Saturday, February 28, 2009

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

The Twilight Fandom: Choosing Your "Net"

So, thus far in these articles, we’ve discussed presentation and beta’ing, but now it’s the inevitable time to get technical, so let's talk about posting. You should be asking yourself: where? That’s right. You have OPTIONS.

Pastiche's Power Knows No Bounds.
So, there are currently four major places to find fan fiction in the Twilight fandom that I’ll discuss in this article. 1. 2. 3. Ramblings & Thoughts Canon Archive 4. LiveJournal communities. Now, each locale has its own particular culture and rules. This article will focus on the advantages and disadvantages for each “Net.” I am not going to talk about the “how-to’s” of posting, so ideally, both you old farts and you young thangs should benefit from the discussion.

Also, this article is especially timely. I began researching this topic before FF decided to go haywire this past week, and one of my key topics was where to post T, M, and NC-17/MA stories. In light of the recent tumult, that topic gets an additional discussion at the end.

Anyway, we commence:

FF is pretty much High Tara in the fandom universe. It is a database and archive, created in '98 by a student, Xing Li. As of February 16, 2009, Twilight was the fourth largest fandom on FF with 64,165 stories posted. FF is simple. Anyone over 13 years of age can get an account and post… “whatever.”

Features & Functions:

1. The ROLL. When you click on the "Twilight" category on, and you see the list of the 25 most recently posted stories, you are clicking on the "roll." It is the massive spooling cyber-wheel upon which all stories get a front page feature until more stories come along and bump them to the back pages. The roll is simultaneously the most democratic and tedious way to find new stories—even as it remains absolutely essential.
2. Story Alerts. A reader subscription via email. Story title, chapter title and number, summary, and author name are listed for the reader in the mail.
3. Story Favorites. A reader loves your story, chooses to “add to favorites,” and it gets listed on the “favorite tab” on her profile page.
4. Author Alerts/Favorites. Same as above, except with authors.
5. Communities (C2s). Members can create story collections for a particular interest, a contest, or a specialized favorites list that other's can subscribe to as well.


1. Speed. You can post immediately on FF. There is no validation process.
2. Word-of-Mouth. When a story goes “big” on FF—a story goes BIG. This is due in part to the "favorites" function on profile pages. One person favorites a story. Someone sees their profile page, reads the story, and favorites it, too. And so on and so forth. Eventually reviews burgeon, reaching high digits, and more people take notice and check out the story and so on and so forth. The KABOOM hits.
3. Community Subscriptions. A great number of readers like to rely on others to collect stories for them—especially when they trust a particular reader and don’t have the time to find new stories on their own. Thus, communities (C2s) are a key story access point for many readers. Access C2s by searching through the “Communities” category on FF or by seeing the community tab on a particular author’s profile page—and then you can subscribe and receive stories automatically. Some of the more popular C2s on FF (beside the contests) include “The Human in Them,” “Good, Completed Twilight Fiction,” and “Graphic Lemons.”
4. Contests. C2s also allow for popular contests to occur. For example, the most popular C2 for Twilight happens to be a contest, “The Dirty Talking Edward Contest.” The C2 feature allows contest holders to collect the stories in a single place, list the rules on the C2 profile page, and finally, conduct a poll to determine winners. Meanwhile, readers can subscribe to receive the entries. Contests are great ways to introduce new authors.


1. Size. I like to call the FF Roll the place where good fic goes to die, because seriously, for a brand new author with no preexisting FF buddies to spread the word, gaining readers and reviews takes FOREVER—even if the story is GREAT. The story is one out of 65,000 after all.

***This problem has led to a new regular feature on TLYDF: The 50 Clicks Dumpster Diving Challenge—we’re sending authors straight to the FF Roll to highlight new stories. See the post below.***

2. Quality. Because anyone can post on FF, fewer readers use the roll to find new fic.
3. Banned Content. MA fic is banned. Fics with real-live actors—banned.

Twilighted was created by real live ladies who wanted to create a site for mature, quality Twilight fan fiction. (Ladies, you rock.)

Features & Functions:

1. The ROLL – validated stories are easily found under the “Most Recent” tab listed at the top of the screen. Featured stories include title, basic information, summaries of almost any length, and possibly a fancy banner, too.
2. Validators/Twilighted Betas – you cannot just “post” a story on Twilighted. All stories must be accepted and approved for grammar and content, and then all subsequent chapters must be validated prior to posting. Your Twilighted beta will post your story after she reviews it.
3. Story Favorite – Unlike on FF, a story Favorite on Twilighted functions as an ALERT. No one else will be able to see your favorites on your profile, but like with FF, you will received an automated email when an author updates. Click the “submit” button to get this going. (I think a LOT of people don’t know this feature exists. I had been using Twilight for three months before I figured it out… so yeah, be sure to “Favorite” on Twilighted, too!)
4. Author Favorite – Functions like a story favorite.
5. Ratings – You can rate stories on Twilighted from 1 to 10. This will result in a rating out of five stars. Does this tell you what the best stories are? Not really. Most popular stories have 5 stars… as do many unpopular stories. And for new stories, a single bad rating can give a really bad impression to other readers.
6. Ribbons. Twilighted validators/betas on occasion will decide to highlight a story for its exceptional writing by placing a blue ribbon on its summary page. I personally adore this little feature…
7. Round Robins. If you are going to collaborate with another author, you can both assign your names to a story.


1. Quality. The fact that validators take the time to go through and review stories means that the quality is inevitably higher on Twilighted. A large number of discerning readers use the Twilighted roll as a way to find new stories because of the higher standard.
2. Content. You can post on Twilighted what you cannot post on FF, e.g. NC-17/MA and real-live actor stories (AKA Rob stories). *Note: incest and pedophilia are banned from Twilighted, so take that stuff to your LiveJournal if you feel like you have a Nabokovesque tale to tell.
3. BANNERS…! Perfect, wonderful, artistic, enticing banners. (Yes, I like them.) You can post a banner or square graphic, giving readers a visual insight to your story. I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t even post on Twilighted without a banner. Stories with banners get more attention—as they should.
4. Collaborations. Twilighted lets you have multiple authors on the same story with the Round Robin feature, so you both get your names alongside the reviews. This solves the problem that occurs on FF, in which both authors collaborate on a story, but one author has 800 reviews for the story while the other has 250.


1. Size and Limitations. No story on Twilighted has over 2k reviews. In contrast, stories on FF in the Twilighted fandom have reached over 10k reviews. FF is simply bigger, with a larger number of readers.
2. Posting Speed. Because Twilighted stories rely on betas to review, validate, and post them, the time at which they hit the roll is not in your control. Also, the betas are real people with lives, and while some betas are super fast, others are not as fast.

Rambling & Thoughts
Rambling Thoughts is a strictly canon site. No AU, no all-human; also, no rating beyond PG-13. It only accepts new authors for limited intervals. Once you’ve submitted story and it’s accepted, it takes a while to get posted. Thankfully, once you are posted, you are free to post on your own. It has a smaller readership than the aforementioned sites; however, if you are a canon writer, small is good because you get a devoted readership. Nice, eh?

Live (LJ)
LiveJournal is a virtual community where Internet users can keep a blog, journal, diary—or fan fiction archive. TLYDF is going to cover LJ more in depth in another article—but know that your individual LJ page is your own page. You can restrict who accesses it. It is yours. Yours. Yours. Yours. The obvious disadvantage here is that it’s harder to find, but if you are linked with related communities, e.g. JacobxBella shipping community or let’s say… a gift exchange, you will connect with a wider circuit of people. Cool, eh?

K or T or M or R or NC-17—Which Site Do I Choose for My Rating?

This is simple. If possible, post everywhere you can. The more places you publish, the more eyes will get to see your story. That being said, if you have an NC-17 or M (M is defined as age 16+ on FF) fic, you will benefit from being published on Twilighted. There are several reasons: First, the default setting on FF Roll is K-T, thus M fics don’t show up unless you click “M” or “All Stories,” but on Twilighted, the NC-17 fics always show up in the roll.

Second, as many of you became aware this past week, FF technically does not accept MA or NC-17 fics, i.e. fics with explicit content (see GinnyW post). In fact in 2002, FF banned Mature Adult (MA) fics, causing a great exodus of fics to external adult sites, e.g. equivalents of and LiveJournal accounts and communities. Now, does MA content continue to exist sub rosa on FF? You betcha. Is FF going to delete M fic any time soon? Hah. HAH. I laugh—long and hard. FF makes money off of advertisers. Cutting M fics would probably make it unprofitable. To stay profitable, FF relies on users to report extreme abuse. Why? Because it’s cheap. Now, is there a possibility that FF could delete all M? Sure. But there’d have to be a viable, consolidated legal threat—so, it’s unlikely.

Still. Rules are rules, so if you have a fic with mature content, and you’re worried… back that baby up by publishing on Twilighted or on a LiveJournal account.

Pastiche’s Pen Tip: Turn off the ad blocker on FF. How? On the home page, FF has no actual “help” section. But there is a beautiful and often ignored feature: the ad blocker. Roll your mouse cursor over “Help” in the upper right-hand corner (but don’t click, “roll”) and then click to get three days ad-free.

Pastiche is hilarious as hell and quite possibly the Second Coming. You know this by now. Find her here.

FicDive: 50 Clicks Dive For Fic

The 50 Clicks Dumpster Diving Challenge Fic Recs

**Brought to you by the Ginormous Brain that is Pastiche Pen**

Why? Because the FF "Twilight" Roll is where good stories go to die. The Roll is a cemetery of unnoticed fan fiction. It's an industrial dumpster, heaping with hackneyed plots and garbled grammar. "Edward never came back" comes back again and again and no one seems to mind that Bella Swan is a 5'4" super model or that Meyer never wrote Jacob as a rapist. To be short, the "Roll" is the seamy underbelly of the Twilight Fandom, and even though it's the great womb from which all fic is born—it's also the dark pit from which most of us spring but never return. Instead, we old crones grow complacent in our traditional ways, relying on author alerts and word-of-mouth, never bothering to actually “look” for new blood.

So we're bringing the bitches back.

You heard me. We're taking the Old Guard, giving them rubber gloves, and sending them searching for Cousin Lenny's long-lost diamond ring—the needle in the hay stack—the diamond in the rough. We know there is good fic in that dumpster. Beneath rotten banana peels and moldy bread lurk fragile saplings filled with high comedy, elegant rhetoric, and tragic fairytale.

So, Folks, this is about the sisterhood. It's about not sticking to our own lunch tables. It’s about everyone not reading the same fifty fics. It's about dropping the ego and knowing that there is another author out there who is better than you—and declaring she deserves a read, too!

So, Ya-Ya fuckgood fandom, we're going after the lost treasure!

Diver Parameters & Rules

1. We’re going to be doing this regularly in pairs on Wednesdays 2. Our “divers” must look at two pages on the Roll—there are 25 stories per page—thus the "50" 3. Divers must choose 1-2 stories to review every chapter of. 4. The chosen stories must have less than 50 reviews or 5 reviews per chapter. Divers can limit their search in any way, e.g. "Humor" or "Edward/Bella only" or “Complete” 6. No nastiness

An Introduction to the Wonderfulness

Smellyia and I find fic in similar ways, word-of-mouth, favorites, Twilighted, etc. The days of playing on the FF roll for fic are dark in our memories, and yet Smellyia and I could not stop laughing while we were doing this. I’m not sure that I, personally, have ever had more fun playing in the fandom. We found great fic. In fact, Smellyia wanted to do “Sunset” as an admin rec for the blog, but I insisted that it was such a good example of a story we never otherwise would have clicked on that it absolutely had to stay in the “50 Clicks” article. So, anyway, check out our "pearls" below, and we hope that our dives into the Roll will inspire you to "dive," too.

We Dive

Diver Alias: The Vandetta That Is Charlotte (AKA Smellyia)
Mission: Volturi Cyber-Lunacy
Parameters: Humor

The Pearl: I Quit by LightIsPrecious
Summary: I have only two words to say to you. Possibly the two most petrifying words you will ever hear. Aro and MySpace. Be afraid, be very afraid. Complete – Twilight – Rating K+ – Humor – Chapters: 1 – Words: 1,761 – Reviews: 14 – Updated: 12/2/08 – Published: 11/30/08

Why I Read This: Well, first the grammar was correct. In my rookie roll, I found this to be a high commodity. Also, you've got a MySpace-friend-obsessed Aro and a much put-upon Demetri who is sent off to secure Aro's place in Tom's Top Eight. By the time this demeaning task is completed, Aro has discovered Facebook. He quits.

The Pearl: The Diary of Jane by SulpiciaDoesntApprove
Summary: Jane of the Volturi gets a laptop for her birthday and starts a blog. Chaos and hilarity ensue. Enough said. Twilight - Fiction Rated: K+ - General/Humor - Chapters: 4 - Words: 3,563 - Reviews: 0 - Updated: 2-26-09 - Published: 2-26-09

Why I Read This: It had no reviews and the first chapter's name is “Jane's User Info.” Anytime you get a tiny, petulant, maniacal vampire girl and a laptop together, there has got to be something ridiculous on the horizon. The Blog thing also caught my eye. So, it's loony Jane's b-day, and in swoops decrepit Aro with TECHNOLOGY. Besides her blogging, Jane has a strong distaste for Edward Cullen, which got a couple cackles out of me. I would pay damn good money to see Alec holding back loony Jane from attacking his flatscreen because that dude playing Cedric in GoF looks JUST LIKE that douche Edward. Crazy holds serious grudges—her vendetta list proves it.

Diver Alias: Hippie Porn-Peddling Penster (AKA Pastiche Pen)
Mission: Funny-Bloody
Parameters: Rating = M

The Pearl: A Curious Correspondence by sunshinelollypops
Summary: A bored Bella in biology writes in her 'collection of random thoughts, poetry, short stories etc. etc.' A bored Edward stumbles upon it and leaves an anonymous comment. The result: a curious correspondence between Mr. Popular and the Queen of Sarcasm. Twilight - Fiction Rated: M - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,937 - Reviews: 16 - Updated: 2-11-09 - Published: 1-29-09

Why I read this: Because it starts with diva Lauren Mallory popping her ass in Eric Yorkie's face and giving him a bloody nose. Poor Eric, but this drew an immediate peel of laughter from me. And then, Bella is a delightful smartass, Edward is the new hottie who managed to swipe Bella's notebook, and for some reason there is going to be a Harry Potter 8 play—I don't understand, but I've decided that no matter what it will be wonderful.

The Pearl: Sunset of an Empire by Razuberry
Summary: The last two vampires of the Romanian coven, Vladimir and Stefan, have had one thing on their mind for over one thousand years: revenge. Taking place after Breaking Dawn, they begin their plan to destroy the Volturi once and for all. Fiction Rated: M - English - Supernatural/Drama - Chapters: 5 - Words: 4,952 - Reviews: 12 - Updated: 2/25/09 - Published: 12/10/08

Why I Read This: Let me count the ways I loved this. First, the premise intrigued me. It had never occurred to me that someone would write a story about the most diabolical Breaking Dawn duo. Second, the opening line after the prologue just put me in immediate glee. “It all had turned out to be a complete and utter disappointment.” Heh. And this story is so the opposite of disappointment. Steph and Vlad maintain their diabolical evilness—and yet, they're funny. They are like grumpy, old men making fart jokes, except in this case, no farts—just bloodsucking. Third, the way they kill their victims is creative and perfect. Like, I know, I ought to be remembering that they’re murdering “people,” but I keep forgetting and not caring… Finally, this story has the best goal ever: they’re going to attack the Volturi. I CAN’T WAIT.

Friday, February 27, 2009

LitRec: Jasper Fforde

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in Davis Kidd Booksellers here in Nashville staring at the person of one of my favorite authors. There was about twenty of us sitting in plastic chairs directly in front of his fold-up table and I was close enough to see his nose hairs. On his little table, there was a modest stack of his books. He wore a tired sweatshirt and janky jeans. If I saw him on the street, I would have never looked twice. That would have been my mistake.

He sat down without ceremony and just kind of grinned and gave us all a slight wave. At this point, I'm racking my brain wondering if the man was mute and I somehow missed this little piece of intel in his bio. My sister, squirming and bitching next to me, is nudging my arm giving THE LOOK. The one that says 'what the fuck are we doing here'. I shush her as only a big sis can and turned my attention to the man of my day. He takes a sip from a water bottle and says, “How many of you have been asked what my book is about and you have absolutely no answer that makes sense?”

Immediately, twenty or so hands go up in the room.

And that, my friends, is the gist of Jasper Fforde.

He is an enigmatic Englishman whose appearance gives no indication to the brilliance of mind this man houses in his head. In person, Fforde is affable and endearing, but on paper he is sharp and at times, frustrating. But it's a good kind of exasperation the reader gets from this master of wordplay – if you can catch all the puns, cleverness and wit. I normally have to read one of his books at least twice to get the full picture, and even on a tenth read I am finding new things.

His first and breakout novel is The Eyre Affair, which is also the first in his Thursday Next Series. Thursday Next is our main heroine and she is sarcastic, witty and sometimes every bit of the classic balls-to-the-wall detective she was meant to be. She exists in an alternate universe where Imperial Russia and England have been fighting a Crimean War for the greater part of the last century. The year is 1985.

Books in this world are of the utmost value – well, books AND cheese – and Thursday does her societal duty by operating as a Literary Detective in Swindon. She goes on a mad caper that involves Martin Chuzzlewit, re-engineered Dodos, a maniacal madman, her one true love – Landen Parke-Laine, a gestapo corporation called Goliath, WillSpeak machines, Prose Portals, genius Uncle Mycroft, Daddy Colonel Next who is on the run from the Chronoguard in time and the inevitable breaking of the thin veil between the land of reality and literary fiction. Her biggest claim to fame here – SPOILER – is her inevitable changing of the end of Jane Eyre (thank the gods). But that's just in the first book. In each of the follow-ups, Thursday is breaking down barriers and navigating reality, fiction and even motherhood with smashing style.

To actually spell out the tightly constructed plot is nearly impossible and as with the sequels Fforde has provided us, you just have to read them to get it.

In addition to his Thursday Next series, Fforde has also started a Nursery Crimes series based off of a side character from the Thursday Next novels. Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his sergeant, Mary Mary, solve Nursery Crimes of the most heinous fuckery. Whenever I need a break from Thursday, Jack is always waiting on me in his debut novel, The Big Over Easy.

Jack was there in my hand on the day I met Jasper. It was on the release of his Nursery Crime series that I was able to enjoy his company as he regaled us with the witticisms and pearls of his craft. He was humble and hilarious, and even my questionably mutant sister enjoyed his disposition. I got in the back of the meager line to have my books signed (yes, I brought every one of his I owned) and last minute, I only requested he sign two (The Eyre Affair and The Big Over Easy). I was delighted by him following us to get a cup of tea from the cafe in the bookstore and I had the opportunity to chat amicably with his loverly Brit Speak. I am guessing that Fforde would never remember this, but every time I go to open one of his works, I remember fondly the day I was able to meet one of the most intriguing modern authors I have had the pleasure to read.

To peruse this author's work, please visit his website at Fforde Grand Central.

Smellyia is an administrator for this Blog and is currently reading Fool by Christopher Moore. She is entranced by Shakespearean Fuckery atm.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Affiliates: LGBT Fic Fest

I have been asked by the incomparable Minisinoo to please share with you all a Fic Fest being hosted on LJ called LBGT:

LGBT Fest is a fest for fanfic that focuses on the experience of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. This fest is multi-fandom and open to stories about any characters you want to write as LGBT, whether they're canonically LGBT or not.

Twilight is not heavy with Slash fic, but the genre is growing. Some of the biggest stories out right now fall under Slash. But it's not all about explicit sex. Many of these fics hosted by the LGBT Fest center around integral issues with the LGBT community and relationships.

This is an excellent opportunity for Twilight to go out and mingle with other fandoms-at-large and show that we have something to offer as well. Minisinoo wrote her fic, Beauty, Shining In Company With Celestial Forms, for the Fest last year and it was the ONLY Twilight submission. This year, her prompt is the ONLY Twilight submission so far. Our fandom is HUGE so the lack of representation kind of astounds me.

So in addition to the Twilight Gift Exchange on LJ (that I mentioned in a previous post), please take a moment to check out the LGBT Fest and if you think you've got an interesting story cooking in your mind that would fit the premise, SIGN UP HERE! To read more about the LGBT Fest itself, please visit their SITE.

**A Special Thanks to Minisinoo for bringing this to TLYDF's attention**

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AdminEssay: Howl at Life, Then Write It by Smellyia

Note: This article is only possible by the personal contributions of Real Life antics by siDEADde, emibella and tnuccio.

Last Saturday night my cab pulled up to a bar in Chicago called Howl At The Moon. My three homeslices, emibella, siDEADde and tnuccio, waited patiently on the sidewalk in balls-cold temperatures so I could finish my cigarette – the five pounds of tapas from dinner at 11:00 pm required it. I attempted to shoo them inside, but being loverly friends, they stayed with me in the potential Rapes-r-us climate of downtown drunk Chicago at 1:00 am.  They did this even though I was a bit dour over being stuffed and wanting nothing but my bed and warmth. Have I mentioned that this city is the American equivalent to the arctic? 

Dancers, Gagglers & Lechers
Once I got my very necessary nicotine fix, I was ready for the Goose jumpstart. It was 1:00 am afterall and if anyone wanted smellyia in tip-top shape, top shelf vodka is required. Directly in front of the large rectangular shaped room, there was a U-shaped bar. It was quite nice with its shiny wooden countertops and droves of people looking impatient for the three barkeeps to pay attention to them. I looked for a spot to wedge my petite self in so I could score me some booze, but siDEADde is a tall girl and spotted the bar in the back. I fell in love with that place.  

We made our way through dancers, gagglers and lechers. Everyone smelled like sweat and alcohol and my mouth watered for my drink of choice – cranberry juice, Grey Goose, club soda and a lime. No girly glasses allowed. Finally, we made it up to the back bar and wondrous of things – there's NO line. I wanted to marry the sod who built this place. I got my drink, paid ten bucks for it (It was half vodka so I had no complaints) and went on my merry little way north with emibella. North being the three steps we walked up to rest our beverages and elbows on a ledge to watch the revelers. This is the fashion in which most of my nights out begin and it is also the moment where I decide to be entertained or to be the entertainer for the evening.  

smellyia & emibella
It's amazing what vodka goggles and ridiculousness can do for the disposition. All around me there was foolishness to watch. My decision had been made. I would be entertained for the evening – which is probably a good thing because whenever I am the entertainer the potential for being the arrested is always there.  
And then we saw THEM. 


THEM, you know?! The Cullens and whatever side characters we felt like utilizing. And here they were: standing, dancing, playing piano all around us. In a matter of minutes, Howl At The Moon had become a collaboration fic between emibella, tnuccio, siDEADde and I. This hot mess would most assuredly be crackfic. God, I hoped so. 

Jasper is in the house in all of his Britney glory. He is my pet in this parade as Britney is a pet of Madonna's. He was not beautiful, but he was absolutely darling in his petiteness and the conviction with which he sang a perfect rendition of Don't Stop Believing as he danced. The finger he used to point sky-ward for enunciation of the high notes was the perfect accoutrement to his shoulder bumping. He was positively Madonnaesque, thus showing me Britney would backup bitch. As he spun his partner right round like a record baby into a perfectly timed dip, I wondered which dueling pianist he would like to end up in bed with that night – Edward or Alice? I was also contemplating taking a turn with this perfect man and becoming his hag, but that would mean I would have had to write myself into this as an OC and nobody likes a Mary Sue. So I sighed and let tnuccio take us away as our attention turned to the dueling pianists. 

It was decided immediately that they were our favorite siblings – Alice and Edward. Alice will be a little heavier than usual, but it's human crackfic so I urged tnuccio to use this to her advantage. Alice has fallen in love. Yes, as she sang Queen and was just so damn happy that she had this job where she could play her instrument and make drunken dancers do all sorts of eye-bleeding movements, all she really wanted to do was serenade Madonna Jasper. Her love being unrequited, made her devotion to the Chocolate and Whiskey Gods secure – she drowns herself in both each night she goes home alone. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Madonna-Jasper and sighed whenever she had a break in the lyrics. But Madonna-Jasper was staring at our other dueling pianist – Edward. 

Edward was busy being harassed by all manner of Laurens and Jessicas. They were wearing corsets and brassieres parading as shirts while gyrating, hoping to catch this musician's eye. Whenever Alice could tear her eyes from Madonna-Jasper, she rolled them at her forever put-upon brother. He was exasperated and his hair was constantly falling into his eyes. His vintage tee was dripping with sweat as the amber glow from the rickety track lighting above cast a sheen on his skin. He was positively sparkly. He toiled away at his ivory keys as we describe this man in the purplest prose possible until he saw HER.
Enter Bella, but not our girl-next-door Bella. This was tore-upfrom the floor-up Bella. She was wearing a bodysuit from Fredericks. Her makeup was smeared and the muffin top she sported above her rear-zipping slacks was bending the boning of her top. Emibella swore she would be purchasing the same outfit as soon as the shops opened in the morning after she writes about how broke-down Bella has also recognized our Adonis Pianist and the looks of longing were palpable. Bella tried to get up on the stage for a pole-worthy ass shake, but James, the erstwhile rent-a-cop, cockblocked her. “No ma'am, you may not remove your CFM'S (come-fuck-me-shoes) as we have no idea what manner of growth could be happening on your feet and we run a clean establishment.” Edward, incensed, prepared to go to battle for this love he has only seen from across the room. He was hoping to get a whiff of her strawberry shampoo. Bella only shook her head and extended her hand as a promise for later if the fates will allow and thus they are established as our tragic Shakespearean couple for the evening.  

Madonna-Jasper was not blind to this exchange and he picked up his dancing a notch. His sing-alongs got more intense but his desperate attempts to get Edward to notice him were futile. We all know it is always Edward and Bella who are Meant To Be. Ultimately, after a public bitch slap (who the bitch may be is up for debate) and possibly some hair pulling (Bella's locks are riddled with split ends), Jasper admitted defeat and Bella became his latest hag in the pursuit of shampoo that does not smell like strawberries and can do something about the woeful state of her frizzed and over-treated hair.  

We still have the matter of Alice and Madonna Jasper's HEA. In walked our Tiger. We have designated him as Mike Newton. It is prudent to mention here that us four onlookers have secured a table closer to the stage right next to Newton and his compadre Yorkie. Yorkie was silent and only there as a babysitter for the clichéd drunk Newton. That was his only role and he faded with the bar tab at the end of the evening. However, Mike chose to grace us with his slurred speech, hand waving and ridiculous jeans. He purchased the tiger pocket pants a month ago and wears them every Saturday evening as he trolls for women. They have not secured him a romp in the bed or even a decent wank in the bathroom yet, but he his faith that this will change is stalwart. Who can resist the Eye of The Tiger? Unfortunately, he believed no one could and his amorous advances originated from the table right next to us. The characters of this crackfic brought us into play and thus we became the Mary Sues you never wanted to see.  

tnuccio, emibella & siDEADde
Tiger Newton begins with Emibella. He attempted to get her attention, but she was stealthier than I and was able to divert the fool with her back. I was sitting a little more accessibly and he pounces as if I were prey. What he did not know was that I am a mixture of Brown and Southern, so my skills at deflection are finely tuned. His initial hand waving from me to the stage and what I could only assume was verbal vomit that indicated I should dance with him was answered with a stern “I don't go there” and “No, THANK YOU” worthy of Kyra Sedgewick as tnuccio has told me. SiDEADde, not having had more fun in her life, laughed into her beverage consistently at us. Her and tnuccio's abandonment of Emibella and I had me screaming “MAN DOWN! ASSISTANCE STAT!”. Their laughter could be heard across the lake. For this, and more importantly siDEADde's humor, siDEADde regaled us with the rest of Tiger Newton's story. His jeans play a large part, because it was only a direct result of those that he finally won Alice's heart in the end. 

Eye of The Tiger -- Yes, these are the pants.
At the end of the evening Alice was sad. She sighed constantly and her main goal was to figure out how to pilfer a bottle of Jack from the barkeep because it was three in the morning and no one is selling liquor at that time. Her bottle at home was about out and that is just unacceptable in her time of need. Her pitiful hunch of shoulders and the tears glistening in her moss eyes drew the attention of our favorite Tiger. He walked up to her piano and slurred some form of bullshit. She smiled ever-so-slightly and thinks, “Finally, someone SEES me and he isn't gay.” Tiger Newton thinks, “Finally, the pants are working!” They leave together to participate in unsatisfactory debauchery and we four at our little table are scribbling our addresses down furiously for invitations to their shotgun wedding. We want to see if he wears the pants. 

Alas, Madonna-Jasper was still alone. All of his hags left, including his newest acquirement Bella. Her and his true love, Edward, finally embraced (Edward scrunched his nose up at the smell of her shampoo) and they rode off into the sunset. Madonna-Jasper made a note to purchase her some Aveda in the morning if he can find the brand in Chicago (which he won't). Thwarted yet again, he took advantage of last call and drowned his sorrows in his liquor. But wait! I, being Jasper's sympathizer, spied a man. He was a bit older and had ethnic features. He was tall and played the harmonica in the background with great skill. He saw Madonna-Jasper and fell in a silent love. It was not as apparent as the others because of his maturity, but it was still there and fierce like a wolf. I decided to call him Jacob and as he sat at Madonna-Jasper's table, he told the dear boy how his skill at harmonicas could translate into real life. 

tnuccio & siDEADde
And here we are – at the end of our evening and the end of our PWP Crackfic. PWP meaning 'Porn Without Plot' or Plot? What Plot?' All of our HEA's were intact and our players exited the building. Us four ladies of fandom were transported back to the real world of Chicago and twenty degree weather waiting for a cab while I smoked a cigarette. For the rest of that evening and many days after, we have rehashed this story and contemplated how certain things can never be written first, because they must be experienced first. Hence, the purpose of this story. 

Real Life translates to Fic. 

Actually, Real Life translates into any writing. Whether it be tragic, comedic or the greatest romance of our time. So much of what is written is based off of some experience the author has had. They have one situation that was lived and somewhere down the road it just fits in with the story they want to tell. The author takes creative liberty and while the actual events may not be the same, the gist is there as well as the emotions and lessons.  

I am constantly told of Real Life situations where I have to stop and say, “You couldn't write this shit.” And that's the truth. You just can't. You need the stars to align and the right people sitting next to you to truly get the vision of what the story COULD be.  

When stories are written that have a measure of truth to them that stem from Real Life, I swear I can feel it coming off the page. I get this feeling of really being there and I can almost see the author themselves living some parallel existence. This is not a Mary Sue situation I can assure you. These pieces of fiction that stem from reality hold something much more valuable in them – resonance. Because chances are, we have had the pleasure of something similar in the doldrums of everyday living. At least I hope so.  

Authors capture these moments in time by bringing with them a notebook or nowadays using their iPhone notepads. Unfortunately, during the particular evening of this tale I was in no state to record what I saw, but thankfully I have the memories of myself, emibella, tnuccio and siDEADde to rely upon – all three of which have contributed to this piece of silliness that will most likely never be fic (unless someone rips it from here and makes it their own), but it at least has found a home on this little blog to make a point. 

So I set this challenge forth to all of you out there in ficland and OG land. GO INTO THE NIGHT! LIVE! And then write about it so I can live with you. Why? Because Life is the Written Word. Show us yours. 

To see pictures or read about the Chicago girlcation enjoyed by smellyia, tnuccio, emibella and siDEADde, please visit smellyia's LJ page.

The soundtrack to this loverly evening can be found on emibella's Music Sundays Blog.

Smellyia is an administrator for this blog and will never live in the cold climates of the north. The next time she plays with her Erudites, it will be in the summer or down south. Her feet still hurt from the walking. Ugg boots did not prevent this. She is still a Man Down -- we missed you dearly Avalonia.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TLYDF Affiliate - The Twilight Enabler

Today on the Twilight Enabler, GinnyW and Shug have posted an article partially about fandom history and about FF rules. We know there has been some controversy going on and in this article you can find many answers that you might be seeking. Please take a look.

The Twilight Enabler - DON'T PANIC

Author Interview: ThisColony

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

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of slightly older, more mature writers that seem to have gravitated toward the Twilight fanfic world. More so than I had expected. Don't get me wrong, I've read some great stories by younger writers as well, and of course, there is still a lot of weird, poorly done stuff floating around out there with internet speak and no plotline to speak of. However, in this fandom, there seems to be a greater quantity of some really quality work – things that could stand on their own, outside of fanfiction.

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

I've been writing, in some capacity, since I can remember. I don't take myself seriously, it's just that writing is something I've always genuinely enjoyed doing. In person I tend to be rather inarticulate and painfully quiet. When I was younger, writing things down was really the only way I could sort of assemble my thoughts. And I live in my head; I am always coming up with imaginary scenarios, so writing seems like the natural thing to do.

As far as finding my way through writing fanfiction, I'd have to say it's a little more difficult than I expected. I write when the mood strikes me, and I realize now that if I could do this over again I would certainly have written nearly this entire story before I ever started posting chapters. I'm an impatient reader myself, and I feel like a total asshole when I just can't seem to get a chapter out at a reasonable rate.

3. When writing, do you prefer one genre over all the rest, and why?

In writing, yes. Most definitely. If we're talking about genre in the sense of All Human versus the Vamp In-Canon stuff, well frankly, the idea of writing even an AU fic where the original characters stay in canon scares the hell out of me. There are way too many rules and regulations you'd have to follow I think, if you're really just trying to expound upon a world that's already been created for you. I think that's frightening.

Writing an All Human fic was a way for me to take something original I had in my head for a long time anyhow, something I just wanted to write for the sake of it, and put it out there hoping for a little feedback. Fanfiction is great in that it affords you anonymity, if you want that, and it kind of throws you into this massive crowd of people eager to read something new. They let you know exactly what they think about it. I really appreciate that, and I really need that.

If we're talking about, I don't know, Romance versus Action or Drama or Angst or what have you, then I'd say it's not so much that I prefer one over the other as it is that one or two things just come more naturally than the others. I couldn't write you something fluffy and pretty to save my life. I'm a total doom and gloom sap that really loves romance in my own way, but just find it hard to wrap it up in a nice package for you. It's probably really lame, and I laugh at myself about it, but I will always be drawn to the darker, more isolated sides of people. I'm gonna shut up now.

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

For me, personally, it's unavoidable. I actually don't do anything to try and surpass it at all. I go about my life and business as usual until I get the urge to sit at my laptop and pour my brain all over it. Every time I have sat down to write, I've done so without having the slightest clue as to where any of what I'm putting down is going. I just let it happen, and hope that I can make something coherent out of it. I don't like to force it, and I tend to overthink anyway, so I try not to pressure myself into finishing another chapter, because I know it's going to be obvious and total crap by the time I'm done with it. I just feel there's no point if I'm not enjoying it, because that's what this is supposed to be: fun. Even if I do get a review or two that makes me feel a little guilty. Sorry guys, just can't do it.

5. Do you find anything particularly inspiring while writing?

I hate that word, "inspiring". But that's another story.

I like music. Music, song lyrics, that helps me. Those give me ideas, actually. It could just be one line in particular, not necessarily the song as a whole, and I'll just get this idea like "Yeah. Yeah! I totally agree with this! Perfect idea!" Even if it's totally not a good idea, whatever, I just run with it. I mean, I started writing this really long, pointless thing once about a cowboy in West Texas simply because I had been listening to Patty Griffin's Cold As It Gets on repeat for most of the day. I'm kind of an idiot.

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

Well, for my one and only fic in particular? Yes. God, yes. I have the most trouble with Edward. Which is ridiculous, because I started the entire thing from his point of view (dumb idea in retrospect). I am very rarely ever happy with the end result of his chapters. Just ask my Skipper, Nicole (houroflead). She has to listen to me ramble mercilessly about this all the time. I feel like there is something I am trying to make of him that I can't quite put the way I want to. I think I have his character on some kind of pedestal in my own head, so it's difficult to write it exactly the way I want it.
Now, take Jasper, and I can write you an endless amount of pages. I have no trouble writing him at all, even though I cannot truly relate to many of the things he does. I mean, he's a little off the wall, but I just go to town with ideas for his character. I think I'm completely backwards. But I guess it also helps that I have personal experience with his…I guess you could say, type?

7. In your fic, Salacious (Which I can now spell flawlessly by the way, and thanks for that.) Behavior and Earnest Speaking, you get much criticism for your Jasper character. How do you best deal with the negative critics?

No problem ;] Please indulge me while I answer the hell out of this question.

Ah, you know, I guess I basically just don't deal with it, or try not to anyway. I'm not the best at defending my points of view, I'm kind of a quitter in that way; I just keep my mouth shut and shrug my shoulders. However, with the way I've written Jasper in this fic I'd have to be a serious idealist to think that no one would respond negatively to him. I did not make him easy to like, I know that, but in my head, I am telling you – I love this character so much.
So I've tried my hand at defending him before, and unfortunately, to not much avail. I get especially irked at times considering I'm not even half way done with this yet, and some readers don't seem to grasp the concept that he will develop, he will experience personal growth. Yet at the same time, I can't blame the readers for that either, and do understand where they're coming from.

I have to just resign myself to the fact that his particular character is not someone with a grey area for most people. They like him or they hate him. That seems to be it. No one seems particularly confused in their feelings for him, everyone at this point just expresses strong like or dislike. I've just had this sort of person in my head for so many years; I've wanted to write him so badly. Someone with this insanely intense dislike for himself, yet hyper aware of just who he is and nearly defiant in his unwillingness to change it. It's like he is constantly pushing against and pulling away from himself at the same time. But I also wanted him to have a certain fierceness, a sort of possessive nature, but one that comes off as more desperate and yearning than just some kind of run of the mill jealous boyfriend type. I might be insane, but I find this incredibly attractive. Others don't, and that's fine with me. There's always Edward, which has hopefully come off as the more healthy side of that same appeal – the devotion and intensity.

I just can't get into characters that are…you know, spotless. Just these totally clean cut characters that always react and respond to stressful situations in the perfect, mature way. You know, the way you realize you should have responded after the fact, which is oftentimes the exact opposite of what you did in reality. It's just not very human to have these perfect responses all the time. I can't get into that, and I can't write it.

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

I like to see a review, period. Hah. Honestly, I am happy with anything. But I will say that the longer reviews, the ones where someone has taken the time to show me their favorite lines, or explain why they are enjoying the story so much, giving me all the particulars: I love that. I love that so much that I smile huge the entire time I'm reading it, wanting to find you and hug you, awesome reviewer person. That's the sort of thing that stops me from being so self conscious about what I'm posting, and makes me just forget whatever reservations I have, and start writing faster.

9. What made you pick your pen name?

The more awesome answer to this question would be that I took it from a Joy Division song. The honest answer would be that I randomly took it from the first two lines of something I had been writing at the time I was registering on Twilighted/

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

Well, fanfiction. Never in my life did I think I would be doing this one day. I'm glad I did though; it's so addicting and fun. The sense of community is pretty wonderful as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guest FicRec: In which Rialle recommends two oneshots.

Title: 'In Defence of Mike Newton'
Author: Subtlynice
Status: COMPLETE, Oneshot
Genre: General
Summary: Step into Mike's shoes for a while… what you find may just surprise you…
Mike Newton's perspective of the Twilight Saga.
Rating: G
Wordcount: 3152

Title: 'Absolution'
Author: meinterrupted
Status: COMPLETE, Oneshot
Genre: Post-Eclipse/AU/Angst
Summary: 'It isn't absolution, but it'll do for now'
Rating: R
Wordcount: 782

(In which Rialle recommends two oneshots which are tenuously linked by their use of narrative perspective and the fact that they both feature characters that are regularly butchered in fandom)

It's a rarely mentioned truth that, within the constraints of Twilight Fanfiction universe, being a minor character is the equivalent of drawing the shortest straw every single day of the week.

Any side character entering the murky world of 'Twi-fic' must immediately resign themselves to the fact that they will almost certainly be relegated to one of two positions: In the prominent, popular stories they'll get little to no air time, and any paragraphs that they are mentioned it'll usually be to either to provide comic entertainment at their expense OR to act as foil in comparison to whom the major characters can appear more beautiful/admirable/brave/fabulous/sparkly.

If, once in a blue moon, a minor character ever finds him or herself lucky enough to be given a one-shot (or, la crème de la crème, a chapter fiction), it'll usually be overlooked, under-appreciated and avoided, no matter how well written it is. Why? Because the simple fact of the matter is that people prefer to read about Edward, Bella and their part in 'The Greatest Love Story Ever Told'. Which is simply spiffing… for everyone but the unfortunate side characters who fall by the wayside.

And, without a doubt, no character is more long-suffering and maltreated than Mike Newton.

Oh, don't pull those faces of faux-surprise; you're not fooling anyone. You, your grand-mother, your next-door-neighbour, the local cop-on-the-corner (or bobby-on-the-beat), the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker all know that I speak the absolute truth. Mike Newton is the Wile E. Coyote of Twilight Fanfiction, except that at least Wile E gets some sympathy from the audience every time he fails in his quest to catch Road Runner, whereas Mike remains one of the most unfairly lampooned characters in fanfiction history.

Still not convinced? Okay, so answer me this: Out of all the stories you've ever come across in your fanfiction reading career, how many of them did NOT portray Mike as one (or more) of the following:

a) a smarmy, greasy no-hoper who makes a fool of himself chasing after Bella
b) a sinister, abusive stalker/rapist
c) a comic idiot who frequently comes a crop of the Cullens' innuendos/ pranks
d) a sex-crazed loser
e) gay*?

(*NB- Before you start, I have no problem with gay!Mike provided there's plausible explanation/reasoning/character development to back it up. Personally, I can see absolutely no argument or possibility for it but, you know, whatever floats your boat. Creating backstory to justify it = cool. Making him gay just so you can have him wear pink leopard print spandex? Not so much.)

If you can truthfully say that you've never read one of the above 'Mikes' then you have my permission to scroll on through this recommendation. You are as of yet unpolluted by clichéd fanon characterization, and therefore do not need curing.

The rest of us (and I suspect that makes up 99.9% of the people reading this), however, are in desperate need of re-education. And that's where the wonderful Subtlynice and her masterpiece of a fanfic come in.

Her story, aptly titled 'In Defence of Mike Newton' (IDoMN), is written completely in the second person and is an epic (in the true sense of the word; it spans all four books, from Twilight to Breaking Dawn) account of The World According To Mike. From meeting Bella to being jealous of Edward, to going through the ultimate epiphany of adolescence- that the people you initially overlook are usually the ones you grow to love the most- and his eventual romance with Jessica, IDoMN gives us a Mike who is not only believable but with whom we can identify and even- dare I say it- like.

It is important to note that Subtlynice is not trying to convince us that Mike is perfect. Indeed, it's her total acknowledgment of the less appealing facets of his character- his occasional arrogance and shallowness, to name a few- that makes this story all the more brilliant. Perfection is overrated and, as Subtly so clearly grasps, ultimately non-existent. The best characters are three-dimensional and flawed, they have bad habits and they sometimes think horrible thoughts and say nasty things, regardless of how good a person they are; these imperfections form part of the very basic idea of what it is to be human.

This is Mike Newton as you've never seen him before; realistic, convincing, heart-rending. I'll even go out on a limb here and say that, because his internal motives are properly examined in IDoMN, Mike is shown in a lot more depth than he ever enjoyed in the real books.

This is helped hugely by the second person narrative. Although the second person (where an author uses 'you', as opposed to 'I' or 'he/she/they'. e.g.: 'So, you're a seventeen-year-old boy. You live in Forks, Washington.') is a relatively unused narrative perspective, it can be used to great effect when done well. Needless to say, IDoMN is one of those instances. The second person lets us rummage around in Mike's mind and strip down the layers of his character without having to navigate the inevitable biased self-perception that comes with first person narrative. This makes for an engrossing, wholly unique reading experience.

My second recommendation, 'Absolution' by meinterrupted, also experiments with narrative voice. Completely ignoring Breaking-Dawn, this 800 word one-shot tells the story of a deadened, broken-hearted post-Eclipse Jacob in pursuit of mind-numbing oblivion.

Whiskey is his drink of choice. The devil in a bottle, the downfall of far too many of his people--including his Aunt Sarah--he knows what it can do. Still, Bella Swan's memory drives him to it.

The fic is written in the third person limited (i.e. a form of third person where the reader experiences the story through the senses and thoughts of just one character) and narrated in the present tense. This emphasises Jacob's sense of blank isolation, because although we are told what he thinks and feels, the fact that the story is not recounted in his own words makes us somewhat detached from him as a character. This anesthetized feeling of remoteness is crucial for the success of the one-shot.

… Okay, so that's the necessary 'somehow-link-this-rec-to-the-first' paragraph out of the way. Now for the real reason I'm recommending this fanfiction: it features one of the best, most heart breaking Jacobs I have ever read in any fanfiction ever. And, trust me, militant J/B shipper that I am, I've read a fair few of that kind. Maybe it's because I'm a masochist, or due to my championing a pairing which was doomed from the start or perhaps it's simply because I'm just naturally attracted to angst.

Whatever the reason, the 'Jacob-and-Bella-should-be-together-but-aren't-and-it-breaks-both-their-hearts-and-oh-my-god-it's-all-just-so-dark-and-depressing' genre of one-shots are my absolute favourite to read. Before you ask, yes, there are a lot of them out there. They're the ones your eyes skim over when they appear on the 'Most Recent' page simply because they have the word 'Jacob' in the summary; the ones which get next to no reviews ('Absolution has two on Twilighted) but are of such high quality that they're regarded as gold-dust by those of us lucky enough to stumble across them.

There's no doubt about it, 'Absolution' is a one-shot with bite. If the unflinchingly bitter style of story-telling doesn't have you drawn in from the start, the twist or 'sting' in the tail towards the end will most definitely seal the deal.

There's not much more I can say about 'Absolution' without giving the plot away. Just be assured that it really is phenomenally written; painful, raw, emotive and, most of all, real. Meinterrupted's portrayal of Jacob is similar to Subtlynice's Mike in that it is gritty and sometimes uncomfortable to read but consistently true to the original character.

Do not be deluded; if your main criteria in a fanfiction is light, fluffy humour and sweet-as-sugar characters, then these recommendations are not for you. If, however, you yearn for something that hits a little harder, cuts a little deeper and will resonate with you even after you've switched off your monitor at the end of the day, then look no further, for these are two of the most brilliantly characterized one-shots Twilighted has to offer.

Rialle/DQRC is the fantabuous Jacob-lovin' author of the AU, Seducing Ms. Swan. She also lends her lovely Brit vocals to the Temptation Podcast -- it's just like butter darlin's ... like butter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

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

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Love is in the air…

Not ‘cuz of VD aftermath; hale no. I actually intensely dislike Valentine’s Day. Flowers, chocolates. Promises you don’t intend to keep. Come on. Real love is when he changes your oil for you and never leaves dirty socks under the table and says stuff like, “Babe. Your ham and cheese omelets are better than Mom’s.”

But I digress.

Let’s jump right into this week’s topic.

1. Don’t ask for an update.
2. Your words can hurt. Have a care before clicking “submit”.
3. We love it when you love it.

Of course we do.

Actually, most reviews are nothing but love. Loooovely love. You guys may have no idea how much a really sweet little note can make us smile. A simple OHMYCULLEN THAT WAS AMAZING is always appreciated.

And there are several ways to express this.

Most reviews of the love oeuvre are a few lines about how great the chapter was, can’t wait for the next one, so glad Edward finally said I LOVE YOU, etc.

But the ones that I would like to pay tribute to right now are what I refer to as “word vomit” paragraphs.

You authors know what I’m talkin’ about.

The review that is just… a barrage of information about how affected the person was by what they just read. Coupled with theories, quotes from the story itself, and comparisons to previous chapters that may or may not include the words “best chapter yet”.

How can you not be charmed by this?

I mean, for one thing- I see that you were just so excited by the update that you can barely contain yourself, and that’s simply amazing. I mean, yeah. We write this stuff and put it out there, praying for the best with eyes squinty and fingers crossed, hoping against hope that it made sense to people aside from ourselves, our betas, and our friends who we beg for validation but secretly think are just saying YOU DON’T SUCK NOW SHUT UP like any good friend would.

So like, when you lovely readers/strangers just burst with excitement… dude. Dude. Best. Feeling. Ever. I suspect it’s why so many of us continue writing The Fic.

But I wanna return to this word vomit thing and give an amazing example.

Example: I read a lot of fic. Like ridiculous amounts. I think it's a pregnant hormonal thing but who knows. I am seriously floored by your updates sometimes. They're always amazing but I read a chapter like this one and I'm just stunned by it's awesomeness. Like how do you even decide that a lake is a metaphor for their relationship. Seriously. Fucking. Incredible. And - you pulled a Jacob on me. I spent all of New Moon and Eclipse hating Jacob. Couldn't appreciate him at all. Then BD comes along and I'm able to enjoy Jacob. You did that and you actually did it better. I was so stressed out about Bella chosing gin that I didn't stop and enjoy it. This is my favorite Jasper of all time. I couldn't appreciate him at the time but I want awesomeness for him. I trust that you will whip out redemption for Alice and again blow me away.

Stuff like this tickles me and makes me respond. I mean… you can just feel the love and it makes you all kinds of love in return.

K, I’mma shift gears now.

If you don’t know how to write a love review and are more of the simple or uncomplicated review persuasion… you can do what I do occasionally.

1. Open up your update.
2. Scroll down to the bottom.
3. Click review.
4. Scroll back up.
5. Commence reading.
6. Every time something hits you… copy & paste.
7. Insert into review box.
8. One line on why you love it, maybe in ALL CAPS so the author sees it easily.
9. Submit when done.

Easy to accomplish, and well- I often get people saying “Too many good lines to remember” or some such thing, and I think this C&P thing is a good way to go. Because no matter how non-ego-driven some writers are (and I obviously don’t mean me), having your own words quoted back at you? Nice little purr purr purr-inducing moments, those.

Other ways to show love:

* “I had the worst day ever, but I saw you updated and I put down my essay prompt/laundry/small child and clicked”
* “People in my office/computer lab/family are looking at me funny because I keep laughing”
* Thanking me for updating. Jmeyer, one of my fave reviewers, always ends a review by saying “Thank you for writing”. Now, that’s simple, but dude. If you ask me, it’s the perfect thing to say. And jmeyer, always and forever… you’re welcome.
* Your theories. Don’t expect an answer, but I totally love hearing what you think I’m going to do next.
* Song suggestions, things the update reminded you of, money donations, etc. I love hearing what songs you guys have- I’m kind of a music whore if you hadn’t noticed, and I love getting the suggestions for cool new indie bands that you send. And the fanart? Sheesh. Talk about super duper love. There are some uber-talented ladies up in this here Fandom.

So yeah, that’s all I’ve got. Sorry. Not too much snark this week. I’m too busy basking in the LoveFest. And Awards thingie-ing. GO VOTE. MAKE SUSAN B. ANTHONY PROUD. Clickies down there somewhere.

Eddies and Bellies


wtvoc’s quickie review etiquette number 3:

We do not need you to tell us where to take the fic. And threatening us with “you’d better make them have sex soon!” will mostly likely prolong the long-awaited sex scene or whatever it is.

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 collaborator 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.
The Eddies & The Bellies

Friday, February 20, 2009

Guest LitRec (moon.witche): Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox

“When are you going to start reading real books?”

My mother has been asking me this question since I was thirteen years old. I am now twenty three and still my absolute favourite genre of book to read is a young adult fantasy-adventure with some romance thrown in. Does this mean I’m permanently stuck with the mentality and inelegant tastes of a thirteen year old?

First of all, no it doesn’t. Secondly, that misconception, that young teenagers are incapable of reading or appreciating intelligent literature with depth, is probably why my mother and so many other adults in my acquaintance refuse to give YA books any merit.

Some of the most entertaining, thought-provoking books I’ve ever read have been aimed at people between the ages of twelve and seventeen. These same books have featured themes around life and death, god and Satan, slavery and free will, psychology and physics. I have learned more from these books then I ever did in a high school classroom, unless I was reading one of these books in a high school classroom. Many of them have encouraged, almost demanded, that I go out and research more about the subjects alluded to within them.

Without YA books I never would have discovered my utter fascination with Schrodinger’s cat. Or my belief in the collective unconscious. I would never have learned how similar yet different the ancient religions are. No “adult” book has ever inspired me to research and learn more. No adult book has ever created in me the need to do my own writing.

When talking to smellyia online no matter what our conversation is actually about, joint ventures regarding fanfic, getting Skype to work properly, or writing articles for various blogs, books will come into the conversation. The conversation generally goes like this (and either one of us can be A or B):

A: Have you read this?

B: ooooo, no

A: you absolutely must! It’s about etc.

B: I will buy it tomorrow.

And ninety nine percent of the time we are talking about YA books. Thus the online conception of this article, in which I take time out of my week to recommend to you a wonderfully, intelligent YA book.

My first one is the Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox

This book has political and family drama, mystery, fantasy, and most importantly, originality. Taking place in a time that resembles our early 1900s, it chronicles the journey of two fifteen year old cousins; one who is a dream hunter (meaning she can enter a special place, and catch dreams while sleeping there, bring them out to the people and share them with others who sleep near her) and one is not. Together they unearth a plot to overthrow the government and mystery within their own family about where dream hunting came from and how it is affecting their society.

The books are told with beautiful prose, the imagery of the three main landscapes (the ‘real’ world, the ‘place’ where dream hunters go to catch dreams, and the dreamscapes themselves) all have a distinct feel to the them and play in the theatre of my mind as clear as any movie has for my eyes.

The realism in the world and in the characters and in the situations makes any fantastical elements in this story completely believable. The author doesn’t normally write fantasy and it shows. None of the normal clichés are present and everything feels fresh and wholly new. I did not, at any point in the reading of these two books, have any idea where the story was going. The many twists and turns near the end took me completely by surprise. And while parts of the ending may not have completely matched up (I can’t be more specific without giving things away, but the author did it on purpose and I like the way it was done) I found it was actually a little relieving not to be bogged down by “scientific” explanations.

Instead it was a touching, emotionally satisfying ending that explained everything...except for one thing that still bugs me. I turn it over in my mind every now and then, its like visiting an old friend.

(Moon.witche is author of Echoes of an Enigma, and a host for the awesome podcast blog, Temptation Twilight. You can usually find her speaking of thespians, editing some sound file for the podcast and huffing indignantly when it goes awry because she knows as well as I that technology is secretly out to get us, or spreading love and being a generally kind and sweet-natured individual who is full of win and awesomenicity.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

AdminEssay: Make Fic, Not War - Managing the Haters

(The views listed here are my own, and do not reflect on any other website or author, including the ones quoted below. This post isn't meant to stir any trouble or past conflicts, but to show new and inexperienced authors to the fandom various methods of dealing with hate and the consequences of doing so. The authors quoted herein are expressing their views on sensitive matters as a favor to me and the blog, and I'd appreciate any hateful PMs be sent directly to my [AngstGoddess003] PM address, and not theirs. You can find the link to my FFn profile over there to the right on the Admin link menu. Thank you.)

I originally began this article with the intention of offering my opinion on the different methods of dealing with haters in the fandom. I don't like to think of myself as an expert on the topic, but I will admit I have my fair share of the fandom drinking their haterade. There are different forms and variations of haters, so I wanted to pinpoint the exact qualities of what I perceive a real hater to be.

What is a Hater?

First, I want to punctuate the fact that the word "hater" is thrown around far too casually. If someone reviews your story and points out various weaknesses but behaves neither in an outwardly snide nor intentionally hurtful way—they aren't haters. They are critics, and even when they aren't exceptionally nice while doing it,
Truer words, my friends.
critics offer us an opposing view on our stories. As authors, we are incredibly biased about our stories. When writing a story, it's hard to be objective because it's yours and very personal. Critics hurt us with their comments for this reason, but to call them "haters" puts them in one of the below following "Hater" groups, and that is unfair.The review box is a place to offer authors your honest opinion on their technique, style, plot, and characterization, so that they can improve. At the same time, it's the most proper location for criticism. Even if it's not positive, that doesn't automatically make the reviewer a hater.

I know, your writing is personal, but if we didn't seek critiquing, we would never post our stories in the first place. Right? There has to be some discerning between the sharing of our art and receiving feedback if we are willing to grow and refine our skills. Granted, haters usually attack you, your story, and your readers as well. Critics, on the other hand, keep their comments related directly to your story and do not critique outside of the review box or a PM. That being said, the real, true haters are far more destructive in their actions. Many refuse to leave a review at all. Most will use the cover of anonymity to be an ass, not caring about the effects of their actions on the feelings of others or the fandom in general.

The following are the types of haters myself and fellow authors have seen in the fandom in our experiences with various comments in reviews, PMs, forum posts, blog entries, and personal emails.

Types of "Haters"

1. The Flaming Hater
This is the person that thrives off of all attention gained from being unreasonably or irrationally malicious and mean-spirited by flaming blatantly in reviews and comments. The Flaming Hater is under the misguided assumption that informing an author (who otherwise wouldn't be put in their place) how much they suck is a chivalrous act. The Flaming Hater believes she is doing the fandom a service by having the balls to bring someone down a notch.

2. The Controversial Hater
This is the kind of hate that stems particularly from a controversial fic. The controversy could be something with mature, violent, or unorthodox subject matter, e.g. slash, smut, rape, or violence."The Controversial Hater" has strong objections or prejudices against the content and lashes out at the author and accuses them of being "sick," "twisted," or other various colorful names. Their 'Real Life' hatred seeps into the criticism and projects unfairly back to the author.

3. The Bandwagon Hater
This is the type of person that 'hates' an author or fic simply because of its popularity. When there is a 'bandwagon' 'hating' on the fic in question, "The Bandwagon Hater" will inevitably jump on and go along for the ride, flaming the fic mercilessly, regardless of their personal knowledge of the story. As a result, a large group emerges against the author, the story, and the readers.

4. The Mentally Unstable Hater
This person is scary because they are really fucking insane, and just so happen to hate... you. Frightening indeed. This type of hater can be a combination of the previous three but uses her own... "special methods" to making her hatred known. Messages from the "Mentally Unstable Hater" will contain a barrage of insults and threats that will either make you laugh hysterically or consider hiding under your bed for the next three months—or quite possibly, a healthy combination of both.

Author Experiences

(The following is a flaming review received for her story, You Get Me Closer To God and is a great example of "The Flaming Hater")

"Well that just fu/cking sucked. This epilogue clears nothing up and is therefore completely useless. I hate it when writers (like you) just keep adding chapters to their stories for the sake of artistic vanity. There is no point to what you've written but you did it anyway because you like to be praised. It's pathetic for you to suddenly say 'oh, whoops, Edward likes piano not medicine' in the final blo/ody chapter. You never gave any indication throughout the entire story that he was even into composition or anything like that and then BAM out of nowhere you do a complete 180. Because honestly? He works at a piano bar? WTF? Couldn't you at least have given him a proper job? What the he/ll kind of loser as/s career is that. Why the hell isn't he just a doctor like you indicated throughout the story? I could have even settled for a concert pianist. Oh right. It's because you wanted to write and get reviews but you had nothing to write about. So you just shoved in random pieces of sh/it anywhere and hoped it sounded interesting.
Like Alice being pregnant. Why do I care if she had a baby? Simple answer - I don't. Maybe if Bella and Edward had had kids, I could have mustered up a response but probably not. This story made me feel nothing; you're not that great a writer in the first place. So basically what you've done is take an under-average story and fu/ck it up even more with an epilogue that isn't worth sh/it. And yeah. Rant over. This review is MEAN. I know. But hey. It IS truthful at the very least. Now before you go all sp/astic and decide to write an A/N somewhere saying 'boo hoo, there is someone out there flaming me' can I just tell you to grow up?"

The person sent the flame anonymously—as they often do. That was my first and biggest problem with it. I was unable to defend myself, and that made me really unsettled. Then I thought about posting an author's note about it, but I knew that was exactly what she wanted. And I didn't want to prove her completely unfounded claim that I was going to go cry about it or whatever—right? Then, of course, came the hurt, because even though the story was starting to pick up steam by that point, all it took was that one really mean review to take away a lot of my confidence in my writing. What ultimately made me feel better was a PM from my friend freakyhazeleyes, who had been flamed by a person who had also put slashes in the swear words (like fu/ck). She gave me the chance to rant about it, and after I had, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. The only public acknowledgment I made was an author's note dedicating the newest chapter of my story to "fu/cking opinions." A little snarky and childish, but it made me feel better.

They didn't take it off FF because it was anonymous. I would have replied if I could.

(In response to a "Controversy Hater" received for her story, The Bella Swan Diaries, and how she reacted.)

In the beginning I responded with, "Thanks for reading. My story will not be changing anytime soon, so if you aren't comfortable with the verbiage/banter/snark now, I suggest you discontinue reading for the sake of us both. Sincerely, Ninapolitan." After Chapter 5 or 6, I started just yelling back, "Stop reading if you don't like the words fuck, shit, dick, twat, etc. They're used in excess, and I enjoy them and won't stop because you don't understand what OOC means, ass!" After Chapter 13, I responded in the A/N's just giving a big FUCK YOU to the jackasses that couldn't understand that the story isn't for everyone, yet they continued reading beyond the first few chapters.

Example: A/N- I need a favor, you idiots that are driving me insane, you know who you are, stop sending me PM's telling me that I'm the Devil, just because they had sex in the kitchen, or that Bella likes to have sex, and Carlisle is not a pervert, those things do not make me evil, the list of other bad things I've done in my life, THOSE make me the devil. They are your narrow minded opinions, Bella likes to have sex, Carlisle is horny and I like him, and sex in the kitchen is fun.

I had mothers contacting me, telling me I was a 'satanic minion' for ruining Meyer's work and threatening to 'write to FF and have them remove me because her daughter called her a cockblocker. She then proceeded to call Bella a 'dirty whore who should die from an STD for being a bad role model for her daughter.' I responded that they should've been policing her 12 year old daughters' internet usage. FF has a rating system for a reason, and forgive me for giving her some new 'big words' to use. Was it bitchy? Absolutely. Is the kid still reading the story and reviewing every Goddamn chapter? You're damn right.

(In response to "Controversy Hatred" received for her story, Indivisible, and how she reacted.)

I guess the one problem that I had was in my current story, Indivisible, which is rated M/NC17, and there was a rape in the story. I was attacked for using something so sensitive as a literary device. I got accused of just being sick (even though it was Rose who was raped - hello... canon... SM had her raped too??)

I ignored most of them because the overall response was positive (not that Rose got raped, but for what it added to the story). The ones that just called me names I let go. The ones that thought I was being insensitive, I PM'd. I wanted them to know the reason behind what I did in the story and that I was going to treat it with the respect that I thought it deserved.

Other than that, I just vent to my friends and let them talk me down. I mean, my first instinct is to return the bitchy attitude, but I try to be a grown up...key word there is TRY. HAHAHA!!

I think that I am very sarcastic, and often when I get one of those reviews, I just address it in my stupid, sarcastic way in the A/N of the next chapter.

AngstGoddes003 (me)
(In response to "Bandwagon Hatred", "Mentally Unstable Hatred", and different consequences of responding to haters.)

I don't get much direct hatred. Most of mine is hidden in private LJ groups and fairly quiet to my own ears. That being said, there are a couple groups out there devoted to "hating" my story and… me. They set up blogs on external sites or private Livejournal groups. It's mindboggling to me. I mean, seriously… have you ever tried making one of those things? It's a LOT of work. There's graphics and coding, and you REALLY have to be passionate about the whole mission to accomplish it.


My first reaction upon seeing them was one of complete confusion as to why anyone would go out of their way to create such a website out of dislike for a simple fic. I had no way to respond except to contact the moderators of the LJ groups directly—something I was not too keen on doing.

My story is not without errors. For example, I misspelled "Emmet[t]" quite frequently in my earlier chapters. A small error, but one that really pissed off my haters, and they lashed out HARD over such a silly mistake. In a humbling show of support, a few fellow authors spelled Emmet[t] the same way when they added new chapters to their fics. Oh! Then… we found this whole "Twilight" promotional band-aid where they accidentally printed them ALL with "Emmet," and I squeed and… shit… I'm digressing. But then I got tired of doing the one "t" thing, and decided I was being pretty childish by keeping it up for forty plus chapters. It made me look petty for holding a grudge for so long, and allowing it to affect my story, so I stopped.

I did eventually have to contact the moderator of this group due to some "Mentally Unstable Hatred" threats emerging from their members. To my surprise, the moderator assured me that no further personal comments of attack would be allowed in their community, and quite frankly, she was a rather… polite individual. I often appreciate the fact that the haters have a place to converge to discuss unseemly things about me where I can't view them. If the group didn't exist, they'd probably move it somewhere
Poor kitteh's got Mentally Unstable haters. We pity her soul, feel her pain, perform a thorough preliminary sweep of the house for any sign of EdsCrzyGal, and then offer her some milk to ease her PM stresses.
else where the moderator is far less friendly about my personal safety and well being.

I thanked the moderator for her assistance before we ceased communication and went back to our opposite sides of the ring. If it weren't for the fact she created a whole community just to insult my talents or lack thereof, I had a feeling we could have been good friends.

(In response to "Mentally Unstable Hatred" received from her story, Innocent, Vigilant, Ordinary, and how she reacted.)

When I first started writing fanfic over the summer, I did it for me. I needed a creative outlet and had fallen in love with Meyers' characters, so I stole them and wrote my own story. At first, no one was reading, and that was fine, as I wasn't expecting anyone to read or review. For several months, I got three or four reviews per chapter, and this excited me because someone was reading my story. I didn't care if I got 1000 reviews because I just had so much fun writing that that sort of feedback wasn't necessary for me. Then, after about 20+ chapters into my story, more people started reading. Eventually, the reviews poured in, and I was floored. It was exciting to hear people's thoughts on my writing, and every time my Blackberry "dinged" and told me I had a new email (i.e., a new review), I was so, so excited. Then, one day, I heard that familiar "ding" after I posted a new chapter and opened the email telling me I had a new PM. I opened it, discovered I had a new PM, and then learned someone thought I was a "hack" who "butchered" Stephenie's characters to the point that the reader questioned whether I'd even read Twilight or "a book—any book at all."

This person then continued to PM me after every single chapter I posted for over a month, sharing new ways in which I "sucked the life out of Twilight" through my writing. Apparently, they had friends (or there are just jerks aplenty who like to flame random strangers in ficdom) because soon I was getting lengthy written reports from various usernames detailing every grammatical error and "OOC moment" punctuated with the f-word and various phrases along the lines of "who the hell do you think you are?" The worst was when someone figured out my real (full) name and would address me as such in the two or three PMs they sent me. It was beyond creepy, like a scene out of that movie "Single White Female." Overall, I got about 20 or so flames over a three-month period.

Finally, I discontinued the PM feature on my account, and they stopped (I didn't realize you could block users on until much later). Not once did I respond to any of these so-called "flames." Not because I was too tough to let them bother me. No, really, it was because I was freaked out and almost stopped my story altogether. I was a first-time fanfic writer and didn't know what was normal and what wasn't. But I kept going because I love to write and refused to let some psychos with too much time on their hands ruin my fun. The only advice I can give to someone who receives flames, either in the form of PMs or reviews, is to ignore them. It may be difficult, but these people thrive on attention. Nothing you can say can earn an "I'm sorry" or "Whoops, I was wrong." They want to upset you because they somehow get off on making other people's days as miserable as their own. I mean, it's one thing to constructively criticize a story, but it's completely different to personally attack an author or criticize another's writing style without any semblance of tact.

I think if I had responded, it would have fueled the fire and wasted huge quantities of my time. It's hard to just walk away from someone who is tearing you apart for no apparent reason, but it's the only way to keep your sanity. So many reviewers in Twilight fandom are amazing, but there are a few bad apples. The thing that got me back on the horse after being ripped apart by a few nasty people was the kind words of others. There are some pretty terrible people out there, but by and large, I've found that the Twilight fandom is pretty damn cool and thanks to those sort of people, I keep writing and ignore the rest.

Responding to Attacks and Hatred

To respond to attacks and hatred publicly is a sore subject with me. I'm hesitant to mention it in this article, and if I hadn't been advised to do so by a few really awesome people, I wouldn't. But it's an experience that I learned much
It's a proven fact that gazing at Jacksper immediately dissolves all hatred for an indefinite amount of time. Try it. Feel anything but tingly? No. See? He cures all. It's like a miracle...
from, and someone else can learn from my mistakes, then I'd feel like something positive came out of it.

That's really the downside to addressing hatred publicly. There is no positive result.

I had an experience with posting a rather epic and insulting Author's Note chapter in my story as retaliation against a small group of haters. It isn't up anymore because I removed it, choosing to move on from the negativity.

I won't go into specifics, but I will say that I received a shit-ton of supportive reviews and PMs and comments in regards to it. This would have made me feel awesome if it weren't for the fact I was basically using my readers to lash out at the people addressed in my A/N. At the time I didn't see it like this and just simply got caught up in the stress and frustration of the moment.

That wasn't fair at all.

I stand by it because I always take responsibility for my actions, but given the choice, I wouldn't do it again. It was cathartic to totally lose my shit and insult the haters that pestered me, but it was all negativity. Even the positive response from my readers was tainted with negativity towards the haters.

It was not worth it.

HATE SPREADS: It's a violent and infectiously contagious inferno that hops from one person to the next. Some haters might not even be doing it intentionally, but it happens. Think before you type. It's one thing to be a critic, and another to be a hater, and a whole 'nother zip code to be using your readers.

There is a “Killing Them with Kindness" technique. By responding to their negativity with positivity, they will inevitably begin to see you as a person. When they see you as a person — a real human being with feelings and goals and a family — they will begin to feel guilty. I prefer the… "What if someone was saying this comment to your sister? Or mother? Or present/future daughter?" Some may begin to actually think. They begin to wonder what they would say if someone spoke like this to someone they loved and cared about.

They'd lose their shit.

If they don't admit their guilt then, they're either lying through their teeth, ridiculously stubborn and proud to a frightening fault, or are really, truly heartless individuals.

Another method is to ignore hate all together. I prefer this because I'm a total emo hermit and would rather not invite conflict. This has its own consequences, of course. By ignoring it, you're allowing it to fester and grow among different groups of readers and the like. Some may be okay with this, some may not. It's a personal preference.

In the end, you can't let the haters break you down. It's difficult to manage, yes. It's emotionally exhausting, and there are some days you may question why you even bother participating in this fandom at all.

This is a good question.

Why do we bother?

That's simple.

We can't allow the haters to overshadow the lovers. Because when that happens, we are basically admitting that negativity is more significant to us than positivity. We should pay the lovers tenfold the attention that we show the haters, because they are the ones that deserve it.

I say… when coming face to face with hate, keep your head up, your fingers poised, your armor thick, and your intentions true. Make fic, not war.

You can't go wrong with that.

(I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to all who made this article possible and put their necks on the line to share their experiences. PastichePen for the beta and author recs and awesome advice, Gustariana for author recs, americnxidiot, ninapolitan, qjmom, and... Oxymoronic for getting me her comments JUST in the nick of time, and I swear dude, I did a little dance when I got the email. It was embarrassing, but totally merited. All of the many authors I've been bugging relentlessly for the last week, I'm so sorry for the messages! And Angel, siDEADde, Smellyia, and heck... even Avalonia and DebussyThis for listening to me panic for choosing this topic like the complete fucking masochist that I am. I love you all!)

Spread The Word