So why has it now turned into a short story? The thing is, I came to realise that the very epic nature of the story had become a major reason why, by the time last winter came around, I had pretty much accepted that I would never write SGA fic again. It was too big and daunting. I knew that the story would involve huge things happening, but I didn't yet know what they were, and was afraid to start planning it. However, the actual central idea of the story - the emotional plot that was going to be pinned to these epic events - had been worked out in its basic form a year ago. Why do I need the epic plot? I asked myself a week or two ago. Since the actual idea is an emotional/character one, why can't I just write that, and ditch the entire epic plot that I was going to invent in order to explore those emotions?
So that is what I'm doing. Instead of a long, multi-cast epic, I've got a short, very intense, emotional piece from a single character's point of view. I have no idea if it's working, but I'm enjoying writing it, and am pleased at how fast it's flowing. 9,000 words in two evenings ain't bad.
What I don't yet know is what position this will leave me in afterwards. I took a break from the fandom, and now I'm back... but for how long? It's not that I've been struck with a new idea; I'm merely writing the old idea left over from a year ago. Once I've finished it, I might feel, There. That's SGA cleared up and out of the way and want to move on... or it might open the floodgates to loads more ideas.
I have, though, been doing quite a lot of rewatching of old episodes, and have been enjoying them very much, so that bodes well for future ideas. I started off by watching selected favourite episodes from the first half of season one, but then decided to go back to the start and watch the entire thing in order. I'm watching one or two a day, and am now just over half way through season one.
I was never a very good fan when it came to rewatching. I was far more likely to spend my evening writing (or procrastinating) than watching old episodes. There were some that I watched quite a lot, but others I've probably only ever watched once in my life. So in that respect, watching every episode in order is almost like discovering the show for the first time.
Several things are jumping out at me:
- The sheer amount of humour in the show. I think I let myself forget this a bit during the course of my break from fandom. Is this because there is less humour in season five? (This is an honest question; I really can't remember if this is true or not.) Is this because my memory of the show has been skewed by the fact that a lot of my stories concentrated on the more angsty side of things? But the humour was one of the things that attracted me to the show in the first place. Although I write a lot of angst, almost all of my favourite TV shows and movies contain a lot of humour along with the drama, and I seldom watch anything that consists of unrelieved angst. I'd let myself forgot just how much fun these episodes can be.
- Ford. Oh, poor Ford - he really was short-changed, wasn't he? Part of it, I think, is from the whole conception of the character. He's a young officer under Sheppard's command, but since he's on Sheppard's team, he goes into most adventures with his boss at his side. This limits his ability to do independent action and make decisions of his own. However, they could have developed him so much better if they'd wanted to. Poor thing!
- Weir. Weir's presented as a wonderful diplomat, but it's her lack of tact and diplomacy that is often jumping out at me at the moment. I can hardly bear to watch the Weir parts of 38 Minutes, for the insensitive way she treats Halling, and the unprofessional way that she shouts at Kavanagh in front of his staff, and then puts the blame entirely on him. I'm trying to put it down to the writers and retain positive thoughts about her. To be honest, though, I've hardly ever written her, partly because by the time I came into the fandom, season three had already aired, and partly because my focus has usually been on Sheppard's team. Perhaps I need to write a story from her viewpoint to come to terms with her.
- I do like the whole sense of discovery that these early episodes have, with everything new and unfolding. One thing I hardly ever do in my writing is set a story way back at the very beginning. I prefer to write about established relationships (that's friendship/team relationships) rather than writing about the characters when they barely knew each other. Strangely, though, all my AUs have involved first meetings, and have ended in the team getting together, so perhaps the reluctance to do the same in a non-AU setting comes merely from the difficulties of ditching everything you know about the characters as they are five years on. I think I should challenge myself to go right back to the beginning and write a (non-AU) story set at the time of the first few episodes. It'll be a hard... but perhaps now is the time to do it, when my knowledge of later seasons is rusty.