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01 April 2014 @ 11:23 am
Here are some stories focusing on the relationship between Padmé Amidala and her ex, Senator Rush Clovis of Scipio, featured in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Senate Spy" (2x04) and the Season 6 (Lost Missions) Clovis arc, i.e. the episodes "An Old Friend", "The Rise of Clovis", and "Crisis at the Heart".

If you have read or written any other fanfics about these two, PLEASE comment to let me know! Also let me know if you find Clovis/Padmé art, meta/analysis/discussions, or other fanworks such as vids. Anonymous comments are enabled.

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04 November 2012 @ 10:34 pm
The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth About Star Wars

The author of this post has earned my eternal respect and admiration. From now on I'll just throw the link at prequel-bashers because I'm sick and tired of repeating the same arguments and because he says everything I've ever wanted to say on the subject and more. Lots more. This guy is my hero, even if his reasoning about Jar Jar Binks here is a little weird, in my opinion.
22 October 2012 @ 12:42 pm
Yesterday I read this post by ladyhadhafang: In Defense of "Woobie Villains".

There are several interesting, thought-provoking points in the post and the comments, and, oh boy, did it inspire some heated debate. Interesting doesn't mean I agree with them. Here are my objections. The first is that the subjectivity of the word "sympathetic" makes the whole discussion meaningless, in my opinion. What we do or don't find sympathetic varies from person to person. It depends on who we are and how we see the world. There are people who can empathize and even sympathize with fictional characters/villains that you find completely unsympathetic. And no, these people don't necessarily have the same psychological disorder, when applicable, as the character. Some do, but most don't.

Also, the "sympathetic" villain, defined at the beginning of the post as one who has a backstory that allows the audience to understand his or her motivations, is rarely the target of the rants about "woobie villains". As for the "woobie", "cuddly" villains that people rant about, are they villains at all?

No one thinks of themselves as evil. True. Self-justification is almost universal. Everyone, including villains, has reasons for what they are doing. True again. But "reasons" can be as simple as "Because I want to". This may be a perfectly valid reason, but characters who are motivated by it tend to be considered one-dimensional. Why? Because they don't care about anyone or anything other than themselves? Isn't that fascinating in itself? Let's be honest with ourselves - don't most of us wish sometimes that we could be like that? Imagine how much easier life is for such people. So, what constitutes a reason for doing something, too, is subjective.

Finally, the post mentions empathy. But empathy is about you, the reader, not about the character. If you can't empathize with a character, it isn't because of the character, because they are constructed in such a way that empathizing with them is impossible. It's because your – everyone's – ability to empathize has limits. But these limits aren't the same for everyone. Otherwise no one would be able to empathize with some characters – but that's not the case, contrarily to the claims of the author of Characters and Viewpoint (a book full of abusive generalizations, of words like "nobody" and "always" and the assumption that every reader thinks alike). There are people who can empathize with the most "unsympathetic" villains that seem one-dimensional to other people. And while being able to empathize with the bad guys doesn't mean rooting for them, for any work of fiction, there are people who can't relate to the good guys and who root for the bad ones. Such people exist. I know some.
01 October 2012 @ 10:38 pm
I should be thinking about the upcoming midterm exams. Instead, I've been wondering why I like the Harry Potter series so much, when the main theme is "love conquers all", which is an overused fairy tale cliché and not one I like seeing in literature.

Another main theme is that bullies can become or are, deep down, good people; it seems to be a pattern in the books. I hate bullies and I haven't forgiven the kids and teacher who bullied me in first year (high school). I don't care what kind of people they may have become; if I met them today, I would be too angry to be polite to them. I don't want to read stories that vindicate or redeem bullies. So why do I love the HP books?

Is it because JK Rowling's magical universe is so absorbing? Because the emotional reactions of the characters are so easy to relate to? Because Harry is such an easy character to relate to? He was actually the first fictional character I'd been able to identify with to any significant degree. Why that is, though, is a complete mystery.

By the way, has anyone read Rowling's new book, Casual Vacancy? What do you think of it? Spoil me.
17 August 2012 @ 04:14 pm
What felt like the longest summer break ever is over.

I'm so excited about law school that I can hardly think about anything else. I can no longer hear the muse.

I'm going to disappear for a while. How long? I have no idea. I hope not the whole term, but it's a possibility. I might not read or post any fic (or anything else), but don't worry, I'll catch up eventually. I enjoy it too much to give it up. I'm addicted not quitting, just taking a break.
18 April 2012 @ 07:05 pm
- Still waiting for a response from law school. The waiting list looks more and more likely. That or a rejection. I wouldn't mind getting to finish my major, but I've already wasted so much time. If I hadn't screwed up after high school, I could have been a lawyer by now.

- University still on strike. It's been a month and a half. (What - did you think I was spending so much time on LJ while being a student? I'm not that sort of student!) All the free time is doing wonders for my muse, which brings me to the next point:

- I'll be posting a lot of fanfic in the months to come. But I realize most of you aren't here for the fic. Almost none of you are here for the SW fic. So I won't spam you with it. 90% of my fic will be posted in that community, and I won't crosspost to this journal except on rare occasions. If you're interested and don't want to miss anything, watch the community. It's essentially my and one other author's fic and rec comm.

My occasional Harry Potter fics will be posted in this LJ, as will the rare Star Wars OT stuff and anything else that isn't about the characters/dynamic that's my, um, specialty.
Fandom: Star Wars
Characters/Pairing: Palpatine and Padmé. Can be read as gen or het. Contains mentions of Anakin.
Rating: PG
Warning: creepiness
Era/timeline: 2 years before Attack of the Clones
Summary: He always enjoyed possessing beautiful things. A snapshot of the relationship between Chancellor Palpatine and Senator Padmé Amidala before the war, from his point of view.
Author's Note: A one-shot that may eventually become the prologue of a novel-length fic.

Deception in Starlight @palpatine_padme
also on fanfiction.net
11 April 2012 @ 01:25 pm
Want to know why I resist attempts to get me to give a chance to The Hunger Games or Game of Thrones or whatever people are crazy about these days? I'm sure nothing could ever equal Star Wars, but deep down I am afraid of a repeat of what happened when I saw the prequels. I couldn't handle having another obsession like Star Wars. and I'll fight for itCollapse )
When I learn new theories in class, often the first thing I think about is how they can be applied to fiction and fandom. "So when Anakin did this, this is what was happening in his head... If Padmé were to do that, this is how she might justify it to herself; these are the defense mechanisms she might use..." Occasionally, there's also "So this is how the jury will feel about my client, and this is why, and this is how I might be able to change their minds...". It's how I avoid getting bored, but it doesn't help me remember the details I need to know to do as well as I'd like on exams, details like the name of the theory's author. In fact, it's really distracting. But I'm not a Ravenclaw; I don't enjoy knowledge for its own sake. I estimate the value of knowledge by its usefulness.

Sometimes I find myself going beyond applying psychological theory to fiction and fandom. Sometimes I come up with whole new theories in attempts to understand phenomena like shipping. Today I'm going to talk about two such theories. They are based, we could say, on a case study of the case I know best: my own. (The caveat is that this case is rarely representative, as I realize the more I learn about what is considered normal.)

The case of the anti-shipCollapse )

The theories above are entirely untested. I have no idea if they accurately explain these things for anyone other than me. I'm curious to know if they do.
By suggesting that Darth Maul survived his duel with Obi-Wan in The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars and the novel The Wrath of Darth Maul create a very uncomfortable dilemma for fans. I'm not sure the people who came up with the idea grasped what kind of Pandora's box it opens.

The one thing the expanded universe should avoid at all costs is making fans choose: believe the movies, or believe the EU. Anybody who reads this journal knows I love most CW episodes, because they confirm and expand on what's more or less subtly present in the movies. But in this case, I have to consider TCW to be nothing more than a part of the EU.

The point of the original trilogy, and in fact of the whole saga, is that Anakin Skywalker was the Jedi Chosen One, destined to bring the Force back into "balance" by destroying the Sith (not a customary meaning of "balance", which is an equilibrium between two opposing forces, but whatever), as Qui-Gon was the first to believe, and that in the end, despite an unfortunate... detour, he fulfilled his destiny. He fulfilled the prophecy when he stopped being a Sith and caused the death of the last remaining Sith, Darth Sidious, in Return of the Jedi. I assume we all agree on that.

I also assume we agree that Darth Sidious was a much more powerful Sith Lord than Darth Maul.

And lastly, we agree on the fact that Darth Sidious and Darth Maul died in the same way: a fall into a reactor pit. Maul, however, was probably already dead by the time he reached the bottom, having been bisected by a lightsaber. Are you starting to see the problem?

The logical conclusion is that if Maul could survive (being cut in two and) a fall down a reactor pit, his more powerful master could do the same. Is The Clone Wars trying to rewrite not only the ending of TPM, but of ROTJ?

Fans have to either ignore logic, or doubt the finale of the Star Wars movies, which – no. Just no. Don't go there. Even fanfiction authors avoid going there. Dark Empire was bad enough, but even it made a little more sense than this.
I assumed this was common sense, but now I'm not sure there even is such a thing as "common" sense. After several misunderstandings, I've decided to stop assuming. I want to make a few things clear.

There are people who have "don't disagree with me on my turf" policies in their journals. I'm not one of them. I don't believe I can say anything I like in my LJ because it's my LJ and not expect anyone to disagree with me. It's just like in real life: you have to think about the people you're talking to and whether they'll be hurt by what you say, and if you think they will, you probably shouldn't say it. I also think about how what I say makes me look as a person.

If something I say makes me sound like an idiot and it seems clear to you that I don't know what I'm talking about, I want to hear it - as long as your position is based on substantial, rational arguments (and not, for example, prejudice). Don't be a silent bystander to the perpetuation of ignorance. If no one has the guts to speak up, I'll keep unknowingly looking like an idiot. It's important to me how others perceive me.

Also, I like it when people question and challenge my opinions because it makes me think more deeply. Read more...Collapse )

True experts know that no one can know everything. They know there is always more to learn. If you don't know this, you know nothing.
23 February 2012 @ 07:53 pm
via cnet_news:

Judge: Serve the miscreant via Facebook

Facebook 'pokes' can be used for court notification

I thought we weren't supposed to use Facebook at work, even though everyone does. Are you saying I may have to use it for work?

There are many problems with this. What if it's someone else with the same name? What if it's someone who chose an unlucky fake name (believe it or not, not everyone uses their real name on Facebook)? What if they no longer use the account, or use it once a few months, like me? What if someone created an account in the person's name to get them in trouble? Imagine being sent to jail for "ignoring" a subpoena while your lawyer tries to prove you never saw it.

Oh, Facebook. I hate you. You're a time-devouring monster much worse than TVTropes, Psychology Today, and Wikipedia, all places where you at least learn something. You created the conditions that almost turned me into a stalker, once, as well as a social exhibitionist. Seriously, I didn't see what was icky about my personal conversations with friends on their walls showing up in the feeds of 300 people I barely knew.
21 February 2012 @ 09:54 pm
In response to this post by Tricia and Lex at FANgirl Blog:

What's wrong with Padmé Amidala losing the will to live at the end of Revenge of the Sith?

What happened to her on that day would have sent many a normal person into an extreme clinical depression, the kind where you – yes – lose the will to live. And it's consistent with her characterization in all three prequel films and The Clone Wars. We never see her living for herself, only for others. She dedicates her whole life to serving her people and the Republic. We see her risking her life, without hesitation and without fear, for what she believes in. She lives for what she loves – ideals (liberty, democracy/the Republic) and people (mainly Anakin). It makes sense that when everything she lived for is no more, she dies.

She dies because, from her point of view, she has nothing to live for anymore. The twins aren't enough, nor is the man who is no longer Anakin ("I don't know you anymore!"; "Come back!") but who she still believes has good in him. Do you see what this means? In the end, no matter how much she loves them, people aren't enough for her. She needs ideals to live for. (Which begs the question: what could create such a dysfunctional personality?)

A psychology student tries to understand why this bothers fansCollapse ) It looks like George Lucas tried to make a compromise between having Padme commit suicide and her dying through losing the will to live, when choosing one or the other would have worked better.
18 February 2012 @ 07:03 pm
A recent discussion made me realize that sometimes we mean very different things when we say "X is my favorite fictional character". I never really thought about it before, but I don't mean the same thing every time I say "favorite character". Sometimes I mean very different things. Different like day and night. There are interesting characters, ones that intrigue me, ones I have to make a lot of effort to understand, and then there are characters I've always understood too well. And more often than not, the two types are complete opposites.

What about you? Do you always mean the same thing when you say "favorite character"?

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The fox is: curiousinquisitive
11 February 2012 @ 02:15 am
Loved it. Aside from the usual things (seeing my headcanon on the screen!), I was impressed by the complexity of the plots and the creative use of kitchen utensils and furniture in the Anakin vs Dooku duel.

I confess it's the first episode I've watched this season. I read all the episode summaries and only watch when I can't not watch and have an essay due in several hours.

I see an interesting pattern in TCW. Whenever the three of them are in the same place and walking or running, Padmé follows Palpatine and Anakin follows Padmé. It happens exactly the same way in "Duchess of Mandalore" and "The Zillo Beast Strikes Back". Which is funny. Ironic. The obvious symbolic meaning is that Anakin is Adam to Padmé's Eve. I hope Anakin/Padmé shippers won't kill me for pointing out the other symbolic interpretation: that Anakin's priority in life is Padmé and Padmé's is... the Republic. Yeah.

09 February 2012 @ 05:04 pm
Even though Padmé is almost completely absent from the novel, it makes several major revelations about her or connected to her. Yes, this post contains SPOILERS.

- Now we know why she is so messed up. Lengthy meta, comparisons with the movies, and overanalyzingCollapse )

Next: TPM in 3D: this is the time to tell the world exactly why I like the movie so much. It isn't for any of the reasons you've heard before.
05 February 2012 @ 10:36 pm
- Fate's Favourite by The Fictionist (Rated Teen; Harry and Tom gen)
Starring Harry Potter and a teenage Tom Riddle, both time travelers, with a chemistry that would explode stars. Yet it isn't and will not be slash. (I like Tom/Harry slash, but it does stretch my suspension of disbelief.) This story is that rarity of rarities: a genuine friendship fic. Impossibly, Harry becomes the closest thing a psychopath like Riddle can have to a friend. Amazingly, at no time is either of them out of character.

Harry in this fic is witty, strong-willed, stubborn, fiercely brave, and resourceful – qualities of his that are too often forgotten in fanfiction. We get to see why he was almost sorted into Slytherin, and what it means that he is the Dark Lord's equal. This Harry is a true Gryffindor and a true Slytherin. Tom is as chilling as he is mesmerizing, a deadly serpent, equally brilliant and insane. He has met his match in Harry, his equal and opposite, the one person he can't control and who can handle everything he throws at him. Definitely worth reading. Don't let the number of chapters scare you – they are short chapters, and each of them is so entertaining you won't be able to stop reading.

- Something in the Darkness by gamma_x_orionis (Rated Adult; one-shot; Harry/fantasy of Bellatrix)
In my past life as a HP fanfic author, after reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I wrote an essay analyzing the interaction (I use the word very loosely) between Harry and Bellatrix in OotP and GoF from the perspective that he was unconsciously attracted to her. The arguments I used wouldn't have convinced a jury, to say the least. This story reads almost like my essay turned into fic form, and most impressively, made convincing. Maybe even good enough to convince a jury. Certainly good enough for the characterization and psychological realism-obsessed skeptic I've become.

More of my Harry Potter fanfiction recs
My comment is in two parts: as a reader and psychology student, first, and as a fanfiction author, second.

It isn't a large book. It took me 8 hours to read it thoroughly. Read more...Collapse )
Boy Who Lived by Megii of Mysteri OusStranger (PG; gen/het; complete)

Not another "Harry goes back in time and raises Tom" fanfic! It isn't. It's unlike all the other dozens (hundreds?) of such fics.

Harry doesn't come to the orphanage and adopt Tom while he is a kid. He comes early enough to save Tom's mother (and later falls in love with her; the romance is surprisingly non-cringeworthy). The Ministry of Magic has a more realistic and disturbing way of treating time travelers from the future. The author has done her historical research and avoids the anachronisms common in time travel fics. And Tom doesn't grow up to be completely normal just because he is raised by good people who love him, nor does he become a crazy dark lord regardless of it.

To blame Voldemort entirely on Tom's upbringing is naive, but to blame him entirely on genetics is simplistic and makes for boring reading. This story makes a good compromise between the two theories.

The author has done her psychology research, to an extent. Chapter 5 contains an astonishingly realistic and insightful scene in which Tom realizes he is missing something that comes as naturally as breathing to other people, and that maybe he has always been on the edge but not quite there, not until the catalyst. A traumatic loss, a betrayal, and then he just can't feel/care anymore. The crystallization of a personality into that of a psychopath, usually in early adulthood or late teens. Very rare in fanfiction.

Which makes it more disappointing when in the next chapter, Tom is suddenly telling his girlfriend he thinks he loves her and meaning it. He can't love; it's been established in canon and in the previous chapter. Psychopathy doesn't go away just like that, like depression sometimes does. Generally, it's incurable. It's unrealistic and implausible and I wish the author hadn't resorted to the "love conquers all" cliché to paste a happy ending on the story.

The farthest the author could have gone without crossing the line into wishful thinking was to have Tom say "I'll miss you if you die", adding "but not for long" if he's going for brutal honesty. That's the extent of his ability to care. Keep in mind that the only emotions he can feel at full strength are anger and hatred. The rest is sort of muted. He can't feel emotional pain at all. None of this, incidentally, means he has to become a dark lord. He is likely to choose any job with a lot of control and power – the only things he can really enjoy. He could become, for example, a ruthless Auror or an unscrupulous Minister for Magic.
16 December 2011 @ 06:04 pm
hikarific has a thought-provoking post on rereading fiction and the experience of reading a book for the first time vs the second or fifth time. Me, I think it depends on the kind of reader you are. Some people do catch every mistake, along with the author's technical and stylistic tricks, on the first reading, no matter how engrossing the plot is.

I'll tell you a secret: I never read more than once when I'm beta reading. I don't need to.

I almost never reread, because my memory is too good. Once I've read a book, it's boring to read it again because I remember everything and I don't notice any subtle things I missed the first time, because I do notice these things the first time.

How does this apply to re-reading fanfiction? The same way as to any kind of fiction. I reread when I want to learn to imitate the author's style or technique. I notice these things the first time, but to be able to use them when I'm writing, I need to study them. And I reread nonfiction when I need to memorize details - that takes two or three readings, usually with note-taking.
07 December 2011 @ 09:23 pm
Let's say you've got a really original idea for a story, something nobody's ever written, at least in your fandom. (Or, if you're truly cursed, a hundred such ideas.) Write it. Hurry. If you wait too long, someone else might write the same idea, and you won't even be able to say they stole got inspired by your idea, because you've never shared it, you idiot.

There appears to be some kind of fiendish law in fandom that if something hasn't been written yet, it will be - by you or by someone else, but it will be. It's like gravity. Write it or have fun reading it when someone else does. Have fun reading the nice reviews you could have gotten.

Oh, yeah, self, and why were you reading fanfiction on one of the last days of the school term, when you have papers to write and exams to prepare for and a law school to get into? "Practicing your German" would work as an excuse if you hadn't used Google Translate. Now one person on my flist should be able to fully understand this post.
The fox is: frustratedbetween frustrated & impressed
There are many websites where you can post Star Wars fanfiction, but what are the best ones, according to you? pollCollapse )
I've decided to share some of the work I wrote for English class @ CVM last year. Keep in mind that I only read Canadian literature when forced to, and I can't be forced to like it. Also, I hate having anything less than absolute freedom while writing, and I find that having to use the formal essay structure feels like pulling teeth. No, not really that bad, but still painful. So I compromised and kind of stretched the rules re argument/paragraph.

I even mentioned fan fiction without giving away that I write it.

I give this book 2 out of 5, because the ending really is that bad.Collapse )
19 July 2011 @ 11:53 am
This post is made of awesome: http://fangirlblog.com/?p=2262

ETA: It got nasty in the comments and someone had to try to be the voice of common sense. I usually avoid these things because you always end up offending somebody out there when you post your opinion on the internet, and the drama is just not worth it. Read more...Collapse )