(I've watched like three seasons worth of a Law & Order spinoff I don't even particularly like.)
How do you justify to yourself a project like BB? Like, why did you expend so much of yourself on this one silly thing? Like, WHY. WHY DID YOU DO THAT. Either you can sit and hope that someone wanders in and does the justifying for you--and huzzah if they do--or. Or! You can read it for yourself. So I'm going to read the hell out of it.
Er, I'll read the fic eventually, but for now I mean to read the process.
I want to focus on everything I learned, whether by success or failure, and come away from this project with a strong concept of what just happened, and what it's done for me--as a writer, foremost, but also as a reader of canon, because that's a big part of fic, too.
I don't know how much/how little I will actually have to say, but I need to de-brief my Big Bang. These posts are my self-reflection, as in they're literally just me talking about myself and my stuff, me me me me me. If you're into that kind of thing, you're welcome to follow along,* but if you're turned off by self-absorbed craft stuff, just keep scrolling, don't click the cuts, and don't quietly hate me from the other end of the Internet; you've been warned! Here, entertain yourself with this, instead.
And if you do follow along, don't expect profundity! Sometimes you just need to write down the obvious so you can keep all your ducks in a row and have nice notes to look back on.
* Alternatively, you can write your own, for your own things, and I will very happily play the voyeur. I'm uh, really into this kind of thing!
Verisimilitude--big fan, and always have been. I like doing minute, stage business kinds of stuff. I like doing research, and having detail, and bringing personal reality into the feel of a thing. And I like trying to sell that research as legitimate experience--even though it's always terrifying to wonder whether you're actually succeeding. This project has not changed my mind about that.
What has changed, however, is my understanding of why fiction sometimes fudges things it does know. Before writing this, I was pretty hardline about not deviating from the facts if you know them to be facts--the truth is something to be set in stone and worked around, not away from. The strictest integrity of realism! Accept no substitutes!
But I've eased my position somewhat. There are instances when your command of some larger vision, and the importance of a story as a macro object, and its thematics and resonances as even larger macro objects, should be allowed to pull rank over small details.
Two (of MANY) examples of dumb things no one in their right mind would stop to contemplate while reading, but that I debated laughably seriously for extended periods of time:
1) It's like 1600 miles from Lebanon, KS to Victoria, BC. The Impala gets something awful like 12mi/gal. and has like a 24gal. tank or something massive. So that's like 300mi./tank and five gas stops--five gas stops approximately 300 miles apart, in a line that spans six states, one ferry ride, and once province. The route they take in this story is neither of the two Google Maps offers in the first place, but I did spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to manage the distance and the gas--to say nothing of the time (and times of day, argh!).
But after all that math and cartography, you know what? It doesn't.
What ends up happening in the fic is both physically impossible but approximately true. That segment did what it was supposed to do at the story level, far better than it would have if I'd spent another three hours futzing with the numbers.
P.S. The car ferries only run in certain parts of the year at certain times, and I'm reasonably certain that the Winchesters did not arrive within that window. Too bad! ARE YOU PLANNING A VACATION OR WRITING A STORY, HUH? HUH?
2) Lol, you can't pump gas and then go pay for it. But I liked the image and the pace of the gas scenes as is, and I decided that yes, that did mean more to me than rewriting to a lesser scene with more accurate gas station procedure.
tl;dr, there's a lot of detail in the world, and to me, writing is at its most beautiful when it takes advantage of that. It's just magical. I love mechanism, and procedure, and minute, minuscule little things. But some of them are more important than others, and none of them are worth a dime if they're not bringing a positive force to the storytelling table. There are so many other, better things to make sure to you're focusing on.
And it's not lazy, or dishonest, to make that judgment call--provided you know why you're doing it, and you've had that conversation with yourself. It's probably the opposite, to have to sit down and continuously have that conversation with yourself. Because when you're writing fiction, you're not a record-keeper, you're a storyteller; and you have to take up that responsibility and consider those ethics. The distinction between fiction and non-fiction is not in their rigor, or in the former's freedom to "make things up": You have to know when it's not appropriate to fabulate, but also--and as importantly--when you should.
I mean, when I read a fic where the Impala gets barrel-rolled by a Honda CR-V, I'm still not going to give that a pass, because it's silly. If you've ever seen a Honda CR-V, you know that physics probably ain't gonna allow for that to happen! XP A low-powered, high-riding, plastic-bodied car doesn't flip a low-riding, high-powered hunk of metal. As writers, we should still have some responsibility to reality. Questioning fantasy is, as always, a fine thing.
But if SPN shows a three second clip of the Impala driving through a field, and says that's how it got from Kansas to Washington? I buy it. I don't even blink. (This is, incidentally, exactly what they did at the beginning of 9x15!!!! XP) Again, as writers--writers who aren't beholden to production time/cost, filmability, or a 5-act, 40 minute structure--we probably should expect slightly more of ourselves than that.
What this minor suspension of disbelief really demonstrates, however, is that dependent upon your genre and your story and all of your important things that ascend from that story, there's a balance to be found when it comes to working with reality/letting reality work you.
Sometimes it's okay to play make-believe in your make-believe.
You know what I should do instead of all this terrible Law & Order?
MY SPN REWATCH. I'M UP TO... 2x01. UH. GO ME. XD I got distracted by S9 and then S9 again and some more S9, sue me.