Citizens Against Bad Slash Interview with Maygra

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Citizens Against Bad Slash Interview with Maygra
Interviewee: Maygra
Date(s): July 24, 2001
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Highlander, slash
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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Citizens Against Bad Slash Interview with Maygra was posted in 2001.

It is part of a series of interviews posted to Citizens Against Bad Slash in which fans were each asked the same ten questions.

Some Excerpts

Emotions inspire me. Dominant or passive. What people use when and why. Heightened focus on personal interactions -- which television as a media in a 44 minute format gives us. Everything is crystallized, intense, must be brought to a head and resolved in one or two or three episodes, or at least sustained at a level that keeps the viewer interested over a span. Characters with only partially revealed pasts, which I think is why Highlander caught my attention...I mean this is what we would be if our lives were longer. I get inspired by the idea of people, of experiences being magnified and amplified. Even outside of fan fiction, I like that whole idea of being able to focus on one or two characters, on situations that aren't about getting the siding cleaned or the laundry done, or making the paycheck stretch to cover another emergency visit to the vet or the doctor. Give me something bigger than my own life and I'm happy. I don't actually want this much drama in my own life, but it helps to keep my own life in perspective. Inspiration, for me, is always about "What if..." even if it is my own life. "What if I actually won a million dollars in the lottery? What if I actually lived somewhere where I could walk to work? Would I find myself fascinated by the goings on in the shops and businesses I pass? Would I get interested in the boyfriend/girlfriend woes of my local barrista?" I never seem to have to look very hard for inspiration -- but motivation is another thing. All I have to do to *get* inspired is start playing, "What if..." and the rest seems to come naturally. What if an Immortal suddenly wasn't? I mean, the entire TPM fandom is practically based on the idea of "What if Qui-Gon hadn't died?" I also get inspired by twisting canon around as much as I can without breaking it. Pretty much the same way I treat the characters. Melodrama, ah, melodrama! I get inspired by other stories, by pictures (God love the graphic artists among fen!! Thou art wondrous fair!), by conversations, and always, always, by rewatching eps.

Music inspires me as well. Lyrics, melodies -- they tend to promote moods, present moods. Moods inspire me. Heh. Duncan's moodiness inspires me. Obi-Wan's too. Strong visuals have the same effect: sunsets, ocean fronts, abandoned old buildings that still have grace and style. I find I'm more inspired by darker emotions and moods than lighter ones --- but they don't necessarily inspire dark pieces.

For other folks, inspiration is such catch all for a lot of excuses, it seems. "My muse has left me!" Well, not if you haven't checked out of your own brain it hasn't. Watch the eps, if you can. Read fan fiction -- but read it looking for ideas, not escapism. Lurk on the discussion boards...and when all else fails, write anyway...Conversations over coffee, describe Methos' new apartment, take Daniel car shopping with Jack. Pull a first person POV from a minor character and describe your favorite BSO through their eyes. Write. Write more. Write anything and don't let yourself talk yourself out of it. Inspiration isn't a stagnant thing -- it's vibrant, moving, fleeting, and has no timetable.
[Most common mistakes writers make in the HL fandom]: Listening to anyone -- and sometimes everyone -- who pays them attention. You have to have an ego of steel not to be swayed. Relying too much on other people's opinions. My primary fandom is, by and large, full of incredibly opinionated people, who tend to be older than your average fan, or so it seems. And it's polarized along a dozen fronts depending on what part of the fandom you are identifying with. Duncansluts, Methos babes, Richie flag wavers, Connor Crusaders, Cassandra Champions, Ramirez's Raiders: we've got more niches than Westminster Abbey.

I do think that a fairly common mistake some new writers make, especially in the slash pairing dominated by Duncan/Methos, is not bothering to see the episodes prior to Methos' arrival. You have to understand the Highlander to get into the rest of it because otherwise, Duncan does come out as he gets stereotyped: Judgemental, rigid, or an idiot. He is none of those things all the time, and no more often than most of us. And seriously, where is the appeal to Methos if Duncan isn't a whole person? Duncan is 400 years old -- not 40. Give the man some credit for remaining a decent human being. The same is true of the reverse. Duncan is basically a decent, intelligent, compassionate, passionate man. He respects both strength and vulnerability but pushing Methos too far toward one or the other seems to be less about what makes them click together, that what about one or the other clicks for the writer.

It's poor characterization that I see most commonly. HL fans get myopic, I think. They see their favorite character and every other character suffers in comparison. The show is called Highlander for a reason. (Which isn't to say there aren't wonderful stories that exclude him entirely -- I'm just not reading them.) I do think that those writers who are only interested in the D/M pairing can get it right if they do recall that there is a reason these two men are attracted to each other both textually and sub-textually.
There are some seriously good writers in HL, even now. There isn't as much coming down the pike where I play and I tend to stay away from the gen/het side of it for anything other than reading. To summarize it all, I'd say, HL writers are good, possibly even a cut above other fandoms I read in, in that they really do, for the most part, snag at least enough of the characterizations I saw on screen to make the characters distinctive and recognizable. The slash side runs about 50/50 I'd say, which amazes me at times, but then again, I probably only catch about a tenth of what is being written. I do think the fandom peaked a year or so ago for the truly prolific outpouring of excellent stories. It comes slower but I'd swear the quality hasn't really gone down much and we still seem to be attracting good writers, which is cool. Did I mention the rose-colored glasses I wear
Fandom is only as stimulating or aggravating as you let it be. Personally, the former is what I want, the latter is what makes me sit back and work on that perspective thing again. It all matters terribly, but at the same time -- it matters not at all. On a personal level, the only thing that matters is what you give to it and what you get back. If what you get back isn't working, then move on. Take a break. The fandoms will be here when you get your sense of perspective back, find joy. Learn. Grow. Fandom ain't new. It ain't going nowhere. But you should be...always.