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Recent Reading - Career Building Through Fan Fiction Writing by Miriam Segall - Mo's Journal
February 16th, 2010
09:06 pm

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Recent Reading - Career Building Through Fan Fiction Writing by Miriam Segall
I was intrigued to see this book in my public library and brought it home. It appears to be written for teens. Most of the book is a description of what fan fic is, how people get into it, where stories are archived, a broad brush view of legal issues, what some popular fandoms are and so forth. The "career building" part is really just a few paragraphs about how some professional writers begin as fanfic writers.

It was interesting to me for what it covered, and also for what it didn't cover. There's a fairly extended discussion of RPF; there's an explanation of what a Mary Sue is; there's a long bit on shipping. Yet there's not a single mention of slash, which is a pretty big part of the fan fic scene, and at least as likely to be encountered by someone looking for fanfic after reading the book as Mary Sues or RPF.

The closest thing to slash mentioned is a reference to something the author calls "acid pairs" - a term I'd never heard before. She says an "acid pair" story is one written with a romance between two characters who never would have been romantically involved in canon, and that the stories are usually satirical in nature. Well, slash is about sexual and/or romantic connection between characters who aren't involved in canon (and who aren't homosexually involved with anyone in canon) but as a genre it's not usually satirical (although, of course, there are satirical slash stories). Anyway, I found it an interesting omission...

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From:truwest
Date:February 17th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
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Interesting. Never heard the term "acid pairs" before. No mention of slash: could be the author is anti-slash -- or was avoiding a controversial topic in a teen oriented book. yeah it shouldn't be controversial but alas.
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From:mofic
Date:February 17th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
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That was my assumption, too - that she thought slash inappropriate for a YA book. I don't think it reflects her view about slash, since she talked about some things that she didn't seem to feel positive about. So, she may well be anti-slash, but I don't think that's why she left it out. I think she was thinking of the audience.

But it makes for a weird omission. There's certainly a lot of gen and het fanfic out there, probably more than slash. But you can't really be into fanfic and not be aware of slash, yk? So either kids are going to read the book knowing about slash and noticing the omission or they'll go look for fanfic after reading the book and find it. I think it would make more sense to mention it briefly and - if she wants to - say that some people think it inappropriate, which is what she did with RPF. I mean, I wouldn't expect her to write an Appreciation of Slash as a Genre or anything...
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From:vorquellyn
Date:February 17th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
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I'm guessing she didn't want to say "crack pair." Still weird. And not really satirical, more for humorous effect. Did she otherwise know what she was talking about?
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From:mofic
Date:February 17th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
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I think she may have said "satirical or humorous." I tried googling "acid pair" and "fanfic" when I got home and got almost nothing. So now I'm wondering if I'm misremembering the term. Unfortunately I already returned the book. In any event it was a term I'd never heard and had "acid" in it.

And yes, I think she knew what she was talking about, generally. I was actually wondering if she's anyone I know (under a fannish name, that is) and what fandoms she's involved in. There were lots of references to Star Trek, HP, and Buffyverse, but those are very large fandoms so it doesn't necessarily mean they are hers.

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From:vorquellyn
Date:February 17th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I don't doubt she said acid. I was thinking that judging by not bringing up slash she might have been feeling the Moral Guardians staring over her shoulder. Maybe acid is more acceptable than crack. It isn't addictive and so far as I know isn't an epidemic the way crack is. Which actually means that changing it to be more socially acceptable skips some of the meaning. *shrugs* If she didn't mean crack pairing then I got nothin'.

Interesting. I had to check because I've dealt with enough college professors to know that just because someone can go on at great length doesn't mean they actually under what they're talking about. :D
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From:hippediva
Date:February 17th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
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'acid pair': (1) a pre-teen cutesy term concocted by pro authors who think they understand the subterranean levels of fanfiction to describe slash (i.e. homoerotic liberties taken with any and all canon, usually in great detail);(2) a pair of fashionable jeans circa 1988.

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From:mofic
Date:February 17th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
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LOL! Had you ever heard "acid pair" in a fanfic context? As mentioned above, I'm wondering if I'm misremembering the term...
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 17th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
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*giggle* No, I haven't. I have a minor interest in keeping 'tabs' of fandom etemology and the term 'acid pair' is non-existent WITHIN fandom. She made it up.
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From:ringthebells
Date:February 18th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
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Hah, jeans were what I thought of!
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From:talktooloose
Date:February 17th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
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TTL says "grrrrrr" to books that tell you how to make profit from things you do for passion.

Career building through community choir!

Career building through visiting your grandma in the old age home!

I guess my point is not that you can't or shouldn't go from a hobby to a career, but these books seem to imply that you should want that or need to justify your time somehow. Maybe I do protest too much.
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From:mofic
Date:February 17th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
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LOL on the grandma one. Well, very little of it was about career building, really, if that makes you feel better. I think, though, that career books are popular with kids because they are thinking about what they'll do for a living, and it makes sense that they'd want to do something related to the things they enjoy. Which is why so many kids plan on being rock stars or making movies or professional athletes.
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