The Least of All Possible Mistakes by rageprufrock

Picture this:

A police officer brings his wife to the Christmas Party at his local police station. There, he finds out that she's been cheating on him. Enraged, he hauls back and punches her, right in front of all of his colleagues. The other officers immediately gather around the officer and drag him off to offer him alcohol and commiserate about how awful his wife is. Meanwhile, the wife is left to pick herself up and leave, with no charges ever being filed.

If you're anything like me, reading that scenario fills you with fury. How can a man possibly hit his spouse in a room full of police officers and not even be taken into custody? How is he not sitting in a jail cell ten seconds later? What the fuck is wrong with this police station?

Well, fair warning before you read this story: the above scenario is exactly what happens. The only difference? The police officer happens to be a woman and, somehow, that's supposed to make everything okay.

Here's the truth: that does *not* make everything okay. Partner violence is *never* okay, no matter who is doing the hitting and who is the one being hit. And it's *especially* not okay when the one doing the hitting is the one who is supposed to be the one protecting people from being hit.

A female police officer hitting her husband is not laudable. It is not a "you go girl" moment. It is, in fact, domestic violence of the worst sort, the kind of violence that leaves a victim without any protection or support.

(Yes, domestic violence does happen to men. It's not reported often, though, because of this exact issue.)

While many people would say it's never okay for a man to hit a woman, plenty people seem to think it's okay for a woman to hit a man. Not only is this double standard offensive, but it's actually dangerous, because it leads to real life social biases that result in men accepting their abuse, even thinking it's acceptable.

And that? Is completely unacceptable.

$10 Words

If you've never heard of them before, $10 words are words that are rarely used and which many (maybe even most) readers won't know the definition of. For example, say, "verdigris". Verdigris is a fine word and it describes a very particular color (namely the greenish color that copper turns when it oxidizes (i.e., rusts)). Used appropriately, it can be of great effect.

That said, it is not remotely appropriate to use "verdigris" three times in a story to describe a character's eyes especially when that character's eyes aren't verdigris. Once was effective. Twice was kind of pushing it. Three times was just irritating. Four times -- well, I'm not finished with the story yet, but if the word is used one more time, I will be. Grr.

The Problems with Pastiche

A couple of years ago, Jeeves & Wooster was one of my favorite fandoms.  The quality to crap ratio was astonishingly high, the writers were wonderfully consistent, and the fics were fun, if short.  Given ten J&W fics, I'd often rec six or seven, with another one or two that were good enough to rec but too short for my rec community.

Today I realized that I almost never read Jeeves & Wooster fics anymore and when I do try a story, nine times out of ten I can't make it past the first few pages.  Thinking over this, I realized the problem is with the pastiche.

For those who don't know, a pastiche is a work that imitates the style of another.  This is different than fanfiction in that fanfiction generally uses the *characters* of another creative work, while a pastiche merely uses the *style* of the work.  That said, some fanfic can also be pastiches and long before fanfic had a name, there were pastiches that were also fanfics (see: Sherlock Holmes).  The Jeeves & Wooster fandom, more than any other fandom I read, is dominated by pastiches of the canon author's style, to the point that a fic that isn't written as a pastiche would probably not even be considered a J&W fanfic.

All of which is fine and dandy.  The problem lies in the fact that a pastiche is only as good as its style and these days more and more J&W fanfics are so heavily stylized (especially with Bertie's abbreviations and euphamisms) that it no longer even resembles Wodehouse's original style.  This reminds me of a complaint made by a comic book editor who noted that many comic book artists are learning how to draw graphics not by studying classical art and anatomy, but by studying comic books.  Thus while the original comic characters were realistic, albeit in the best physical shape any human being could possibly manage, after a few decades of artists learning comic style without learning the basics of drawing, comic book characters have become borderline grotesque, with breasts larger than women's heads and men's muscles bulging to such an extreme that they look like they belong on an entirely different species.

Now, I'm not saying that the current crop of J&W writers have never read the original J&W stories.  I am saying that over the last couple of years the heavy emphasis on all of those quirky writing flourishes that Wodehouse used sparingly (and to great effect) have seriously impacted the quality of the fandom's output as a whole, to the point that some stories are utterly unreadable (not the least because it's hard to read a story when every other sentence has a key word that's been abbreviated down to just its first letter).  To that end, I really wish that any person thinking of a writing J&W fanfic would, at the very least, read some of Wodehouse's Jeeves stories (here are two books you can read completely free and legally online).  Even if you've read them before, a quick perusal of a short story or two wouldn't take up much time.  Then if you want to use a flourish every sentence or two, at least you're doing so as an educated choice, rather than just assuming that if one flourish is good, 100 flourishes would be even better.

Amateur Theatrics by galaxysoup

Amateur Theatrics

When Thor flattens Loki's latest Device of Evil with Mjolnir it knocks Thor out, un-super-soldiers Steve, turns Tony into a woman, swaps Natasha and Bruce's bodies and deages Loki. Guess which lucky archer gets to play babysitter?

I didn't realize that this story was also written by galaxysoup (who I just recced today) until I looked up the link. It makes sense, though, because like Darkness, Flooded in Light, this fic has lots of humor and heart and is really fun to read. Unfortunately, also like Darkness, this fic has a weak ending. Darkness's ending was a bit abrupt and made me want a sequel. Amateur Theatrics's ending, on the other hand, kind of ruined the story for me (without spoiling anything, I'll say that the ending for this fic was much darker than the end for Darkness, despite the fact that the overall story was much lighter and fluffier).

If you're someone who enjoys deaged fic, kid!fic, or fluffy fic, you might want to give this one a try. Just be warned that the ending is kind of dark and, for me at least, it didn't work.

So Long, Fanfiction.net

Today I finally went ahead and deleted all of my Fanfiction.net bookmarks. It was a bit of a pang to do so, since I've found some great fics on that site over the years. Unfortunately, the number of good stories was massively, *massively* overwhelmed by the utter crap that I found there (the crap to quality ratio of FF.net remains the worst of any archive I've ever used) and AO3 has now gotten large enough that most of the good fics at FF.net get posted at AO3 as well.

So, farewell, Fanfiction.net. I will miss your fabulous filters and the few authors who posted truly awesome work on your site, but I look forward to finally getting my to-read folder under 2 GB(!)

Random Rants

Just some things that have been bugging me of late:

1. Is there any author out there who uses some or all of a canonical character's name as a handle that doesn't suck?

2. Have you ever seen any variation of "or so he thought" in a summary or story and have the story not be a grammatical disaster?

3. Has there ever been any clause in any sentence ever that began with "for" and was not either a) awkward or b) telling instead of showing?

4. Why is there no BDSM fic these days where the BDSM stays in the bedroom? (Not that there's anything wrong with BDSM universe stories, except that they aren't my cup of tea and lots of the longest fics in new fandoms are BDSM universe stories.  Also, dammit, I'm feeling cranky and selfish.)

5. Why do people consistently use words they don't actually know how to spell?  (In a totally "random" example: "taut" is an adjective that describes something that has been stretched until it's tight; "taught" is the past tense of the verb "teach".)

6. In that same vein, "loose" is an adjective that describes something not bound together, while "lose" is a verb that means to be unable to find something.  If you can't tell them apart, use lose all of the time.  Lose is far more commonly used in the English language than loose, so you have a much better chance of getting the word right by just sticking with lose.

7. I did mention I was feeling cranky today, didn't I?  

WOS: Ouch!

A summary that I stumbled across recently:

Havoc has risen in the wizarding world it has also caused trouble in the underworld. what does the ghost king have to do to prevent this chaos. set in hp2 after pjo series.please bare with me 1st fic & the first few chap are horrid going to fix them soon

On the other hand, I am very impressed by the sheer number of don'ts she managed to squeeze into one summary.

Pizza and a Movie series by Closer

Pizza and a Movie series

AU in which Mike cleaned up his act pre-series and is a pizza delivery guy.  Three stories total, each of (approximately) the same period of time, each from a different POV.

This is a very highly regarded series in the Suits fandom, as it should be: the writing is great, the AU is just close enough to canon to still work really well (I've just about decided that the exception to my no-AU rule in Suits is any AU in which Mike is less of a wreck when he meets Harvey than in canon), Mike is phenomenally well-drawn, Donna is positively brilliant, and the rest of the minor characters and OCs are fantastic.  I really, really considered reccing this series, because it's really damn good.

In the end, however, I just had to give it a pass, for one reason: Harvey Specter is just too darn nice.  Which is kind of ridiculous, because I don't particularly like Harvey in canon and I frequently bemoan the fact that most fanfic authors tend to make Harvey even *more* mean than he is in canon (similar to Arthur in the Merlin fandom, which is one reason why I rarely read Merlin fic these days).  Still, ignoring Harvey's canonical cruel side results in the relationship between Harvey and Mike lacking that captivating edge that makes them so interesting to watch.  The end result is rather like a pretzel without any mustard: tasty enough, but still clearly missing something vital.

Long story short: if you like well-written AUs and are in the mood to see the softer side of Harvey, definitely give this series a try.  If you're really into the power dynamics of Suits, however, (or if the idea of an entirely de-clawed Harvey doesn't appeal to you) you should probably give this one a pass.

Dreamwidth Mirror Update

There's clearly an interest in having a Dreamwidth mirror of Epic Rants.  My plan had been to get everything imported over and then respond to comments to my previous post with a link to the new comm.  Unfortunately, while community importing is theoretically working at the moment, for some reason it's not working for any of my communities.  I do have a support ticket in with DW about this; for now, though, I'm afraid we're in a holding pattern.

(If anyone has any ideas why it's not working and/or any suggestions on what I can try, please let me know!)

A question to our readers

As some of ya'll may know, I post my recs both on LJ and DW.  The reason I haven't been doing the same with Epic Rants was because, in the past, you couldn't import a community into DW and thus I would have had to copy over every single post in this comm individually, something for which I had neither the time nor the energy.  However, it appears that that has now changed and so the question becomes: is there any interest in having a DW mirror of Epic Rants?  If so, please let me know in the comments.  Thanks!