Saturday, January 31, 2009

Column: Pastiche Pen's Advice On The Newbie Power and The Fandom Tower

Hi everyone! Smellyia here to introduce to you all faithful TLYDF readers a new column from Pastiche Pen, author of "The Nymph and The Waterfall." She will be discussing insightful tips and advice for the prospective and fledgling authors in this fandom. I think a few of us more seasoned ones could gain some good information as well!

Her column will alternate every Saturday with wtvoc's fandom etiquette blog. Please join me in welcoming her and her musings to the fold! Without further ado, I give you the advice from a not-so-much Newbie...

Pastiche Pen's Advice On The Newbie Power and The Fandom Tower

So, I'm charged with writing a column on newbie story promotion, and every other Saturday I will be dropping in to give my special brand of puerile sagacity—oh, and fear not, our lecherous uncle will continue to corrupt you on those other weekends.

There should only be one piece of advice on this: WRITE A GOOD STORY.

But alas, it is never that simple—is it?

There is a great, fat paradox for Fan Fiction (FF) authors, because while no author wants to "write for reviews," we all want people to read our stories, BUT as readers, finding good stories can be challenging, and reviews remain the best indicator (besides word-of-mouth) to indicate whether or not a story has achieved some measure of success.

Well, all of that, and as writers, there's the thing where reviews are ego crack for the soul.

Yet, we all know that good writing and good storytelling do not necessarily generate an instant explosion in reviews. We've all picked up a story with a 1000+ reviews—being like "a thousand people reviewed this bitch, so there's no way I'm not going to like it, right?" And then you groan your way through twenty chapters of fluffy-angsty-nonsensical crappage—desperately hoping that at some point you'll understand why any single reader submitted themselves to 20 Chapter Alerts of such drivel (like you just did).

We've all also read a story—a story with almost no reviews—that just blew us out of the water with its intelligence, storytelling, and wit, but for some reason, you and two other people are the only folks interested in reviewing chapter after chapter. This in itself is a lesson, because people have their own tastes and interests, and they may or may not align with yours, hence the conclusion that writing is an art form and not a science.

Pastiche's Power Knows No Bounds.
Yet, you still think you'd like for people to read your crap, right? (ego crrrrack) So, I'm a'putting on my Sherah Princess of Power getup, and I'm going to try and help you, because I, too, count as a newbie (according to Smellyia), and this is something I personally wanted to know when I started out in Fan Fiction.

Starting a Story – Tips

~Don't Pick a Dumbass Title.

~Keep it Short and to-the-Point on the Summary.

So the number one challenge that any writer has on FF is getting folks to click on your story. Unlike a book with a pretty cover and targeted jacket, FF gives you a title and summary to draw readers in.

Sorta boring, right? But you gotta work with what ya got. Your title and summary are like a resume, as opposed to a job interview—the point is to get to the interview—not to convince someone to hire you based on a piece of paper. The same goes for FF titles and summaries, you want to get the reader to click on your story, and then let the writing take it from there (the writing is the interview in this analogy). So you need to make it enticing and to-the-point.

If you're an established author and you have 100 folks on author alert—thankfully, you shouldn't have to worry about this crap, because we just trust you, even if you're weird. But if it's your first story… *sigh* it's something to be concerned about. So, you should at least take a few steps:

1. Check and see if there are any other stories on FF and Twilighted with your title—on FF, if it is in a different Fandom, don't worry about it. But do be aware that people will be pissed at you if you choose a title that is close to a well-established story. They'll go all vamp on you. They just will.

2. Use common sense. If the title sounds like it could be an eighties power ballad, it probably won't grab attention (unless wtvoc uses it (hehehe)). Come up with a few different titles, and bounce both them and the summary off of a few people. Choose real live people as well as some FF folks to test. If you're brand spanking new, the forums at have really nice people in their writing/help forums who will probably give you an honest answer.

Title Example:
69thenyourmine96 writes a funny satire from the perspective of James. So, poor James—who's really a misunderstood werewolf (the real kind—not a feckin' shapeshifter)—tries to join the Quileutes but gets the finger 'cause he has a penchant for biting fluffy things on the full moon, and then, sparkly vampires are out to get him because some mafia ass named Caius has issues with lupine superiority. James is only saved after his firebrand of a loveh' Victoria convinces the mindreading vamp that his girlfriend Bella wants ballroom dance lessons—little Bella gets so scared she runs off to mommy in Arizona, and James and Victoria are finally able to play some moonlit baseball in peace.

So titles right? A few immediately come to mind:

1. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
2. The True Story of James the Werewolf!
3. A Bad Moon on the Rise

Well, a quick search reveals that Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? is a pretty popular story—it even won a Twilight award—so scratch that. Option Three with the eighties song lyrics sucks shit (often confused with "a bathroom on the right," but whatever) and feeds the assumption that James is evil—and he is sooo not evil (just prone to loony lupia), but the second title is sorta funny—and it gets people's attention and fits the tone of the story, so we choose that one.

Summary Example:

Jfly/Thallium81's summary for "From Innocence to Experience"needed help.

Original Summary:
When bad things happen in the small town of Forks, Bella learns the hard way that whatever doesn't kill her only makes her stronger. She and each of her friends must struggle as they inevitably outgrow their innocence. AU / usual love-interests

So, what's wrong with this? Well, I refer to I2E in my head as the "cemetery/tree house mystery." In fact when I met the author, she mentioned this story, and I decided to read it… and discovered I had already read it but had been confused, because the summary had nothing to do with the story. The summary makes it seem like generic angst. And it's NOT—it's an awesome mystery/action story.

New Summary:
Bella was perfectly content with life in Forks until she lost her best friend Alice. Now a dark figure lurks in the shadows. Bella suspects that Edward knows more than he is letting on, but how can she solve the mystery if he keeps avoiding her? AU/Canon

Seeee! We fixed it. Details. Intrigue. Edward Cullen. *slurp*

So What's with the Summary Terminology?

Lemon: sex-scene
Lime: sex scene with no penetration, e.g. finger fun
Fluff: romantic bullshit
Slash: Same Sex Pairings
Blackwater: Jacob BLACK & Leah ClearWATER as a pairing
Canon: refers to relationships being the same as in Twilight, e.g. EdwardxBella, AlicexJasper, etc.
Shipper: writers who prefer a certain relationship, e.g. a BellaxJacob shipper (*gasp*, I know)
AU: alternate universe (break with standard plot—but they're still vampires)
AU/AH: an alternate universe tale with all human characters
One-shot: single scene; a one chapter story
OOC: out of character, e.g. most commonly, Edward being not a prude, but big pimpin'
DTE: dirty-talking Edward
OME!: Oh My Edward!
Glossary of Fanfiction Terms

First Chapter Tips

1. Your intro chapter is the interview. First line is key. It's like the damned handshake they always talk about. It needs to be firm. It needs to be intriguing, and mostly, it needs to get people to read your story, so keep this in mind.

2. Assume that your reader has read Twilight at least ten times and that she has read the rest of the books at least once. Be as sparing as possible on the retelling and repetition. For example, don't fucking tell me in paragraph format what Bella Swan looks like—that her father is a cop—and that vampires have venom. Stephenie Meyer has done the work for you, so there's no reason to repeat her, because I already know this stuff. That's why I read FF.

Well, that, and it's free.

3. I personally think that prologues rock if you do them well—also they're fitting with Stephenie Meyer's model, and they're a good way to quickly engage readers in your story. Not always but often, they give a hint at the direction of the plot—and readers love a writer who knows where the heck she's going. Prologues are also a good way to scare off unwanted readers. (This can be important. Having people freak out halfway through your story in reviews is annoying—though also highly entertaining…)

So now I need to give you prologue examples: "Cascade and Cyanide" by americnxidiot, "Wilting" by GuineaPigBarbie, and oh, 'what a surprise?' I wrote one too… see Nymph.

4. Know where you're going. Sketch a basic plot outline at the minimum. Some folks recommend writing your final chapter. Readers want direction, and a clear end is a good focus. Also, consider writing your entire story before you even post. This is hard to do, and not many authors can do it, but the sense of accomplishment is HUGE. You won't even need an ego crack review. You'll just be so proud of yourself. Also, this allows for much better betaing (another topic we'll get to later).

So Now You've Posted… What do you do?

You start working on your next chapter. And then you post that.
You may not even get any reviews until four chapters in.

Keep writing.

If you have twenty reviews at six chapters, and it's your first ever story—rock on, man. But, you ask, "well, how about those first time stories that break 1,000 reviews?"


We'll get to that. As long as it's clear, according to your FF alerts/fav statistics that people are reading your story, you should keep writing. Why? Because it's about the writing, and you, your beta, and your five regular reviewers who love it. That's right—it's still about writing a good story.

So write!

End Tip: If you're a reader considering being an author, choose a sensible name. It makes it hard for people to find you if your name has twenty x's in it, or if you take out all the vowels.

Pastiche Pen is the author of five Twilight fics. Her skill with wielding that pastiche pen of her's is one to be awed by. She will make you laugh and sing with her carefully crafted wit. Her BSG knowledge isn't too shabby either. You can find her work on FF and Twilighted.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Editorial: To Canon or Not To Canon...That Is The Question

I started researching this article on Canon/Alternate Universe writing weeks ago, I just didn't know it. It was initially for my own attempt at an AU/Canon fic. One I thought I could dazzle my readers with. One that would be just the thing to break the monotony of my Human attempts. One that would be fantastic.

Not so much.

My Ego was killed dead before I could even apply any WD-40 to it.

Why, you might ask? Well, let me tell you why. Producing good Canon is not for the average ficster to tackle...and I am an average ficster. It takes a skill that rivals that of the original author of whatever fandom you are playing in. You are entering their world and in that world there are restrictions. Characterizations must be maintained, plot lines worked around and the basic fundamentals must be adhered to if you are going to create a BELIEVABLE alternative or addition to an established body of work.

I probably need to clarify here that I'm not JUST talking about Alternative Universe by itself here. Those stories have a bit more leniency to them. For example, let's have a look at the "Edward never came back after New Moon" fic. Now this is where I find myself taking apart a story. Authors normally take one of two roads here. Bella is an excellent example in this case because let's be honest, the majority puts Edward in that lovelorn tragic persona which is very in character for the vampire.

Bella, however, has taken on many creative incarnations. A commonality I find is that Bella is irrevocably changed after the devastating event of Edward leaving her. Some stay very in character with this portrayal. They take up the sad Bella who turns to Jacob and eventually, is just complacent with what she has, but always yearning for what she has lost. Others take creative liberty and come up with how they could possibly see Bella interpreting the situation and how she would go on with her life. By taking such

Where the Hale are Smellyia's cigs?
liberties and taking a subjective view on Bella in this case, the result will many times bring her technically out of character (OOC). When Bella becomes OOC in these cases, it becomes more of the fic author's personal vision rather than fleshing out of the original. I, personally, like either approach. It gives new dimensions to a story I like to see alternatives for and I enjoy seeing different types of creativity.

When you go the OOC route, you gain a lot of freedom. Many of the rules become your own to be made up as you go. You could argue that this lends to more creativity or even ingenuity. Perhaps. But I tend to look at Canon for those qualities because a true test to me for achieving those goals is when an author can make it their own within the already preset guidelines.

I must be honest here. I have never been a huge Canon reader, preferring to stick to AU that may or may not stay in Canon. That was probably part of my problem in developing my own story. Quickly, I saw that certain liberties I wanted to take were just not believable to the educated Canon reader. I had this whole plot in my head including where I wanted my chosen characters to go and what trials I wanted them to endure. I wanted to push boundaries with these preset characterizations, but in doing so, they became not of Ms. Meyer's original vision. For some reason, the idea that my own creative noodle was going to take me away from Canon seemed unpalatable in this case. I felt this challenge to remain true to the original work and because of that, my little story is in a constant process of retooling just the idea of it rather than moving forward with the actual production of it.

They are to be feared.
To stay in Canon and in character is no simple task, to say the least. It takes dedication, research, patience, a plausible concept and guts. Having a Canonite at your disposal wouldn't hurt either, but it takes good old-fashioned guts to do all of these things in my opinion. Venturing into new territory where the readers are a little more nazi-like than in the others is scary. You are putting yourself on the line and any small misstep can mean a barrage of PM's stating "Did you know that.....Do your research," followed by any number of links or references. You are constantly under the scrutiny and critique wielding fingertips of people who have spent their fandom time fine-tuning their assessment of the original work. Tell me that's not daunting.

But when you do Canon right, when you hit that missing moment within the timetable of the story or background that we all want and it just seems to fit, the triumph must be like King Arthur pulling Excalibur out of it's stone prison. The Canon readers sing your praises and you know that you have gone into another world and left a piece of you there. The ingenuity it takes to not only navigate such a creation that stays completely in Canon, but to do it with the approval of some of the most discerning ficsters out there, is to be respected. It's definitely not a triumph I can claim....yet.

Since I do not consider myself someone who can really speak to the creation and navigation of the Canon genre, I invited one of my TLYDF administrators, angel/edwardzukorocks, to interview her friend, Bethaboo, on her transition to the world of Canon from AU-Human. Angel has been with Bethaboo throughout the conceptualization and creation of her story Eve, The Apple of My Eye. It is an Esme fic focusing on Esme's change. It's a background story I find completely plausible and intriguing. Bethaboo has gone to great lengths to ensure it's Canon purity and has dealt with the pitfalls and triumphs of tackling this Herculean task.

So, without further ado....

An Interview with Bethaboo by Angel on Becoming a Canonite.

"Eve, the Apple of my Eye" By Bethaboo on, is a canon fiction.
"The year is 1921. Esme Platt Evenson, depressed at the loss of her son, throws herself off a cliff, and Dr. Carlisle Cullen finds and changes her. Wanting to die, she is appalled at her new everlasting half-life as a vampire. Can she ever learn to forgive him for damning her for all eternity or will she find and mold a new life away from Dr. Cullen? Pre-Twilight. Canon."

You have written two very successful AH fics and several one shots...what made you decide to try canon?

First of all, thanks for having me on the blog! I've been thinking about writing Eve for months. The story kind of stayed in the back of my mind, and I knew I wanted to do it, but with so many stories on my plate, I knew there was no way I could do it justice. I think the germ of the idea of writing Carlisle and Esme's story started when I read Mandi1's AMAZING story, I've Been Waiting for You, about the beginning of Alice and Jasper's relationship before they found the Cullens. I had also read several excellent Rosalie/Emmett stories, but had never seen anything on the beginning of Esme and Carlisle's relationship. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that Esme, being the only Cullen besides Bella to deliberately choose death, might be upset with her knight in shining armor, Carlisle, for the act that not only saves her, but gives her eternal life. I talked to some of my favorite Twilight buddies and they all agreed, but in the books, the beginning and evolution of Esme and Carlisle's relationship, despite key dates and events, is almost completely missing. So I decided that I would try to write a story that would give Esme an interesting journey while she comes to terms with her existence as a vampire. Luckily, because there are so few details, I do have a lot of leeway with what Esme can and will do. I think a lot of readers will be surprised at some later developments I have coming up in the story.

What has been the biggest struggle writing in a canon story?

Biggest struggle? Ha—that's good. Everything is a struggle. I came to the Twilight fandom a lot later than most other writers, and I've still only read the books once apiece. I've been too busy writing ever since, though I keep saying I am going to go back and re-read. So as a canon writer, I have to work twice as hard to get the details right. The Twilight Lexicon has been an invaluable resource, as well as Angel—she is the master of all things canon. If you're going to attempt canon, I would definitely recommend you not only use a beta who can check grammar, but also have them or someone else check your chapters for canon details. In my AH fics, I'm used to having to come up with both major and subtle shifts to the characters to make them new and interesting to my readers. In canon, you've got to try to write within the narrow confines that Stephenie Meyer set.

Not only is Eve a Pre-Twilight canon fic, it's also set in 1921. This has been another huge struggle for me. The characters talk differently—a lot more formally—and I have to make sure that all the modern colloquialisms that are all over my AH stories don't show up at all in Eve. I'm careful when I'm writing but both Angel, who's my canon beta, and Twilightzoner, my grammar beta, will still find slang once in a while. In a way, this is the exact opposite of my AH fics, because in those stories, the more slang and the more modern cultural references you can stuff in, the better. It's like taking a whole different approach to writing when you combine both the canon and the time period.

Have you found a difference in the audience or readers of Eve? Are the readers different from AH? The same or a different group or type of reader?

I started to write and post Eve after I finished my long AH fic, Turning Dust into Gold. I told all my many readers of that story that Eve was in the pipeline, and not surprisingly, I had very few of those readers follow me over to Pre-Twilight canon. I've found that if you're not writing AH and even worse, if you're not writing Edward/Bella, good luck. However, the readers I have found—or that have found me—are great. My reads are way down, but my reviews are solid, and everyone is so enthusiastic and supportive. I have also noticed that the reviews tend to be a lot longer and more detailed. People really want to tell you what they think, instead of just demanding that you "update NOW."

We all know AH is very popular and your fics are both really popular in the AH universe. Clearly, a new story has less readers to begin with....but do you notice a difference in the amount of readers or hits? What about reviews?

I did have a lot of readers in the AH side of things. Every single story I have written until Eve has been AH. That's not to say that I'll never write AH again. I'm already working on a new AH collaboration (because I don't have enough stories already, apparently). But Eve has been an amazing challenge, and one that I am so glad I took on, so matter how tough it's been and no matter how many times I tell Angel, "I cannot do this, it is too hard," I'm glad I took the risk. Like I said earlier, hits are down (way down), but my reviews are good, and my numbers are growing slowly but surely. I think that for a new story, a reader has to go out on a limb to read and/or review, but a story that isn't the norm, that takes even more impetus to get them to read. Hopefully, the better job I do, the more readers will jump in with me. Trust me, the water's fine

Smellyia is an admin for this blog and writes for the Twilight fandom and dreams of Severus whenever possible. You can find her work on FF, Twilighted and LiveJournal.

Ange/edwardzukorocks is an admin for this blog and writes for the Twilight fandom and splits her time dreaming of Rob and David. You can find her work on FF and Twilighted.

Bethaboo is a noted author in the Human genre of the Twilight fandom. You can find her work on FF and Twilighted.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Author Interview: eibbil

Blondie's Recommendation: Finding the Key By eibbil

1. What was it about the Twilight Fandom that made you want to write fanfiction for it?

When I first finished the series, I didn't have any intention of writing in this universe and held that intention for quite some time – and then a plot dropped straight into my lap and I had no choice but to follow the muse. So it was more a need to write out the plot than the fandom itself – what keeps me writing? The ever-elusive "What if..." and "wouldn't it be neat to see..." that will probably have me continuing as long as the plots hold out. Not to mention – vampires and werewolves. What's not cool about that?

2. Is writing a new venture for you and how are you finding your way through the process?

No, I started writing when I was still in middle school and never really stopped. I carried that love into college and majored in English with a Creative Writing concentration. I stopped writing for a long time while I was busy raising two beautiful little boys, but got back into it through fanfiction when they were a little older and I had more time (several fandoms but most notably Xfiles and Harry Potter) and found it a great way to indulge my love of writing and still have time for work/family.

3. What made you choose the genre you write in versus the others?

I've always been a sucker for a love story, in the fiction I read I will choose a love story over every other. I love the dynamic of two people finding each other and working through the problems to find their way together – I also enjoy writing lasting love, proving that the love story doesn't end when the I Do's are said.

4. What do you do to avoid writer's block? If it's unavoidable, what do you do to surpass it?

It is unavoidable – blocks will happen even on the best thought out plot. Almost every time I've been blocked, I've found that I'm forcing the story, or the characters, in the wrong direction. When I shift gears, or start over, and just let the story tell itself, the block fades and I'm in full writing flow again. Sometimes it means deleting a paragraph, sometimes whole pages.

5. Do you find that any certain characters are more difficult to write than others?

The biggest challenge I've ever faced was introducing and Original Character into a canon-based fic. I wanted her to be real, to fit seamlessly into the canon story without the stigma of Mary Sue attached to her – because she wasn't me, she was just a character that wanted her place, her story to be told.
In the Twilight Universe, I've not yet had a problem connecting with any one character in order to write them, except maybe Rosalie (knocks wood) but I have a difficult time envisioning or writing non-canon pairings.

6. What do you like to see in a review?

While I adore the "omgfabulous write more nao!" enthusiasm (and the "update now!" ones we just won't get into), I prefer a review that comments on one (or more) element from the story/chapter that the reader enjoyed.

7. What made you pick your pen name?

It's my real name spelled backwards. Back in the Potter fandom, I was known for evil cliffhangers. Around that time I did an LJ meme that asked for your name spelled backwards and realized that I truly was eibbil. It stuck and I've used it ever since.

8. Tell us the guiltiest pleasure you indulge in ;).

That'd just be telling, wouldn't it? My current guilty pleasure is time spent with a wonderful friend and a very long string of emails, but apart from that? My guilty pleasure is McVitties Caramel Digestive biscuits. They're positively sinful. (We won't mention ignoring the clutter in my house in favor of writing – isn't that everyone's?)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Admin FicRec: Emibella's Sunday Rec!

It's Sunday again and here we are with a rec by emibella I am beyond excited about. This is a magical Sunday indeed. First we have this amazing Fic Rec that is tied into a Lit Rec on Neil Gaiman directly below and on Music Sundays, we have another essay that ties in with Neil Gaiman. It was like collaboration explosion today. I hope you all enjoy and find something new and wonderful to add to your minds!

Great stories articulate and explore the mysteries of life and fantasy in the larger context of the human struggle. The writer's voice, style and use of language inform the plot, characters and themes. By creating opportunities to learn and reflect. A great story is a work of art that can effect many, challenge assumptions and break ground.

As writers, a short story or fan-fiction may be a way to express something more readily. We are more apt to try new things, explore an edge or a taboo subject, allow ourselves freedoms that we wouldn't dare expose or expect from the novels on the shelves. More importantly, short stories and fan-fiction alike provide fertile ground for larger ideas to flourish and take form. Since style is best learned through reading, educating ourselves in the vast world of rhetorical differences through short stories and fan-fiction can make us better writers in addition to being well read or just having a great time, for that matter.

Many think that the short story is better suited to the demands of the modern life than the novel and one could argue the same could be said for fan fiction. While we would all love to think that we have enough time to read everything that comes across our desks, at work or that is recommended by a friend or co-worker, many times the time constraints of reading a novel can give us pause to pick it up at all.

I used to shy away from the short story anthologies in the bookstore. Sure, they were good enough for my literature classes but I wanted novels. Novels were "real" works of literature, were they not? I didn't fear commitment. I didn't fear the 800 pages ahead of me. They proved that I was well read and smarter in some way.

Yet, some of my favorite authors write amazing short stories, breaking ground and getting people to think. If I have a friend who has never read Neil Gaiman, I now point them in the direction of Snow, Glass, Apples. A short introduction to style and edge and pushing the envelope on what we thought of as truth and legend and also a good introduction to an author I love.

While we have all read at one time or another those single chapter one shots in fan-fiction, not all of them can be considered true short stories. Yet every once in a while one comes along that is a wonderful stand alone gem. Something that really causes us to think and feel fulfilled at the same time.

In the same vein of Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples is the fic I am recommending this week. Aengus examines what we thought we knew about myth and legend. It causes us to think differently and explore a new genre without diving all of the way in to a long story.

Aengus tells the story of Bella, a young girl who goes through life believing in her imaginary friend Edward even when everyone around her grows up and people leave behind their childish ways. Bella has trouble in real life relationships always feeling a sense of disconnect. She has friends and even lovers, but the dream or imaginary form of her Edward is always her ideal.

She grows up and becomes an author, enjoying success enough to take a trip to Ireland to visit the land of her ancestors. There she visits Newgrange, a neolithic tomb that predates Stonehenge and some say even the pyramids.

At this point, this story melds fiction with folklore and Celtic mythology and that is when I was truly hooked. It is not easy to create something that is not of our world. Harder still is having something enter our own, creating a humanistic side to fantasy. While many of us do this in our writing, whether with Vampires or Wizards or the like, entering these areas can be awkward to make believable. Creating our own mythology is hard, building off of others can sometimes be all the more difficult. How do you fit it in without it being uncomfortable? How do you make it true to all characters, both human and mythical?

Last summer I visited Newgrange. The place felt spiritual the moment I set foot on ground, a distant land with memories you can't fathom in your mind how far they go back. Due to the average life span, most of those who worked on building Newgrange gave their lives to it, born after it was started and dying before it was finished. Even more impressive, when you enter the tomb chamber you can still see the intact vessel that held the ashes of the prehistoric people's loved ones. These were true believers in their myth and legend. They were devout to their gods and it is apparent still by their legacy.

Aengus seamlessly connects real life, human characters and the mythical into a poetic journey. Bella's thought process is exquisite and the style the author uses neatly wraps all of these things together in a believable world with disbelieving characters.

Most impressive is how this is truly a full story, needing nothing past the one chapter. That said, the author has moved ahead with a continuation and I would encourage you to move forward in her world. Even though it is a great short story, like I said in the beginning, many great short stories are seeds for greater things. My Love Shall Ever Live Young is a lovely work as well and I don't mean to belittle it in my review for the completeness of it's prequel. It is worth reading just as well for it's humor and mythology as well as the mere fact that it's a fun read. I will not spoil this for you, but this is a wonderful world of myth and fiction (along with a heavy dose of quality smut) to immerse yourself into. You can only go as far as the one chapter to be satisfied, or continue for more. Either way, your cup shall runneth over.

emibella is the author of If It's The Beaches, a fic that has defined manipulation in this fandom. Her rhetorical training is something we all envy and she may have the best taste in tea and music on the planet. Despite being temporarily deprived of her iPhone, she has managed to maintain the TLYDF sister blog Music Sundays. It is a feat that not all of us apple addicts could achieve.
Emibella on FF
Emibella on LJ
Emibella on Twilighted
Music Sundays

LitRec: At The Apocalypse, I'll Have Neil In My Hands by Smellyia

At the time that I am actually writing this Rec, I have deleted and restarted three times. I don't know why. Neil Gaiman should be easy for me to sum up, but putting this multi-dimensional story-teller in one neat little package complete with shiny bow is just not that simple. At least for me it isn't.

The funny thing is, that while I'm familiar with much of his work, I'm probably nowhere near as schooled as some of his more rabid fans. Although, I am willing to have him to my left when I am buried with a copy of, that may make me a little more enthused than the next.

The idea of featuring Gaiman came from a Tori/Neil conversation I had at my last Society of Erudite Enlightenment meeting. Okay, that's just a fancy name for Book Club, but it gives me a false sense of intelligence, so stop laughing. My friend, siDEADde, and I share this deep love of all things Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman. Neil is a frequent subject we discuss and I look forward to dissecting his short pieces frequently. Add gchat Tori kareoke to the mix and well, somehow you get an idea from all that. I popped on over to emibella the same night and proposed what we have concocted for you today: Tori Amos love on Music Sundays and the divine Neil Gaiman here.

"Smoke & Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions" By Author Neil Gaiman is an anthology of shorts.
And divine he is. He is as diverse as any writer I have ever seen. I hold him in the regard of Stephen King or even Norman Mailer, both of which are common comparisons by the Literati. He has transitioned from his earlier career in journalism to short story mastery to poet to comic icon to lyricist to novelist to screen writer. I am fairly sure he has dabbled in about every major written genre available in this day and age. I would count the majority of published authors having this sort of esteem very limited indeed.

Within his chosen subject matter, Science Fiction/Fantasy, he has crossed boundaries. He does angst, suspense, mystery, comedy, drama...I have read all of it in the words he shares with the world. Sure, at the book store you will most likely find him in the SciFi or YA section, but he is Literature to me and if that was my bookstore, well, I'd have to go against convention and file him where he wasn't so pigeon holed.

Gaiman's anthology of shorts, Smoke & Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, is a compilation showcasing his command of the written word. The short piece of fiction is a conundrum to me. I find it to be one of the most difficult things to possess a mastery of. To give any reader a complete picture of a slice of life in twelve thousand words or less is no small task. To leave someone satisfied, yet willing to indulge in more, is no mean feat. In each of the stories Gaiman has provided in this compilation, he has achieved those heights spectacularly. Murder Mysteries, Chivalry and Snow, Glass, Apples (a personal favorite) are each examples of a brilliant mind so infused with a creative capacity most aspiring authors can only dream of.

Snow, Glass, Apples (first published in 1998) in particular, is something of a study on the possibility of what the human brain is capable of. It is presumptuous enough to take the traditional Snow White fairytale and provide a fresh perspective on it. For all of you vampire fans, this is a must read. There is a dark layer added and we see Snow White as villain rather than simpering heroine. The Queen is portrayed as a woman of her people, dealing with the “dark” stepdaughter with some very curious teeth and a creepy demeanor. This story is not for the flowery, but for the ones who want to challenge conventional assumptions.

"Stardust" By Author Neil Gaiman is a collaboration with Terry Pratchett.
In his novel repertoire, Stardust owns my heart. Not to say that American Gods, Anansi Boys, Good Omens (a collaboration with the great Terry Pratchett) or any of his other full length pieces are any less worthy, but oh my, Stardust. This is the story of Wall. A town called Wall, but also an actual stone wall. A wall that for six hundred years has separated the everyday inhabitants of Wall from the “scary” magical possibilities in the realm of Faerie. There is one small breach where two sentries stand guard constantly, but once every nine years, there is a market that comes to the meadow beyond the wall. At this time, the two worlds collide and many moons ago an enslaved princess met a young boy. They had one evening together and when their son, Tristan, was born, he was delivered to his unsuspecting father in the town of Wall. Tristan grows up there without any inkling of his true parentage until one day, his unrequited love for a very undeserving girl sends him on a quest to find a fallen star beyond the stone wall. An adventure commences that includes swashbuckling air pirates, immortal murderous witches, ambitious madmen and true love. Through all this, Tristan finds himself and who he is destined to be. This is a story written in the vein of classic English lore and is astounding in it's styling technique, which is unique amongst his other work.

Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book".
Gaiman, most recently, is riding the success of his YA release of The Graveyard Book. It's the story of Bod, short for Nobody, whose parents were brutally murdered. As an infant, the oddly unique boy escapes the diabolical machinations of his would-be murderer and finds himself in a graveyard. The inhabitants of the graveyard, while not in unanimous agreement, take him in and raise Bod as their own. Over the years he grows and is limited to just his Graveyard surroundings. A girl finally finds him and they strike up a friendship until she is forced to leave by her parent's relocation. I'm not going to tell you the rest, because although it's considered YA, this book is a phenomenal read for any adult and I want you to find out for yourself.

In addition to The Graveyard, the impending release of the silver screen adaption of Gaiman's other noted YA piece, Coraline, is upon us. It's the story of a girl who, as most younglings do, feel the grass is greener on the other side. She is pulled into a fantastical world where she learns a lesson or two about loving what she has. This horror novella is a lesson we could all stand to learn once and for all or at least be reminded of.

"Coraline" is another noted YA piece of Gaiman's.
I would be remiss if I ignored one of Neil's most prolific pieces of work, The Sandman. The comic series is the tale of Morpheus, the ruler of the land of Dreams. His story unfolds throughout the series and is a fine example of mythological themes. This tragic hero's story was followed up in the anthology, The Sandman: Book of Dreams. This collection included contributions from many of the author's devout friends, the most noted being Tori Amos, the female piano artist and prodigy.

The relationship between Neil and Tori is something that has always inspired me. The creative meeting of minds between them must be a thing to behold. They constantly work off of each other in their respective art and references to the other is rife throughout each of their singular work. Neil is constantly popping up in Tori's lyrics and Neil has written stories for much of Tori's work as well as putting the woman into his own pieces. Neil is the godfather of Tori's daughter and penned a poem, Blueberry Girl, just for her. The poem has since been turned into a book illustrated by Charles Vess. The only event for the Blueberry Girl will be held on Saturday, March 7th at Books of Wonder in New York. If I was anywhere within a two hundred mile radius of this, I would be there with my sleeping bag.

The Blueberry Girl is illustrated by Charles Vess.
Now, before any of you hardcore Gaiman fans blast me for this short and inadequate appraisal of the artist that is Neil, please understand that in no way could I completely or coherently dissect this man or his career. My devout adoration for him won't let me. There is too much to say and some feelings cannot be summed up in a thousand words. How do I wax perfectly rhapsodic on the man who has achieved Hugos, Bram Stokers or Nebulas amongst many others in his award's cache? He has inspired a generation through so many mediums that in no way, shape or form could I touch on each without this being a full blown biography. So I touched on what has cemented my love for him and I hope any of you who have not entered the world of Neil, you do so immediately. For the one's of you who have been on this adventure, I'll see you around. You can find me hanging with The Dream King, I'll be on his left singing Tori songs off key.

Neil Gaiman's Website

Please venture on over to the Music Sundays blog to read the companion piece to this rec on Tori Amos.

Smellyia is an administrator for this blog and has written three stories for the Twilight fandom. She has a taste for palatable vodka and udon noodle soup. When she is not reading Severus/Hermione fic, she is working on this blog and wishing people would stand up for what they believe in more often...preferably with a name attached to the mask.
Smellyia on FF
Smellyia on LJ
Smellyia on Twilighted

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Column: Fandom Etiquette: Dirty Uncle WTVOC's Fandom Guide to Reviews Column

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Smellyia peeping in again and it is my GREAT PLEASURE to introduce you all to...withthevampsofcourse's Fandom Etiquette Column. That's right...I said column. Which basically means that you will be privy to this little missie's pearls of wisdom whenever she feels like doling them out indiscriminately. Since that is fairly often, you can mostly count on her "proper presence" here at any given time. No worries...her rapier wit shouldn't cut you too deep.

Disclaimer: This is not for the faint of heart. Proceed at your own risk. Save your complaints. Either laugh it off or don't read. While there are some truths here, not all authors will necessarily agree with this. I, for one, love it, but maintain that "update soon" is not offensive to me. I take whatever I can get ;). However, mean demands for updates or incessant harassment that many fellow authors have sustained in the past should never be tolerated.

Hello, duckies! It’s your Dirty Uncle WTVOC!

If you’re astute enough, you’ll see the weighty hints Smellyia and I have been droppin’ up here in this blog as to me writing something for you.

I’m trying to remember how this came to be, but all I can come up with is:

~Angel eggs on my nonsensical ranting
~Smellyia is an enabler and good friend
~Give me any topic and I will wax philosophical at length, regardless of my knowledge on the topic.

Thankfully for you all, this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

So, a while back, it was decided that I would talk about reviewing. This snowballed into the world’s longest blog post (5,313 words of fury and trust me, I could have written much more), transformed into a collaboration, and now… has metamorphamasizickized into

withthevampsofcourse’s Fanfic Etiquette: How to leave a review

Here I shall introduce “the rules” of reviewing, my thoughts on the subject, and well. Whatever else comes up. So come along, dear heart; grab a seat, keep your hands inside the tram at all times, do not feed the bears… and take notes, please. Not everyone is my buddy limona, who loves every reviewer and responds to all of them; most writers are like me- grumpy old bastards who only respond to the reviews that deserve a response.

Unfortunately, a lot of those seem to be the rude ones. And eventually… you get tired of dignifying even those with a response.

You may or may not have read my stuff or have spoken to me or have seen my annoyingly ubiquitous presence on . But a brief intro to withthevampsofcourse: I have a decent readership, and how do you say… enthusiastic reviewers. Plus, I have a symbiotic, co-dependent relationship with jandco, who has a bigger audience than I do because she’s fuckgood. This partnership in writing and in life adds to my internet persona, I think.

I have ranted on bad reviews before. Several times. Extensively. Many of you are amused because I really do seem to draw out the crazies. I’ve been called the Don King of Smut, I’ve been called a fucking bitch for leaving it on a cliffhanger. I’ve been accused of plagiarizing Welcome Home more than once and have had it plagiarized more times than I care to recall. I have been asked to “read my story and lemme know what you think”, and above all else I have been asked to PLEZ UPDATE SOON LULZ, not even two minutes after I’ve updated.

So, keeping those things in mind, know that verbal diarrhea is my forte, and well- you ought to be able to figure out that I am a little cocky. Why do I get to talk about reviews? Here’s my statistics, because most people can be manipulated with numbers. As of this moment, my stories have a sum total of 5,402 reviews. I don’t say this to impress; I say it to point out that I’ve read 5,402 of my own reviews (and well… I’ve read all of jandco’s, too, but for now I’m leaving her out of it) and that’s where this comes from. Too many people use the number of reviews as an indication of a story’s goodness, but that’s another topic for another day. If you wanna get technical, 5,402 reviews is either ~600 per story or ~77 per chapter. Okay, that still sounds decent. I just like pointing out how to manipulate… oh, never mind.

I’ve read a lot of reviews. I’ve been affected by all of them.

You’re a liar if you say they don’t affect you.

Keeping these things in mind… may I present for your consideration withthevampsofcourse’s fanfic etiquette: how to leave a review. I shall remind you of each rule as I go, but for now, here’s the first and, in my opinion, the most important.

1). Don’t ask for an update.

So, when I randomly hit up other authors with the vague question, “What bugs you about reviews?”, this was the number one instant response.

And dude, we know. We’re working on it. We completely understand that you got caught up and want to know more, like- now. So do we. The thing is this: stuff gets in the way. Real life gets in the way.

But we love the enthusiasm; we do.

And I don’t care who you are, you care about your reviews. You just do. Some people are more… emphatic about getting those reviews and fish for them. Hell, I’ve been known to dangle tidbits in exchange for reviews before. But here’s why: even the most confident fanfiction writers (that’s me, by the way, in case you never noticed) feel varying levels of insecurity about their ability to effectively tell a story, and we are genuinely curious what you think. We want to know. Sometimes we need to know where to take the story, and whether the direction we were thinking of going was where we want to go. Whether what we just put out there made sense to anyone aside from our fanfic alter-egos.

So waking up after an update and seeing that inbox screaming 75 NEW MESSAGES makes us squee just as much as you do when you see CHAPTER 16 OF SCOTCH, GIN AND THE NEW GIRL screaming in yours. We love it. What could possibly be better than throwing yourself out there and having people respond to it?

Here’s the thing. We are not getting paid for this. We ignore several things to write these stories- husbands, boyfriends, children, laundry, tests on fluid & electrolyte imbalance. So why? Why do we do it? For me, I have a thousand things running through my head at any given moment, and I like to share. Hit me up in my chatbox sometime and you’ll know what I mean. Writing is my escape. It used to be reading The Fic, but now I’m in the middle of what, four stories? And I find myself thinking up new ideas every day and have had to tell myself NO. I have less time to read anymore because I’m so busy writing (or, okay, chatting).

So to have a complete stranger- someone who you will never know whether they prefer Plain or Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch or what they TiVo or whether they call it “soda” or “pop” tell you that they absolutely love your story and cannot wait to see where you take them? That’s an amazing feeling, and it gives you motivation to continue writing.

Now, picture this: you have had a long-ass day. You woke up this morning and your kids had consumed an entire box of your sun-dried tomato Wheat Thins and drawn a cemetery on your living room walls in crayon. Your husband called and requested that you wash his work clothes, you have to go to the post office and it’s pouring rain, the laundry is glaring at you, mocking you with its height, and you just realized you’re out of milk, eggs, cheese- and, horror upon horrors- there’re only two Diet Cokes left in the fridge.

Naturally, your response to Real Life is to flip on the computer to see what everyone thought of the update that you posted late last night.

omg, this ** is amazing. A-MAZ-ING. Please update... like... now.

can't wait for more

please put up a new chapter soon!!

i more!

please update! :]

I loved this chapter -- please continue, I want to know what happens... :D

update soon...

cant wait for the next onE!

Excellent chapter.Can't wait for the next installment.

And so forth. These are all off the same page of reviews for Scotch.

Now, granted. Not all contained the dreaded “update”. But can you see how reading the same thing over and over sort of… hurts? Maybe I’m being melodramatic, but the way I see it- you click a button. You’re overwhelmed by the chapter and maybe can’t remember everything you loved. But dude. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to say this:

So I spent the day with the in-laws yesterday and while my SIL told me I had gained weight (it's only 2 ** pounds dammit)and my MIL made snarky remarks about my cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing abilities I kept reminding myself that there was a Scotch update to read. You may have actually kept me from getting arrested. Really, thank you for updating during such a busy time of year.

This was from that same page of reviews. Funny, had details, and never once asked for an update.

She gets it.

This kind of review motivates me to write more. It also motivates me to respond, which I believe I did.

While we’re on the subject, do not do this:













No, really. I’ve gotten this review. More than once. I know I’m not the only one. We call it the “Update Wall O’Death”. Who was it I told that you know you’ve “made it” when you get this review?

I am never amused by it, ever.

So yeah. We writers completely understand this need to want to know what’s coming like, now. But demanding an update or PMing for an update and only the update is just… it’s abrupt. It tells us nothing other than you are impatient and quite possibly inarticulate. Either don’t do it or do it in such a way that we’re left thinking, “You know what? For you… I will.”


wtvoc’s quickie review etiquette number 1:

IM/Chat-speak is annoying as shit. Cut it out. And I wish the lul-catz would die. That’s right. I said it.

withthevampsofcourse's Must Have Been Love and Welcome Home are treasures of the sexy snark lovers. Her collaborations include Saturday School and Scotch, Gin and The New Girl and also betas 5464686486 fics. She is a colloborator on the Twilight FF Awards - The Eddies & The Bellies. This sister soldier of Brown may talk dirty and throw down even dirtier, but her class knows no bounds.
wtvoc on FF
The Eddies & The Bellies

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest Essay: jandco and withthevampsofcourse....need I say more?

We would like to start off by saying that this is not an article on “How to Collaborate”. Because we realize we have a unique thing going here. People often ask “how do you guys do it?” And well. We don’t have a solid answer. The following are jandco and withthevampsofcourse’s thoughts on collaborating as opposed to a primer on the subject. Because we don’t want you to try this and then try to cut us if it doesn’t work for you.


How does one find their soulmate? ‘Cuz I found mine.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

I had found Retrograde through the twilightmoms. I clicked, I read. I loved. Read Safekeeper. Put jandco on alert.

And a month later… Cullen’s Island started posting.

I had already been effin’ around on twilighted for a while and made friends, so says I, Hmm. Let’s get jandco to come play with us.

The beginning of something great.

We posted, we PM’d. We reviewed each other’s shit.

Somewhere along the way… jandco’s opinion started to mean the world to me. Like… I’d send her stuff and I’d be on tenterhooks, waiting for her take on it. Always scared that she’d cut me loose if I went too far in my candor. This was, of course, before we realized that we are the same person on two different coasts. It still makes me laugh when the occasional person will say, “Wait. You two didn’t know each other before you started writing together?”

Nope. Never. We’ve never met in person.

My husband just put it this way:

She’s the all-white version of me. I’m the half-asian version of her.


I fell in love with Twilight.

Then fanfiction.

Then wtvoc.

By the time I ended Retrograde, I was in love with the fandom—but completely alone in it…(bear with me, I’m an angst writer).

I decided to try cliché comedy, so I came up with Cullen’s Island.

Ditching the weird angst was the best decision I ever made.

The night chapter six of Cullen’s Island posted, I got a PM inviting me to Twilighted.


What the Hale is a Twilighted?

Didn’t matter.

The first post I saw consisted of banana hammocks and an inquiry as to whether I was a chick or a gay man.

The name of said poster?


The next day I tried to post a fic on Twilighted and, well, I’m technologically disabled…so I pm’ed wtvoc for help.

She responded.

I didn’t understand.

She responded.

I didn’t understand.

I obsessively messaged her and she obsessively answered back.

To this day I don’t know how to post on Twilighted—but that’s okay because wtvoc has my password and does it for me.

And my gmail.

And my Yahoo. (wtvoc says: I’ll post on yer yahoo any day. heh)

And this thing snowballed from Twilight chatting to everything chatting.

She changed her phone plan for me.

I cried when her baby was in the hospital.

We watched friendships wane and collapse over the course of other collaborations.

She defends my fics and shields me from insults.

I get defensive and bitchlike when people assume they know the person behind the legendary Twilighted posting…

Because they don’t.

I know her children’s eating habits and I text her husband more than I do my own—

We don’t collaborate online—we just collaborate.

The point is, we’re qualified to write this article on collaborations—it’s just how we do.

Chat with wtvoc and jandco:

w: aww

i love it.

j: anything you want changed?

is it too lesbian esque?

w: not lesbian enough, really

j: i didn't think so, either


p.s. and sometimes we make out.

w: perfect.

j: okay, so now whats next??

w: now we talk about it


j: no


what are we talking about??

w: collab

how do we do this?

j: scotch?

w: how did scotch come about?

j: i dunno

w: 'cuz i'm pretty sure i just wrote something and sent it to you one day

and was like


and you were all

j: i say we start with gay ken and go with it


gay ken and his earring

oh, ken

j: bwhahhahahhahahahahaha

oh, ken. why ya gotta be gay?

okay, scotch.


w: fuck, lady

i just spit ham and potato on my keyboard

j: ham and potato

w: 'cuz i'd rather eat dinner with jandco

than my own children

j: well, yes.

we wouldn't have to neglect

if i lived in cali

w: this is true

j: we'd all eat together

w: so scotch

is our baby

j: tis

w: saturday school... whole 'nother ball 'o' wax

j: and should we address saturday school?


i was gonna say

w: SEE?

we have the same thoughts

j: is the baby we gave up at birth

w: that's how we work

oh, SS

a prime example of collaborations

because coordinating

is a motherbitch.

j: oh, ss, we love you, but we couldn't keep you.

we were young

not ready

w: and under the influence

j: we needed help

w: of rob


it happens

w: oh, rob

j: rob.

w: one of the pieces of meat

in the sammich

that is keeps jandco and wtvoc together.

j: just one.

the big one

w: the biggest piece of meat, though


j: teehee




thing is

w: keep going

j: wait.

w: i need a diet coke

j: wait

i think we should do rules and scotch talk in the chat

that way its elaborated on

without having to write it


go--drink coke

imma rant


w: rant away, love

j: for the love of nikki reed, know who yer collabing with

w: i love you.

j: i love you, dear

now listen as i go off

when one is writing a fic, they become passionate about it

they feel these characters

they know their thoughts

they think

bella would never kiss newton


suppose collab partner just....thinks she would?

you have got to be willing to pick yer collabing battles

you can't be consumed with every detail of

"i woulda done it like this"

it simply won't work

and we don't have this issue in scotch

as we think alike

also you gotta know which type of collab you want

improv, in which you bounce it back and forth,

not knowing what your co author is going to do?

or perhaps

one author does edward-bella and another jasper-alice

this is preferable to novice collaborators

if yer not going improv i'd recommend a chapter by chapter outline

at the very least, know the beginning and where you want to end up.

discuss ratings, language, sexin'

ya know, this is overwhelming.

and i don't have to worry about any of it

because when we collab. we write much like i do when i'm on my own.

by the seat of our pretty pants.

and for us, it works.

maybe i aint qualified to write this.

lets talk scotch.

w: bored bored bored

scotch scotch scotch


thats how it started

w: i think so

j: i laughed for three days

then it occured to me--hey, thats hot.

w: it still makes me laugh

we wanna make shirts

j: fuck me fuck me fuck me

w: with that phrasing on them

wear 'em every day

j: i'm going to

w: the thing about scotch is this

we've known from day one

the outcome

the bet

its results

the rest?


j: eh

w: we just kinda

j: nada

w: write

see that?

those two "ehs"

were simultaneous

last week i was all


we're gonna be those old ladies

who have the same haircut

and sit on our porch

j: bwhahahhahahahahaha

same hair cut

virginia slims

w: drinking lynchburg lemonade from a frozen pitcher

ginny slims

j: vagina slimes

w: watching the next door neighbor

who is 17

and eww

mow our lawn

calling out

j: i can't wait

w: "honey, you look sweaty"

"c'mere, have some iced cold lemonade"


that'd be me

j: all shaky hands and not ashed smokes

w: hot

j: mmm

w: we ARE grey gardens

j: certainly

w: we finish each other's thoughts

j: we do

w: so my number one piece of collaboration advice is

find your interwebs soulmate

j: and not someone who you think is yer interwebs soulmate

that shit falls apart quick

w: but what my jandco says about plot outlines is true

the thing is

if one of you wants edward to do the threesome

and the other is emphatically against it

and you figure you'll work it out later-

guess what.

j: don't collab

w: you won't.

you won't work it out later.

you'll hit the sixth chapter or so

and be like

j: you'll hate each other and write nasty pm's.

w: uhh why'd you do that?

whereas jandco and i are always like


because it took three minutes to respond

j: c'mere.

w: no, you c'mere

it's not negative 300 where i live

j: fack

i'm all hypothermia

w: and i'm wearing flip flops

j: it ain't right.

w: what ain't right is yer refusal to move in with me

j: i am.

w: okay

j: dude

i just told mr. wtvoc i was coming

w: now i'mma write for reals and you can respond

j: this needs to be said first.

this whole fic has basically centered around

"there. now you can go win your bet."

i'm just now realizing we wrote around that sentence

for months now.

w: yer right

j: hmm


So that was last night. We had to do a collab for writing about collabbing. Collabing?

The thing is this- we talk every day. We have ever since we “met” back in July when a mouthy new writer had the gall to PM the great jandco, inviting her to come play on a Twilight fanfic website. There was a terrible one week period in which jandco went on vacation and I died a little inside, but we conspired to have her steal Mr. jandco’s iPhone so that we could at least text.

Then Mr. jandco bought jandco her own phone so that we could talk. And we’ve been chatting/texting/phoning each other every day since.

And I really did have to up my cell phone plan because I went over 500 minutes one month. Yes, because we were on the phone that much.

We have way too much in common. I’d be scared and leery of it if I didn’t love it so much.

So when we sit down to write, we just… write. And sometimes we need to talk each other off of ledges.

I honestly believe the secrets to our dynamic are as follows:

~We mutually admire each other’s work. I have no bones to pick with her at all.
I love my own stuff, but I still wonder occasionally if anyone else does. And she’s there to smack me one, tell me it’s wonderful, and to get my ass on posting because hell. She is much better about updating than I am.
~We love the same stuff, but also… we hate the same stuff. Whether it’s sticking our tongues out at Coldplay, obsessing over Rob’s beard, bitching about the exact same themes in fanfic or even our favorite non-Twilight books… jandco and wtvoc are of the same mind. The only thing we disagree on is food, and that’s because she has yet to try my Filipino cooking. And she hates condiments, but I’ll fix that when she moves in with me.
~We are honest. If the writing doesn’t work or it’s weak or it’s too intense or too repetitive, we simply accept that, change it, and move on. Whether it’s our own writing or each other’s, we treat it as ours rather than yours and mine. And I’ll tell you right now… I feel like The Teenage Angst Brigade is as much my baby as it is hers. Yeah, I’ll say it. She was the genius behind it, but I was the cheerleader with a big fucking “Fuckgood” written across the tits of my tight sweater in Varsity Lettering. And Must Have Been Love’s fate is directly related to her thoughts on it.
~We have never once come close to any sort of bitchfest or angsty interwebs drama or chick fight or hell, any sort of argument, really. The closest we came to disagreeing was once back in the Summer of Aught Eight when I had to go on vacation and I wasn’t sure if I could get internet access in the middle of the desert. And it wasn’t even really a disagreement as much as it was jandco using her power over me to get me to stay home. And I didn’t wanna say no to her, but I had to. And it made me fail. Miserably.
~When people think we’re the same person… we laugh. The last Scotch update? A lot of you didn’t realize we both wrote it. We did. She writes Bella, I write Edward. That hasn’t changed. We take it as a sign that we’re headed toward same haircut-dom, and well. That’s not a future I frown at.


I think it's important to note that our collaboration didn't start off trying to be a collaboration. wtvoc and I never sat down and said, “We need to write a story—let's brainstorm.”

We had conversations and fun chats about things like dry blowing and Jodi Sweetin and Wu Tang Clan…and these tiny little things were born- like, how of course Jasper would sport a wallet chain and Emmett drives a Rover…then we were writing a story…

The bottom line is- it's for fun.

We started it for fun, we're still doing it for fun, and though I don't ever anticipate it- when it's not fun, we'll move on to something else.

Frankly, our main goal isn't to rack up reviews or make it to ff superstardom—it's to entertain each other…which we do.

Honestly, the best part of writing Scotch isn't writing Scotch. It's the time spent snorting and laughing on chat or on the phone (or both at the same time—yeah, it's happened), planning the story.

So if you're thinking about collaborating, please consider our advice: know your story, know your soul mate, pick your Newton kissing, Bella gets pregnant, Jacob is a jerk, Edward is a virgin, do we use the F-word battles wisely-- and do it for the fun.


Yeah, for cereals. The fun of it. I mean, we’ve already bandied about like eight different Scotch follow-ups, and we could easily go with any of them. It’ll all depend on what day of the week it is. We’re doing this for fun, for love of the fic, and for love of one another. And I like to think that it shows in the updates.

So, if you really wanna write a collaboration, good luck to ya. There are some really great ones out there, and it is, in fact, possible to do it and do it well. As long as yer not a diva. And as long as you have something to bond over, like being able to rap the drug rundown in Sublime songs.


And scotch is pretty much the product of said bonding. I never really thought if it before, but I suppose it’s something tangible, sort of, that cements who we are.

We don't actually see each other.


And that hurts, but I guess Scotch is like the hard copy




My lady is fuckin’ poetic.


Psssh. I just spit game.


Spit, swallow. Whatever.


I can’t be witty on the spot. Ever.


Yes, you can. Let’s stop before we just keep babbling and in-joking. This is already long enough.

That’s what she said.

jandco's breakout stories, The Teenage Angst Brigade and Cullen's Island, set the standard in this fandom for ground breaking fic. She is one of the loveliest girls and regrdless of what anyone says, her voice is as musical as Scarlett's.

The collaboration of Scotch, Gin and The New Girl has reached thousands of devoted readers and is quite possibly one of the best examples of successful collaborations and friendships this fandom has to offer. Their great minds came together in this fledgling fandom to create Saturday School, a collaboration of epic proportions that boasts contributions from some of the most notable fic writers in Twilight fandom.

withthevampsofcourse's Must Have Been Love and Welcome Home are treasures of the sexy snark lovers. This sister soldier of Brown may talk dirty and throw down even dirtier, but her class knows no bounds.

These hetero life mates will forever be linked by high quality cigs and a cultish love of all things Rob. They are the movement.

Y'all bettah recognize.

jandco on FF
withthevampsofcourse on FF

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Affiliates: Posted!

Hey everyone...just wanted to FYI that Temptation posted their podcast....go have a looksie :).

Author Interview: Minerva-one

Helloooo all! Smellyia here again to announce Author Rec Interviews! As I have alluded to recently, I am introducing some new bits to this blog...This post being my next venture. We will be doing follow up interviews with our Authors who have been recommended. This will be a way to get more in depth information on their fics, craft processes and the authors themselves...Enjoy! It is of note here that inspiration for the interviews came from acireamos, co-author of Love Amongst The Stacks and The Highwayman. Questions were either outright pilfered or bastardized from siDEADde, author of Luniere.

1. What is it about the Twilight fandom that made you want to write fanfiction for it?

Honestly, it was the missing information on the back stories. I like Edward/Bella, but the thing that hooked me on the books was how all of the vampires got to where they were at in their lives. To me, the fact that Carlisle spent 300 years alone fighting his very nature was more intriguing than the main plot, and I wanted to know more.
I kept reading the series just to glean more information on their lives, but I never got enough to be satisfied, lol. I really think that Carlisle turning Edward was the biggest moment of each of their lives – for Carlisle to create another like him when he felt he was a monster, and for Edward to become what he is. I just thought there was so much potential that needed to be explored there – after all, it's the beginning on how each of them came to be how they are - and the birth of the Cullen coven. It started with just the two of them, yet the books never went into much detail.
I think it was the moment in New Moon when they were sitting around the table discussing Bella's mortality, and Carlisle says something to Edward in the effect of, “I will do whatever it takes to keep you here.” That was the AH-HA moment in my mind and started me down this unconventional road.
So all of that had been swimming around in my head, and then I came across a prompt challenge on LiveJournal that was simply “Carlisle/Edward, sexual frustration.” The plot of the story hit me all at once. It was like a gift from the writing gods, so I went for it. :)

2. Is writing a new venture for you and how are you finding your way through the process?

No, writing is not new to me. I've been writing in some form or fashion since grade school where I remember writing a bunch of little stories about this and that …. anyway, I got into music and art and theatre in high school and writing fell to the side until college where I started dating a guy who wrote a lot of poetry and then I picked it up again. Although it was really bad emo poetry at the time, lol.
I discovered and began writing fanfic about a year and a half ago, starting with the Inuyasha fandom, and I now write for three – Twilight, Inuyasha, and Saiunkoku Monogatari.
I write things that I want to know more about, like choices or reasons or living with decisions – the discrepancies between the facade characters show the world and what is underneath the mask of everyday life. I don't really write fluff well, since it generally doesn't help explain the behavior of the characters. There has to be a good reason I like something well enough to write for it and I generally find reflections of my own life in the characters I am drawn to.
I think the biggest lesson I have learned in the past year and a half of writing is to just get out of my own way and let the words that want to be written emerge as they will. I grew exponentially as a writer when I just learned to listed to instinct.

3. What made you choose the genre you write in versus the others?

Well, like I said earlier, this story was a gift from the gods. There was no other way for it to be written, really. Although it is faux-father/son slash, I didn't decide before hand to intentionally write Carlisle/Edward getting it on. It was simply the most rational explanation my mind came up with when I looked at their relationship and how they interact with each other. There is a hidden history between the two in the books that never gets delved into. And frankly, I don't think Carlisle made Edward a vampire just so he could have a son, lol.
I always feel like the resident pervert when I tell others I write Carlisle/Edward slash, but I felt it was an important story to tell and entirely plausible (which is why I try to keep it as canon as I can).
In general, I hate repeating my own work or story lines other's have already journeyed down. I like to think outside of the box, and frankly, Carlisle/Edward is about as far outside of the box as I could get, and still have relevance to the original story.

4. What do you do to avoid writer's block? If it's unavoidable, what do you do to surpass it?

I get writer's block when I try to force myself to just write something, rather than letting the story tell me what wants to be written. I have dealt with it long enough to know that I have to step back and let the story speak to me. I usually have to go off and deal with other things and get my mind off of it – usually reading or watching movies – and before you know it, the inspiration will hit from out of the blue and we're off again, lol.
It makes doing regular updates difficult, but I think the finished product is a better quality, and frankly I prefer to wait longer between updates if the chapters kick ass.

5. Do you find that any certain characters are more difficult to write than others?

Definitely. It's generally characters in the story that don't speak to me in any way, or that I don't identify with. In Twilight, it's the werewolves. I think they're alright, but they've never reached out and grabbed onto my heartstrings for whatever reason, so I don't put any thought into them and they will probably never make their way into my writing.

6. What do you like to see in a review?

I like to see someone just give me a glimpse of why they took the time to review. My own personal preference is that I have less of the “OMG UR AMAZN” and more of the ones that say in a brief sentence or two why they loved the story, how it touched them, or why it is important enough to them to leave a review in the first place. Oh, and correctly spelled reviews are a personal fave, lol. :)

7. What made you pick your pen name?

Ok, I confess, my pen name has nothing to do with Harry Potter or Minerva McGonagal. When I was writing bad emo poetry, I was part of a writing group and we were all bestowed names. I was given this name in reference to the Roman goddess Minerva, who rules over warriors, wisdom, crafts and poetry and is famous for being born of no mother - emerging directly from the head of Jupiter with an ax, lol. She kicks ass, and frankly I just like her.
So I will always be Minerva in pen name. The “one” part comes from the fact that someone had already taken my moniker on LiveJournal. (Booooo)

8. Tell us the guiltiest pleasure you indulge in.

Why, writing faux father/son slash, of course!! lololol. I like being the resident pervert. ;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guest FicRec: Geek Goddess Does Resident Rec...

Author: EclipsedbyJacob
Story: Changing Sides (FF) / Choosing Sides (Twilighted)
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature/NC-17
Chapters: 15, 53,245 words
Published/Updated: 09-26-08 / 12-29-08
Genre/Sub-Genre: AU, Bella's already a vampire
Summary: Bella works for the Volturi as chief interrogator. She passes her days toying with the souls of the lost, hearing their confessions before wiping them away. At night she toys with the heart of a fellow member of the elite Guard. But soon she will meet a vampire that will change her life forever. Is she willing to accept these feelings? Can finding love cause Bella to leave behind the only world she's ever known? Or are some times unbreakable?

Changing Sides by EclipsedbyJacob

Changing Sides on Twilighted Forum

Cdunbar's Recommendation:

What drew me to this story initially was the idea of Bella being… evil, really, by torturing other vampires, voluntarily being a part of the Volturi, and never thinking twice about drinking human blood. Almost all of the stories I currently read portray Bella as the 'girl next door' or the 'strong, independent woman', but not one of them has gone to such an extreme as this author has. Now I know we all have our secret love of Dark Edward, but a Dark Bella is just as satisfying to me. She has chosen a path for herself that she finds little happiness in, but she thinks she's happy because that's all she has known.

The story opens on a scene of torture. Bella torturing Alice, that is. As you continue to read, you find that Bella is best friends with Jane and is involved in a sexual relationship with Felix. But something keeps bringing her thoughts back to Alice. She starts to have a conscience. And that's when the story really takes off.

What I love is that even as you read about Bella doing all of these awful things and acting in a completely opposite manner than how she's portrayed in the books, the author writes her in a way that she still resembles the Bella we all know. She's just a twisted, lost Bella who needs to find her place in the world, or rather, needs to find the person who can show her the place. You care about her, even when she's at her darkest.

It's a fast-paced story – action packed, but still showing the build up of Bella and Edward's relationship in a believable time frame. (And as an added bonus for us non-canon pairing readers, there's a great scene between Bella and Carlisle that occurred back when Carlisle was with the Volturi!) So take an hour or two to read about how Bella develops a conscience, finds love, and the effect that has on her, the Cullen family, and the Volturi. Believe me, after reading this, you will never look at Bella the same way. Cheers!

Cdunbar is noted for her wonderful and original characterization of Geekward in Resident Geek, amongst her many other available works. Besides just being absolutely lovely, she is a master at all things "geek" and many of us would be remiss without her interwebs skills. She is also a host on the Temptation, A Twilight Fanfiction Podcast Blog.
cdunbar on FF
cdunbar on Twilighted
Temptation, A Twilight Fanfiction Podcast

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Editorial: I Owe Some Serious Thanks

SOOOOO...This is just an itty bitty blurb about TLYDF stats.

I had no idea.


The followers list says 107 right now.

The stats program I just got from dear emibella just gave a clue as to how many people read this.

In the one day I have stats for...there were over 600 hits.

600. In one day.

I think I died ded. And it had nothing to do with being Done like Dee on Battlestar Galactica tonight. (Done like Dee is forever in my mind copyrighted by the lovely upthedownslide...if you are a BSG acolyte, you understand).

What hit me was where you all are from...all of us with so much in common from everywhere...I wanted to jump for joy seeing my fellow Tennesseans reading. I voraciously searched for my Bay Area homies...yeah, I used to go to Great America back in the day. People from my hometown read this. People from my current town read this. Gods, I wonder if we've stood in line next to each other at Whole Foods?

I consider this hugely extravagant number for this fledgling blog a HUGE SUCCESS. It's amazing to me that you all come our dribble and spend your precious free time on us. It is an honor to host you all and we will strive to do new and different things to keep you entertained and not waste your time.

So what do I have on deck for you?

~The eloquent and lovely cdunbar is our GB for Sunday...

~I won't tell you who (I gotta keep you checking in right?), but keep an eye out for our first GB article this Thursday. I guarantee the name is familiar ;).

~As I posted yesterday, we will be doing published author recs...because books are the literature of our souls!

~I have a number of "columns" that are in the works *wink-youknowwhoyouare* that will hopefully be unveiled very soon.

~Perhaps some alternate perspectives and rec'd author followup interviews

~Articles about the craft with corresponding recs....I'm trying to get emibella to wax rhapsodic on her rhetoric expertise ;).

~Shameless begging for you to spread the word *hint hint*. I do what I must.

Because she makes me feel even more feminist and hippie in the most elegant way possible.
So...we have some great themes and interesting perspectives coming best friend, Google Calendar, is filled out halfway through February.

Again, please allow me this chance to say how much we appreciate your support. This was a tiny idea that has metamorphed into a labor of love. We really do believe in our mission here and are beyond ecstatic that you all have joined us for this as a reviewer once so eloquently told me - I leave you with the simple, but most powerful words that I have...Thank You.

And to the girls who have indulged me in my crazy notions and have perpetuated my soap box idealistic behavior....AngstGoddess, angel, emibella, marve, wtvoc, jandco, tnuccio, Avalonia, jword, le jen, and last BUT never least - siDEADde. You all made this happen. On the sweat of your backs and our gchat boxes has this been the made into the greatest pleasure of all. The GB's and our affiliates...Twilighted, Temptation, Perve's and The Eddies....thank you for the support and the assistance.


Spread The Word