SpockFact #50

Whilst growing up on Vulcan, the one Terran luxury Spock allows himself is learning how to cook. He states it is ‘only logical to attain knowledge in every area one can, particularly in those with practical application, such as the preparation of foodstuffs’ but really he enjoys making up his own recipes based on the chemical reactions between ingredients. When he leaves home his mother gives him the recipe book that’s been in her family for generations, the one he’s added to every time he comes up with a recipe.

After she dies in the battle of Vulcan, he doesn’t cook for five years. Then, on the fifth anniversary of her death, he makes a bowl of plomeek soup using Terran ingredients - her favourite dish.

After that, he cooks every day, and continues to write new recipes for the rest of his life.

(Bonus: On his first birthday on the Enterprise’s first five year mission, every member of the crew gets together and gives him a copy of one or two of their oldest family recipes. Bones says it’s the first and last time he will ever see Spock totally speechless, but it’s because he can’t talk through the lump in his throat.)

(Submitted by @azul-ora)

Bones McCoy Looks Worriedly at Spock Part Two

The classic ‘I just pulled a bit of metal out from next to his heart’ look

The more concerned ‘I just burnt him and made him scream, I hope he doesn’t kill me’ look.

‘I’m not buying this bullshit, of course you were contemplating and not unconscious’ look.

The ‘you just said something that’s concerned me’ look. 

The ‘sharing bad news’ look.

‘I can’t believe you want to leave Starfleet (and Jim)’ look

The ‘we are so done for, but let’s not get sappy’ look.

anonymous asked:

so i got to thinking about other possible spones disney aus and what about a mulan au? spock as shang being a strong leader coming up with all of these logical battle plans/training regimes. bones being mulan, sending himself instead of his family because he'd rather it be him than them. and of course, jim as mushu

Everyone thinking Bones is a little mad because he keeps losing his temper and yelling at the tiny dragon Jim in his pocket. Bones uses this to appear more foreboding on the battle field. Bones disagreeing with everything Spock says, despite Spock’s obvious better training in areas. Bones being grudgingly turned on by how hot Spock is when he’s showing them fighting maneuvers. Jim popping up in Bones’ like, “Dude, you’re dick is rock hard, what has you all- oooooh. Yeah, he’s a looker.”

At the end when Bones is thanked by the Emperor he turns to Spock and Spock says some uselessly unemotional thing like “You fight well.” But instead of being embarrassed and unsure like Mulan, Bones just goes off at him for being emotionally incompetent and yells at him about the healthy psychological effect of emotions right there on the steps of the palace. Jim cries with joy as they yell at each other in front of the Emperor

Bones McCoy Looks Worriedly at Spock Part 1

First it’s the ‘OMG, I didn’t know he was injured’ worried look.

And then it’s ‘the look at his face and gage how much pain he’s in/is he still conscious’ look. 

Then we move onto the ‘concerned Doctor listening’ look.

Followed up with ‘still listening concerned while also making sure the idiot doesn’t do something stupid, like try and get up’.

Then we have ‘reasoning with the idiot about why he shouldn’t move’.

This is the ‘look at him when he probably thinks you’re not looking at him’ look. 

Followed up with the ‘I’m a bit concerned by his face’ look

Spock’s Speech

I’ve been thinking about the way I write Spock’s dialogue and wanted to write up some tips for people who may be intimidated by his way of speaking or who (like me) are often at a loss for what Spock might say next. This guide isn’t a proscription for how Spock *must* be written, but it is hopefully helpful to you.

There are a lot of spoilers in here because I am examining actual show/movie dialogue!

Tip zero: Revise!

My number one tip for writing Spock’s dialogue is don’t be afraid to revise. You absolutely cannot get Spock’s voice right on the first try. It’s too far removed from the way most people talk in their everyday interactions. So just write ever comes naturally to you and then re-write it later. That’s what I do.

1) Spock speaks very precisely.

The corollary: this makes it sound as though he is using a lot of unnecessary words.

You must walk the fine line between these two concepts. Consider the following line of dialogue from Into Darkness which, despite it’s problems, does capture Spock’s voice fairly well here. Spock is addressing Kirk, who wants to do a half-baked plan as usual:

Spock: I can not allow you to do this. It is my function aboard the ship to advise you in making the wisest decisions possible, something I firmly believe you are incapable of doing in this moment.

McCoy would have delivered the same line very differently. He probably would have said, “I can’t let you do this! Dammit, it’s my job to give you my opinion and I’m telling you you’re incapable of making the right decision!” (note the plethora of exclamation points.)

Spock speaks differently from hypothetical McCoy: He uses “function” rather than “job,” “can not” rather than “can’t.” Although Spock is fully capable of using contractions, he often doesn’t in high-stress situations when he is focusing on keeping his cool. He also uses this level of precision to accomplish specific goals with the sentence. He reminds Kirk of his role as first officer (“aboard the ship”), and of his own assessment of the situation (“firmly believe”). Since his beliefs are based in logic, he is also implicitly implying that he has been closely monitoring the Captain. He also says “incapable” which McCoy would probably say, too (with added splutter), but he could have said “not able” or “not capable” which would have slightly different implications.

He also says a bunch of stuff that a human would sum up into “listen to my opinion!” Notably, Spock does not sum it up. He wants to be precise and so he uses these 10-cent words that have a more technical definition.

When writing him, be careful to be precise, but also remember Tip Zero. You don’t have to remember the right synonym for “opinion.” Just slot it in and edit later.

Also, when writing him, be careful not to use extra words once precision has been reached. Spock expects everyone to follow along with what he’s saying. He’s not actually saying anything superfluous, it just appears that way to people who aren’t used to hearing him talk (so it’s easy for humans to get lost, and it’s why the Romulan Yar says that Vulcans use a lot of unnecessary words in Unification). Once he’s done explaining something, he’s just done. He stops.

2) Spock is contradictory about his ability to discuss emotions.

Consider the following from The Tholian Web. Kirk has just died and Spock and McCoy have viewed his last orders which basically tell them to stop fighting (which they’ve been doing a lot of):

Dr. McCoy: Spock, I, uh… I’m sorry. It does hurt, doesn’t it?
Mr. Spock: What would you have me say, Doctor?

Here, Spock employs a clever misdirection in order to get out of answering the question. This may be, in part, due to the fact that his Captain has just died and he doesn’t want to talk about it. It may also be because he is talking to McCoy in particular (see tip 3). Nevertheless, he believes he doesn’t have a satisfactory answer for McCoy.

Yet in “The Naked Time” Spock immediately identifies the emotion he is feeling as “shame.” “Captain, when I feel friendship for you I am ashamed.” Although he is emotionally compromised and likely would never have said this otherwise, the fact is he can still identify the emotion. (The same goes for identifying happiness in This Side of Paradise and hatred in Plato’s Stepchildren.) Shame is a rather complex emotion, and one that is not a “go to” description of emotion (e.g. happiness, anger). Acknowledging it means that Spock has some ability to talk about his emotions; this likely comes from his mother (who is always trying to get him to admit he’s feeling “fine” in every universe). When writing Spock, keep in mind that he does have a complex understanding of how humans discuss and express emotions. Whether or not he chooses to play by their rules is another matter entirely.

3) WHO Spock is speaking to and WHAT is happening determines WHAT he is saying.

As demonstrated above, Spock reacts to McCoy attempting to elicit an emotional response very differently from how he spoke to Kirk (where he volunteered the information). To McCoy he generally reacts with aversion and annoyance. To Kirk, sometimes annoyance and sometimes just vague confusion (“why are you doing this to me Captain??” *logically crying emoji*) Generally, Spock is pretty tight-lipped about these things all across the board but there are some exceptions. For example, Spock admits to knowing what to do with a “genuine, warm, decent feeling” when McCoy accused him of being emotionless in Bread and Circuses. (Well actually he says “Really Doctor?” and raises his eyebrow. A big admission, coming from the King of Emotional Misdirection.) Circumstances matter, so if you want Spock to admit a Big Emotion you have to make sure it makes sense in the moment. But the fact is, as tip 2 attests, he does understand them. He just doesn’t want anyone to know it.

4) Spock won’t lie if he doesn’t absolutely have to.

In the words of McCoy: “Must you always be so blasted honest!”

That doesn’t mean he won’t redirect, mislead, or withhold information. In fact, he does that all the damned time (especially when it comes to not admitting his feelings!). Consider Spock facing a non-canon conundrum: McCoy has been distracted by an alien Ambassador who won’t leave him alone, and Spock wants to tell the Captain but McCoy has requested he not. So instead Spock alludes to the “parasite” that has left McCoy “ill and unable to perform his duties.” He’s not lying but he is definitely stretching facts and relying on multiple meanings of words. Since he’s usually highly precise, this is very noticeable to an outsider with all the facts (you, the reader).

That said, he’s capable of lying and will if he has to. But it makes him uncomfortable and he would prefer to avoid such situations. This is actually great for fic writers because once he can’t avoid any more he would most likely come clean about his feelings. Huzzah!

5) Spock is very sassy.

Since this is such a close-to-the-heart fan theory for many people I won’t spend too much time on it. Just remember that Spock is pure sassafras bark and you are totally justified in writing some humor into your dialogue. Spock makes jokes and insults people all the damned time, but usually either a) they don’t realize it or b) he has plausible deniability that he wasn’t saying anything wrong. His brand of humor is passive aggression, not outright mockery. I’ll leave you with this:

Christopher Pike: That’s a technicality.
Spock: I am Vulcan, sir. We embrace technicality.
Christopher Pike: Are you giving me attitude, Spock?
Spock: I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously. To which are you referring?

6) Spock is very literal

A lot of previous points have touched on this (e.g. not lying, precise speech) but it also means that he expects others are being literal when they ask him questions. This means that if he isn’t paying close attention he will attempt to answer questions honestly. Consider:

Capt. Kirk: Trying to get yourself killed. Do you know how much Starfleet has invested in you?
Mr. Spock: 122,200…
Capt. Kirk: [interrupting] Never mind!

Obviously, Kirk was asking a rhetorical question. Spock probably could have identified this but he had just been injured. This is great for Spock dialogue because you can really show his character by having him attempt to literally answer rhetorical questions, only to find it ridiculous when the human didn’t mean that at all. (“If you do not mean for me to answer, why do you ask the question?”)

7) Non-verbal communication is Key

Spock communicates a lot nonverbally: he raises an eyebrow, stands with hands on hips, tilts his head, raises both eyebrows, thins his lips, opens his mouth and looks askance as he speaks, nods, frowns, hums quietly, crosses his arms over his chest. All of these things add much-needed flavor to your dialogue, but can be difficult to write without getting repetitive. Keep in mind the range of communication, and also why he employs these techniques. It seems he does it on purpose.

A human does a lot of non-verbal communication without thinking about it. We flail our hands and shake our heads and our eyebrows are constantly dancing. Spock means to convey specific concerns with his non-verbal communication. It’s not that he’s doing it subconsciously. He also expects that the conversation partner understands the precise meaning of his communication. A raised eyebrow can say “fascinating” or “ridiculous” and it’s up to you the writer to tell us what it means, because Spock certainly knows what he means. Sometimes based on the circumstances it’s obvious, other times you might have to explicitly state it.

Also, and this isn’t something I see a lot, but in Random Thoughts (a Voyager episode) Tuvok outright states that prior to joining Starfleet most of his conversation was non-verbal and solely telepathy-based. Spock’s nuanced, yet subtle, non-verbal communication may in part be because on Vulcan they communicate telepathically in day-to-day interactions. This could also be interesting for a fic writer to explore.

8) You can get Spock to say almost anything with this trick:

Start out with “As you humans would say” or some variation.

Let’s say you write a sentence that has Spock saying, “What the hell?” Try as you might, editing as you may, you cannot resolve this sentence into anything approaching Spock’s normal speech. Try shifting it a little, and drawing attention to the incongruity rather than masking it. Instead, Spock now says, “I believe a human would now invoke the spectre of Satan’s abode in order to rhetorically inquire as to how this situation has come to be.” It’s perfect: precise without being needlessly complex, and it recalls the original “what the hell” in a way that makes the human reader nod thoughtfully or even laugh.

Used sparingly, this technique is amazingly helpful for relieving your own stress as a writer. It also has a long history in AOS and TOS as something that Spock really does, so bonus there! (see: “I can confirm your theory to be horseshit.”)

9) Spock gets interrupted a lot

Because of all the rules above. They get annoying to a human listener. Not much to say about this; just keep it in mind and also think about how that must affect him. Poor dear.

10) A short list of things Spock says often

When all else fails, deploy these Spockisms: obviously, fascinating, interesting, acceptable, (il)logical, intelligence, true (although he seldom says “false”), analyzing, yes (less frequently “no”), precisely, emotional, unnecessary, believe (he says “I believe” an awful lot for someone so devoted to logical reasoning).

11) Ugh, I completely don’t know what to write.

It’s cool, same here. Check out this list of Spock quotes on IMDB for inspiration.

12) What other tips do you employ when writing Spock?


Poor Spock. 

This just breaks my heart so much because it’s Spock. 
He doesn’t do ‘showing pain’. He represses the pain, even when he’s in it because it’s the Vulcan way. 
He’s not only admitting to pain, but he’s accepting help because he wouldn’t have made it this far without McCoy. He’s literally one step away from throwing him over his shoulder and just carrying him around which would have been the next step because Spock wasn’t going on much further like this.