Solutions Interviews Fanfiction Author babs

In the first of our series of interviews showcasing the terrific creative talent of Stargate fanfiction authors, vidders and artists, Solutions presents an insight into gen and slash writer babs.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I’m from the USA. I have Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Master degree in Counseling. I am single and come from a very close-knit family with lots of cousins. I’ve always loved reading and using my imagination. When I was a child, I used to make up stories about the characters on TV shows all the time. Granted most of the time I added a character in who was a Mary Sue, but hey I was very young–it’s forgiveable at that age.

I have a dog who is the joy of my life. She never fails to make me laugh each and every day. I’ve also trained her to respond to commands given in American Sign Language.

My hobbies other than fandom are travel (although I stick to the US and Canada–I still haven’t gotten over my fear of flying), baking (I bake almost all my family’s bread), reading (I’m a romance novel junkie, especially Regency romances), and knitting (my favorite thing to knit is socks).

What was it about Stargate SG-1 that hooked you?

The first episode of Stargate SG-1 I ever saw was Legacy. It pushed all my buttons. Okay, the first half of it pushed all my buttons—cute guy in distress and going crazy. People concerned about said cute guy. Cute guy near tears. What wasn’t to love! By the time I first saw the show, I was already a season behind because I didn’t have Showtime and watched it in syndication.

What, for you, are the most important aspects of the show?

The friendships of the team members–the relationships of a team, of diverse people working together. I like the mythology and Daniel being an archaeologist/linguist, but really, I want those gut-punching moments in there too.

There have been a lot of changes to Stargate over the years, some evolutionary, some revolutionary. Which changes have you embraced?

Tough question. I like Daniel changing and growing. I like Teal’c’s development. I like that Teal’c and Daniel are friends and that we saw that relationship develop.

How did you discover online fandom?

By mistake. I got on the internet about one month before my mom was diagnosed with cancer. When we got the news that yes, she had cancer, I couldn’t sleep and started searching for Stargate stuff online. I came into the fandom about 2 months before the bombshell was dropped that Michael Shanks would be leaving the show at the end of Season 5. It was an interesting time to come online considering I’d never been involved in any fandom off or online before.

What inspired you to start writing fanfiction?

I don’t think it was so much a matter of inspiration as a matter of having stories inside me that needed to come out. I filled notebooks with Stargate fanfic that has never seen the light of day and is probably better left in those notebooks!

Which writers, fannish or published, have influenced you?

Fannish writers include: JoAG, Devra, Jmas, Jb, Biblio, Phoenix E, Nancy Richardson and so many others I can’t even begin to name them all. As for published writers–CJ Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Mary Balogh, LM Montgomery

A lot of your writing focuses on Jack and Daniel. What’s so special about them and their relationship?

I think what draws me to these two men is that they can be so at odds with each other, but yet so in sync. I love that these two very different men respect each other and aren’t afraid to argue with each other.

You’ve written both gen and slash stories. How do you separate, switch between the two when working on your stories?

I wish I could say there is some deep answer to this, but most times, it’s as I start to develop the story in my mind that I decide if it’s going to be slash or gen. I do know that if it’s a fic set before Sha’re dies, the fic will be gen. Other than that, I’ve started fics thinking oh this is going to be a great slash fic only to find out the story really works better as a gen one.

Which genre do you prefer write?

For the most part I prefer writing hurt/comfort. I make vague attempts at humor, but it’s not a strength for me. I really enjoy writing any fic where I can get into the psychological aspects of the characters.

Is there one story you feel typifies your style and what you’re trying to accomplish as a writer?

What Endures–otherwise known as the Daniel and Jack retire to Vermont fic. Although the fic is by no means perfect, it’s a fic that I think shows my writing style better than any other. It doesn’t have what would be considered a traditional happy ending. Everyone goes through the wringer–Daniel especially, but even though things aren’t perfect by the end, there is love and hope and really, I think that’s what we all long for. I also think it shows my love of nature which is something I try to put in a lot of fics.

You’ve collaborated with other writers on a number of stories. How do you make that process work, taking into account the constraints of working online?

Hm–this may be better asked of my co-writers! How we make it work is first of all agreeing on the basic premise of the fic. I wound up co-writing a fic with Darcy once, by telling her after she’d sent me a snippet that she should write another scene where Daniel and Jack interacted in a particular way. She emailed back and said–good, you write it! Goodbye to Dreams was written with a lot of conversations on AIM and then getting off AIM to work on small snippets.

I tend to write in a non-linear fashion when I’m working on a long story, which is hard for my co-writers who write from start to finish. Most times co-writing involves lots and lots of emails and the willingness to not hang on to certain things I may think about the way the fic should go. I’ve learned to not be afraid of writing something and then throwing the whole scene out if it doesn’t fit in the vision we both have.

Can you tell us about your writing process?

I tend to write fics as the scenes occur to me, and most times I get the ending of the story before I ever get the beginning. Inspiration comes to me from many sources–a quote, a poem, something that I see while out in nature. I’ve always been the kind of person who thinks of a lot of “what ifs”. Most of my fics start with an image that occurs to me. What Endures started not with the beginning of Daniel being injured but an image of Jack and Daniel swaying together in a yard under moonlight. I knew they were in Vermont because the image I had was of a place I’d been to in Vermont. Of course, I had no idea what the rest of the story was until I wrote the bare minimum of that ending scene.

I have some great friends in this fandom and quite often, they will challenge me to write something from a conversation we’ve had. I don’t have a set amount of time I write each day–I don’t even have a set time that I do it which probably doesn’t say too much about my discipline. However, I do have a long commute and while I’m alone in the car, I work out a lot of the scenes or ideas in my head. I also use my time on the treadmill for thinking about dialogue/plot etc.

I do a lot of thinking before I ever write something. Occasionally I will outline a fic, but most times, I find that isn’t the way I work best. I write scenes as they occur to me, whether or not they are in order. If I know a scene is later in a story but I need to have other things between what I’ve written so far and that scene, I will put in a phrase in bold or caps that says something like: “A Whole Bunch of Stuff Happens” and then go back and fill in once I’m more sure of where I’m taking the story.

I’m also blessed in that two of my dearest friends who are also in the fandom are good at reading the small snippets I send them as a fic is in progress and commenting on it and telling me where things need expanded or if the scene works or not. My last fic and the longest I’ve ever written by myself to date was sent to at least 4 people while it was in progress and I used their comments/advice to fine-tune the fic. I also send my fic to my beta before posting it and make the edits necessary for making it as best it can be.

How have you challenged yourself to grow as a writer since that first story came out?

I love setting challenges for myself: writing a fic from a POV I wouldn’t usually do, exploring an issue I’ve never done before, writing a slash fic from the POV of Teal’c or Sam, making an unlikeable character likeable. I’ve learned to take more risks as a writer and to not fear cutting scenes out of fics or starting the fic completely over. I start many more fics than I ever finish, but I’ve also learned to keep those snippets around for inspiration.

How has your experience of writing and online community changed you?

I’ve become more adventurous. Before online fandom, I would have never traveled by myself to another city to meet some friends I only knew from online. I wouldn’t have ever gone to a fan convention. Even in writing, I’ve found a way of expressing myself that I never knew I had in me. I think I’m more open with others than I’ve been in the past.

Where can people go to read your work?

All of my fic is found at The AlphaGate archive. My slash is also at Area 52. Some of my fics are archived at jd-divas.