insufferable know-it-all (bironic) wrote,
insufferable know-it-all
bironic

Mini-DVD commentary for Remix

I didn't sign up for Remix this year. But apparently I was still on the pinch hit list from two years ago, and when deelaundry's name came up, I claimed it.

The result was Soft Swap (Sink Your Fangs Into It Remix) (AO3 link), based on Dee's fic Out of the Blue (AO3 link), a House/Stargate Atlantis crossover featuring House/Wilson/McKay/Sheppard in various combinations.

I figured it wouldn't be much of a mystery that I was to blame. How many people would choose a House/SGA crossover and add vampires? Part of it sounded like No Pain and part of it sounded like On Knowledge. I wrote the whole thing saying to myself, Dee's going to know it was me, there's no way I'll get away with this. All I had going for me was that she didn't think I'd signed up and that there was a chance it would look like sabinelagrande did it (though if she had, it would be much wittier and contain at least 75% more humiliation).

But apparently it worked! Surprise?

Perhaps it's more obvious now. In addition to the above, there was a sneaky John Polidori reference in the name of the benefit they attended. Did anyone catch that? He was a doctor and the author of the first known published vampire story in English. A perfect combination to name a vampire/human hospital benefit after—made all the more delightful because Polidori was Lord Byron's personal physician. (Byron was the man Polidori modeled his vampire after, and the one who'd written a fragment of a vampire story—later published under the apt title "Fragment"—that inspired Polidori's. But let's not get started on that.)


Nature of the remix

I've taken different tactics with each remix I've written. Previous ones involved switching POV (Sirius to Remus in On Knowledge (All Ye Know on Earth and All Ye Need to Know Remix)), expanding drabbles into a full story (Coming Into Focus (Director's Cut Remix)) and transforming prose into epic poetry (A Princeton Odyssey (Alexander Pope Is Turning In His Grave Remix)). This time, I turned two of the characters into vampires. Because why not? It suited the dom/sub dynamics in the original, and in a fic that was half PWP, it let me turn the heat up a notch instead of just rehashing the sex scene (which was lovely in the original).

Whether or not this works as a story, I think it works as a remix in that it takes the essential plot points of the original—House and Wilson meet McKay and Sheppard at a hospital benefit, there's an allergy argument at the bar, they go back to a hotel room, House and McKay watch/direct Wilson and Sheppard, they finish off in the preexisting couples, and McKay later donates a crapload of money—and redrapes the story over them. It doesn't lift a lot of lines from the original, which was a fault of Coming Into Focus. It relieves tension in some places and intensifies it in others. Namely, in the remix, House doesn't experience much of an internal struggle over Wilson being with another guy; but McKay and Sheppard aren't an established couple in this version, so there's the mixed angst and humor of them getting together to balance things out. I hope.


A selection of remixed bits:

Original: "He comes hardest when he's filled."
Remix: "I like being filled."

Original: As he walked, the snatches of conversations he caught were about auto safety standards and financial planning and summers in the Hamptons, and he was bored almost to tears.
Remix: …he could only tolerate so many insipid conversations about the best brands of blackout blinds and the stock trends of artificial blood before getting a drink was no longer simply desirable but imperative.

Original: "I'm here tonight because my colleague, who is not a physicist but is still reasonably intelligent, was asked to attend as a temporary liaison and goodwill ambassador between the US military and the gay and lesbian community. […] Some PR cretin thought it would be a good idea if the military reached out to show how excluding gays from service is not based on prejudice but on sound policy rationale."
Remix: "Sheppard and I are representing the U.S. military-industrial complex's openness to alternate lifestyles and unwavering dedication to improved health for all. Or something. Apparently the Air Force PR department thinks it's logical to demonstrate its support of vampire-human relations by sending a vampire contractor and a lieutenant colonel as temporary goodwill ambassadors while still enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell for LGBTC soldiers and officers."

*C in LGBTC = companion. Hee.

Original: "Wear your ring for me," Wilson whispered.
Remix: "Wear your collar for me," he'd whispered in Wilson's ear […]

Original: House's reward for attending these events – aside from half of the donation checks, which House had immediately claimed as his right, given the whole joint use of marital assets thing – was sex. Very good sex, to House's specifications. After the egregious boredom of this particular evening, Wilson was going to have to upgrade that to outstanding sex, with something special thrown in.
Remix: House had taken the opportunity to play reluctant and extract a promise that he could drink from Wilson's throat afterwards in exchange for his charming presence.

Original: "No touching," House commanded. Wilson whined but obeyed, bringing his hand back to Sheppard's balls.
Remix: His dick reached for the ceiling, but he knew better than to touch it without House's go-ahead.

Original: "Rodney McKay. You did not hit him up for a donation. House, how could you?"
Remix: "House," Wilson groaned. "You did not just hit them up for money while we're in bed."

In the original, as in canon, Rodney's allergic to citrus. In the remix, he has conquered that by virtue of becoming a vampire but acquired an allergy to rodent blood instead. (Don't ask me for specifics. I tried researching the details of cross-species hematology and had to give up before I ran out of time to write.)

In the last section of the original, House says he and Wilson are ignoring the Fellows working around him. In the remix, you don't know anyone else is there until Chase pipes up at a TMI moment in their conversation. (And can I just say I was pleased to finally employ this humorous little writing trick that others have used to great effect?)

Another thing that pleased me was being able to include and recontextualize the line: "We're hunting hospital donors, aren't we?"


Characterization (or, the part where we're self-critical)

Characterization? What characterization? Ha. McKay's and Sheppard's voices came naturally enough, but Wilson felt a bit blank to me, and I have trouble doing House justice when I'm writing from inside his head. He should be noticing more about the people around him, no? He should be observant and critical and horny and sarcastic and demanding and quick on the uptake and he should ruthlessly but fruitlessly suppress the Feelings he has about Wilson and, uh, other stuff. Didn't pull most of that off here. I will blame it on the fact that the fic was a PWP written quickly (pinch hit!) and on that thing where I've been reading a lot of Inception stories these past several months, not House stories, so it's not a coincidence if House sometimes sounds like fanon Eames (or Wilson like sub!Arthur), especially towards the end.

I also had some trouble remembering that House should be constantly aware of Wilson and not just appreciating Sheppard's body because it's new to him.

I could go on, but let me just repeat that I am always open to concrit and am happy to talk about what worked and what didn't. Just be aware that I may play the pinch hit card. :)


Title

Titles are hard. "Sink Your Fangs Into It" came right away, and regardless of quality, it stuck. For the title proper, I kept trying to think of something related to "Out of the Blue." All I came up with was "Into the Black," after the Neil Young lyric. Black = death = vampires, I rationalized, but there are all these connotations of Vietnam and punk rock and they just didn't sit right. I tried "blue" (no go on Miles Davis either), I tried "black," I tried "red," I tried thinking about wormholes and gates and serendipity. Half an hour of free-association Googling and Bartleby-ing later, I came across a Wikipedia page on foursomes that led to another one on swinging and learned that "soft swap" is the term for a partner swap where the partners don't engage in penetration together. So that worked pretty well. And as a bonus, the page cited a book that traces the origins of swinging to the Air Force.


Miscellany

Wilson is a universal donor. We all know this to be true.

...I had more, but they've slipped away.



Anyway. Remix!
Tags: my writing, remix
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