Monday, March 2, 2009

Reader'sSeries: PreferBrunettes

We made mention of this Series a couple of weeks ago when Capricorn75 GB'd on here. The purpose is to highlight the fantastic that is our READER. They are the FANDOM and without the every day READER, us authors would be left bereft in the oblivion that is interwebs obscurity with no one to lament on our talents, critique our weaknesses and ultimately, make our day.

I give to you a personal Favorite READER of mine -- PreferBrunettes. **Stands & Applauds**

Like many Twilight fans, Breaking Dawn left me confused, unfulfilled and failed offer any sort of closure to Edward and Bella’s story. There were so many missing pieces, missing scenes and missing characters. Somehow, I stumbled across fanfiction in September of 08 and so my fixation with Twific began.

The endless amount of B/E HEAs started to make up for the meager one we got in BD. Here were the stories of Bella and Edward not skirting around their relationship issues and actually communicating with a healthy dose of smut thrown in. At first, I was just trying to get my fill of Edward and Bella. Little did I know that there was a whole world of genres and sub-genres, different character POVs and even a community I came across at Twilighted. I truly began to appreciate the art of fanfiction when I realized that this was an avenue that provided a real opportunity for authors to build on characterizations that SM left open or empty and to explore how our beloved characters would react and grow in the imagined situations of the authors.

The more I explored, I found that I gravitated to two types of fics (not that I don’t read anything else): Edward leaves and doesn’t return for a period of time while Bella grows up and all things Jasper. The first type is really specific but it mainly centers on reading a strong and independent Bella who works on “finding herself.” I know that’s terribly cliché, but so much of who Bella was in the books is inextricably linked to Edward with only small snippets of her personality coming through. 'The Edward leaves' story line provides the opening to have a matured Bella deal with the mistakes they both made.

A Jasper done right, is a Jasper forever.
I think Jasper may be one of the most complex Twilight characters to write because he has so many layers as to who he is, which can be manipulated in so many ways. Just like the movie castrated his ability, so do some stories, not taking advantage of the potential behind Jasper. Pairing him with Bella just makes sense for me in the world where Edward leaves because Jasper seems to be more in tune with how Bella felt when Edward was too arrogant in his knowledge of human behavior to believe how she said she felt. Of course, all this insight only came after I read a few dozen fics where Jasper is more than just Alice’s tag along.

The fic that started it all is The Arrangement by Manyafandom where I just fell in love with her Jasper. This story brought me out of the woodwork to stop being shy and finally leave a review and participate on the forums. The second chapter with Jasper’s POV gave me chills and continues to do so every time I read it. Even though her story is AU-human, she still subtly weaves in the empath in him. Just as an FYI, this is a threesome story.

Then came When Darkness Turns to Light by Janna Banana where her Jasper just takes the effing cake. This story combines my 2 preferences. Bella and Jasper discover they are attending the same college 4 years after the incident on her birthday. Jasper is no longer a part of the Cullen family (he and Alice are broken up). Their tentative friendship develops into something more when they discover in each other what they didn’t realize they were searching for. I may have started off reading fanfic being a strict B/E reader, but this story is so compelling in its characterization of Bella and Jasper and who they have become that it just works. Plus, the last chapter is possibly the most incredible Bella transformation I have ever read. If you haven’t fallen in love with Jasper by that point, then you are not a Jasper fan.

The Bella many of us search for.
And of course there is Irritable Grizzly Adams by Caligula42 and Cowboys and Indians by Minisinoo (both rec’d on this blog). Caligula writes my favorite Bella in fandom – a solitary, courageous goddess in human form that embodies “I am woman, hear me roar.” Minisinoo portrays a thoughtful and grown up Jasper in a very smart and gripping way. I think her Jasper is symbolic of the compassion she sees in human nature. He also represents the hope for tolerance and understanding without condescension.

Then, there is the Jasper that plays a minor role in the story but whose character still shines through – If It’s the Beaches by Emibella. Her Jasper embodies the non-judgmental friend that the Bella in the story can rely on with no strings attached.

In addition, it’s the one-shots that can capture and illustrate the human in him such as Major Jasper and Blackbird by CalendulaM, which with the use of a trampoline propels an understanding of Jasper’s need to counteract the inimical effects of his ability or Chasing Nightmares by whitereflections12 that shows Jasper’s need and desire for love and warmth surpasses what we’ve expected of him. And last but not least and really off the spectrum is The Twilight Zone Episode about J. Action by Wandaf. Technically it’s not a story about Jasper but about Jackson R. who plays Jasper (close enough?). I’m not one to read real person fics (RPFs) but happened to click on it and found it to be hilarious, witty, romantic and she really brings Jackson to life. It’s a fantasy scenario come to life. These authors have taken a slice of canon personalities and expounded on them in a way the books were never able to.

What does all this really say?

That I love characterization, watching the blossoming or emaciation of a character’s being as a story progresses. Sure, I enjoy the fluff but the stories that make me think (even if they are fluff) and deprive me of the words to review until I’ve let a chapter sink in, are the ones that really delve into their characters and show us the reactions. So many stories take for granted the characterization provided by the books and don’t continue to develop the characters enough in the new situation. I am not a writer (present project excluded and Smellyia asked so I couldn’t say no) and it’s not for a lack of wanting – first I don’t have the patience to sit and write nor do I have the creativity so many of you in this fandom do. But the one time I did attempt to write, I struggled with the characterization and it was a wall that I couldn’t climb so I do understand the difficulty.

I tip my hat to all you lovely writers who do attempt it and succeed. The best part, in my humble opinion, is that when I do read that chapter that gets me all excited and worked up about your storyline or your character or your plot development I can’t hold it in and will wax poetically (or at least attempt to) and squee like a fangirl in a review about how much I adore the turmoil, love, suspense, angst, fluff, etc. It’s known to happen that I ramble, but somehow this seems to get a response from authors. I really do squee when I get the notification, by way of a vibrating blackberry, of a review response from the author, which then heartens me to keep reviewing. It’s a wonderful cycle. So thank you to all the authors who get the chance to respond, it’s truly appreciated by this reader. Devotedly, I will continue to do my part in this fandom and encourage all the writers to keep doing what they’re doing.

Plus it keeps my addiction fed (hehe).

Author's Blurb by Smellyia

I first met PreferBrunettes through a PM from Twilighted she sent me regarding my novella fic, When We Drove All Night. We exchanged multiple PMs before moving to Gchat and she has since been wooed by my fascination of all things Snermione. The thing that stood out for me with this particular READER and our initial communications was her ultimate understanding of the message I was trying to share in WWDAN.

She is also a READER of my WIP progress, Disaffected. Her insight has actually HELPED me to move forward with certain characterizations and even had me questioning motive a time or two.

In essence, PreferBrunettes, is no longer JUST a READER who waxes loverly to me and strokes an ego that needs no more lovin'. She is no blind face amongst a sea of reviews. She is valued dearly and her words have sparked my own. She has given much in her thoughtful observations and even more in her interwebs friendship -- not many will indulge me in my Snermione fetish who aren't already established in that fandom. She is open to new things and is a rock upon which I write.

That is the thing I have come to find with my personal interactions to the READERS I have had the pleasure to get to know: THEY ARE MY ROCK. I write for myself, but they lay the foundation that keeps me going. Together we build a house with mortar and stone (no pre-fab shit here). We furnish and give it character that speaks to the owner. They speak to me and I bow down before them in reverence to the honors they bestow on me with each word I post. So to borrow a phrase from a reviewer -- I leave you READERS with the most powerful words I have -- THANK YOU.


  1. PB, you perfectly captured in this piece my own feelings on Jasper; how he is underused and more than just Alice's ever silent sidekick/mate. Jasper in the books has probably been through more than we could ever imagine. He has the greatest story to tell and has grown/struggled the most out of all of his family members. Jasper is scarred both physically and emotionally. He is by far my favorite Twilight character and feel SM missed the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into his story. But that is what fanfiction is for.

    Thank you for mentioning my story. It made me all giddy and smiley like. So thank you!

    This article was very good and thank you for highlighting my fav character.

  2. Manyafandom, your Jasper started it all for me so it was a given that I would write about it. As I've said plenty of times, I think you write him well and always look forward to reading more from you.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. I <3 perferbrunettes! she always has such wonderful, insightful, SMART and interesting things to say. Seriously, I applaud the work you put into your reviews. You stand out as a top notch reader and are a personal favorite of mine as well. I could mirror everything that my Smellyia said.

    I adore writing my Jasper, so much that I want to write a side fic about his character. My entire mood changes when I write him.
    Honestly, I wrote another canon-one-shot about him that still makes me think about his character.

    So much to dive into. So much material. A character with so much depth that was never touched. I feel like Tom Crean stepping foot on Antarctica. Looks cold and lifeless on the outside with so much to explore and give.

  4. aww Emibella, I <3 you too!! I love reading If It's the Beaches because it makes me think so much about your characters and their actions and what drives them to do what they do. Especially your Jasper. I would adore you forever if you were to write a side fic about him.

    Jasper is definitely untouched territory and so I love finding the fics that attempt to uncover him.


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