BLUE SUN ROOM

river's limits

POSTED BY: WYTCHCROFT
UPDATED: Sunday, April 19, 2009 21:10
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Friday, January 18, 2008 3:51 AM

WYTCHCROFT


River’s limits

Yes – this crops up every now and again –
(and it could be that I missed a recent post about it – if so please re-direct me!)
but I’m working on my first chapter based fic in a while and the issue of River comes back again…

do I have her kick some ass ala BDM

have unnatural combat training – Ariel

be a Reader – ala Safe

or just a child /woman growing up??

Do readers/writers have a preference?
I have tried to explore all of these sides – and show possible limitations to her superpowers (!) - she gets shot, her reading is a slow and garbled process, it puts her in danger etc,
but River is the one character I have to virtually redesign with every fic ((if that makes sense) while keeping her ‘personality’ consistent to some degree.

Anyone else struggle with that?

How do most people approach River post-BDM if they are writing more than a single fic? There may NOT be a unified answer – just interested is all.





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Friday, January 18, 2008 7:50 AM

SCHOONER


Personally, I've seen too many fics where post-BDM River is an unstoppable, all-knowing killing machine. Firefly, IMHO, is not a show about superheroes, and writing River as such goes against the feel of the show, and also forces all the other characters into supporting/comic relief roles.

I tend to view post-BDM River as struggling with her abilities, both physical and psychic. She's saner, but not entirely sane by any means, and remaining lucid would probably always be a struggle. Her reader-ness carries a ton of drawbacks and can pull her from this reality at the wrong moments.

As for her ass-kicking, those reflexes are not hers, but were more or less programmed into her. In a desparate situation, she was able to intuituvely tap them. Under normal circumstances, I think she would have an unenviable situation where her muscle memory does not match her intent. If a friend taps you on the shoulder unexpectedly, and your reflexes are that of a "killer woman", your body might react in a way you do not want. It would be part of River's arc to integrate her abilities with her identity. Just my thoughts.

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Friday, January 18, 2008 11:32 AM

STEAMER


Post-BDM, my view of River, as seen in fanfic, is:

There is still a girl beneath the weapon.

"Be the weapon when you gotta - but don't ever stop bein' the girl." So Kaylee tells her in a short birthday story I've yet to complete and post. One thing about 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles' that makes me a little edgy is, Summer's liable to be kicking pi-gu left and right in every episode, and that, I fear, is only going to cement many folks' view of River as an unfeeling killing machine.

But she is NOT. That's clearly not how Uncle Joss wrote her in the series, and knowing the character drive of the entire story, I don't think he means for her to spend the rest of her days leaving a trail of bodies all over the 'verse. As such, of the facets you listed, Wytchcroft - I would say she's a girl/woman growing up with some very unique, potentially deadly abilities. (Deadly not only to other people, but to herself as well in the wrong set of circumstances.) In the realm of unfeeling killing machines, shall we examine Zoe briefly? Battle-hardened as she is, it doesn't much matter to her when she has to pull the trigger, or at whom: but even she has a gentler side we got to see a little bit of, thanks to Wash. I think River's the same way.

As she grows and weathers her experiences, just like any of us she'll have to learn how to integrate them into each passing day. If she has to kick some pi-gu to survive a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles, so be it. But that is by no means the only facet of her character, and I always look forward to seeing a (non-Rayne) fanfic that shows more of her humanity. For she's as human as the rest of us, her abilities aside: she can be hurt or killed by someone with a better hand of cards, she can have feelings (in fact she can't help but have feelings no thanks to the Feds), she can grow and change and have a good long life, the rest of which she doesn't necessarily need to spend beating people up.

(O HAY SCHOONER....don't know if you saw, but I plugged some of your stories in the 'Favourite River quotes' thread. You're welcome. )



When hiding psychics
You don't need
To give Blue Hands
A nose to bleed
FIREFLY

Captain of the New England Browncoats
http://www.myspace.com/nebrowncoats

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Friday, January 18, 2008 1:01 PM

RIVERFLAN


I find myself agreeing with basically everyone above me. I suppose that great minds do think alike

I disagree with people saying that she's "saner". She's still going to have the same problems- they weren't mysterously "cured" by Miranda. It's just that she has a better chance of being able to absorb all the data that's coming into her, that she might be able to make it make sense. It's not the same thing as her "insanity" going away.

And I think that she isn't going to suddenly be able to trigger herself every time she feels like it. She was able to trigger herself because of the stress over Simon dieing. But she isn't likely going to suddenly want to become a merc because she has these lethal abilities. She has a gentle personality, and is likely to use those abilities consiously only in periods of great stress. Of course, she could be triggered by subliminal messages, but other than that, I don't think she'll become one of the fighters on the crew.

And is there a way to search for a specific author's work in the Blue Sun Room? Just because I don't really have a lot of patience for wading though Rayne and other nasty crap like that, but I like to read good fanfic.

#~%~~*~~~&~~~*~~%~#

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Friday, January 18, 2008 4:11 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


I concur, RiverFlan.

Quote:

Originally posted by RiverFlan:
And is there a way to search for a specific author's work in the Blue Sun Room? Just because I don't really have a lot of patience for wading though Rayne and other nasty crap like that, but I like to read good fanfic.



Plug "[the name of the author] site:fireflyfans.net" into a Google search, sans quotes, and in the first few links there should be the person's profile. Their Blue Sun Room items are listed on the bottom right of the profile page.

Or, if you can find link to their profile through FFF.NET faster (the username above one of their posts, or maybe they recently put up a blog or story), just click away. The only thing that might be annoying is if they post images and filk along with stories - unless the description they gave the item says what it is, you may have to click a few things before you find a story.

Hope that makes sense.

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Friday, January 18, 2008 4:49 PM

RIVERFLAN


Ah, thank you very much.

As you were folks

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 12:31 AM

WYTCHCROFT


turned out to be an interesting and kinda reassuring thread!:) thanks!

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 9:36 AM

PLATONIST


wytchcroft, you may want to refer to the Firefly Companion Vol Two, for insights into River's character, from Summer (p.192), post Miranda.

I too like what everyone else has said here (the girl/women/human persona), but I wouldn't neglect River's unfortunate altered state that leads her to behave in unpredictable ways under extreme and controlled circumstances. She is a victim of behavioral conditioning and that means she doesn't always have control. There is something wrong with her brain, it was cut into.

And because of that, she still has a lot of demons to battle and keep at bay. I really don't think it was Joss's intention to use "relationship romance" as River's avenue to
personal growth and balanced living. That's a big mistake many fic authors make with her character, post movie. Joss empowers women to grow indepentently without defining them by their relationships with men, i.e., Zoë’s service record, Kaylee's mechanical gifts, Inara's education and profession, and unfortunately River's morph sis, into the trained assassin. Except her as she is, as the crew did when rallied and came to her aide.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 12:06 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
do I have her kick some ass ala BDM
have unnatural combat training – Ariel
be a Reader – ala Safe
or just a child /woman growing up??

Welllll, she's all of these things. Which is why she's so damned hard LOL! If you choose only one of these situations to define your River, she'll come off flat. I think the most entertaining fics are when the different facets of her personality and situation are played against each other.

As far as my own take on her, I'm finding the previous posts enlightening, especially as regards the super-River phenomenon. This thread got me thinking, and I see that I'm getting this issue in my own fic. My River is in a post-BDM-like mode (though I write in a BDMless verse) where she's fairly stable and aware of her abilities. She's ready to go and DO something dammit!

So, I love the phrase from Spiderman: with great power comes great responsibility. It's such an accepted concept for superheros, and we always stand up and cheer when the Peter Parker types step fully into their powers and go out to save the innocent and shut down the guilty.

But here's what I'm thinking - in the Firefly verse, it's not so easy. Innocent and guilty aren't cleanly separated. Our potential superhero - River - is incredibly naive, easily overwhelmed by her own emotions, and in many ways disconnected from reality. The idea that she could embrace her power and responsility... well, it kind of scares me, to be honest. It scares me as far as what she might do, but more in how it would affect her. She's not a violent person, but I don't think she knows it. Does that make sense? Um... I mean that she could end up learning about guilt and remorse, and it'll be a hard thing on her.

Yeah, so that's what I'm playing with now. Not sure if it's helpful to you Wytchcroft, but it's been helpful to me to think it out LOL!

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:05 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by schooner:

Personally, I've seen too many fics where post-BDM River is an unstoppable, all-knowing killing machine. Firefly, IMHO, is not a show about superheroes, and writing River as such goes against the feel of the show, and also forces all the other characters into supporting/comic relief roles.

I tend to view post-BDM River as struggling with her abilities, both physical and psychic. She's saner, but not entirely sane by any means, and remaining lucid would probably always be a struggle. Her reader-ness carries a ton of drawbacks and can pull her from this reality at the wrong moments.

As for her ass-kicking, those reflexes are not hers, but were more or less programmed into her. In a desparate situation, she was able to intuituvely tap them. Under normal circumstances, I think she would have an unenviable situation where her muscle memory does not match her intent. If a friend taps you on the shoulder unexpectedly, and your reflexes are that of a "killer woman", your body might react in a way you do not want. It would be part of River's arc to integrate her abilities with her identity. Just my thoughts.



Very good post. :)


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:11 PM

NBZ


I have previously given this a lot of thought as too many writers seem to have gone down the sane kickass River route, (These people will probably be extra glad to see Sarah Connor Chronicles then - probably a similar role for her.) but I doubt that would fit with the 'verse.

In the BDM River got worse after the subliminal message, then got better after Miranda. By "Better" I take the minority view as better as relative to when she got worse, so she probably ended up in a state of mind similar to when the BDM started, or slightly better/worse than that.

Post BDM River will be very similar to Pre-BDM River, but a more known quantity. A known danger that must be supervised in places where she can cause a lot of damage. Like on the bridge. (so... not the pilot.)

She will still struggle with everyday things, find minutiae absolutely important and be awed by everyday things("I heard with my ears..."). She will still dislike violence.

She can't see the future, and does not know the answer to everything.

She will feel guilt for what happened in the BDM. Probably will not know what to do about it, so may be over eager to help in any way possible.

She will struggle with some good times, some bad. Her talking will still be just as cryptic.

She will still be able to read and it will be the same sensation of getting hit with waves. Waves that mostly have no meaning. Something she will pick up a stray thought or two that she can process (how correctly is up for debate), but will not read minds as if they are a book, or an encyclopedia. She will be able to tell how they feel. Same as before.

From the rest of the crew, Jayne will still be scared of her, but now with justification, Simon will still be overprotective, Zoe will still feel sorry for her, Mal still feel the need to be the protector, Kaylee still the friend with a little bit of fear. No idea about Inara.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:33 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:
Very good post. :)

I second this. Schooner's post is what set me to thinking about the whole superhero issue. Interesting stuff.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:36 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by RiverFlan:

I find myself agreeing with basically everyone above me. I suppose that great minds do think alike

I disagree with people saying that she's "saner". She's still going to have the same problems- they weren't mysterously "cured" by Miranda. It's just that she has a better chance of being able to absorb all the data that's coming into her, that she might be able to make it make sense. It's not the same thing as her "insanity" going away.



Post-BDM River certainly ain't cured. Nor entirely sane: she'll always remain a mite whimsical in the brainpan.

One thing, though, River will no longer have to deal with, are the harrowing 'memories' of Miranda. As I said in another thread about River's sanity, I reckon, for Firefly River, that her reality matrix destabilizes, time and again, because of "The memory, it isn't mine. And I shouldn't have to carry it. It isn't mine." It's hard for her as it is, since she cannot not feel; but on top of that she has to contend with superimposed memories that keep haunting her like the nasty flashbacks that they... aren't, really -- but which she has to deal with nonetheless. At Miranda itself, River is finally able to largely release, or disown, those memories. This cannot compensate, in full, for her missing amygdala, but at least these 'ghosts' are no longer throwing a (space) monkey-wrench into her mind. Simon said:

"The medications are erratic, there's not one that her system can't eventually break down, and you have to recalibrate."

It's my estimation that this goes for River's mending process, too: highly adaptive as River's system is, eventually her brain will recalibrate and try and make up for the damage done. A job which she'll find a lot easier now, having unloaded the Miranda crap.

There will no doubt be other conditioning she'll have to deal with, one way or the other. She will probably stabilize, to a degree. And I think there will be more days that she can function like she's a girl, and play with Kaylee, and hear with her ears, etc. But I doubt it's possible for a person like River to ever become fully healed.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 3:15 PM

PLATONIST



Since we are on the topic of River's portrayal in fanfic, post Miranda, does anyone have any favorites to share?

My personal fav is Leiasky's "Broken Wings", where River requests and obtains refinement of her martial arts training, from the Guild, and ultimately gains control of her skills and helps the Browncoats.





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Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:51 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Responding to the 1st post:
Post BDM, I would tend to think that River:

Has much better control of her thoughts and memories.

Will still be susceptible to subliminal triggers from those Alliance who know them (who are most likely dead now, after the Operative's visit). These will be the only way she will be an unpredictable/uncontrollable weapon. For some time after BDM, the Alliance has all those riots and stuff to suppress, forgetting to hassle River for a while (bigger fish to fry). Without being chased all the time, she will also more rapidly adapt to her environs - no longer captive to the Institute.

Will have control over her weapon state.

Will still be able to read others, and much more clearly, but will be more selective about who she shares this info with.

Her high intellect will still cause her to not clearly communicate with others, and she is still learning how to deal with being outside the controlled Institute. Comments like swallowing bugs, and can we go for another ride will still occur but with decreasing frequency. Communing with the cows will still happen.

Her medications, metabolism, and body chemicals have stabilized, leaving her more in control than before BDM.
Her handling of weapons will be under her control - like the three shots in War Stories, and reaver bait in BDM.

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Monday, January 21, 2008 4:59 AM

MOONPIE


The way I write River is:
First, she's far from sane, still being affected by the experimental surgery that turned her into a reader, and other procedures that turned her into a weapon. This can't help but make her overly sensitive. She is also deeply troubled by the loss of clarity she once had. She relies on her intelligence to maintain what sanity she has. While she's no less intelligent, her ability to focus on a problem and use that profound intelligence has been compromised. Sometimes her mind is clear, sometimes she can hardly remember where she is. I liken her situation to that of a person who is suffering the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and feels that the person they used to be is slipping away. It is deeply depressing at times, knowing that something irreplaceable and invaluable has been taken from her.

Second, she has found some clarity since Miranda. My theory: they couldn't selectively remove her memories, so they blocked them by associating them with very negative emotions like fear and loneliness. This was doing her a great deal of harm and was the source of her panic attacks. Visiting Miranda, seeing the reality of it, and being in the presence of Reavers, enabled her to separate reality from the false, imposed memories and feelings. This has given her enough peace of mind to be able to carry on a conversation and pilot the ship, most days. I see her as still having episodes that turn her into a basket case. Crowds, fights, being over–tired, and other stressful situations tend to make her fall apart.

And third, as regards her physical abilities, I have a whole theory about how these are implanted by neural electrical stimulation using recordings of the neural and physical reactions of experts with years of training as they exercise or even go on missions. So, for example, a portable neural recorder could be carried by a few different snipers as they went out on actual missions, the records edited together, then downloaded directly into River's brain, making her an expert sniper even without her having ever picked up a rifle. This would save years of training, among other things. (They are already training Olympic athletes by direct electrical stimulation of muscles, and electrical "maps" have been made of the brains of people during different activities. I like my SF to be grounded in ideas and technologies that are at least theoretically possible.) Of course, because River has a certain amount of bad wiring, and PTSD to rival Mal's, she isn't always reliable as a weapon or what have you.

While I suppose the notion of the Alliance being able to "trigger" some behavior in River might be a useful McGuffin, for myself I see it as a moot issue, since she so clearly made a conscious choice in her "danse d'mort" (or "ballet o'blood" if you prefer) with the Reavers.

(Posted here because it seems relevant to the current discussion.):
RE: an earlier discussion (posted 1/15) about intelligence.
A popular standard now measures seven different "types" or "aspects" of intelligence, each equally important: Analytical (logical), Spatial (abstract visualization), Musical, Physical (coordination), Emotional (self–awareness), Social ('people skills'), and Innovational (inventiveness). Conventionally "smart" people are often quite dumb in some ways.

Some truly exceptional people, like River, are able to apply their intelligence universally. It was this ability that made it possible both for her to survive the Academy/Institute and to regain a measure of sanity.

And finally, one peeve I have about how some write River: there is nothing in either Firefly or the BDM that indicates she can see the future, beyond what she might infer from what she percieves. Perhaps people are confused by the term "psychic," eh?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008 1:45 AM

WYTCHCROFT


great posts!:)

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Friday, February 1, 2008 8:18 PM

MRMGRAPHICS


+
Quote:

And finally, one peeve I have about how some write River: there is nothing in either Firefly or the BDM that indicates she can see the future, beyond what she might infer from what she percieves. Perhaps people are confused by the term "psychic," eh?

Umnn...not so sure.

Watch "Out of Gas" real close, at the 8:35 mark. River says "fire...." a good 5 seconds before there is any sight or sound of fire sweeping through Serenity.

It begs the question: Was she sensing a fire that was already burning toards the crew? Or a fire that had not yet started?

Regardless, she knows about the fire before anyone else, so clearly this is not an example of mind-reading, as no one's mind knows about the fire for her to read it there. So what is it?

Intuition, because of her connection with the ship? Or a slight ability to see into the future?

I could swear there's one more example in the Firefly series of River knowing about something a few seconds before it happens -- I'll post if I find it -- but this a perfect example for now.

mrmgraphics
(website under serious reconstruction, if not life-saving surgery)

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Sunday, February 3, 2008 9:31 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by mrmgraphics:

Quote:

And finally, one peeve I have about how some write River: there is nothing in either Firefly or the BDM that indicates she can see the future, beyond what she might infer from what she percieves. Perhaps people are confused by the term "psychic," eh?


Umnn...not so sure.

Watch "Out of Gas" real close, at the 8:35 mark. River says "fire...." a good 5 seconds before there is any sight or sound of fire sweeping through Serenity.

It begs the question: Was she sensing a fire that was already burning toards the crew? Or a fire that had not yet started?

Regardless, she knows about the fire before anyone else, so clearly this is not an example of mind-reading, as no one's mind knows about the fire for her to read it there. So what is it?

Intuition, because of her connection with the ship? Or a slight ability to see into the future?

I could swear there's one more example in the Firefly series of River knowing about something a few seconds before it happens -- I'll post if I find it -- but this a perfect example for now.


Well, "a slight ability to see into the future" is like being slightly pregnant. :) Either she can or she can't. And while she can't not feel, I don't feel she can't not see the future (uhh, yeah, it makes sense). In short: I don't think she can. :) Joss spoke of Early that he was "So intuitive as to be nearly psychic." So, to paraphrase the man, I would say of River that she's so psychic as to be nearly precog. In Out of Gas, I guess, River's simply picking up on minute vibrations in the hull, maybe a faint smell, an engine noise being slightly off, etc. And she simply put it together. She simply "did the math", as Kaylee would say -- even subconsciously.

Lemme save you the trouble of looking for that "one more example", cuz I'm thinking you're thinking Ariel, where she 'predicts' the following, right?

"Going to die. (...) He is. (...) He's not going to help him right. (...) He's killing him!"

I initially took it as prima facie evidence for her precog abilities, too; but after their "first appearance" things always look a mite different. And I now believe there's nothing to indicate, really, that she did anything else than merely glean the intern's mind and/or pick up on the vital signs of the patient -- again putting it all together with her highly intuitive mind.

Of course, there are other schools of thought. :)


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Thursday, February 7, 2008 5:21 AM

MOONPIE


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
She's not a violent person, but I don't think she knows it. Does that make sense? Um... I mean that she could end up learning about guilt and remorse, and it'll be a hard thing on her.



Yes, I like that. I see River as being capable of extreme violence as a result of her training/programming, including killing when it may not be necessary, and not realizing what she was doing until after it was done. The process of recognizing that in herself and in coming to terms with it emotionally is an important part of her character arc. Her slowly growing clarity and control are a part of this as well.

During the course of the series it seemed that she was slowly getting better, especially in "Objects in Space", where she pulled off a complicated plan and kept her head the whole time. I believe it generally takes months for a brain to rewire itself (as opposed to weeks or years) after major brain surgery or an injury where certain skills or awareness are lost. This fits with the elapsed time of the series/BDM. Joss seemed to make it clear that, in addition to physically healing, her experiences on Beaumonde and especially Miranda had afforded her both a measure of clarity and some inner peace. I believe that she would still have relapses: episodes of disassociation, nightmares and panic attacks.

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Friday, February 8, 2008 3:48 AM

SPACEANJL


Just jumping in at the end here. It worries me that i actually found River fairly easy to write, given my understanding of her character.

Way back when, I had her decide how to use what has been done to her. She is a weapon and always will be, but she is learning how to control it, instead of it controlling her.

Becoming a pilot would work for her character - after all, it's dancing the biggest and best dance of all, all those planets in constant motion.

And I know how much folks hate it, but...seventeen and female. She's going to notice men. (Though I don't think large, unshaven thugs figure too strongly - I see her as preferring something cleaner and prettier. And possibly with tighter pants.)

Basically, smart and dangerous, but still with a core of sweetness. And she isn't a child any more.

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Friday, February 8, 2008 8:38 PM

PLATONIST



Oh, no doubt she'll notice men, I just don't think she will be defined or "fixed" by a romantic relationship in a Whedon verse.

And let’s be realistic, at her age, first love scenarios usually end with a whole lotta hurt and disillusionment. They don't last in the real world and they certainly wouldn't last in a Whedon verse.

I don't think Joss would have gone there for a long time, until she was fairly in control and healed. Captain Daddy's pants will be pretty saggy by that time.



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Saturday, February 9, 2008 12:25 AM

WYTCHCROFT


also? still a brat.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 2:47 AM

SPACEANJL


Okay, first off - 'Captain Daddy'? That is so damn creepy, I can't tell you. It might be appropriate for an under-10, but not a late teen.

If you think of Simon's rather lame attempts at humour to Kaylee (all the other women he knows are either married or related) the reverse would be true for River. Mal is an obvious crush.

In fact, I can see more problems arising out of the fact that as she finds herself more in control, she's going to get increasingly pissed with folks treating her as a damaged little girl. (Even if she still is.)

Every sibling thinks that their younger sib is a brat. Goes with the territory. Every younger sib thinks their older sib is a controlling bossy bore.

The whole point of the FF 'verse is that we want to think of that little ship still flying. We don't want any ending, happy or otherwise. (Though I say, go with the happy. The whole angst thing - been there, done that, got blood on the t-shirt.)

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 4:24 AM

ASARIAN


The whole "Captain Daddy" phrase is sooo creepifying! Here's some more about it, for the newcomers:

http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=25221


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 7:26 AM

PLATONIST


Well, it is CREEPY, but she DOES refer to Mal as Daddy in Safe.

And he does refer to her as Lil Albatross, at the end of the movie.

You can't change or disavow canon because it doesn't fit with your romanticized version of these characters. And you can't insist that River has a crush on Mal because you wish it so anymore than you can make her all better and pretend that no one screwed with the poor girl's brain. There are no canon bases for it; it truly belongs in Fan fiction.

River becomes lucid in the movie only when SHE embraces what she has become, a weapon (my turn). Before that, it’s Simon giving her Meds and Alliance triggers. River’s final lucidly scene and Mal’s arc, are not based on finding true love with each other in the darkness of space (vomit), but by their own accord, they find strength within themselves to keep their inner conflict at bay and persevere (the storm’s getting worse…we’ll get through it).

And unfortunately, angst, as painful as it may be, is a part of life, as much as joy is, as tragedy and comedy are closely related.








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Saturday, February 9, 2008 7:48 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

Well, it is CREEPY, but she DOES refer to Mal as Daddy in Safe.

And he does refer to her as Lil Albatross, at the end of the movie.


To quote PhoenixRose in the other thread I mentioned:

In "Safe" River says to Simon that "Daddy will come and take us home" and in the comentary Joss said that the episode kind of established Mal as a father figure and Serenity as home. Perhaps this is where the idea of 'Captain Daddy' comes from.

Correct. And now hear Mal4prez:

I think River using the "daddy" word in Safe is in some way a reference to Mal, but I absolutely don't think it's literal. It's an expression of a feeling, namely her realization that she's with people she really can depend on, people who will come for her. So it's meant more to refer back to the Daddy who didn't save her, and how she won't feel that way again.

So, yes, Mal is a replacement for her failure of a father, but I totally don't think she'd EVER call Mal Captain Daddy, or even Daddy. She's not a child! Especially since her mental state improves over the course of the BDS and she's eventually able to express herself better.


Mal4prez nailed it 'fore I could say: "You nailed it, lady!" :)

Oh, and "Lil' Albatross" is not creepifying at all; it's kind of an inside joke. 'Captain Daddy', however, is really wrong on so many levels!


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:13 AM

PLATONIST


Let's be frank, what's really creepy is a Mal and River pairing with the prior knowledge of "Daddy" and "Lil Albatross" (an innocent endearment).

The crush thing even starts me running to wash out my brain... looking for some ice, salt and tequila, now.



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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:13 AM

AGENTROUKA


I agree that "Captain Daddy" is wrong and creepifying, but I DO think that River very much considers Mal a father figure.

The phrase in "Safe" is just too obvious to be considered too abstract metaphor for safety, since there are very real father issues at hand. "Daddy" wouldn't be used as a loose metaphor if the word itself already has a clear reference in the episode, so I think it's a deliberate shift of the actual role from the biological father to Mal, the "father" of the crew.

River having a crush on Mal is something I see as being very contradictory to their canon interactions, and only someone very skilled could pull it off, especially counting in Mal's reaction to it, which - I am 100% certain - would be far from anything like "Oooh, nubile war goddess in love with me, yay, lemme introduce her to the magic of lurve after a brief alibi period of struggling with my vague moral obligations against the hotness of River until she finally convinces me that no one else can understand me like she does, because she has overcome things done to her by the Alliance - just like me!"

I mean, seriously.

Mal would have to sink to a place far, far, far beyond the line of hopeless in order to respond to the crush of a girl he treats as paternally as he does her on the show.


I can see a River crush, but definitely not for romantic reasons. For many very wrong reasons, possibly. And not lasting into a time when she's actually adult and better enough to be ready for an actual relationship between equals.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:25 AM

SPACEANJL


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

Well, it is CREEPY, but she DOES refer to Mal as Daddy in Safe.

You can't change or disavow canon because it doesn't fit with your Romanized version of these characters. And you can't insist that River has a crush on Mal because you wish it so anymore than you can make her all better and pretend that no one screwed with the poor girl's brain.

River becomes lucid in the movie only when SHE embraces what she has become, a weapon (my turn). {} River’s final lucidly scene and Mal’s arc, are not based on finding true love with each other in the darkness of space (vomit), but by their own accord, they find strength within themselves to keep their inner conflict at bay and persevere



Do you mean 'romanticized'?

This seems to cause a much greater hooey than the Rayne stuff, which really makes me heave. Look, I use the series, the film and the OVC's as my sources for the characters, but I extrapolate from that. And yes, I use the idea that River's acceptance of part of herself as weapon is a liberating factor for her.

But I can also see a possible relationship forming between River and Mal. I'm taking flak for it, but I'm entitled to an opinion. 'Relationship' covers a lot of ground. I'm rather insulted by the idea that because I write River with a crush on Mal, which I would consider a normal, healthy response to the man, I'm going to write space-porn. (Well, I can write space-porn, but I don't think it's appropriate for those characters.)

As a side-note, if it's the age gap bothering folks, well, there's a long tradition of older man and younger woman. Starts with Hesiod, Ancient Greece; he reckoned that a man in his early thirties was established, and wealthy enough to support a wife. The said wife should be younger, so that there was time for a family. And there's an age gap (for pretty much those reasons) in all the significant 'romance' novels - Bronte, Austen etc. Just a thought.

Of course, if it's the idea that a seventeen year old might be having feelings of a sexual nature that bothers you, then sorry. They cut her amygdala, not her libido. And, well, Mal. Hello, do you have eyes?

Interestingly, people who write an actual physical relationship with these two don't seem to get the same kind of stick. Guess I'm writing something with a little bit of the real to it, if it's getting under folk's skin...










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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:38 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
As a side-note, if it's the age gap bothering folks, well, there's a long tradition of older man and younger woman. Starts with Hesiod, Ancient Greece; he reckoned that a man in his early thirties was established, and wealthy enough to support a wife. The said wife should be younger, so that there was time for a family. And there's an age gap (for pretty much those reasons) in all the significant 'romance' novels - Bronte, Austen etc. Just a thought.

Of course, if it's the idea that a seventeen year old might be having feelings of a sexual nature that bothers you, then sorry. They cut her amygdala, not her libido. And, well, Mal. Hello, do you have eyes?






Not trying to speak for Platonist here, just giving my two cents.


I don't think it's the idea of "a seventeen year old" having sexual feelings that bothers people, it's the idea of this particular seventeen year old having them, and in particular for this person. It's a question of characterisation, both of River, of Mal and of their relationship as portrayed on the show and in the movie.

No need to insinuate anything other than that.


For the record, I think it's entirely possible for a girl (or a boy) who have been traumatized in the way River has to have either suppressed sexual feelings or have them without a direct connection to sexual desire for a particular person. In fact, I think it's more likely. Being sexually fearless and curious and self-confident and healthy is generally not the mark of the traumatized teenager, whether their trauma was sexual or not.



As for the long tradition of older men and younger women, that has - yes - a very long tradition based in biology and many social and economic reasons. But since marriage was generally not about love for the longest time, ever, this has little bearing on what we consider a healthy romantic relationship between two equals. Traditions are not generally what we should call on when we look for things labeled "good for women with feminist leanings".

Yes, there are age gaps in many of the "classic" romance novels, too, but even in those times women were not really considered equals to men the way River can and should expect to develop if life decides to treat her kindly for once, so... not really a good comparison, either. I'm sure there are examples of true love between a barely legal teen and her grumpy thirty-something authority figure, but I'm fairly certain they started out on a healthy basis of equality and mental health without minglings of paternal/filial feelings in there.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:50 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:

I agree that "Captain Daddy" is wrong and creepifying, but I DO think that River very much considers Mal a father figure.


I totally agree with River considering Mal a father figure (and to Mal simply being one to her). It's just that "Captain Daddy" really sends shivers down my spine! (that's 'spine', Jayne, not 'pine'). May just be the male mind, but it somehow sounds incredibly incestuous to me: really icky! 'Special Hell' kinda wrong.

Quote:


River having a crush on Mal is something I see as being very contradictory to their canon interactions, and only someone very skilled could pull it off, especially counting in Mal's reaction to it, which - I am 100% certain - would be far from anything like "Oooh, nubile war goddess in love with me, yay, lemme introduce her to the magic of lurve after a brief alibi period of struggling with my vague moral obligations against the hotness of River until she finally convinces me that no one else can understand me like she does, because she has overcome things done to her by the Alliance - just like me!"


LOL. Had a kinda poetry to it. You would make a fine Judge, btw: no perp would get by you with their 'excuses'. :)

Having said that, I can see the crush, but ONLY in terms of "Hero Worship". The two things may appear very similar, but a crush is nearly always sexual in nature, whereas hero worship is like a crush, but minus the obligatory physical attraction. I can readily see the latter: a very deep feeling of admiration and (good) pride towards Mal, like she's feeling for Simon. And such a 'crush' would be entirely in line with canon, as Mal is, after all, also a person who rescues and protects her. But beyond that, not so much.

Quote:


Mal would have to sink to a place far, far, far beyond the line of hopeless in order to respond to the crush of a girl he treats as paternally as he does her on the show.


He never would. Ain't gonna happen.

P.S. And @ SPACEANJL: Yes, Mal has eyes. But to quote the Little Prince: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly." And Mal's is in the right place.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:52 AM

PLATONIST


yes,romanticized, me bad

A stepping stone romantic crush, yes. I can see that. A full blown sexual relationship with Mal, please, he can't even express his deep feelings for Inara beyond "good answer". He would be horrified!

And River seducing Mal is nasty and could only end in a muddled disaster. I can’t see Mal going through with that and ever feeling good about it. He already carries the guilt of the world. It’s definitely out of character for our handsome hero.

And, women married young when they were still considered property like goats and cows.

Now days and hopefully in the future there are other options and choices for women, which I believe Mal may have been fighting for.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:59 AM

SPACEANJL


Sorry, I think I'm just poking a stick through the bars here.

The whole point is, in the grand tradition of Joss, to take a stereotype, a cultural more, a given state, and then to mess with it.

I in no way advocate any kind of inequality. I was merely stating an observation. The Austen vibe of the 'verse has been noted elsewhere, that's not my doing.

We'll agree to differ. The way I see the characters will always differ from the way anyone else sees them, because of who and what I am, compared to the life experiences etc of anyone else informing their views.

But I'd hate to think I was being pigeon-holed as a 'shipper - I like to write character-based storylines, with a whole range of action, drama, romance, comedy and suspense. And I would hope that my exploration of one possible facet of one character doesn't mean that everything else I write, about the way a whole 'Verse may have developed, gets binned out of hand.

Edit: I'm with you on the Mal flailing in a panic bit. *unpleasant snigger* And looking back on what I've written - it's all very chaste and innocent. So I don't see what's worrying people.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 9:07 AM

SPACEANJL


Bailing for the evening, now. So not ignoring folks. If anyone really wants to get into a go-round about things, pm me. I like a good wrangle, and hopefully, I don't come over so demented in time.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 9:44 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:

I don't think it's the idea of "a seventeen year old" having sexual feelings that bothers people, it's the idea of this particular seventeen year old having them, and in particular for this person. It's a question of characterisation, both of River, of Mal and of their relationship as portrayed on the show and in the movie.


Right on!

Your average seventeen year old has sex, I'm fair certain. But THIS one, with Mal no less, ack!

I guess what bothers me about it, on such a profound level, is that it goes against the entire Firefly grain in all unseemly manner. Everything, in the narrow sense, revolves around saving River; and, in the broader sense, about folks who do for each other and ain't always looking for the advantage.., Or look to take advantage. Set against a juxtapositioned Alliance, Serenity and crew, in a manner of speaking, are their own little flying micro-kosmos, Man's last best hope for, erm, hope. So, if Mal uses whatever rationale to take avantage of River, sexually, not only will he soon enough find himself in the company of people who talk at the theatre, but he would, in essence, also undercut the whole Firefly premisse -- betray it even, you might say. He would become just another Saffron, playing everyone else.

I know of the preponderance in fanfic to do exactly that: find excuses for members of the crew to have sex with River. But I'm thinking you'll kill Mal in the process, and Firefly as a whole -- and not necessarily in that particular order.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Saturday, February 9, 2008 11:29 AM

RIVERFLAN


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:

Having said that, I can see the crush, but ONLY in terms of "Hero Worship". The two things may appear very similar, but a crush is nearly always sexual in nature, whereas hero worship is like a crush, but minus the obligatory physical attraction. I can readily see the latter: a very deep feeling of admiration and (good) pride towards Mal, like she's feeling for Simon. And such a 'crush' would be entirely in line with canon, as Mal is, after all, also a person who rescues and protects her. But beyond that, not so much.



I agree absolutely! I can see that happening, the way you describe that. It can also fit in with Mal's being a father figure to her, since alot of happy, healthy kids with good dads worship them.

"Captain Daddy" sounds so very, very wrong, though, on lots of levels. *shudder*

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:39 AM

MAL4PREZ


Fun thread. Although - haven't we been over all this before?

Captain Daddy:

Albatross: cute, but soooo overused. Ranks right up there with Simon=boob.

Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I'm rather insulted by the idea that because I write River with a crush on Mal, which I would consider a normal, healthy response to the man, I'm going to write space-porn.

I'm just curious SpaceAnjl - are people specifically giving you crap for your River? Like in comments and PMs? I mean, I don't think of your fic as River/Mal, and I'm little surprised that you're taking all this to be aimed at you.

Hmm... that said, I'm going out on a dangerous limb because I just have to reply to what you're saying. Just because you think something is a normal reaction, doesn't mean it's universal. I'm just saying, the way to avoid Mary Sue criticisms is to write characters who *don't* react the way you would. Get it? If they all react like you, it becomes a fic about you, not them.

I'm going to burn in hell. Really, I am.

Let me make this peace offering Spaceanjl - I'm writing River with a crush on Mal, too. A crush with an blatant sexual side, though in a naive romanticized way as befits a sheltered virginal teenager like River. I take no offense from this thread, so I think you don't need to either (uh - except what I just said there above. ) In fact, I completely agree with AR and Platonist and Asarian. I don't think they are arguing against the thing that you and I are writing.

Unless I'm missing something... ?

Quote:

Of course, if it's the idea that a seventeen year old might be having feelings of a sexual nature that bothers you, then sorry. They cut her amygdala, not her libido.
This is what I mean - you're going kind of strawman argument here, making me think you're not understanding what folks are saying. No one's saying River doesn't have sexual feelings. No one's saying she can't have a crush of sorts. Even on Mal.

The criticism is rather pointedly aimed at those writers who take her, in one short step, from traumatized, naive, damaged, barely-more-than-a-girl to Mal/Jayne's emotional equal and full time wife and mother etc etc etc. That has nothing to do with the situation I'm writing, or - from what you've said here - the situation you're writing.


Quote:

Interestingly, people who write an actual physical relationship with these two don't seem to get the same kind of stick. Guess I'm writing something with a little bit of the real to it, if it's getting under folk's skin...
Huh. Your fic's not under my skin. If you're feeling persecuted, which obviously you are, that's a shame. But I don't think anyone here intends it.

AR - lovely replies to the age question and the sexual River question. And Platonist - excellent call on Mal's side of things. A Mal who'd react to a River crush has little in common with the Mal from the series.


-----------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:48 AM

LEIASKY


>And is there a way to search for a specific author's work in the Blue Sun Room? Just because I don't really have a lot of patience for wading though Rayne and other nasty crap like that, but I like to read good fanfic.

God I wish! You can go to 'my firefly' and type in the author's name at the end where you see yours.

>She's still going to have the same problems- they weren't mysterously "cured" by Miranda. It's just that she has a better chance of being able to absorb all the data that's coming into her, that she might be able to make it make sense. It's not the same thing as her "insanity" going away.

Agreed. Her brain has still been cut into. That hasn't changed. She might better be able to control herself, but she'll still be good old non-sequiter River.

I'm playing catchup and have a lot to read, but this is just the first post I saw that I wanted to comment on:)

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:51 AM

LEIASKY


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

Since we are on the topic of River's portrayal in fanfic, post Miranda, does anyone have any favorites to share?

My personal fav is Leiasky's "Broken Wings", where River requests and obtains refinement of her martial arts training, from the Guild, and ultimately gains control of her skills and helps the Browncoats.




Aww, you're sweet! Mal4Prez kicked my ass when beta'ing that story, so if you liked it, you have her to thank:)

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:55 AM

LEIASKY


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

You can't change or disavow canon because it doesn't fit with your romanticized version of these characters. And you can't insist that River has a crush on Mal because you wish it so anymore than you can make her all better and pretend that no one screwed with the poor girl's brain. There are no canon bases for it; it truly belongs in Fan fiction.



This totally needed to be re-posted. I couldn't agree more.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:04 AM

LEIASKY


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
Guess I'm writing something with a little bit of the real to it, if it's getting under folk's skin...



I don't think I read your stuff, so don't take this as an attack.

Your comment above, makes me think just the opposite.

Stuf that tends to get under people's skin is usually stuff that is so unbelievable that it must be commented on.

It doesn't just have to involve a pairing, it can involve something as simple as someone's speech pattern. If someone has Simon or Inara talking like Kaylee or acting like Jayne, that would be a completely unbelievable turnaround for their character.

For something to be believable, to go against what was established in the series/film it takes time. Sure, I could believe that Simon or Inara might say 'ain't' in the future - but it would be gradual. It wouldn't happen overnight.

Same thing goes for non-cannon relationships (or mary-sue ones). Most authors don't take the time to make a pairing believable - and thus take the character OUT of their established cannon characterization - and ruin the believability.

But - some just want to read about a certain thing and don't care about believability.

To each their own.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:35 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Leiasky:
Aww, you're sweet! Mal4Prez kicked my ass when beta'ing that story

I did, but don't be handing off this complement to me! Many of my criticisms of your Broken Wings River got a "thank you very much" and then you kept it your way LOL!

Which is fine with me. That's what criticism is about, right? I bring up an issue and you can think about it and choose as you like. Even if my comments aren't used, I may have served to help you solidify your own reasons for writing River as you did. That's the important thing.

And clearly it worked!


-----------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 8:37 AM

LEIASKY


>That's what criticism is about, right? I bring up an issue and you can think about it and choose as you like. Even if my comments aren't used, I may have served to help you solidify your own reasons for writing River as you did. That's the important thing.

That's a great point! Because even if you don't take someone's suggestion or criticism and change what you're writing at that moment, it does tend to stick with you, nag at you, make you think of other things that could benefit the story down the line.

It really is an amazing help to have a good beta!

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:42 AM

SPACEANJL


Now, I don't have a beta, which may explain a lot. I am also known for a certain stubborness to my character, and I've never been known for my ability to meekly tolerate criticism. Guess that's why I like Mal and co.

But the deal here is that everybody sees the characters through their own personal filter. And it's very difficult to convey the nuances of that through quickly typed responses. It can be done through an author's work, but that means reading the whole thing before engaging in debate. (Which is why I rarely comment on other folks' work or perceptions, and come over self-centred in my responses. I don't presume to know how someone one else thinks.)

Trying to write an ensemble of characters, and keeping all of them true to their own voices and internal logic is not an easy task. There has to be a clear idea of each individual, and then you have to work out the possible interactions. Some authors find some of the characters easier to write than others. Keeping yourself out of the characters and letting them find their own voice, and to grow out of the foundations that we were given by the series, is key.

I wish all other writers well in their own personal understanding of the 'verse.

SpaceAnJL

Does Not Play Well With Others

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:57 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


It's been said by others in this thread more eloquent than me but yeah, I think the main thing is to focus on River the person before River the killer-woman. That's a very Whedon thing to do, after all. His character's superpowers are rarely the focus of the story. It's how they deal with their real lives that interests him. Just look at Buffy. At it's heart, that show is about surviving high school and trying to figure out how to be an adult, not about vampires and destinies.

I think there's a huge amount of potential River storylines. Just think of all the issues the normal process of growing up are going to bring for her? She's a teenager, and in the wake of Serenity she appears to be reaching some kind of peace. To me, that means she'll want to start the things all teens do - dating, trying to be more independent, figuring out what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Now imagine how the rest of the crew will react to those changes. Just imagine Mal's reaction when River brings her first boyfriend on board! Or how difficult it'll be for Simon, who has risked his life for his sister over and over again, to let her make her own choices. Won't it be much easier for him to convince himself that she's still not well enough to cope with the 'verse than it will to let her go?

And then finally you add River's powers to the mix. How do you deal with people, especially someone you're attracted to, when you can see into their mind? How does a person who can literally snap other people in half cope with being seen by strangers as a vulnerable little girl, and a sick one at that? There's acres of potential with River, and I really can't wait to see what people come up with!




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Tuesday, February 26, 2008 10:43 AM

TANKOBITE


Hah, I was waiting for that line from Shepard to come up.


Other then that I've got nothing to say; I can't write and was just wondering how people who did tried to tackle issues like this.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 7:05 PM

MOONDOG


I'm in agreement, you need to show all sieds of River to show the compleat person but the is one thing that needs to be covered. In the novelization, she spends a large amount of time dealing with boredom. This is definately not unusual for a person of hyper intelegance but it can lead to problens. If she's in an adventure setting, she could indulge in dangerous or reckless behaviour to alleviate that boredom. That could be a subplot, set against her loyalty to the crew, which is the only real family she has.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008 2:30 PM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by moondog:
I'm in agreement, you need to show all sieds of River to show the compleat person but the is one thing that needs to be covered. In the novelization, she spends a large amount of time dealing with boredom. This is definately not unusual for a person of hyper intelegance but it can lead to problens. If she's in an adventure setting, she could indulge in dangerous or reckless behaviour to alleviate that boredom. That could be a subplot, set against her loyalty to the crew, which is the only real family she has.



If you buy into the novelisations version of River - which I don't.

... but i do enjoy reading different fan fic writers approaches to River, there are few hard and fast rules or limitations.. if you can pull it off - go for it. :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:58 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I have not read the novel. Boredom is a common ailment of the high IQ person, and River is in a physically confined location, albeit moving. However, the Cortex can provide her with unlimited potential, and she can also dance. Look at how much time we spend on the interwebby thing that algore invented here - surely River's boredom would be partially aleviated.

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