redbyrd_sgfic (redbyrd_sgfic) wrote,

Fic: Better to Light a Candle

Well, finally! Y'know, this story was supposed to be a few missing scenes for The Light, another short piece to wrap up the can of worms I opened in Absolute.. except when I got into it, there was just a whole lot of.. well, it's kind of hard to say. There is frankly nothing extremely startling here. I just got carried away with the point of view. Because if you think about it.. Daniel's view of the episode 'The Light' was quite different from the rest of the team's. But the danged thing came within spitting distance of 29,000 words, which was a little more than I originally had in mind.

If you'd like to read the story before the notes, check it out on my site at Better To Light A Candle

And now to the okay.. babbling at length about the story (notes would be shorter, wouldn't they? :) )
About half the time, I have a title that just leaps out at me and compels me to write a story about it- the other times, I finish the story and thrash helplessly for an hour before finally choosing a workmanlike title that doesn't satisfy me but lets me get the danged thing posted.

This title was one of the first kind. Ironically, I chose it right after I started the story. I then wrote about three-quarters of the story without really being sure what it was about. I knew I wanted to do a slightly different treatment of The Light, that focused on the issues raised in Absolute Power, and the growing malaise that led to Daniel's departure a little over a year later. I spent a ridiculous amount of time floundering around trying to figure out how it would wrap up, before I realized that I already knew what I was trying to do- the resolution was right there in the title, I just hadn't listened to myself say it!

Then we won't get into difficulty of trying to make Daniel talk about his feelings without falling out of character. Finally in desperation, I sent Teal'c down to the beach with instructions to take no prisoners, and that finally did the trick. Or at least a good enough approximation to pronounce it 'done'.

A lot of tags for this episode have tried to make it about the team dynamic in S4. I often find that a little forced, so my take is a bit different. I wondered if perhaps the perceived distance between Daniel and the others is just another symptom of Daniel's growing feelings of inadequacy. Just about every episode in S4, even the ones that end positively, have some downside that prevents the team from taking pleasure in it.. and the couple that do (Small Victories where Daniel doesn't get to participate in the action) and Scorched Earth (where they win, but Jack and Daniel are at odds) are not particularly satisfying for Daniel. This continues in S5, with only Failsafe ending as an unequivocal win for SG-1. Small wonder Daniel is discouraged!

One of the problems here is that I could only work toward an interim resolution. It seemed to me that the unhappiness and feelings of failure that Daniel displays in Meridian is most clearly foreshadowed in these two episodes (and Menace). And yet, if Daniel has a crisis of conscience during the Light, obviously something had to happen to keep him going through season 5. Ultimately, of course, he doesn't really come to terms with his experiences until after his return in S7.

And finally, this story epitomizes one of my favorite elements in fanfic. Point of view is classically used to manipulate what the reader knows and how it's interpreted, but with episode-related fiction we have the added dynamic that the audience already knows a lot about what's going on. This was a particularly good episode in terms of being able to use the readers' foreknowledge to heighten tension and create a sense of epic tragedy. Okay, that's what I was shooting for- only you can tell me if I succeeded!
Tags: fic
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