Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guest Esssay: The "SmartFic" by Capricorn75

As always, Smellyia here to introduce you all to a new tidbit we will be featuring on this here ickle blog.

TLYDF's Readers Series

The purpose of this is to highlight THE READER. You know who they are. They read your fics, they sing your praises, they tell you that you are WORTHY, they make our day and most importantly...THEY ARE THE FANDOM.

Their predilictions are what set the trends and turn the tides of a fandom. They are a universal force on the interwebs. Without the READER, we are just word salesmen without buyers.

The first part of every other week, we will be hosting prominent readers here on TLYDF. They will blog about why a certain author/fic/site/experience has kept them here in fandom -- what connection have they made as an observer that has solidified their devout following. Pay attention authors...these are the people who you are asking to support you. You may get a snippet on how they think ;).

So join us in acknowledging the other half of our symbiotic fan existence.

To kick off the Readers Series, we have Capricorn75 who reads pretty much EVERYTHING Twilight has to offer. She will be doing this weeks article and this Sunday's FF Rec. SO with standing applause, let's welcome the reader we are all dying to have....CAPRICORN75!

As an avid reader of fanfiction, I find that I go through phases of what I want to read and there is never a lack of reading material to fit the mood I’m in. For a long time I only read canon or AU (alternative universe) fics, until a little story by the name of ‘Boycotts and Barflies’ by vjgm came along. After that I read anything I could in the AU-Human genre. This past summer, I was on a serious smut binge. The good, the bad, the ugly -- didn’t matter. I think I read every M-rated fic that posted. In the fall, Twilight had a run on stories featuring less-than-perfect Edward (Assward/Jerkward/Dickward -- take your pick), so I read several of those. Well, lately I’ve gotten hooked on a type of story that transcends all genres and storylines. I call it The Smart Fanfic.

The Smart Fanfic is not just an entertaining story and quick, easy read. It’s writing that really draws you in and makes you think about the characters, what they do and why they’re doing it. They are a great argument against the stereotype that fanfiction is little more than sub-par writing by second rate authors.

"Black and White" by Vixen1836 is an incredibly well-written story with deep subject matter. Edward Masen is a recently discharged Marine who fought in the middle east. He lives alone near Forks, waiting for his physical wounds to heal and trying not to be bested by his psychological wounds -- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety attacks. He befriends Bella and cautiously works towards a relationship with her. Edward has to deal with the fact that real life can not always be regimented and controlled like military life.

"Coming to Terms" by GinnyW finds Bella pregnant after a one-night stand with Edward. I’ve read several stories with this plotline and they all end the same -- Bella meets up with Edward again and he happily embraces Bella, welcomes her back with open arms, marries her, and excitedly awaits the birth of their love child. Not so CTT’s Edward! He is pissed, doesn’t believe that the child is his, sees Bella as a conniving gold-digger and takes no interest in her pregnancy. Pretty shocking behavior for our favorite character that we like to put on a pedestal -- but right on target for a lot of men out there in real life.

The great thing about these two examples of Smart Fanfic is the authors. Both authors are highly involved in their story threads on the Twilighted forum. They explain the characters’ motivations, backstory, and frame of mind. Both have researched the medical conditions their character’s suffer from and taken the time to explain it to their readers. They make no excuses for their characters’ flaws. They ask questions back to the readers and make us think and work for the answers. It’s like being back in high school English class and dissecting the stories we were assigned. Only this is so much better than ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, or ‘The Scarlet Letter’. I’m getting way more out of these stories than I ever did from those ‘classics’. Here we get to pick the brains of the writers, and they share with us in the writing process.

I know some people will pass these stories by because they are not cute and fluffy. I admit that, while highly enjoyable, they are not light reading material. These are just two examples but there are many more stories out there that require you to put on your thinking cap and invest heart and soul into the story. Take time to review these stories and let the authors know what you think. Come over to the discussion boards and pick the authors brain and debate with the other posters. And the next time somebody rolls their eyes at your Twilight fanfiction reading obsession, just read the latest chapter of your favorite Smart Fanfic story and watch your IQ go up by 10 points.

Capricorn75 has been around and back again. Her adventures in fandom span FF, Twilighted and a little one-shot she did last fall called Inhibitions. Us seasoned Twilighted folk know her by her sheer presence and whenever we get a review from her -- we know word shall spread. This READER is Loved HARD. If you make it over to her profile...tell her to put something on it...blame Smellyia for that intrusion.



    love you for that. you're one of my top five fave reviewers, but you know this.

    folks, she really does read everything. 'tis why she was tapped as a judge for the eddies. if she tells me it's good, i believe her.

    she also has excellent taste in betas. heh heh heh... WHERE'S THE SEQUEL, CAPPIE? HUH? WHERE IS IT?

  2. Oh Cap! You own my soul!

    And the smart fanfiction is such an amazing concept. You summed it up beautifully.

    And the two fic choices are glorious. I'm a big fangirl of Vixen since we share the PTSD fic thing, and she's such an awesome author/reviewer/human being.

    I started Coming to Terms last night, and I am loving it! Kudos to Ginny for her smartfic-ness.

    It's always refreshing to see authors focus on realistic every day situations. The ones that aren't instant fairy tale and scream of authenticity. SmartFic indeed.

    Thanks for the rec's, Cap! And for giving us an awesome reader's perspective.

    You rock!

    <3 AG

  3. I just wanted to say that I love Cap TOO!!! - And even if she vomits over Jacob - well, at least she still acknowledges Steven Strait hotness. So, yes. I love Cap, too.

    All done now...

  4. I enjoyed your take on the 'smart fanfic'. Intelligent, layered stories tend to be my favorites as well. Stories that make me think and get me really involved are the ones I find the most addictive and the ones that I seek out over and over. The recommendations are much appreciated as well. I'm especially looking forward to reading Coming To Terms as I've heard this story recommended multiple times.

  5. Black and White is one of my all time favorites. And Boycotts and Barflies remains in my top 5, evah =)


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