O Yardley

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Fan
Name: O Yardley
Alias(es):
Type: fan writer
Fandoms: Professionals, Star Trek: TOS
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O Yardley was a Professionals slash fan fiction writer, and huge BNF of the era of the early The Professionals Circuit. Her fan name is an anagram of Ray Doyle.

Her first Bodie/Doyle story was either "Among the Lilies" or "The Gift."

There is an extensive interview with O Yardley in The Hatstand Express #17 in 1988, see Hatstand Express Interview with O Yardley. Her memories of the beginning of Pros fandom are printed in Discovered In A Letterbox #13.

A Fandom Host

According to Sebastian, O Yardley was a host who had other Pros writers over several a year:
"...either at O Yardley's house (generous, hospitable woman that she was to put up with 11 women sleeping in bags all over the house - or occasionally elsewhere. The format of our weekends together was always the same - all 12 of us piled into one small living room - raucous, energetic and bawdy conversation - lots and lots of episodes running day and night on thrice-copied and sometimes double-imaged VHS, many pauses and rewinds to ogle merest glances between the boys or favourite bits of dialogue - I don't think any of us really ever understood the actual plots but we could quote all the slashy moments word for word.

When we weren't watching, or sitting round OY's dining table eating something hot and delicious from a large casserole dish that seemed to be on the go from dawn till dusk, we were writing - passing scraps and notes around for comment - sometimes people would be sitting there waiting with barely-concealed impatience for HG's pen to reach the foot of a page of Rediscovered in a Graveyard - in longhand! at which moment they would snatch it and scan it and sigh with joy and beg her to write quicker and pass it on to the next in line.

We didn't get much sleep at these weekends. During one of them I was in the bunk on top of HG. Trying not to wake the six others in the room we tossed ideas up and down between the bunks and came up with Two in a Bunk plus a story written all in letters, her taking the part of Bodie and me of Doyle, which we wrote back and forth by post once we were back at home. (What was it called now? lord, I have forgotten.)

Email would have been handy! not to mention PCs - everything was written in longhand, then on typewriters, with three carbons. I sometimes marvel that our stories ever flowed or shone at all, given that in these days of WORD a first draft can be endlessly picked at it, changing a word here and there, polishing and editing and refining over and over - something just not possible in those days. Once you had typed it, it was done, no more fiddling, unless you wanted to Tip-Ex out the odd word here and there.

I don't think those stories were any the worse for their crude manner of execution, and I'll always be glad I was there - right back nearly at the very beginning of Pros-slash - ah, those days, those glorious days.... [1]

Some Fannish Opinions

1985

I love O. Yardley. Now I know who she REALLY is because I would recognise her writing style anywhere, anytime. She was one of my favourite K/S writers and she IS my favourite B/D writer. I guess mainly because she knows how to do it so well. She has the perfect fabric of story, characterisation, and relationship from its inception to its marriage interwoven so well (from time before to time after) in "Injured Innocents", it amazes me. I've heard some complaints, that certain scenes are too long. Not to me they aren't. She has the talent of building the relationship and also showing the details on the how and when it happens. She also expands on the everyday Bodie and Doyle. The inter-plot, suspense, the side characters, take you on a long journey through these two fellow lives. And one really gets to know them well because she gets into their personalities and motivations. Another writer who manages to do this fairly well is H.G. Especially in her finest finished work, "Rediscovered In A Graveyard".[2]

1988

Two of my first stories in this fandom were: "Voyage of Discovery" and "Unfinished Business". They definitely whet my appetite for more, and I still enjoy re-reading them. Somebody recently complained about "Bear Necessity" and "Necessary Evil", saying that the Bodie in them wasn't the way she sees Bodie. Tough. That Bodie wasn't quite "my" Bodie either, until I'd read a few pages and become so absorbed by this Bodie and his refreshing P.O.V. that it was irrelevant. This Bodie's descriptions of Doyle are a delight upon each reading. His understanding of his partner's manipulative character, his maturity and his skill at forcing Doyle to be honest — all handled with a sense of humour that I don't tire of reading. "Injured Innocents" and "Journey's End" must also be noted as stories that are rewarding, satisfying, and with no loose ends. Different P.O.V.'s, different problems dealt with, all recommended to new fans who ask where they should start with so many to choose from. Some of your more recent stories, "Old Mill..." comes immediately to mind, seem to lack the affectionate feel for Bodie and Doyle that was so clear in your earlier stories. Technically, I think the writing is as good, but a cool, cynical P.O.V. prevails. I hope that your interview touches on this point, as I wonder if you've even noticed? [3]
O. Yardley is without a doubt one of my all-time favorite Bodie/Doyle writers. Her work is of a consistently high caliber and provides a refreshing change to the numerous stories coming out lately which seem to be either mediocre or pointless/pretentious. Her work always portrays the lads in a sensitive manner, whether she is dealing with mainstream Bodie and Doyle or slightly-alternate variations. She has a nice feel for characterization and relationship in her stories, and being British herself, she has a finer feel for her subject matter and dialogue, especially idiomatic and slang speech. I have long appreciated O. Yardley's prolific contribution of stories to this fandom and I hope that she has not been negatively influenced by the comments made about some of her works a couple of issues back. It would be an immeasurable loss to PROFESSIONALS fandom should O. Yardley want to no longer submit stories to the HATSTAND EXPRESS or to the circuit, due to disgruntled remarks made by a single individual. [4]
"Injured Innocents" is one of the best B/D novels I've ever read and I suffered a really bad case of eye strain because I couldn't put it down; the "first time" sex scene is one of the most credible in this fandom, solely for its touching imperfection, and it was hysterical that CI5's top operatives couldn't figure out how to work the double bed on that little canal boat their first evening aboard; this is one of the few efforts made to realistically portray several months in the life of Bodie and Doyle, showing us events spanning from the mundane to the exciting, and it successfully sustains long-term cohesion by giving us characters who keep reappearing over time; she demonstrates superb skill at plotting and pacing, and her characterizations are entirely credible in this piece.

"Kind Hearts" ia one of those variation-on-the-theme stories that portrays Bodie and Doyle not quite the way I conceive them (I could never see Bodie being quite that insecure), but O. Yardley creates sensitive portraits of these characters that are quite enjoyable anyway; Bodie coming from an aristocratic background is a definitely intriguing prospect, and I was truly delighted that he was finally able to overcome his childhood traumas and that Nanny "got hers" in the end.

"Necessary Evil" and "Bear Necessity" are two more stories which portray alternative Bodie and Doyle characterizations, but the manipulation and head-gaming involved during their budding relationship and the slightly gone awry romance, which comes right in the end, are immensely enjoyable; and digging up Doyle's childhood teddy bear, buried in someone else's back yard, was a lovely touch.

The "Party Spirits" series I initially found somewhat frustrating because the lads' relationship seemed to be going nowhere fast, but I"ve now come to value these stories quite highly, because like in real life, sometimes things don't go smoothly and enduring relationships take a while

"A Date with Louise" is a wonderfully charming little one-pager.

"Black Bodie's Treasure" is a fine historical piece, and demonstrates a flair for 17th century dialogue and a marvelous piratical flavor, neither of which was as successfully achieved in the sequel.

"Zoetrope" I found to be a heart-breaking sequel to Rediscovered in a Graveyard, despite the fact that the historical pair lived well into their seventies; death stories are always hard to read!

"Off Day" is a brilliant satire of all the grammatical errors we've ever been subjected to in stories and zines we've read over the years, and I chuckle every time I read it.

"Spotted Dick" I liked, but it gives me a bit of a problem, because all I can thing of (when I see its title) are the disgusting and stodgy ingredients which an English friend once revealed go into this British dessert delectation.

"Stir Happy" is one of my favorite Bodie and Doyle Yuletide stories; it is warm and charming and much enjoyed.

"Journey's End" is one of my favorite hurt/confort stories in this fandom (there are too few of this type of story, and I wish writers would produce more of them, as opposed to get-ems), and there is also the added bonus that it is a sensitive little romance.

"The Right Words To Say" and "Even Tough Guys Like Us" together are a nice treatment of their relationship gone wrong over a misunderstanding, and finally retrieved again in the end. [5]
O. Yardley - what can a reader say but thank you for some of the best fiction in B/D fandom. In glancing down the list of stories, it's impossible to pick out an overall favorite because this writer is a master of the longer story as well as the shorter one. Her stories are of a consistent high caliber when it comes to technical aspects such as grammar and appropriate word selection. What makes so many of the stories she's written shine, however, is her deft hand at characterization.

So often, in so many stories such as "Injured Innocents," "Kind Hearts," "So Glad It Was Me," "Unfinished Business," "Angel Delight," "The Right Words To Say," "Even Tough Guys Like Us," "Air On A G String," "The Watcher," "Bear Necessity," "Necessary Evil," "In Tandem - And So To Bed," "Lick And A Promise," "Ghostly Shadowy Ghost-Shadow" and the "Party Spirit" sequence, the characters are perfectly defined in that for this reader, the author's interpretation of how the characters act, how they react, how they speak, etc. is dead center on target. In all of the above, a reader is drawn so completely into the story that she is there beside the characters; the characters seem very real, as if they should walk into the room.

In addition to a fine handle on characterization, O. Yardley stories are very frequently sprinkled with insights about life and love. "Bear Necessity" is perhaps the standout in this regard. As he works his way through Doyle's motivations and trying to understand both Doyle and himself, Bodie's thoughts are the vehicle for observations and comments on how we all deal with life, the problems and the joys. It is the incorporation of such relevant insights that give O. Yardley's better stories their power. Not only does the character speak to the reader, but what the character says touches the chord of reality, lifting a story above being just another B/D story.

Humor, both situational and in dialogue, is another important component of many O. Yardley stories. She manages to capture just the right amount of cynicism in her dialogue and situations. It's the cynical, dark edge in humor which we see in the aired episodes and O. Yardley stories that seems generally to be perfectly in tune with the aired episodes in this regard. "Injured Innocents" is the best example of a story where the humor shines. Who can ever forget that charming scene on the canal when the lads are in the throes of lust and the cows peek in? So many of the stories I listed earlier sparkle with excellent, funny or witty dialogue.

When I do not care for an O. Yardley story ("Well Met By Moonlight," "Restore Amends," "Finger Lickin' Good," "There's An Old Mill" for example), it is always because the combination of characterization, insightfulness and humor are not as finely tuned or presented as they are in the stories I prefer. And yet, even in those stories I do not particularly care for, there is generally a line, a scene, a moment in which her skills make the characters so real for me that I think I can reach out and touch them.

Thank vou, O. Yardley, for some of my favorite stories and the hours of reading pleasure you've given me.[6]
H.G. is without doubt one of the premier writers in this fandom, and I wish she would write more. She seems to have gone into a dry spell, unless she has migrated to another fandom? If so, please let us know, so I can follow along. There are several British writers whose work in other fandoms I would quite happily read, due to the sheer quality of their writing skills, irrespective of the TV program. H.G. has provided countless hours of reading pleasure and all her work easily stands up to second and third readings. She has produced some emotionally power-packed stories, at the end of which I have felt really "wrung out." This author's interpretation of the characters occasionally leaves me puzzled, however, wherein I am at odds with her Doyle, unable to divine what motivates him. [7]

1998

I think O. Yardley tends to present the lads as 12-year old boys in adult skins. The humor and banter works well, but we never get much beyond that. [8]

Notable Works in The Professionals

1988 list of O Yardley's works, click to read, printed in The Hatstand Express #16
1988 list of O Yardley's works, click to read, printed in The Hatstand Express #16
  • Party Spirit Series 26-story tag series, written in late '80s or early '90s.
  • Air on the G String -- Doyle goes undercover as a male stripper
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People -- Doyle makes a comment about Bodie's seduction technique; Bodie decides seduce Doyle so he can see the whole thing.
  • Ill Met By Moonlight -- crossover with Shakespeare

References

  1. extensive quote also in the "Personal Anecdotes section" of The Professionals article
  2. from The Hatstand Express #7 (1985)
  3. from The Hatstand Express #17 (1988)
  4. from The Hatstand Express #17 (1988)
  5. from The Hatstand Express #17 (1988)
  6. from The Hatstand Express #17 (1988)
  7. from a fan in The Hatstand Express #18 (1988)
  8. fan discussing O Yardley's body of work on the CI5 List in 1998, quoted anonymously with permission.