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The name "Gossip Flambee" comes from my very favorite book ever, which is *Swordspoint,* by Ellen Kushner. I first read this book shortly before discovering slash, and one of the first thing I noticed about good slashfic was that it tended to remind me of this book, in that it placed characters and relationships at the center of a web of events, letting the emotions anchor the plot. Richard and Alec are one of the all-time coolest couples in fiction, and for something that's only a couple hundred pages, it amazes me how inspiring *Swordspoint* has been to me as a writer. Here's the relevant passage from the book:
"Maybe he's just having fun."
"Maybe." Alec's long body twisted around him, adding weight to his statements. "Somebody has to."
"Having fun? Is that the idea? I thought we were supposed to be providing material for poets and gossips."
"I kicked them out."
"You skewered them."
"I skewered them. Roast Poet on a Spit."
"Gossip Flambee ... Richard ... I think I can see what you mean about having fun."
So the name appealed to me for several reasons: it came from a chunk of the book that's erotic and dialogue-driven, and so on that level it reminded me of my writing -- it occurs to me that we, as fanfic writers, are essentially both poets and gossips, spying on these characters, making guesses and assumptions and generally behaving like paparazzi annoyances to imaginary celebrities -- and it hits both of the things I like to do to my characters in the course of a story: let them have a little fun, and exploit the material they've given us canon-wise for a dramatic scene.
A number of people have mentioned to me that my webpage is hard to navigate, in the sense that it's difficult to track down a particular story or fandom, or sometimes even to know what your reading options are. Before I try to clear up the mystery, let me explain why I built this page the way I did. There are lots of great fanfic archives out there, and most of them have a standard set of tags and definers that go with each archived story -- pairing, rating, part of a series, etc. That's great; that's what archives do best. I feel like if someone is in desperate need of a certain fandom or pairing, they should be able to get a good, wide sample someplace where providing a buffet of fic options is the raison d'etre, and I almost always submit my stories to as many comprehensive and easy-to-find archives as I can locate, so that they're available to the reader who's browsing for something Just Like That.
With my own page, I really felt the need to have a different set of priorities. Partially it's just a matter of boredom; my old site had, you know, the Buffy page and the due South page, etc. etc, and I wanted to try something different. I was also getting a little discontented with that format because it felt like a lot of my fic fell through cracks in that kind of system: the crossovers, of course, always get shunted off to the fringes, and if I only have a few stories in a particular fandom, like Phantom Menace and Oz, the only thing to do was dump it off in a "miscellaneous" category, which I didn't like doing. Labeling the stories was a related issue, especially as I started writing more stories that weren't old-school slash: what's the pairing on "Witness"? If you know, please tell me. I also have a tendency to write stories where the central emotional relationship and the central physical relationship are not at all the same, and I never knew which to set up front in the summaries, and hell, sometimes I just like it to be a little bit of a surprise.
So with all these things in mind, I started fiddling with a new system, and I went about it in a very intuitive way, grouping stories with other stories that they reminded me of, moving things around, looking for resonances and themes and parallels. The new system is also prone to lots of grey area, but since it's pretty right-brained to begin with, the grey areas didn't bug me so much. I'm aware that there are people who absolutely hate this format, because you can't really just jump in, grab what you need, and move on. I don't know what to say except that I thought a lot about that and decided that my page wasn't purely an archive devoted to my fic; I think it's a creative endeavor of its own, and I think that the way it's set up now reveals something about the stories themselves and my feelings about them. In that sense, I like to think that coming to Gossip Flambee will give the reader something that just picking up all my fic from other places and reading through it won't give them.
I also have a fan-politics agenda here, so bear with me on this. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of compartmentalizing my interests in such a way that over *here* I'm an X-Files writer and over *there* is my Fraser/RayK and on *that* hand I write anime and so forth. Yes, I have favorite shows and favorite pairings, but no, I don't like slicing off parts of my work from the rest of it. I really value the readers who have discovered me in one fandom and been curious enough to follow me over into the next, even if it's a character or a fandom that they "never" read, and I designed this site to reward that kind of reader in particular.
To disclaim, yadda yadda, I'm not saying that you can't read whatever you want or not read whatever you want, and if you NEVER read f/f slash and you WON'T read Phantom Menace and you HATE Ray Vecchio, then fine. More power to you. But just learn to cope with the fact that this particular site is optimally designed to suit a browsing style that is not yours. Pretty much all the summaries have either a character or a fandom name; if you don't recognize the proper nouns and you don't want to read stuff you're not familiar with, likewise, don't read it. But there is no quick and dirty way to isolate X fandom from Z fandom from Y pairing, so that's that. That said, I will break down the categories and explain what tends to wind up on which page, and I will provide a list of all the stories on the site with their fandoms, and in some cases the pairings too.
Some of these categories are pretty clear-cut, and others, not so much. There's a lot of subjectivity involved in some cases, and I admit that some of these stories have been moved around a bit, so knowing the system is hardly a Rosetta stone, even for me, not even to mention the fact that I've kept series together even though one story may fall into one category and the next more properly into another. Nevertheless, here's how it goes.
FLIRT is the page with the very, very short things; that one's easy.
POSSESS is what I consider the "darkfic." I'll consign a story to Possess if it contains a violent death or non-consensual sex. Its opposite page, I guess, is ADORE, which has the full-on love stories, the hearts-and-flowers stuff. Although for dramatic purposes there may be conflict in these stories, the general rule of thumb is that both characters are actively working to overcome said conflict for the sheer sake of staying together. Awww.
The WISH page was born when I realized that a recurring theme in my writing is the Substitute Sex, where two characters are together (usually on a highly temporary basis), but one or both of them is in reality pining for someone else entirely. Stories on that page usually follow that template, but in general they can encompass any story where the sex serves the purpose of comfort for a loss or lack in someone's life. Its opposite is CHERISH, which are the post-ever after stories, stories that deal with characters who are already in established relationships. That's probably my other most characteristic theme, the whole idea of getting used to living with someone and thinking about the future with them. With a few exceptions, most of the stories on that page don't even introduce the specter of a breakup; they're about people who are wholly committed, even through conflict, to being permanently mated.
The last two categories are by far the hardest to distinguish from one another, because their difference is a matter of degree. YEARN and CRAVE both include stories of struggling relationships, unrequited, and badly requited love. I consider them both rather sad pages, for the most part. The basic difference is that, in my mind, the relationships on the YEARN page are good ones struggling under too many burdens, while the relationships on CRAVE tend to be doomed or unhealthy from the start. Obviously, the line between them is fairly blurry, but hey, that's the fun part. For me, anyway.
All of these are labeled by show, and all the stories that revolve
securely around one common pairing also give you that pairing. There are stories
with no pairing attached, even here, and that's either because they're more
about a single person with incidental relationship, or because they feature
one main character and one character minor enough that I feel like including
the second name would just clutter the page with obscure names and confuse
the issue. In some cases, I also don't name the participants in crossovers,
because, well, sometimes it sounds weird and I don't want the quirky pairing
to scare you off
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: BOYS
Gonzo Sunset -- Moonlight & Van Helsing -- Buzzed (Giles/Oz)
Hard Core Hotel Hell -- Steal This Book (Hard Core Logo xover)
Loveslut (*included due to Xander POV; no m/m text or subtext)
The Next Hero (Harry Potter xover)
DUE SOUTH: BOYS
Duet -- Dual
East O the Sun, West O the Moon -- Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down -- The Steadfast Tin Soldier (F/K)
Officer Friendly (F/K)
Road Trip -- Making the Bed -- Ride of Your Life -- Desert Rain -- Three Kings -- Close to the Chest -- Lullabye in Blue (Ray/Ray)
Weapon of Choice (Oz xover)