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20 October 2006 @ 09:07 am
 
liz_marcs has posted a link to marenfic's discussion about the slow-down in BtVS (and AtS) fandom lately. Liz also continues the discussion in her journal here. Both raise some interesting and relevent points, not just with regards the SlayerVerse fandoms but to fandom in general.

My first fandom was The X Files, I never wrote fic (or even really read much fic to be honest) and this was pre-Photoshop (actually, it was around the time I got my first computer and only had dial-up access to the big scary 'interweb', yes there was a time I knew next to nothing about computers!) so there was no graphics making or anything like that. I got into 'meta' in a big way though and actually devoted my entire Honours dissertation to the programme. Yes, I am one of those people who are the 'and finally' part of the news bulletins where 'normal' people get to mock these silly students who think they can make something intellectual out of forty-three minutes of television. I focused on post post-modernism (yes, there are two 'post's there deliberately) and gender roles, it was not an easy ride and I came out of it with a 2.1 and a huge desire to never watch the show again. Getting so heavily involved in the meta side of that fandom turned me away from it quicker than any loss of quality in the show itself, because face it - no matter how good some of the episodes were, the quality of that show went downhill fast. I moved away from that fandom and drifted towards another - Star Wars: EU (hence the Mara). I was more web-savvy by this point and did get involved in fic around then (different username and most, if not all, is no longer archived anywhere) and really found that community feeling that I had read so much about during my research at Uni.

Flash forward a few months to the 30th December 1998 (yes, my birthday) and I was sitting on the floor of my mum's living room with nothing to do and on comes this show based on a film I hadn't seen but had mocked mercilously for being a 'star vehicle' for an actor no one cared about (sorry Luke Perry fans...). I watched Buffy purely out of some sense of Schadenfreude and by the time the opening credits rolled I was hooked. I went online, I found Yahoo Groups like SeriousBTVS, I found the (now defunct) BBC Cult TV boards and made a lot of damn good friends there, I became involved. And about... three years later I think, I was even more involved and three of us from the BBC boards decided to start up a site for the show. I had already set up a Yahoo Group for UK viewers which was (and is) mostly populated with BBC posters who found their way over to it, and the new site became a repository for some of the reviews and discussions we had on that board. The site lead to another, and then another, and then I opened up the little graphics programme that came with my second computer (MIcrosoft Picture It! - sucks!) and started making some really bad graphics. I got hold of Photoshop not long after that and started making some worse ones before I figured out how to use the programme. I discovered sites like Map of the Human Heart and devoured everything I could read on there, found sites like I Need a Parrot and read page after page after page of fic, and started to write my own. Joined the forums that kaz814 was running in conjunction with the original INAP and 'Near Her Always' and made more friends there, and when kaz814 had finally had enough of the repeated server crashes that had plagued INAP at that point, I volunteered to take it on, and also to take over the Linoleum Awards - which I renamed the White Knight Awards so that I could include gen stories. Since then I have launched two more Xander-centric sites (Effects of a Troubled Heart and Hand on Heart - both of which are currently offline but will return) and have been working on the prospect of a new site centred around the show.

When Buffy went off the air, I was in two minds. It had become so much a part of my life by that point that I didn't like the prospect of not having those Friday night text message sessions with G and D (and in the final season acrazywench would also text me during the show) - we were all miles away from each other but we were watching together. We were a community. On the other hand I was almost relieved because the show was showing signs of becoming stale and there were starting to be more things I disliked than things I liked. Firefly caught my fandom-oriented attention as well, but it was so short lived that I don't yet miss it the way I miss Buffy. Angel... well, with the direction it seemed to be heading I'm glad it ended when it did. (She said, trying to be nice about it.) Don't get me wrong, I love Angel almost as much as I love BtVS, but it was getting tired.

So the shows ended but fandom didn't stop. I didn't think anything could stop it, and I actually don't think anything will despite how this treatise may sound. Fan produced stories, graphics, vids, 'virtual seasons', RPGs, meta - all of them brought something fresh and exciting to a canon that was already over. Some people in fandom moved away, some stayed 'true' to their original fandom, some (like me) added new fandoms without abandoning the old, and some people came to the fandom fresh after the shows were over.

And now... there is a feeling that fandom is growing stale. As Liz remarks in her post, finding a story that hasn't been told already is getting harder and harder. That's part of the reason I didn't submit anything for the Dark!Xander ficathon. (Although, wouldn't you know it, the day after it was due I had a cracking idea for it while I was washing the dishes...). Vladimir Propp would no doubt say that this is only to be expected, after all there are only so many stories that can be told. But the truth is, I don't think fandom is getting stale. I think it's just taking a breather right now. I know I am. And with the number of nominations going way down this round at WKA it seems that a lot of people are.

There are still stories to tell, there are still people who want to read them.

So here's what I propose. A fic/graphics/vid-athon. No assignments, no specific person to write/design/vid for, no reason to feel bad or neglected if you don't manage to submit anything. A general SlayerVerse-athon where all characters, settings, time periods, pairings, genres, whatever are welcome. Just an expected date and a masterlist.

Would there be enough interest in something like this for me to set one up?

ETA Feel free to link to this post by the way, the more people involved and the wider the variety the better!
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thedothatgirl: slayerthedothatgirl on October 20th, 2006 08:27 am (UTC)
You know I would always contribute something, I love things like this.
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: scoobies - mewhiskyinmind on October 20th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC)
Yay! I know there are a lot of ficathons and challenges out there anyway, but they tend to be so restrictive (specific characters/pairings/settings/media etc) that a lot of people might be put off. Having something akin to a 'free-for-all' (with a little organisation!) might help spur some people into taking part.
thedothatgirlthedothatgirl on October 20th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Well you know I will pimp it over at the Reverie forum and on my site - there are a lot of slayerverse fans in there.
tessarintessarin on October 20th, 2006 09:35 am (UTC)
Definitely would be interested.

And your efforts are very appreciated. I started writing fanfic because of INAP, found it just before it went down. Swore I would never write fanfic but the quality of the stories on there persuaded me to at least have a go.

Couldn't do the dark xander ficathon as I was too creatively focused elsewhere. Although I have just had an idea for some shorts that may have worked.

I think fandom is in a lull at the moment but the btvs fandom is too big and widespread to disappear. I mean Dr Who fandom survived practically 20 years and it was smaller internationally maybe even domestically than Buffy fandom.

the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: scoobies - mewhiskyinmind on October 20th, 2006 09:44 am (UTC)
Fantastic! I think we just really need a few more people to show some interest and I'll go about setting it up I think. And of course it's still the middle of the night in the US so... :)

And thank you - it's always nice to hear my pulling my hair out over the sites is appreciated! *g*
smhwpf on October 20th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
Sure thing, I have a WiP on the go, and the odd bunny floating around my head, so might be a good spur!

Ay, I've long thought it inevitable that Buffy fandom would in time wind down, with the show finished. The grass withers, and the flower thereof fades. :-( But while we have breath and ideas within us, no reason not to put off the evil day as long as possible! :-)

And we still have Joss's post-Chosen comics to come!
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: buffy behind you - mewhiskyinmind on October 20th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC)
Fabulous! I know I'm often guilty of staying in one (smallish) sector of the fandom, but it does seem that new posts to newsletters and yahoo groups are dwindling down lately and yet there are still people out there who are looking for new fics/graphocs/vids/meta whatever. Something like this might be the spur that maybe we need right now. :)
liz_marcsliz_marcs on October 20th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
I actually have a short story bunny I'm willing to contribute.
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: scoobies - mewhiskyinmind on October 20th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
That would be fantastic - I think I'll wait to see if we hit double figures for people interested and then I might just go ahead and set it up.
43100 on October 20th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
I would contribute! Mostly just graphics, though.
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: buffy//abstract - mewhiskyinmind on October 20th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
Fantastic - thank you!
velvetwhip: Willow and angel by dragonydreamsvelvetwhip on October 20th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
I can't make any promises, but depending on when the deadline is, I will do my damnedest to be a part of it!\

Gabrielle
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: willow/xander//embrace (pack) - mewhiskyinmind on October 22nd, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! Fantastic - it would probably be some point in December, maybe even for the 31st as a deadline because I know a lot of people (myself included) will be concentrating on NaNoWriMo in November.
velvetwhip: He's Not Angel Anymore by lilbreckvelvetwhip on October 22nd, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
January would be even better! (I've got THREE fic community deadlines in December)


Gabrielle
(Anonymous) on October 21st, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hey Mara! (: I hope you don't mind me posting here. I was posting here because I had a question about INAP and a problem that I had with my story and I was going to ask how to fix it. Anyway, Yes! I would definately be interested in writing a story for a ficathon if it can be linked from like INAP or something. I don't know how to just put a story on someone's site but I would be more than happy to contribute. The only reason why I didn't contribute to the Liz's Dark Xander Ficathon is because I was just kinda starting the whole writing a story and posting it somewhere thing.

About my story, "New Possibilities" I was adding a new chapter to it yesterday. I submitted the new chapter it said the edit was successful. But last night I went to look it over and the whole story was gone. Like it wasn't even there. What do I need to do? Should I try to resubmit the whole thing as a new story?

LMZ
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: willow/xander//embrace (pack) - mewhiskyinmind on October 22nd, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Hi! That's fantastic if you could be part of this 'athon' (which I really need to come up with a name for!)

I just emailed you about the INAP thing - sorry it took so long to get back to you about it!
Willowgreen: magicwillowgreen on October 21st, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
Here via Sunnydale Herald--hello!

And yes, I have a buffyverse story that I've been stuck on for some time, and if I had a deadline and a place to post it other than my own journal, I think I might actually finish it. So count me in!
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: willow/xander//embrace (pack) - mewhiskyinmind on October 22nd, 2006 01:43 pm (UTC)
Hello! *waves cheerfully*

That would be fantastic! I'm going to draw together a proper sign-up/rules type post and will throw that up here probably tomorrow (Monday).
(Anonymous) on October 22nd, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)
parrot down
I need a parrot is down again
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: willow/xander//embrace (pack) - mewhiskyinmind on October 22nd, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
Re: parrot down
Thanks for letting me know! It seems to be okay at the moment, but I've contacted my webhosts since this is starting to be a recurring problem. Can you let me know if you're still not able to get into the site?

Cheers!