Liz (amidala_thrace) wrote,

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Dr. Galacticalove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Finale

Yes, I am in fact alive. Heh heh. ;) I've sort of been AWOL from LJ for the last week or so, aside from regular fandom activities and fic updates, for various reasons. One of those reasons happens to be a little fic project known colloquially as Insanity Underrated, about which more in a moment. The back end of this week also saw me come down with a rather nasty flu bug, and I'm only just getting back to feeling somewhat normal (or whatever passes for "normal" for me and my FUBARed body) today. I lost about three or so days in there - got sick on Wednesday night, went to work Thursday even though I felt like CRAP, slept through most of the Sens/Penguins game Thursday night, and spent Friday in bed. Yes, I actually took a day off work on Friday, and leaving aside this past summer and various other collections of personal catastrophes, I can pretty much count on the fingers of one hand the number of sick days I've taken since starting at the paper. Which I suppose I should be thankful for since it basically means I haven't been sick for a while, but that's tough to remember when you're flat on your back in bed wishing you could die. ;)

Anyway. Better today, and had fun watching Hockey Day In Canada yesterday. :D Especially the Ottawa game, which, while it resulted in Andrew and I nearly having simultaneous heart attacks, was entertaining nonetheless. Nine games and counting, baby! *grins* It's funny because when we went to the Chicago game (the one where they'd won five consecutive games), I had teased Andrew because he'd made a remark during the losing streak that they should follow it up by winning five straight games, which of course they then did, but after the Chicago game he said, "No, I've changed my mind, I want them to make it ten!" I laughed at the time, but now, somehow it's not so funny or far-fetched anymore!

I've started to schedule my evenings around television again, which makes me happy because I haven't needed to do that since BSG ended. Picked up 24 again because my Girlfriend's in it, obviously. (KATEE! ON MY TV!!!!!!!!) Well. She's not playing Girlfriend, but honestly, I can't be arsed to care even though I spend fully 95% of every episode going, "Starbuck would punch him in the face!" or "Kara would shoot first and ask questions later!" Heh. But, 'tis fun.

I have also, to my very great surprise, gotten way into Caprica! I bought and watched the pilot on DVD but was kind of "meh" about it, especially because at the time I was still extremely bitter about the way BSG had ended. A lot of the turnaround in my attitude has to do with Insanity Underrated, actually, to the point where I've felt ready to continue with my BSG rewatch - which I have to do anyway for IU, but I won't be doing it grudgingly like I was at first. But the first episode of Caprica really drew me in, so that I'm ready now for it to be next Friday so I can find out what happens next! I'm not as interested in Daniel/Amanda's plot as much as I think you are supposed to be, but that's mainly because my BSG fangirl side keeps going, "MORE ADAMA FAMILY DRAMA! WANT!!!!" Hehe. ;)

The daddy issues are evidently an inherited trait, which I can't say surprises me. There was a brilliant quote from this week's episode that I wish I could remember in its entirety but went something like, "Whenever someone makes you feel guilty, figure out what they're feeling guilty about and use it." I sat there like O.O at the TV and then just cracked the fuck up, because it has SO much bearing on everything I've been doing with Insanity Underrated over the last few chapters and Lee's wider arc in that fic. Guilt, indeed. It explains so much about the way Bill and Lee relate to each other, I don't even. :D

As you have probably been able to tell from the number of times it's been mentioned in this post, Insanity Underrated continues to firmly hold my attention, such that I've posted an average of a couple chapters per week in the last month or so. This is pretty much an unprecedented rate of production for me, and I'm not sure if my muse is trying to make up for what it should have done this summer or what, but I'm not going to complain. Chapter 25 was actually a little over 5,000 words long, which I did a great deal of headdesking over because my absolute limit when it comes to chapter length for this fic is 4,000 words, and even that is a bit much in my opinion. But there just wasn't any good place to break it, and it actually could have ended up being twice that length had I not shifted a bunch of the Black Market plotline over to Chapter 26. Blame that on pilots who decided they unexpectedly wanted to get it on, when such a scene was definitely not in my outline at that point.

Sometimes Insanity Underrated likes to write itself instead of letting me do it. Heh heh. ;)

I now move to writing a bunch of scenes that I have alternately been looking forward to and dreading for a couple of months now - the birth of the baby. On the "looking forward to" side of the ledger, I have two scenes planned out for directly after the birth that are going to be absolutely adorable, that I actually came up with right after writing Kara's return from Caprica in the fic. They are the scenes for which I needed "A Good Lighter" and "Wander My Friends" from the S1 soundtrack on the IU playlist, and there is an echo/callback scene that will be equally adorable in the S3 plot. I'm not gonna say where, 'cause, spoilers, but yeah. I'm sort of dangling those scenes as a carrot to myself after what may end up being the stick of the delivery.

It's going to be difficult no matter which way I slice it, and I may in fact end up doing a little less with that scene than I had originally planned - which infuriates me, but I also need to keep my own sanity in mind. I managed to stay away from a lot of the fluffy/cutesy type of pregnancy scenes, thank goodness, although that wasn't so much by design as by the fact that it just wouldn't have worked with Kara's character. (Or Lee's, for that matter, at least not with where his head ended up being for the majority of her gestation.) Kara is someone who, despite the fact that she has decided to keep the baby and try to build a family with Lee, is not going to sit on her butt all day and say things like, "Ooh, it kicked! Aww, it kicked again! Here, come feel!" *throws up* In fact, I make the point several times throughout the fic that she actually finds things like baby movement very weird, and quite uncomfortable to boot - because it can be, especially when you are trying to sleep. Pregnancy is very inconvenient physically, since you essentially have to give your body over to a natural process that is absolutely unpredictable. Your feet hurt, your boobs hurt, you feel bloated, and you're moody and tired and annoyed and sick, all at the same time. And I'm not knocking writers who are all about cute pregnancy scenes, because I'm sure they're fun to do sometimes. They just aren't terribly realistic. Very few women float through pregnancy with no complications and no interference from annoying symptoms. And I don't know, maybe that's just my jaded, once-burned twice-shy self talking, but I do love a healthy dose of realism in my fics, as much as is possible, and reality for Kara Thrace is not going to be fawning over her baby bump and inviting everybody in sight to feel the kid kick. It just isn't, no matter how much she has decided she wants the baby or who the father is.

In any case. I avoided that with Insanity Underrated partially due to my need to keep Kara in character and partially due to my own squicks in this area, and I imagine the delivery will be somewhat similar. Sure, I'll throw in some cute, fluffy scenes once the kid's born and he/she grows. (Yes, he/she - those of you on my f-list will have to wait, same as everybody else, to find out if it's a boy or a girl! :P) But that's different, in my opinion. I get cute and fluffy with my little cousins, and it doesn't bother me that much. By the same token, though, the fic will certainly not be overwhelmed with said scenes. It's about Kara and Lee and the kid, sure, but at the same time there are wider themes and plotlines still to be explored, and the fluff will necessarily take a back seat to that. (Hell, during some of the stuff in the S3/New Caprica plotline, fluff will be so far in the back seat that I'll have practically stuffed it into the trunk. *gulp*)

It all comes back to the issue of control for me, I think. I have always allowed myself to step back from it whenever it was becoming too much, which is one of the reasons that I didn't work on Insanity Underrated at all this summer. Events in my personal life were far too fresh for me to even be able to contemplate IU and the plot that I knew I had planned for it. Once I got past November and the minefield of dates associated with that, something opened up for me. I sometimes wonder if there isn't at least a small amount of wish fulfillment in there, which fits in with the whole "control" thing. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. I'm sure my therapist would have a field day with this stuff. ;)

Control is, to a certain extent, why writing Insanity Underrated has helped me to come to terms with the way Battlestar Galactica ended canonically. I can legitimately and truthfully say that now: I have come to terms with it. I am in a much healthier place than I used to be, even than when I watched the DVD of the Caprica pilot, when my instinct was to be growly and grumbly and repeatedly lash out at what the series was presenting to me. I still don't like the way BSG ended, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I can accept it. I can accept it the way that, in Star Wars, I can accept that Anakin and Padmé are the main canonical pairing and Luke and Leia are their children and Padmé dies and Obi-Wan goes off and spends a lonely twenty years on Tatooine. I don't like it as much as I would if, say, Padmé had ended up with Obi-Wan and after Revenge of the Sith they got married and raised Luke and Leia at Varykino. (In other words, if To Ignite the Stars had been canon. Hah.) But I accept it. I accept it because in my heart of hearts, I love Star Wars. I love Padmé. And I wouldn't want the fact that my OTP there isn't canon to deter me from enjoying the movies. Besides, I've got a good imagination - and there's always fanfic!

It's the same, I have come to realize, with BSG. Maybe it's just my prior experience with shipping a pairing that wasn't canon and never could be, but I started to understand how lucky I as a Kara/Lee shipper am to have been presented with the storylines we were given in canon. They loved each other. They may not have ended up with each other, but they were in love, and that's one fact Moore didn't try to skate around or deny. Hell, we get to see them sleeping together! Whereas with Star Wars, it's all conjecture. I can go through the Prequel Trilogy scene by scene with my best friend and pick out all the allusions to Obi-Wan/Padmé and the innuendo and the way they look at each other - we've done that before! - but we have to dig to find all that because Obidala wasn't what the creator of SW intended. We don't use shipper glasses, we use a shipper microscope.

With BSG, that isn't necessary. Kara/Lee is right out in the open almost from the first. And it gets a fulfillment, albeit not one that the majority of its shippers might have preferred. We get UST, we get eyefrakking, we get dancing, we get kissing, and yes, an actual love scene. The characters' resolution may not be as much as we were built up to expect. But it is something. And it is far, far more than Obi-Wan and Padmé ever got. As someone who previously shipped only non-canon pairings (and extremely unpopular ones at that), Battlestar Galactica was a revelation to me.

Of course, I hoped Lee and Kara would end up together canonically, and when that didn't happen, I was upset, angry, furious that what I thought the writers had been leading up to was in fact a red herring. I still believe that the lack of a plan on the part of RDM and his team of writers hurt the continuity and thus the final impact of the series, even though I understand that it's hard to plan for continuity when you're working season to season. But having at least a vague, basic outline would have helped. Obviously I say this as a person who has to outline before starting any major project, and who doesn't feel comfortable beginning something unless she's outlined it and knows pretty much exactly where it's going. The Insanity Underrated outline runs 12 pages, single space, small text in Word. It provides me with the essential structure of the story, where it is going and the groundwork I will need to lay in order to ensure that it gets there. I don't outline every single thing, and I have only a vague idea of what material I need to include in each chapter. The chapters themselves are very fluid, subject to change, and certainly undergo a ton of revisions and substantial rewrites before they ever get posted to my writing community. I only share publicly that which I believe to be my best effort. Katie is a brutal, brutal beta reader, but she needs to be brutal, and I appreciate and consider every single change she suggests to me. She's also the only other person who has full access to the Insanity Underrated outline, so that she too can know where it's heading and help to keep me on track.

Now, of course, my situation is far different from that of RDM and his team. I have the advantage of knowing that I will be able to complete the story without cancellations, budgetary concerns or writer's strikes getting in the way. So in that sense, I acknowledge that I am somewhat blinded to the very real constraints that the above issues must place upon a series. At the same time, however, if you are going to produce a series with the amount of respect for your viewer that was initially shown in Battlestar Galactica, my feeling is that you must keep up at least a semblance of this respect throughout the entire life of the show. Most shows do peter out somewhat as they progress; they have highs and lows and things the fans disagree with and things the creators feel could have been done differently. But to start out with one message and then to pull a complete left turn and end up somewhere totally different, with symbolism that is dissimilar to the outset of the show in the extreme, is an insult to the intelligence of the viewer, and it is one that should not happen. The occasional retcon I can understand - I am a Star Wars fan, after all. ;) Pulling something out of your hat and expecting the audience to handwave it or overlook it because they're so "OMG!SHOCKED!" by what you've done is different.

That being said, I am able to accept the way that BSG ended now, warts and all. I believe that Insanity Underrated is, to a large degree, responsible for that acceptance. Insanity Underrated is allowing me to explore an alternate path for these characters that I love so much, and as a writer, that's one of my favourite things to do: introduce a slight deviation to an established story and then see how even tiny choices made by characters at one time or another can affect the whole outcome of their arcs.

Insanity Underrated began for me with two quotations. One, the immortal "You wanna give me a bath?" at the end of the S1 episode "You Can't Go Home Again", led me to imagine what would have happened if Lee had actually taken Kara up on that offer. On the surface, that might have produced a simple smutfic, an encounter in sickbay that led to sex and an acknowledgment of feelings that, at the time, both characters were working very hard to hide. But as I am wont to do, I started thinking. As with most of my AUs, the primary question I had was: "What if?" What if Lee had realized how deeply his feelings for Kara ran after her rescue from the desert moon? What if they had, in fact, begun a clandestine relationship? (A relationship for which they would have vastly different expectations - Kara would believe it to be a simple way of releasing stress, while Lee would naturally experience it on a much deeper level - but a relationship nonetheless.) Would they keep going with it, or would they proceed as they did in canon, dancing around it and never really coming to fulfillment until Season 3 - by which point it would be pretty much too late.

As I contemplated it further, I realized that without an additional catalyst, without something to firmly and completely bind them together, they likely would proceed as in canon. So: enter the catalyst. From that first encounter in sickbay, or one that takes place shortly thereafter (neither I nor the characters have totally figured that one out!), Kara conceives a child by Lee. The existence of this child throws both of them for a loop - Kara because parenthood was something she never wanted, yet she knows that her religious beliefs conflict with her natural instinct to abort the baby; and Lee because of his family issues and what happened with his girlfriend before the attacks on the Colonies. Both of them realize that it's serious now, that they're playing for keeps, that they can't just run away as they both might want to. And that, in a nutshell, is the deviation from canon that changes things for them. It allowed me to imagine a version of the show that is different from what we were presented, but similar enough that it could technically have happened, that we can see the characters thinking and behaving as they do in the fic. And it allowed me, very slowly and steadily and insidiously, to become okay with the way the show ended. Because I'm doing it differently, I'm exploring another path, I'm figuring out something else that might have happened. And as long as I have that ... I can watch what happened in S4.5 with (mostly) a clear conscience.

Oh, and the other quote that inspired Insanity Underrated? Too spoilery right now, so I unfortunately cannot elaborate. ;P But I will say that it is a canonical quote, and it comes from the Hybrid, who says it in Season 4 (I believe). More will have to wait.

Insanity Underrated owes a real debt of gratitude to To Ignite the Stars, the SW AU fic project that I have set aside (but not forgotten or abandoned!) since beginning to work on IU. Had it not been for TIS, I doubt I would have had the courage to attempt an alternate universe project so broad in scope. I simply wouldn't have had enough confidence in myself to do it and do it right. But I know because of TIS that I can function as a writer within an AU while still keeping the characters in-character and acting like themselves. Without that knowledge, Insanity Underrated would not have been possible.

I also owe much to the stars_like_dust/elzed collaboration, Stupid Thing Last Night: The Rewind, which was at least in part responsible for me starting to think "What if ...?" in the first place.

And of course Katie, aka canceron_jedi, without which Insanity Underrated would not be even half of what it is. She rips apart my subpar prose, deletes words mercilessly, forces me to think outside the boundaries of what I envision and question whether Character A would really say THAT in XYZ situation. She pushes me, every chapter, to do my best. She is the one who, after reading what was to become the first chapter of Insanity Underrated, IMed me and said, "You have to turn this into a multi-chapter story, and you have to write it!" She is the beta reader I wish everyone could have, because she is just that amazing.

Now, I think I'd better wind up this post, because I've been working on it for most of today and it is probably far too long. Heh. So to wind up, I will simply say this: my major focus right now, fic-wise, is Insanity Underrated. I will carry it through until it is done, no matter what.

And I will enjoy every second of that ride. Thank you, Insanity Underrated, for helping me to rediscover my BSG squee.
Tags: bsg, fic: insanity underrated, thoughts, writing

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