Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Author Interview: michellephants

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

After I started reading fanfiction, I sort of randomly decided I wanted to try writing it. The readers here are all kinds of intense and the environment is really critical, so I thought it’d be a fun and interesting task to see how I fared. I started lurking the Twilighted threads a lot, seeing readers interact with writers and theories about the fictions and this huge community of sparkin’ vamp lovers. It was so fun and interesting to see what people were coming up with and at that point I already had my story played out in my mind, so I figured it would be a good time to try.

2. Tell us about the other Fandoms you have written for.

Twilight was actually my cross into the fanfic world in general. I’d never made a single venture into fanfiction (reading or otherwise) prior to this one!

3.What is your previous experience in writing? Do you have any plans for original work?

I don’t write at all! ...at least not creatively. I wouldn’t have pictured myself writing a fanfiction in a million years! The only creative writing I’ve ever done has ended after the first page. I get bored and lose patience with my inability to put my thoughts to paper, so I usually give up. But I guess, in the past, I have tried to write, it just never ends well. I am a fairly competent critical writer, but writing fiction is all kinds of new to me.

As for writing original work -- I think I’m too self conscious about my writing to try my hand at that. I enjoy working with characters and parameters that the readers have already grown to love; it makes my task a lot less daunting. If I were to completely invent my own story with my own characters I think I would just end up floundering around for a few months before giving up and going back to fanfiction.

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

Well, I chose AU because vampires are so amazingly fun to play around with. There are so many things you can do with them; it’s really sort of boundless. And I chose to do angst because… a vampire/human love story is inevitably going to go down that road eventually!

Honestly, my overactive imagination had been running through this story for several months before I even joined the fanfic world. And when I finally decided to write a fic, I didn’t actually know what I wanted to write about. But then I thought back to my incredibly angsty/sad story that’d been spinning through my head and decided that I’d, for the first time in my history, try to put it to paper. So I guess… I didn’t really choose the genre, the story sort of spoke for itself.

5. Do you think you might ever venture beyond your chosen genre?

I would like to say that I won’t stray too far from this genre. I think what makes Twilight so lovable is this forbidden angsty romance with the vampire and the human and all the obstacles that come they face. There are a lot of AU stories waiting to be told, and I think I have a lot more creative freedom when dealing with AU – because it doesn’t exactly have to remain completely realistic. Like a plane can crash on an island and, if we’re dealing with vampires, it’s no problem for them all to survive, even save a few humans of choice. But if it’s AH, it’s automatically unrealistic for the humans to stumble out of the cabin with their limbs still intact. So I suppose, while I do love some AH smut and humor, I’d personally rather explore challenges that the Edward and Bella I loved so hard in the novels could face.

6. What do you do to avoid writer's block? If it's unavoidable, what do you do to surpass it? Do you find that any certain characters are more difficult to write than others?

On some ridiculously rare occasions I can close my eyes and the story just sort of flows into the document… but usually I find that impossible. So I open a blank document and write down all the things that I need to happen in the chapter (in no order, really; just, whatever I know should happen…) Then I organize them into a coherent order and add in some finer details.

Once I have a detailed chapter outline, I have no problems with being blocked. Of course I have the attention span of a goldfish so I need to set aside hours to get anything accomplished, but if I know what I need to write I’m usually able to write it without much trouble.

During the instances in which writers block is inevitable, I usually just minimize and seek inspiration. Sometimes it’s other fanfics, sometimes it’s rereading reviews/pms, sometimes it’s reading through the whacked out theories about the story, sometimes it’s just gazing at specific New Moon manips for as long as it takes. Or watching interviews. You get the picture. I just find ways to procrastinate further and call it ‘searching for inspiration.’ Eventually something makes me want to write again, so I put in ten more good minutes of work before the cycle starts over…

As for which character is hardest to write – I think I avoid Rosalie like the plague. I wasn’t particularly fond of her in the books, so anytime I try to write her the result isn’t exactly what I would hope for. Usually she ends up being way more antagonizing than I would hope from her character, just because it’s the way I always pictured her in the books. And, for my story, Edward is absolutely impossible to write. Because he’s not all there, right? For some reason I tried to write his POV in a one shot and it ended up being jumbled words… made no sense, was completely incoherent, I reread it and chuckled before hiding it from myself.

7. What do you do to avoid the dreaded MarySueism when creating an OC?

Well, honestly I just try to stay away from OCs. I love what Stephenie Meyer gave us to work with so much that I’d rather build off her characterizations and add my own touch than completely create my own. I suppose at some point I might be forced into making an OC, but I could only see myself creating a villain… which would already nullify any type of MarySueism out there. There are so many protagonists in cannon that I might as well utilize what’s out there already.

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

Declarations of love are always really nice to see. I’d rather see a review that says “more” than no review at all. But I guess, in an ideal review, there’d be a little more feedback. I know not everything works for people, so, while I don’t necessarily jump for joy at critical reviews, I know that it’s necessary for me to see what people are having trouble with. It helps me to address issues that might come up in the future, or if I completely fail to account for something, it alerts me to that. Of course, I’d like to see more love than criticism in any given review, so if people are pointing out my shortcomings, it softens the blow to have some positive feedback as well.

So, the perfect review would include any combination of the following:

- Pure, unadulterated love. (It gets me every time, no matter how silly the actual review may be)

- Issues with the plot.

- Favorite parts of the current chapter.

- Favorite elements of the story as a whole.
- Something I can maybe fabricate an intelligent response to!

9. Do you have plans on writing more fanfiction after "Vampire in the Basement is complete?

I think I might need to give my heart a little bit of a break, but I’d love to write more at some point! I have a really hard time staying on one train of thought, so I’m not sure that I’d actually be able to wait until my current story is complete before the next one begins, but I’m well aware that by starting another one I’d be biting off more than I could chew. I usually have 3 or 4 story ideas constantly running through my head at any given time, but they sometimes don’t play out right on paper. So I start something then reread it two days later and realize it’s pointless, so I throw it in a folder marked “things I want to work on.” And, the hope is, that once this story is complete, I’ll feel so elated and light that I’ll be all for working on one of these ridiculous side stories.

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