise embarrass myself with the best (or worst) of them, no matter how hard I try not to.

 But I do try.

 And I put my name on my words.  

chalice well

ESSAY: TV Romance - How Writers Won't or Will

(Second of a 3-Part Series on Television Romance).

See Part 1--in which we discuss the way a serial element changed prime-time television romance forever, and the illusory comfort of blaming a "Moonlighting Curse"--HERE

So Wait... There IS A Curse?   

 No. A problem? Yes. But the only "curse" for television characters who advance their relationship to the next stage rises from the deceptive ease of initiating that relationship. 

 See, almost anyone can write Unresolved Sexual Tension. Go ahead. Try it: 

 Jane looks across the room at John. John meets her gaze, holds it. Then he turns, too quickly, back to his work. 

 There ya' go. 

 If the actors have chemistry (and good actors can feign chemistry with a can of soda), the show will generate UST. Romance novels work similarly. If you want the quick-and-dirty method of sexual tension, you a) consistently show that the hero/heroine notice and admire each other, and b) keep interrupting their chances to discuss or act on those feelings for at least two hundred pages. 

 I don't necessarily recommend this, BTW. I'm just repeating what I've heard at countless writing conferences.Collapse )
chalice well

ESSAY: TV Romance - Why Writers Will or Won't

(First of a 3-part Series on Television Romance)

Almost every other essay I write starts to skid into how romance on television landed where it currently rests: 'Shipping,
OTP's, fears of a "Moonlighting Curse," and all.

It's time I just created a separate piece to which I can, in the future, simply link.

I mean—romance!

And… television!

Behold my bailiwick, y'all. Especially the "romance" part, since I did my Master's thesis on the history of the modern romance novel (traced 'em back to preliterate cultures, thank you very much!) and joined the Romance Writers of America in 1984 (no, that's not a typo) and the majority of my published work has been romance novels or heroine-centric adventure with strong romantic subplots.

I am not, repeat, not involved in the television industry in any way… except the way that scares 'em. For I am a fan. Yes, short-for-fanatic. I've been so since H. R. Pufnstuf and The Banana Splits. My first Barbie doll was a Julia Doll (complete with nurse's outfit, ala Diahann Carroll). I've remained so, through Emergency and Charlie's Angels and Remington Steele to the present. And as a college lit instructor (Master's thesis, remember?) I analyze what I watch. 

Especially the treatment of romantic pairings on primetime television.

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ESSAY: Copper Trophy - Nerds, Hotties, & Leagues

Television Without Pity posted a photo list of the top 10 best "Nerd Loves Hottie" movies, inspired by the upcoming movie with the annoying title: She's Out of My League.

 With the exception of Wall-E, and the marginal exception of Say Anything *, these movies feature high-school characters. I Love You Beth Cooper. Some Kind of Wonderful. All of them. Collapse )

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ESSAY: "I Like Smart" - White Collar and the Courtship of the Intelligent Viewer

Written for ficchica for her winning donation in the "Help_Chile" auction on LiveJournal. 

 Back in October, USA Network did several things to ensure that I and other viewers would tune in for the premiere of White Collar. I'm not just talking about the schnillion ads they ran for, like, half a year before the series even launched, either. TNT tried that with Saving Grace and it didn't work (TNT also tried to hold us hostage to get previews for the next week's The Closer, but that just pissed me off).

 Nope. USA did several smart things.

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FANFICTION: Another Missing Scene - The Apology

The title says it all--I have ventured into fanfiction. SpaceAnjL's "missing scene" for The Big Bang Theory's "The Precious Fragmentation" got me thinking about another missing scene which I believe Arabian shared with us during the discussion, that I would have liked to see, so... here it is.
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