Kara's still a woman, but that's because I started the outline with her as a woman, and decided to keep on going as I had begun. The jury's still out on if I'll change Kara's gender or not. Re-reading my earlier entry, I'm worried that maybe I'm implying that a female character simply can't go toe-to-toe with a domineering personality like Avon's and, hell, I'd hate to imply that. Avoiding that sort of implication is certainly a reason to keep her female. But she does need something. There's a lack of oomph to her that I'm mentally associating with Mary Sue soppiness. Why she might have that oomph as a male character, I don't know. Oh no! I'm a victim of gender programming!
Regardless of Kara's gender, the name must change. Why? Kara. Kerr. Kara. Kerr. I didn't think things all the way through when I was doing my usual take a regular name and play with it tactic. I just can't have two names that similar in the same story. I'm so used to Avon's first name hardly ever being used that I completely forgot about it. D'oh!
I've rescued Tarrant and Soolin. We'll see if that survives to the final draft, or if the transport ship turns out to be a decoy. It's an idea I'm still kicking around but, for the moment, they're esconced aboard the Tenebras.
If someone out there on the 'net is really that bored, I've uploaded the outline here. Keep in mind that a) it's an outline and b) I could still change a lot of it. :)
PS. I'm on the verge of upgrading to a (shudder) "plus" account so I can get a few more userpix without having to shell out the dosh. As I think the only person annoyed by on-screen ads would be me, as my readers check this space out via their friends' page, it might not be all that bad...
1) I'm not quite sure if what I have in mind for What Happens Next (in the final half of the story) has sufficient oomph, so I'm spinning my wheels.
2) I've been distracted by a new shiny - b7_soolin
3) I'm still unsettled by the Mary Sue factor.
No matter how I file the edges of Kara, the Sue-ness is still showing through. It might just be me. I might be too close to it and so paranoid of the factor that I've lost perspective. However, I don't think that's the case. I think my worry is still justified.
I already carved out all the really obvious MS-ness from the original version of the character (exit: tragic death of mother at hands of the Federation) and knocked the moral high ground out from under her - she chose to continue working for the Feds when her first chance to run came up. I won't remove her one kewl ability, especially as I've limited it to the point whereby if she uses it again after it's introduced, there's an excellent chance that she'll die. What else can I do?
I had an idea last night, as I was drifting off to sleep and battling the problem1, but I don't know if it's a good idea or a knee-jerk reaction to the lingering presence of Mary Sue.
Change Kara's gender.
-- Totally different chemistry between the characters. Rather than Kara and Andriss being girly chums together, there'd be an inevitable factor of "Are they or aren't they...?" going on. I'd tinkered with the idea of having a certain amount of ambiguity, relationship-wise, between the two women, but I decided it was borne of a need to be sensationalist, rather than from good character development. Meanwhile, luv Avon tho' I do, he's got just a wee streak of the misogynist bully in him and he wouldn't be able to use that against Kara-as-a-guy.
Hold on a sec, I seem to have had a sudden outbreak of slash pixies. Back! Back, you little devils! Right, where was I?
-- It'll certainly be a bit unusual, as there's a definite prevalance of "give the psi powers to the girls" in SF. Cally, Deanna Troi, every Anne McCaffrey character evar (okay, that last one is inaccurate, but you know what I mean. Her male characters are pretty dam' girly). A male character dealing with what I've created could be veeeery interesting. Hm. Hmm...
-- It means we're down to one woman on the crew (until/unless I get Dayna out of trouble) and I fear that smacks of tokenism, even tho' Andriss owns the blasted ship and is the holder of the piggybank. It'll be more challenging to write Andriss and "Kara" as an equal partnershp with the inevitable are-they-aren't-they? going on, but that much, I know I can deal with as long as I'm aware of it.
-- Is it perhaps a wee bit too much testosterone?
On the face of it, it might be a good idea - although it'll take me a while to let go of female-Kara2. She's been in my head off and on for, oh, 21 years or so. So I'll have a further think about it and see if it gels, or if this is identified as a panic-driven case of change-for-change's sake.
Trying to "redeem" my First Fanfic Evar is a bit silly really. And besides, it undermines the original, cheerful (if clueless) spirit of the original piece.
I'm certainly not breaking any new ground whatsoever.
God knows, there are much better fic writers out there (she says, eyeballing several people on her regular journal's F-List).
But, on the other hand, I'm writing this for me, and my own amusement only. If that's truly the case, then I shouldn't let these little worries get to me, even if they are valid - which I believe they are. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead and all that.
And that sentiment is always followed by a sense that I shouldn't bother with any writing if it's really only for my own amusement. It's just a form of masturbation, really, and - honestly - the more traditional sort is quicker, requires less effort (er, mentally, at least) and is generally just as satisfying. Granted, there's a few bits and pieces in my fiction archive that I'd probably consider at least as satisfying as, er, wait... that metaphor's really gotten away from me and I've probably said too much already.
See what I mean about being a lousy writer?
But I'm going to get the outline done, at least. Something with a beginning, middle, end and the bare bones of a - hopefully - interesting story throughout. I want to do at least that much, for peace of mind - otherwise these characters are going to end up in the same bin as the Screenplay That Won't Die and one Zombie Plot Bunny is enough for me, thanks.
Christ, I'm such a fucking moron.
(current guesstimates: hitting bottom isn't always as bad as you anticipate/when you've hit bottom, the only way is up. Trust. And, of course, control, because I'm physically incapable of writing a story that isn't, in some way, about control/power.)
Avon's not killing off the non-canon characters in Descendant is a matter of mathematics, as far he's concerned. Yes, dear ol' nothing-left-to-lose Avon could murder everyone on board, confident that he can get past Andriss' security arrangements on the Tenebras. He'd have a shiny new ship, and no-one to bother him except the occasional ghost. But he has no backup, no-one to lord his ego over (his favorite hobby) and, frankly, why do all the work alone, if you can manipulate people into doing it for you? What was that quote from Orac in Traitor? "The art of leadership is delegation". This fits in rather nicely with Darrow's own observation that Avon saw his crewmates as useful tools that he would kill/get rid of as soon as they lost their use1.
Mind you, exactly how a person in Avon's current state manipulates (bullies) people to come around to his way of thinking is probably a bit unpleasant and/or ham-handed. Love him as I do, subtlety was never that lad's strong point. He figures out what he wants, and sets out to get it by the most direct means possible.
With a pocket full of Pylene 50 (and the antidote), Avon might be able to convince himself that he's somewhat safe or, at least, able to render everyone in the vicinity harmless and tractable if he has to. However, he would consider such an approach to be the last resort - or close to it - because of the notes below. Granted, he's as capable of being a hypocrite as anyone else, particularly if it benefits him, but he has got a shred of conscience - and a big dollop of pragmatism. Zombies do not a good support team make.
Hmm... ( Other points to ponder/remember/kick around - a bit long )
I agonized about this a bit, particularly as my ongoing plotting suggests that my darlings might be getting Tarrant's nuts out of the fire at some future point1 and that got me thinking that maybe I shouldn't dismiss Dayna and Soolin so easily and, whoa nelly, how many characters do I have on board now?
'Scuse me. I get distracted easily.
Anyways. I agonized for a bit about committing the minor sin of putting original characters into a fanfic and then I realized that, dammit, I'm writing this for fun. It's for my amusement, and I don't seriously expect anyone else to read it - assuming I even put it online to share. So I shouldn't worry about other people's standards for good fanfic and just have fun. I know, such thoughts can be the beginning of a slippery slope into badfic, no matter how well-intentioned one might be but it's not a case of "that's a risk I'm willing to take", but rather "I don't give a damn about an outsiders' opinion"
There's a chance that Kara's Mary-Sue roots are showing through, and that's annoying me. But, darnit, if I scoured all the interesting bits off her, she'd be completely useless to the story, y'know? Granted, she's got some psi going on that's a bit funky, but I really do think that it's all a) plausible within the setting and b) somewhat redeemed by the fact that said psi-kewlness carries really bad (potentially fatal) side-effects. A Betazoid, she ain't.
There's an undeniable chance that Kara might be dead by the end of the story. Whether by Paranoid Avon, Manchurian Candidate Andriss, PO'd Sleer/Servalan (or even Captain Relt), or just by the aforementioned side-effects (oops, was that major blood vessel in your brain NOT supposed to pop?) I don't know, yet. Well, probably not by a Federation person, as they've got their reasons for wanting Kara alive, at least for a while. I'm tempted to have her brain blow out at a key moment but that, in itself, is a bit Mary-Sue-ish. Then again, if her cerebellum blows a gasket in a futile effort... then I've just descended into pathos. Never mind!
On a related note, I will be cheerfully ignoring the events of the post-TV audio play The Syndeton Experiment as it makes a whole bunch of my ideas redundant. Blech.
1 - Not a favorite character of mine, but he's such a fab foil for Avon2.
2 - No, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter.
I haven't quite gotten Avon to the point where he won't kill everyone else, just because he can, but he's more stable than he was five pages ago and, frankly, all I need to write in is the fact that Avon's convinced that he can use everyone else to his own ends and, hey, he's fine. No killing today, maybe tomorrow. Always a killing tomorrow.
And now I must sleep, for my tummy is full and it's been a long day.
Someday soon, I'll have to do a comprehensive review of Servalan's costumes. Just as soon as I can get the screen-grab problem resolved on my computer...
Outlining isn't terribly easy for me. I keep wanting to lapse into full-out drafting of the story, so I have to grit my teeth and remind myself what the point of the exercise is - and that it's okay if my outline turns out three times as long as the finished product. That's what editing is for - but I've got to keep the purpose of the outline in mind and not go wandering off into, say, character-exposition-land.
I've reached the point where I'm ready to outline Descendant and so, yesterday afternoon during a quiet few minutes at work, I got to it. About four pages in, the following note (to myself) manifested with startling ease: If I was half as good at this plotting thing as I should be, something needs to come out from left field and t-bone the scene RIGHT NOW. And, by gum, I was right. It's like that moment in a screenplay - the first Inciting Incident, I think McKimson calls it in his excellent book Story. It's no later than the end of the first act - usually halfway through - and shoves the newly-established (but established enough) characters into a new situation that challenges them/changes their situation, whilst simultaneously maintaining the viewers' interest. And, oh yeah, it's the first introduction of your overall plot for the story - at least, I think that's what it's supposed to be. It's been a while since I've read the book. I try to get to it once a year, or so, but the three weeks of Oh, god, I suck that I put myself through each time I read it is such a bother...
I'd gotten as far as establishing the initial setting and the gang warily eyeballing each other with varying degrees of trust. Some concessions had been made, some hadn't. As I crept up towards the giant void known as The Middle, the second BFOtO of the day struck me. I was hoping for inspiration - as I'm still quite fuzzy on what The Middle will be - but I'll settle for this, as it's just as good, really. Knowing I need something out of left field (but still plausible, of course) gives me something to focus on as I try to think about what that thing may be. In all probability, it'll be my As Yet Unnamed Antagonist to Sleer/Servalan (I really need to get caught up on my naming) or an Unpleasant, Alien, Totally-Outside-Of-All-Our-Characters'-
Unexpected bonus #2 - this work has me thinking about tackling The Zombie Plot Bunny Screenplay of Doom's outline again. I reached the end of the first act and froze up completely. Maaaaaybe, I can break through that block, this time - I try about once a year or so, as I can't seem to accept the idea that maybe the story just stinks.
Of course someone like Avon could be convinced into organizing/participating in a conference of important rebels (as per the story Warlord). How else can a guy ensure that he has a nice little niche carved out for himself after the revolution comes?
Or, if one wishes to be completely mean about it - and god only knows, Avon's motives are sometimes probably unknowable to everyone, including himself - it's possible that he was gathering information to later peddle to the Feds, should the opportunity arise. But blackmail's a bit, y'know, declassé for a guy like him. Contraiwise, he's always keen on big piles o'filthy lucre. Hm. Hmm...
Believe it or not, I like unclear motives. It gives me lots of wriggle room. I'll just pick whatever suits my needs best, natch.
1 - or duh!, depending on how charitiable you are.
I'm about to sit down and re-watch S4 for the first time in over a decade. I hope it'll help untangle a few things. It'll probably make them worse.
(Someday soon, I'll share all of the names I've created for various manifestations of Mr. Avon - suffice it to say that some of them aren't terribly kind. I love the show but I frequently laugh at it, too)
For the first few days, I thought I could get out of writing anything, really, because I could not figure out, for the freaking life of me, why on earth would Avon go along with, well, anything suggested by another human being. I mean, really... the lad's already teetering on fucking nuts and has just killed the closest ersatz he ever had to a conscience/moral compass, etc.
( More - lots more - behind the cut )
FYI: booze does not make you a more creative person.
( In other news - who's who and other ramblings on the story )