Hidden Flame: A Vague Character Piece, By the self-proclaimed Sage of Story
Hidden Flame: A Vague Character Piece, By the self-proclaimed Sage of Story
Vice of Raisin Protrusions
Joined: 29-October 07
Member No.: 162
Sep 26 2010, 07:15 PM
I'm taking a break from Normal Teenage Life for a moment to bring you yet another example of bad Teen Titans-related fan prose, written by yet another mainstay in the field of bad Teen Titans-related fan prose--the venerable Sage of Story.
Like Queen-Of-Azarath, Sage of Story was very active during the glory days of Teen Titans fandom, but she had her own thing; no self-insertion tripe, no cock-mongling AU fanfics. No, her shtick was (and probably still is) pretentious character reflection, writing long-winded analyses of characters and their thoughts and feelings on the situations that the shows' writers love putting them in. Remember that word, folks--"pretentious" is the thing that comes most quickly to mind with regards to Sage of Story.
Sage of Story fancies (or fancied; she quit fan fiction a half decade ago) herself a master wordsmith and it fuckin' shows. She had this innate ability to take everything she got involved with far, far too seriously, from fan fiction (her profile features a several stanza long poem on why fan fiction is so super swell) to shipping (woe befall the traveler who stumbles upon the expired homepage for Raven Beast Boy Shippers United and reads their "creed") to just writing in general, especially writing in character as someone from a favorite TV series, as you'll see in just a moment. Even back in my days as a fantard, I was never fond of her work. Her prose is so purple, it makes Stephenie Meyer's look positively stark white by comparison, and I avoided it for just that reason. Everything she wrote was wordy, verbose and just plain long, and naturally, her fans (like every good ficsmith, she had a devoted fanbase) just ate it all up.
To be fair to Sage of Story, she's not a bad writer, and I'm not saying that she ever was. Her stories, on the other hand? Her stories are very bad, or at least, this one is. What I have for you here is a twenty-one hundred word story about some girl (allegedly Raven, though quite frankly, it could be anybody) pining after some guy (allegedly Beast Boy, though quite frankly, it could be anybody) because he's got a new girlfriend (allegedly Terra, though quite frankly, it's probably a ninety-pound androgynous Filipino boy), based very loosely on a poem by some stuffed shirt who lived in the sixteenth century. Far from being unique, stories like this were a dime a dozen, since just about everybody adored the character of Raven (who, herself, was a dime a dozen), but this one is the first to hold the distinction of being savaged on Project AFTER. So let's dive right into this festival of the damned and enjoy the wonders of Sage of Story's "Hidden Flame."
Author's Note: I wrote this in study hall one day, while I was still working on "Bring Me to Life."
Oh, Amy Lee--if you can't write song lyrics to save your life, what makes you think you'll have any success with prose?
My other story took place sometime before Season 2 began, but I wanted to write something in light of recent events. I know things similar to it have been done before, such as Red Moon Kree's "Say It With A Song" and Toast's eleventh Account from the Tower.
"Neither of which I've read, of course. And why should I? After all, *I* am the Sage of Story! What are they to such as I; what are they but but a red-hued orbital body and crispy bread? Fie on't!"
But I had this idea swimming around in my head long before I read either of those fics, so I promise you, I did not take this from anyone else's work.
Well, I'm a typical ff.net user/lurker--young, gullible and easily conned by verbose prose into thinking that the wangsty teenage asshole writing it is a literary genius--so I'm going to take that at face-value and never ever call you out for unoriginality. UR A SPESHUL SNOFLAEK
This is based not on a song, but on a poem by the sixteenth-century writer John Dryden. However, I found one song that also described the situation perfectly…
Please be Safety Dance, please be Safety Dance, please be Safety Dance...
I recommend that you look up the lyrics to Evanescence's "Solitude" for even more insight into this short thought fic (I've never actually heard the song, since they've never released it on CD…but being the die-hard Evanescence fan that I am, I actually found it online somewhere and loved it simply for the lyrics, heehee).
Oh, fuck this. 16th century poetry AND Evanescence--that's beyond rubbing salt in the wound; that's rubbing salt in the wound and then chasing it down with a kettle full of boiled lemon juice.
Mind you, this is a one-shot, but hopefully I'll be contributing another story to this section in a few weeks' time. Please be kind, read and review.
Man, even her name is pretentiously-spelled.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, or John Dryden's poem "Hidden Flame."
"And yet, I have no compunctions about stealing the title AND the body of the poem itself for my own use, for you see, I am a stupid titmouse with all the creativity of a mulberry scone (CAN ANYBODY TELL ME WHAT SHOW THAT'S FROM? NO? WELL IT'S FROM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)."
Hidden Flame…by The Sage of Story
You won't see it in my eyes.
"My sunglasses will keep you at bay."
They always told me that I was dangerous. Capable of destruction. With a single expression of affection or anger or happiness, the world could be plunged into a torrent of chaos. The universe could shake beneath the power of the things I feel. That's the way it has always been.
Whoops, sorry--Sage of Story accidentally slipped in an excerpt from her diary that was used in her psychiatric evaluation, just before admittance at Sunny Oaks Institution for the Mentally Batshit.
I have learned to control it. I have learned to conceal myself from others, to wear this mask of stone that has no ability to change. I have mastered the art of the masquerade.
"So why didn't I get the part of Fantome?! Damn you, Midnight Players Community Theater Group!"
Over the years, I suppose I've forced my colors beneath my exterior, restricting myself to a single one:
That's why you see only ice where I stand. The frozen monotony of silence. The immobile, constricting aura of darkness.
No, that's because you're currently standing on a glacier. Now shut up and let me take your damn picture; I'm freezing my ass off up here!
I am nothing more to you than what you can see.
But you don't know about the flame that burns here in my heart.
"So I take extra-strength Bayer, and my heartburn is gone in an instant. Available wherever pharmaceuticals are sold. Bayer: Take it for Pain. Take it for Life."
It leaps and flickers and grows beneath the chilled exterior, eating my flesh away from the inside, consuming me.
Actually, that would be your tapeworms. Remember the tapeworms? We ran down to the clinic together and got you a free colonoscopy? You thought they looked like linguine? Ah, we have fun...
It hurts with a sting I have never felt before. It melts away the numbness and lashes out abruptly, warming me for a moment, burning me the next.
That's one malfunctioning electric blanket you've got there.
It has wavered at times, threatening to fade out—but I know secretly it never will. It has forced my soul to emerge from the darkness and stand in awe of its dancing light, covering my face, hoping that I am not burned alive. I fear it, but I love it, and when it dies I know that my body is going to fail along with it. So I cherish the flame, I cup it in my hand, I shield it from the public eye—I conceal it even from you.
The police interrogator eyed Raven skeptically over the rims of his glasses as she toyed with her Bic lighter, awestruck.
But how could I have told you? My burden is my own. The ones I love are eventually destroyed. That's what I've been taught, and I can't deny that truth.
Okay, I've been a little uncertain about whether our narrator is Raven or Sarah Connor, but I think that last line gave me a clue as to her true identity.
As I told you once, we cannot change the truth, no matter how much we dislike it. I have accepted this fate…it is my cross to bear. I have agreed to live unselfishly, to love without asking for anything in return.
Inside the Mind of a Morman Housewife.
Why is it so hard to give up this flame?
I don't understand it. One day, you're like my little brother. The next, a cerulean-eyed angel falls to the earth and steals your heart, and I wait here hating her, envying her, loathing her with everything I have in me.
"Fuckin' Jesus, dropping seraphim on my house all day..."
I could tell the first time you spoke. God…you're so painfully obvious. You fell head over heels on the spot.
"You're kind of a bitch like that."
She laughed lightly. "He's hilarious!" she giggled, her thin frame swaying slightly, long blonde hair tumbling onto her shoulders and down her back. Of course you love her. She is gorgeous, hip, friendly, funny.
"Kind of looks like Lord Voldemort, what with the lack of a nose 'n all, but then again, you never really had standards."
She is everything I'm not. That little blonde toothpick was made for you, and I want more than anything to interfere…to pray, to scream, to call for you as if it would bring you back.
I'm not convinced this wasn't written by Dakari-King Mykan.
What am I saying? You never belonged to me in the first place. That's where I made my mistake. I read into your eyes, your words, your gestures too deeply. I saw something that simply wasn't there.
Belle realizes that she was wrong about the Beast. Turns out, there is nothing there that wasn't there before.
You were always hinting at things. Edging toward me, slowly but surely prying into my heart with no invitation.
"I really should have caught on when I found you naked in my bed with a pair of my underwear wrapped around your erection, but I've always been a little slow on the uptake."
That's the way you always were. All the others were content to let me be, to accept me as a friend and allow my façade to grow stronger. They succumbed to intimidation. You did not. I pushed, and you pushed back.
It's a recap of last year's Super Bowl.
I ordered you to leave me alone, just like all the others—and you busted the door open.
I think the Sage of Story is confusing Beast Boy with Jack Bauer right there. Gosh, how cool would that be, if Jack Bauer were the fifth Titan?
You were so curious about me, so concerned about my well being. No one had ever had the nerve to care about me before, but you longed to peer beneath my mask. Only you ever wanted that. Only you ever tried.
"I was supposed to leave it on for five minutes to ensure proper exfoliation, but you just ruined that all for me, didn't you? Didn't you?!"
These were your signs, these were your lies: a boyish grin. A reassuring nod. A single hand that rested on my shoulder time and time again.
"A nude photograph of you with a copy of The Raven strategically placed over your genitals."
Eyes that bore down into me like I was just some open book. Oh, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.
Holding one-sided conversations with your crushes is really not an indicator of mental stability. Might wanna get that looked into, Raven.
You never could just look at me. You had to look through me. You had to beckon with an openness that wouldn't leave me alone. You had to set a spark alive in me, the first light that had dared to interrupt the darkness. The only light.
"Which was to be expected--after all, you can turn darkness into HALLOWED LIGHT!!111!"
I thought it meant something, the way you asked if we were friends. I must have jumped to conclusions. You don't think in the same way I do.
Probably far fewer big red demons and floating strawberries, and far more tits and asses.
You don't speak in metaphors, and I guess I distorted your message. We never were anything more than friends, were we? You're so simple…why couldn't I have understood that I was just another friend?
Just another friend. Just another…just another…just like anyone else. No more. Everyone is your friend. Oh, everyone loves you.
"We loves the Beast Boy, precious, yes we do." "No, my love, the Beast Boy hurts us! Wicked and tricksy and false he is!" "Patience, my precious. She will take care of the Beast Boy for us."
I was a little more difficult to soften,
"Which must be why you kept covering me in seasoning salt."
but now I love you too. That doesn't make me any different. That doesn't mean that you feel the same.
I guess I just misinterpreted it…considered too carefully the kindness of your words, the joy in your smile. The way a certain warmth sprang from your touch, a current of heat from you to me. I needed that warmth desperately…I was too cold.
Then stop wearing leg-baring leotards and buy a pair of goddamn pants, for crying out loud!
The thing is, I never even realized this until now. I never stopped to wonder why the atmosphere grew lighter when you walked in, or why I was so grateful for you, or what made the color rush to my cheeks sometimes when you were near.
Maybe she's referring to the sun. Would certainly account for the increase in brightness and the colorization of her cheeks.
It never occurred to me that I pushed you away only because I was afraid to draw you closer. There is a raging storm inside of me,
Diarrhea is like a storm raging inside of your body.
there is a medley of incomprehensible emotions, but you would never know it. I am bound within this prison that is my body, these powers that I have inherited against my will, this burden that is mine alone. I am trapped here, screaming. No one ever heard me except you.
"Thank you, Warren Beatty. You made life worth living again."
I made the mistake of thinking you could save me. The truth is, you can save me no more than I can save myself. Do you think I choose to be this way? I envy her vitality. I am so angry that while she can laugh, and charm, and fling her personality all over the room like exploding firecrackers, I can't.
How dare she have the gall to...uh...be...cheerful.
I thought that you saw beyond what I had to be—I thought that it was in your eyes. Now I understand that you never saw me…no one ever will.
"I'm invisible. :3"
And I can't blame you for this. It's my fault for being so easily corrupted by my own wishful thinking. I was simply misled. It won't happen again.
But still, the flame burns.
In that case, she should really stop reflecting on how much she sucks at love, and call 9-11.
I don't trust her in the least. There is something dangerous all around her…the sting of betrayal has become her aura. I sense that she does not have good intentions.
And she thinks that I actually like her…she doesn't know how good I am at wearing someone else's mask.
We will now be treated to a fifteen-paragraph introspective on Raven's kleptomania.
Maybe I'm just as clever as she is when it comes to things like that.
If she even dares to put you or Starfire or Cyborg or Robin in danger again, I will not have mercy on her. God only knows what she'll have to suffer before I stop.
No Raven, don't give her an inner monologue! That's a fate worse than death!
These are my friends; this is my life. She has no place to come in and destroy it. I'm not some fault line that will be cracked open at the vibration of her earthquake. And this is not a simple jealousy. I don't want her to hurt you.
Just throwin' it out there--what if Beast Boy is into BDSM? You'd think that'd be right up Raven's alley.
But at the same time…I want her to betray us. I want her to have deceived us, so she can reveal some evil intent. I want a reason to hate her, so that she can be cast away, and I can remain.
"I'm kind of a bitch like that."
How selfish is that? I was taught to fight against myself. I am my greatest enemy, my deepest fear. But I am being scorched by the tiny flame, a selfish flame, one that doesn't judge me or view me with disdain.
So, to recap, Raven wants to bone Beast Boy, hates Terra, wants her to betray them, and has an imaginary best friend who is personified as a flame. Wow, such gripping characterization; it's a shame it was left out of the show!
It makes me love myself, and it keeps burning, always, always. I don't even try to smolder it, because every attempt is futile. It hurts, but it's a part of me now.
When I see you with her, or when your eyes catch hers from across the room, making a smile light your face, the flame leaps and scalds with contempt so sharp, I almost wince.
That's the first time I've ever heard anybody use "sharp" as a descriptor for fire. Probably because nobody in the world would ever do that because they know how stupid they'd sound...
I almost scream, laugh, cry out, break free. But I don't. I remain still. My hands don't shake, though my heart is shaking inside me. My eyes don't tear, though there are silent tears of blod lolz falling all the same. My mouth doesn't open…though inwardly, I am crying out for someone, anyone, to rescue me from this despair I've sunken into.
Really, this could be ANY teenager on the face of the Earth at this point.
You are the flame. You left it there, your remnant, your imprint on my soul. The piece of you that you've given away so graciously to me. Every smile I misinterpreted, every gaze I misconstrued…burning here, a fresh memory in my mind. The way you giggle at the most inappropriate times,
finding laughter in everything, finding the beauty in me…you will never know the warmth, the strength, the love you have provided me. It has kept me alive. This tiny sliver of red, orange, yellow, blue, and green
The hell is she burning in that fire?!
—this fire—this flame—it lives in me!
You won't ever have the ability to save me. You may never take my hand and pull me close the same way you do her—you may never realize how much I long to be her, just to be close to you.
"That, and I've always wanted to be a size 0."
Though it's a difficult truth to admit, you will never feel the strength of the tiny flame you have kindled.
I will be alone…that's my destiny, my responsibility, my burden. But I will never give up this flame. I love you, and I don't care if you don't love me. All the life left in me is you.
And our mess of purple prose, which has been nurturing an undercurrent of creepy obsession all throughout itself, builds to a crescendo.
Let it creep up into my heart and burn away the callus. I am already melted. Let it burn, knowing that it will never be quenched. Just let the fire ignite in me.
I really hope that none of this comes from Sage of Story's own feelings or experiences. This is the kind of thing someone writes before pulling a murder/suicide on their ex.
Let my eyes never show it…
(Author's note: Yeah, sorry, I meant to write in more eye symbolism, but I got so distracted by my stupid fire bullshit that I forgot about it entirely. I can't cram too much stupid, meaningless metaphorical nonsense into my story--even I have standards, you know!)
Following that last sentence was the titular poem, Hidden Flame, which I refused to allow in here for the same reason that I always expunge song lyrics from songfics: If you need to rely on someone else's work to prop yours up, then you suck at life and should order a six-pack of Suicide Putty post-haste. And boy howdy, was that ever evident.
I mean it, this story could be about fuckin' anybody. It'd take you two minutes to switch around some names, and you could publish this for any given fandom on the face of the earth. It can literally be applied to any character you can think of. Just for fun, let's pretend that this is a Haruhi Suzumiya story, where Yuki Nagato pines after Kyon, who is in love with Mikuru. It's a blank slate, people!
Folks, I urge you all to copypasta this story and publish it on ff.net in any category of your choosing--just change the nouns and claim it's a character piece about whatever character you want, and six hundred reviews are guaranfuckingteed. But don't forget to add the nebulous story summary, so that your readership will be certain to not understand what the fuck your story is supposed to be about:
There are pieces inside all of us...that we cannot explain. Even the darkest of souls harbors a tiny fire inside, bringing warmth and giving life. But what do you do when the only person who sparked the flame will never know it?
Translated into plain English, that roughly means "NURRR NURRRRRRRRRR NURR." Thanks for nothing, Sage of Story.
This post has been edited by Al_Cone: Sep 27 2010, 11:35 AM
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Joined: 14-August 10
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Member No.: 372
Sep 26 2010, 07:42 PM
Oh God I'm gonna kill myself.
I hereby propose that Maniak replace all mentions of Copy Cat in his mock of TTHSM2 with Jack Bauer.
My Little Unicorn Chapter 19
My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing, Kamen Rider Kaze, If I Was Your Nazi (Group Mock)
Coming back soon:
No More Heroes: Naruto's Story
What as StrangeCute Love, No More Eros, Infernape's Tickle Torture, Triangle, Fallout: Equestria Chapters 7, 13
Joined: 15-July 10
From: The middle of nowhere
Member No.: 357
Sep 26 2010, 07:59 PM
A few thoughts:
That was, indeed, extremely pretentious.
Thanks for pointing out the purple prose. That's one of my biggest problems with writing at the moment.
The Sunny Oaks Institution for the Mentally Batshit should be a real place.
Joined: 1-March 08
Member No.: 192
Sep 28 2010, 04:34 PM
This tiny sliver of red, orange, yellow, blue, and green
The hell is she burning in that fire?!
A Guitar Hero controller, apparently.
"Just because things won't go your way doesn't mean you can't live a poor and meaningless life" - Dakari-King Mykan
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