Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Admin Rec: Let Gondolier Lead the Way

Some people call me an elitist because of my beliefs on writing and reading fanfiction. Fanfiction IS fiction, above all. We should be writing stories we are proud of, pushing us to be better at what we do and, above all of that, keep our reader in mind. I am talking about writing highly readable fiction and highly readable fiction writing can be harder than it sounds. Fiction with deep characterizations and layered plots and a real story. Even if we are not writing that way, we should aspire to.

Others call me a hippie. I pretty much am all about spreading love from the top of my hemp baseball cap to the tips of my organic sneakers. So when I see something that calls out to me, that is well written with full characters and a plot that makes me want to not get up until it's over? I want to spread the love so everyone I know can read it.

This is why I am recommending Hydraulic Level Five with it's meager 4 chapters written (so far) of pure entertaining perfection. This is a story at it's beginning and I would love for as many people as possible to come with me on this crazy, wild ride.

Very few fanfiction authors do what Gondolier has done and write a fanfiction much like a book. We are given glimpses of characters with histories that are not revealed to us and through the course of the story we learn it all like a flower waiting to bloom.

It starts with a fiction within a fiction, if you will, and yet you are unaware of that until later. When we begin, we don't know what kind of a story this is or what it is about:


Hydraulic Level 5 [WORKING TITLE]
Draft 1.1
© 2009 Edward Cullen


“If you’re going to be a vampire, Isabel, you need a ‘V’ name. Vampires only have names that start with ‘V’.”


So the mystery is placed before us. We have a copyright belonging to Edward Cullen, a story title the same as our own and a plot that follows with characters that we do not know.

By the end of the chapter we find out that we are, in fact, reading Edward Cullen's book. A new book from an author who, at this point, is well known with best sellers and fans. We have gained a piece of the puzzle.

In the second chapter we learn a little more, yet still, it is just one layer with many questions. Bella is on a boating trip with the Cullens, Mike and the other usual suspects. Bella's kayak partner is Emmett. Where is Edward?

“Bella Bella Bella, remember, tuck in if we capsize!”

“Yeah Emmett, I know, we’ve done this seven—crap! Crapcrapcrap!”


I shrieked as the kayak began to jerk. I leaned back and clutched my paddle, squeezed my eyes shut. For a brief moment, when I felt the duckie dip and lift, I thought we’d done it—we’d surfed the wave. And then the kayak flipped up in front of me, followed by my feet. My body was flung end over end. We were pearling. Again. Pulling my knees from their harnesses, I kicked out of the kayak, took a deep breath, and let the hydraulic attack me. The coldest freaking water hit me like a wall and I screamed out obscenities before I was sucked under. Bright sky swam by, followed by fluid gray, then sky…gray…sky…gray. I forced my arms around my knees and balled up, tumbling over and over and over in the hydraulic. I wondered if I’d ever see the surface again, and then I saw sky, and only sky. Breaking to the surface, I gulped precious air and whooped.

“Friggin-fraggin-spank-me-son-of-a-shrew, that’s cold!”

Layers. We find out through this scene that it is seven years in the making. We find that Bella is a risk taker and that she knows what she is doing. We also find she has a way with words. Something else that I love about this story.

As we move through these layers, we gradually get Bella's story, we hear about the break up but have yet to understand how her or Edward's family feels. When we do get glimpses we start to understand that Bella's version of the past is awash with hurt. That she has deep seeded anger that may or may not be justified. I say that because that is what makes this story great; we just don't know because we haven't been SHOWN yet.

Gondolier isn't going to tell us what is going on. She isn't going to tell us about Edward's relationships before Bella finds out. Alice's motivations and Rosalies thoughts will not be written on their sleeves for her to wax her poetic prose. Alice has to show us, slowly, how it is to be Bella's friend. Rosalie has to SHOW us that she is worried about her maid of honor.

She gingerly slid it across the table, as if I might snap at her hand. I glanced over the music selections, scriptures. The editor in me checked all of the names for correct spelling. Wait.

“Why is my last name just a question mark?”

Rosalie nervously fidgeted with her napkin. “I didn’t know what to print, exactly.”

I sighed. “Just ask, Rose.”

“Okay. I wasn’t sure…your name.”

Comprehension dawned. Oh, Rosalie. I’d never really messed with changing my name back to ‘Swan’ after…well, after. It’d been such a pain to switch everything in the first place—financial information, social security, address, email—that I didn’t want the additional heartache on top of the other crap. And as years passed and my business took off, I’d never bothered with it. Too busy. I gave Rosalie a weak smile, feeling guilty that she had to deal with my baggage.


Another layer has been identified.

It is no secret that this is my favorite kind of story. Insanely well written, perfectly deep characterizations and a plot that makes me care about the characters and want to learn more. The problem is, having all of those things in one package comes along so rarely. I will read a story with great characters but the story doesn't move very fast or it falls flat. I will read a great plot but it either has too much angst or not enough humor.

This story has me along for the ride. It is researched and mapped and smart and funny. Yes, it is new, but I want to find out what the story is behind Edward's books. I want to find out why they have only seen each other a few times and how it always ended in disaster. I FEEL for them when she writes about what the past was like. There is a scene, a minor flashback, that practically had me in tears I was so caught up.

I can't wait until Rosalie and Emmett's wedding and I hope that Bella looks beautiful and Edward is brooding but, then again, I don't know. Am I supposed to feel that way? Is Bella more at fault than Edward? We haven't been shown yet. That is why I ask you to take this journey with me.

Sit down and read the first few chapters and see how you feel. Review her, because the number of reviews on this story is not nearly what is deserved, and that is where the elitist and the hippie in me come together. We must support good writers who tell good stories. We must tell them that we like what they are doing and appreciate them in our fandom. Because that is what TLYDF is all about; spreading great stories, great writing, great readers and great friendships all in one big happy (and sometimes dysfunctional) family.

emibella is one of TLYDF's Administrators and the author of If It's The Beaches, a fic that has defined manipulation in this fandom. Her rhetorical training is something we all envy and she may have the best taste in tea and music on the planet.
Emibella on FF
Emibella on LJ
Emibella on Twilighted
Music Sundays


  1. That was a completely delightful read. I had tears in my eyes from laughing and can't wait for more. Thanks for featuring it!

  2. Emibella - what you've said above about the balance of character depth and plot is so true about HL5. It really is compulsive reading.

  3. xparawhorextwerdxApril 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    I love this story (Been reading since chapter 1) It's on Twilighted aswell, but you didn't link it. Oh well. Love this one, and she's a great poet!

  4. I am thrilled (nay-elated) that y'all have discovered one of the greatest fanfiction writers (oh heck... one of the greatest writers PERIOD) that I have been fortunate enough to discover on the internets. I started reading Gondolier's stories several years ago, and have joyously been stalking her and her crazy ever since.

    Let's face it- Gondolier is the sort of writer every fandom dreams of having. Brilliant, funny, talented, articulate, and with just enough of an edge to keep you constantly wondering what in the name of sandwiches she's going to do next. I am no lover of Twilight, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I'm going to be following this story till its bitter end. Wee hoo!

  5. Loved this story! It has heart fail, humor & wit all weaved into a plot that makes you want to know what the heck happened in the past & what the heck is going to happen now!

  6. This is a brilliant fanfic. I'm forever grateful to you for introducing it to me! Not only is the story brilliantly written, it's updated regularly, and definitely one of the most unique plot lines I've encountered in months of diligent reading. I nearly fall over laughing every time Bella pseudo swears. I don't think I'll ever forget when she calls Edward a white-hot unholy cliff hucker. Heartbreakingly brilliant. And because of where it starts in their relationship, the reader seriously has no idea what to think!


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