With that said...kudos to whomever decided to declare this the first day of fanfic author appreciation week (March 6 - March 13)! The goal is to praise an individual fic author every day this week. I'm sure that you've already seen such posts on your flist.
But since I'm terrible at following instructions, I'm going to skew the "assignment" a bit. Originally, I wanted to make a "I heart my flist" post for Valentine's Day but time being what it is, I didn't finish it . So then I thought of making a series praising one person on my flist per post. Because LJ is more than fic and more than fandom, it's people. I have 140 people on my list and there's a reason why they're there. So I'd like to make posts when I can praising these individuals. If I get all the way through, I figure this will take about two years to do. I'll start in alphabetical order.
I had the chance to meet _dellamore at Writercon this past year. And I was surprised at how *young* she is. Surprised because a talent like hers is usually grown into. Sure, you can see raw talent in young authors, just like looking at a puppy's paws you can tell how frickin' huge of a dog it's going to grow to be. But sometimes, craft is honed at an early age and dellamore is *such* an example of this:
The mansion thrums with tarry dark, thick black storms of von Weber off Drusilla's crackling gramophone.
Angelus is chain-smoking, cigarette after cigarette, caged and rough like an animal pulling at meat.
Dru is dancing with the smoke, silver twists, spinning wheels into the air. Dru laughs, her eyes shining hematite. She snaps at the smoke, flounces her skirt-hem, then smoothes it daintily over her knees. With the caprice of a child, her face is sadder, more abstract than poetry.
Spike is sitting. Thinking of territory and revenge. And hair-gel, toxic hair-gel that burns like holy water. Could arrange that easy enough. The stiff-haired wanker would never know what seared him.
There are spots of detail here that radiate out like ink dropped in a cup of water, subtle plumes that color everything. We have the auditory with the crackling grammaphone, the visual with the silver twists of Angelus's smoke, the olfactory with the smoke as well, the tactile with Dru's skirt, and even the gustatory with the simile of an animal pulling at meat to represent smoking. And these details weave together in a synethesia that makes sense: tarry-dark music, hematite eyes. This is just the beginning of the most recent fic that she's posted, a wonderful look at an alternate BtVS s2.
There are little bits of characterization that resonate in all her fic:
He hasn’t been on the road for long, but he’s already squandered considerable time by getting himself bewilderingly lost; although, to their credit, the alternate universe directions of Map Quest weren’t quite to blame this time. Despite the apparent lack of turns on the dusty stretches of road, he’d managed to take a wrong one.
Connor also eschews cell phones, but one was forced upon him for this trip. His grandmother has already called once, shaken and certain of his demise. He’d let her patter on until she mentioned Tracy and something twanged in his heart and he’d made little crackling noises into the phone and told her the connection was dying.
The clock reads 6:21 am, the tape deck is playing T. Rex, and Tracy has ceased to exist. He shifts in the seat, pulling at his jeans, wondering whether he could get off and not think of her.
from Crossing Nevada
At a glance, these are simple details here: Connor driving through the desolate part of Nevada, listening to the tape deck. But what really strikes me here is his lie to his grandmother of the connection dying because connection means so many things. Not only is it two voices miraculously transported through the ether, but it's Connor's connection to life, his two lives. His unwitting similarity to Angel with the dislike of cell-phones, his tenuous connection to people. This work continues on to the improbable meeting of Lindsey and the consequences of that.
Note: I haven't mentioned yet that dellamore writes mainly slash. "Lions" has only a hint of it, mainly Spike/Dru, but "Crossing Nevada" is definitely slashy. I read it all--slash, femslash, het, gen--so there are people on my flist that have different preferences.
There is so much power and lyricism in her work that, yes, I'm surprised at her youth. In person, dellamore is drop-dead gorgeous and *demure*, of all things. Someone whose interest in fandom isn't so much praise and feedback for her own work but her interaction with other writers. She's interested when she herself is so interesting.
Fortunately for us, she does exist outside of LJ. Her website, Playing Dead, can be found here.
Unfortunately (for us, not for her), she has started following other pursuits and is seen less and less on LJ. I've tried a few times, with bribery among other things *g*, to lure her back. She is a powerful voice and whereever she chooses to loose that voice, it rings pure and strong. I'm jealous of whoever gets to hear it now.
I wish you well, dellamore. Wherever you are now, I hope you're throwing back your head and laughing.