Anyway, on my test list I have someone who always tries to impose what THEY think Living History should be about. Generally their points of view on the characters, motivations, and direction are so alien that I have to wonder what story they think they're reading because I'm pretty sure it's not mine. It seems I'm constantly repeating myself going, "No, no. Where are you getting this?"
Because it's impossible that Dawn could ever, ever like Willow because of that whole magic addiction bullshit. And Buffy doesn't give a shit about anything beyond herself and her super-powered boyfriends. That Kennedy is all about power and trophy powerful girlfriends. That Willow is only about powerful people. That Xander will never be considered important by anyone (this from a Xander fan!). That Faith has nothing but contempt for Xander and will never like him in "that way." And dontchya know? Faith and Xander are doomed to nothing but a loveless relationship so why am I bothering? Xander will always know he comes dead last in the pecking order because he's with people who only love POWERZ!!!!111!!!!
My favorite is the insistance that I explain more about Catherine and Company's plight so they can be "sympathetic." Wuzzat? Hunh? Why? The problems they've got 834 years in the future is the story's internal reasoning for why they're there in the first place. You have been told all you need to know about their problem. You really don't need more for purposes of the plot. And I think Catherine and Company are sympathetic enough because they've got to deal with all their beliefs being smashed right in front of their beady little eyes. I have great sympathy for Catherine given everything she's found out.
How many times to I have to explain that the plot for Living History is pretty simple...simple enough to sum up in one line: 'People from the future travel to the past to ask the Scoobs for help and wackiness ensues.'
The whole point of the story is how these visitors affect (or not affect) the present-day. They are relevant only insofar as that point exists. Note that you never see Catherine or her people unless they're interacting with people from the present or talking about people from the present. It's all about the present-day Scoobs. The future people get closure only insofar as it deals with the that singular point.
Plus, some of the FB I've gotten in private email has really given me pause. Part of the problem is that there's still residual S6 and S7 BtVS bitterness floating around out there to the extent that in some quarters writing a likeable anyone is deemed OOC.
Goddamn ME! I swear to god the more I think about S6 and S7, the more it puts me in mind of character-bashing fics where Buffy, Willow, and Giles were bashed to the point of non-recognition. We had the introduction of Mary Sue (Robin) filling all the BtVS conventions FOR a Mary Sue. We have painting everyone in tar (Scoobs) just so one character can look good by comparison (Spike more often than not). We had strawmen set-ups just so Buffy could be right by writers' fiat. We had senseless, useless violence and sex put on our screens just for shock value...
Jesus, when it's all said and done, Xander is the only one who got out of BtVS the least singed and that's only because of rampant neglect. I only remain grateful that when mentioned post-BtVS, his fate is just about the best one of the Scoobs. The tar brush against Giles for refusing to help Angel in his hour of Fred-need; the tar-brush against Buffy for several reasons....jeez! And I know ME was trying to cool-up Andrew but even that seems to have failed miserably as the Andrew-hate has notched to new heights.
Thanks a whole fucking lot ME! I'm writing the Scoobs as likeable, but because they're likeable they're OOC for S6 and S7 according to some people!
I like writing my little ideal versions of the Scoobies (as screwed up as they are even in my ideal versions) where it is possible for them to stumble back into something resembling a real friendship. I like the fact I'm writing a story that Xander is important not because he shoots lightening out of his ass but for those characteristics (good and bad) that make him uniquely Xander.
But I've had people email me questions like:
Question: So when's Xander going to show up Buffy to drive home she's a terrible leader?
Answer: He's not. He's learning good leadership skills. Buffy's remembering her good leadership skills. The two are not mutually exclusive nor do they have to come into conflict.
Question: So, when's Robin going to be killed because he's clearly the bad guy?
Answer: He's not. And he's not the bad guy. He just fundamentally disagrees with Xander on a lot of issues. He's the protagonist simply because you're seeing the whole story from outside his point of view. Protagonist is different than bad guy.
Question: So when's Robin going to turn out to be evil and wrong?
Answer: He's not! Just because Xander doesn't like him doesn't mean he's evil! And just because his thinking runs counter to Xander's on a lot of issues doesn't mean he's wrong either! He's right about some tings and he's has a good point about almost everything. Hell, some FB in the earlier scene where Xander and Robin were sparring, a couple of people pointed out to me that they agreed with Robin 100% and that the section could be construed in some quarters as bashy against Xander and if it wasn't me who wrote it, they'd think it *was* meant to be that way.
I've worked damn hard to steer very clear of character-bashing or anything that could even come close to being considered character-bashing, even if I didn't like the characters in question. I've worked damn hard to show that everyone has a very good points (well, I admit except for Andrew, but even he manages to do good things). At the opposite end, I've worked very hard not to Mary Sue anyone either. Xander and Faith may be the "heroes" but even they've been shown to be shallow and petty in their own ways. Catherine's temper is her huge failing, as is her curiosity. And no one in her crew can even come close to being termed saints. The thing is, I don't expect people to love every character but I'm more than a little disturbed when they want a disliked character to "pay" for being unlikeable.
Maybe that's why I just can't get on board the Buffy-bashing I've seen in so many fics. It's cold comfort that Buffy-bashing fics are outnumbering the Xander-bashing fics. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen or heard about a Xander-bashing fic in awhile now. (Thank god!)
Question: We better be seeing Faith and Xander getting it on before the end of the story otherwise I'll be upset.
Answer: They're not. This is about burying the hatchet and learning to re-evaluate someone. It's groundwork people. It's about reaching out and being surprised about what's really there. No hip-thrusting because it just doesn't fit in the story!
*bangs head* Is there something wrong with me? Is it wrong for me to want to like these characters? I don't get it...
So, ummm, thanks for letting me vent.