Sunday, May 31, 2009

GuestFicRec: Vixen Sits Pretty in Twilight Pink


Usually, I prefer dark, deep fiction (unless there’s pure sex, of course), but in this case, I’ve taken up the banner of fluff romance.

Upon first inspection, this appears to be another movie-based fic, and although the plot is loosely based on the 80’s staple, Pretty in Pink, this fic seamlessly ties the universe of Twilight with our favorite characters from the movie. There are only three chapters posted, but this story has promise and two enthusiastic, first-time authors at the helm, taking the characters on with unique style and clever wit.

When I say loosely-based on Pretty and Pink, I mean that. This isn’t your typical teenage love story: the characters are older, college age, and I instantly fell for them.

nicnicd writes Bella, but thank goodness this isn’t the typical Bella I’d love to slap upside the head. This Bella is smart, sassy, straight forward, and a complete and absolute spitfire. An infuriating James hassles her and she hands him his due comeuppance with a sharp tongue. When a simpering Victoria goes after her, Bella shuts her down faster than you can say Molly Ringwald.

Right off the bat, Bella’s personality shines through the usual traits and comes off sweet with a touch of snark. You see some of the movie plot as Bella rummages through her closet for something to wear. Although Alice is her fashion muse, Bella is capable of dressing herself (gasp!) and enjoys shopping. She has fun with clothes, and uses them to project her inner self to the outer world.

In fact, fashion is such an interesting part of this story, the authors have gone so far as to provide us visuals for the outfits of each chapter.

Bella’s gear from Chapter 3
Then, of course, my personal favorite - Edward’s gear from Chapter 3

Oh yes, I know.

As for character development: your heart strings tug as Nic weaves the Twilight characters into the Pretty in Pink universe, detailing Bella’s abandonment by her mother at an early age, her struggle with her self image, and her yearning for someone to talk to about lovely, girly things. And, of course, you can’t help but giggle at her inner ramblings as she spies an... Adidas-wearing Edward.

Oh, Adidasward? Where to begin? Hands down, I always prefer an EPOV and MusicJunki takes Edward and runs with him. She offers us an instantly likable character by weaving in a subtle layer of self-awareness keeping him from becoming anything typical. His character is a good-natured, well-to-do medical student who has been dragged into fraternity life by his brother Emmett.

I know.

First impressions lead one to believe this has all the makings of a stereotypical ficward, but MusicJunki places him far from becoming the typically arrogant, man-whoring frat boy with an empty head and motivations. Instead, he is seeking and clearly unfulfilled in his life. The reader gets the impression he enjoys a comfortable existence where everything generally falls right into his lap owing to his financial and social status (paralleling our beloved Blane, of course), and yet he is growing indifferent to this easy lifestyle.

At the start of his POV, he is just beginning to question his contentment as he dates the requisite sorority girls. Adidasward is gradually becoming bored with them, but the interesting aspect I adore concerns his attitude. Even with the usual supply of attentive females at his disposal, he’s never found himself complaining, and yet is still in want of something more.

Overall, he has swagger, charm, and confidence - that is, until he encounters Mystery Girl, a pretty brunette that distracts him completely, leaving him uncharacteristically tongue tied and stuttering for his next line.

As for the alternate points of view, the characterizations are not one sided, but have noticeable depth. With Alice as the sweet but dippy record store owner with a soft spot for Bella and a penchant for attracting loser boyfriends, a Jacob (Jakey = Ducky) that’s the often overlooked, but still highly regarded friend, and other characters that truly settle into their roles, this story has promise. In addition, James and Victoria’s brand of snobbery and Emmett’s playful yet atypically-intelligent personality add even further to this unique story.

The writing is quick, snappy, and real. The pacing is well done. The banter and humor quickly suck you in, leaving you in stitches and anxious for more. The characters captivate, and the fun the authors have shines through in the wonderful writing.

For this summer, I recommend this lighthearted romance with your mint julep and sunshine. Give yourself a treat, and settle into this story.
Vixen1836 is the author of the wildly loved Black & White. She is currently prepping her first novel for publication and is a light of hope for many women in this fandom.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Affiliate: Temptation Podcast

Episode 18 of Temptation: A Twilight Fanfiction Podcast is up for your listening pleasure. This week we feature special guest Isabel0329 author of Dualism/Permission and Across the Airwaves.

And she and Christine bond over all things Jasper...the rest of us chime in too.

Oh and, this is my first tlydf post! I hope nothing kersplodes...

Admin Essay: OMJ - Exploring the Jasper Factor

OMJ: Exploring The Jasper Factor.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of the Rob Effect. In popular fandom theory, anything that either Rob or Edward touches catches immediate interest, because both and Rob and Edward are widely adored. In no way disagreeing with this concept or the success of its effect on me personally, I must say that the Rob Effect has a formidable foe.

The Jasper Factor.

I’m naturally curious about this phenomenon because I enjoy both Jasper, the character, and Jackson, the actor. And simply because I can, I’ve decided to explore the topic of the Jasper Factor with my fellow ficsters and you.


On some recent podcasts and message boards, I’ve heard this question asked, and I believe I’ve come up with a really interesting theory explaining the new influx of Jasper fics.

We are bored.

We love Edward, yes. But so much has already been done between him and Bella that it’s only natural to see audiences wanting something to break the monotony. Jasper, I think, is a natural second selection to Edward because he’s the second-most-intriguing male character in the series. Some may disagree with this, and that’s fine. I certainly can’t speak for the fandom’s interest as a whole. But it’s difficult to deny that Jasper is having a sudden peak in ficdom.

Bear with me here.

Jacob is a controversial character. He seems to have just as many fans as haters. You can lose, as well as gain, a whole niche of readers by simply introducing him into an established B/E plot. Plus, we all see Jacob coming! Authors use him as a popular plot device between Bella and Edward all the time, so upon first sight of Jacob entering the story, our immediate reaction is, “Here we go…” It's almost impossible to see Jacob as anything different.

Carlisle is a bit of a father figure, which can at times creep us out with shipping him and Bella. Emmett… well, Emmett is 'Emmett, the big brother', so shipping him with Bella can also leave an icky residue of gross. There are plenty of B/C and B/Em fics out there, so I don’t want to imply that the audience for these shippings is nonexistent, because that would be utterly false.

But it’s so difficult to dislike Jasper.

manyafandom, author of All I Ever Knew:

Why Jasper…well how long do ya got? Seriously I could go on and on about Jasper and why he is the most undervalued Cullen in the books. The main reason for me is that Jasper was the Cullen that we didn’t get a good idea of who he is. Sure we learned his back story and special ability, but a fully formed characterization was never conveyed or presented to us. Jasper is more than his military background and ability to manipulate emotions. I want to know more. What makes him tick? Why is he the way that he is? What his thought processes are like? What would he be like as a human? Also, Jasper is the strong, silent type; but he’s compassionate and fiercely loyal as well. He has a laid back, easy going nature that is seldom explored. He’s so complex that I think SMeyer glossed over him, losing the opportunity to explore him further. Really, who wouldn't want a Jasper in their lives?? No one that I know.

He really isn’t controversial in canon, and also feels a little two-dimensional in the series. His backstory is more scandalous than most of the Cullens’, which makes us curious to explore it. He’s also within non-disgusting physical age-range of Bella, and the series never puts direct focus on his brotherly relationship with her. I can totally understand why people are writing more Jasper nowadays.

Some people just love Jasper, understandably so. He is a charismatic motherfucker, after all.

Starfish422, author of Over The Top:

Why Jasper? Because when I write Jasper, I get to get inside the head of a character with whom I am (I can admit it) in love. I adore him in every incarnation I've read; and in this story I get to write my ideal Jasper - faithful to himself, close to his family, beautiful, with a huge capacity for love; but not flawless - not too good to be true.

Mandi1, author of You've Kept Me Waiting:

I don’t hate Edward, I just know Jazz is infinitely better. Edward is occasionally so cookie-cutter. Yes, he’s handsome and talented and kind and brave and a regular Sir Gawain, but Jasper is all those things…with a bad side. And who doesn’t love a bad boy? Not only is he bad, but he hides that bad side out of love for a good woman. How adorable is that? And also one word: Ducati.

SorceressCirce, author of Just One of the Guys:

I think his best quality is his unyielding loyalty. Canon Jasper puts Alice first and would follow her anywhere, even when it means making tough choices such as deciding to kill Bella around the time of Twilight because she put Alice in danger. Harsh? Yes. But he really would go to any lengths to keep Alice safe – and then when Alice asks him to back off because she loves Bella, he does it.

Admittedly, there are ficsters out there who simply prefer their Jasper shippings as opposed to Edward. Some of these individuals can be a little... er... passionate. But we find ship devotions of ficsters in any fandom.

Idreamofeddy, author of Colliding Meteors:

"You're not good for me, Bella." Bitch boy needed to be thrown through the trees for that and have certain parts of his anatomy removed. I really have nothing but love for Edward. One of the first fan fics with Jasper and Bella I ever read was Someone Else's Memoirs- and I was so glad to see that other individuals shared the same thoughts I had when it came to giving life to Bella and Jasper romances. The fan fiction world that has developed off of Stephenie's stories is just mind boggling and a wonderful way to entertain oneself, and that's why I enjoy reading more than I do writing. I've enjoyed all these wonderful stories starting from Every Father's Sacrifice by TheRomanticidalEdwardian all the way down to that smutty filled masterpiece of The Tie That Binds by Fiberkitty. The fans of this series are truly unique and I'm so glad and humbled to be a part of this fanbase.

Janna Banana, author of When Darkness Turns to Light:

Though I don't hate Edward, I do find him at the bottom of the list of people that I'd like to see Bella with. Of course, I prefer her with the Jasper that I created however, if we are looking at the Stephenie Meyer characters, I'd say I'd prefer her with Jacob (I can hear the gasps now).

Standing back and rereading the books from the perspective of wanting the Bella/Jasper pairing to work, I was surprised to read how many instances where he was actually rude to her, discounted her feelings and was extremely condescending. He constantly made decisions for her and disregarded what she may have felt.

I chose Jasper because out of all the characters in the book, he was the least developed. I matured Bella by four years and since she is human, her personality would have changed due to the things that she went through. Edward's personality is set in stone, there is no changing that but Jasper was a blank canvas upon which I could create my own hero for Bella to love.

So, though I know we can't all agree on these views, we can definitely agree on one thing -- I am certain: FanFiction is awesome because it offers us the possibility. I realize there are some people who jump to Edward's defense because he is their behbeh (coughAngelcough) and that's perfect! Variety is the spice of smut-I mean, fic. I mean fic. Honestly.

Again, this is just my theory. Please, feel free to comment and leave your own views on this, as I’m quite certain everyone would enjoy the discussion.


I’m going to take this time to dissect the fandom’s most popular Jasper variations, and why they work. Obviously, there's no possible way to generalize every single Jasper characterization. Some pegs just don't fit into the following holes. But, I can explore the most popular uses of his character, and what makes them successful to the audience. I've contacted eight authors of various Jasper related stories and picked their brains. Let's see what they say!

Vampsper :“Humans are yummy in my tummy.”

Canon Jasper is complex, in the most glorious of ways, but there are caveats to using him as an author. By choosing to explore Vampsper, the author must research his past, power and, if done in his POV, must choose their own methods of depicting how empathic manipulation functions. Pretty cool, huh?

I interviewed Mandi1, author of You've Kept Me Waiting to pick her brain about her own use of Vampsper.

1. To you, what is the most important aspect of the A/J dynamic to depict?

Showing that Alice and Jasper have that deeper, soulful connection in every look, every movement, even in their arguments, is important. Unfortunately, it’s something hard to depict. I like to portray that they care for their family, but that their love for each other is so much more than that, because they had each other before and, if something were to happen, they would have each other after. They’re not much use without one another, are they? (I’m lookin’ at you, JasperxBella ’shippers.)

OH!. BURN. (Not really.)

2. Do you have any advice for new authors looking to write a canon Jasper character? Historical research?

Knowledge of dates, wars, time spent in certain places will help you craft a canonical Jasper. Knowing that Texas was NOT a plantation state will make an entirely different Civil War!Jasper than if you are under the illusion that he had slaves. Remember his past. Remember that there was a Maria. Think of what that did to him. And think of who and what he relies on SPECIFICALLY in the story. Alice? If she’s gone, then who? Carlisle? Or has he gone 360 and relies solely on his hunger and the hunt? Jasper is a balance of southern gentleman with blood-craving beast.

3. In your opinion, what is canon Jasper's most defining moment?

I could be totally predictable and say when he met Alice. Had he not met her, things would be ENTIRELY different. He would not have the heart he has now. But I also think the moment where he gave up on Maria and left the south says a lot about him. That was the moment he left behind what he had known, and to give up something that has been your life for so long says a lot about someone, especially when they’re going on to live a better life. Jasper cared more for his victims and for his conscience than for his bloodlust, and that proves him to be a good person underneath it all.

My rec for Vampsper is Amputated at the Neck by Minisinoo. Though I have qualms with the depiction of E/B, Minisinoo's Jasper is always perfection in how he uses his power and his characterization is simply spot-on. Everything I always imagined him to be, and more.

Texsper : “Stop yer butcherin’ of my twang-a-lang, miss darlin’ cupcake marmalade sugar britches.”

I’m personally pretty anal about
how people portray Texsper. They want him to have that dash of southern gentleman, and depending on the nature of the universe, this can be a very slippery slope. Sometimes I wonder if it shouldn’t be a rule for the author to have actually visited the South at one point in their lives to get a realistic feel for the twang. But, this becomes obsolete with any Vampsper because, of course, times, colloquialisms, and pronunciations are subject to evolution.

How to make him Texsper without turning him into an effeminate, soft-talking Nancy-boy? I asked PastichePen what her formula was. In her story, If Love Could Light a Candle, she takes the impression of Texsper to the extreme, giving him a unique voice that screams Southern, but doesn't emasculate him in any way.

What's a successful formula for Texsper?

1. a Texan beta to keep you on track.
2. Southern pride.
3. Realist, single party states, colonialism, and wartime history interest.
4. Sworn belief that you'd rather drink a human than a good riding horse.
5. Scars that are worn with pride and occasionally (when the situation necessitates) accessorized with a cowboy hat.
6. Staunch belief that Edward needs to get over his yankee-ass whiney times.

My recommendation for Texsper, besides Candle, is Long, Tall, Texan by BamaBabe. Her Jasper favors one endearment -- Miss Bella -- and doesn't even say the word "darlin'" until chapter 6.

Darksper : “I invented ‘Emo.’”

Be still my heart…

What’s not to like? Darksper is a complex individual with an ominous secret, past, or view of the world. Darksper makes sense to me, because in canon, if you really think about it, he’s likely had the most traumatic after-change experiences of any of the Cullens. It’s true that Edward was somewhat traumatized from the effects of his mind-reading, yes, but Jasper has his empathic powers which puts him on level ground there. Finally, he’s had the trauma of being Maria’s pawn, the scars of the newborns, and has felt the torment of both vampires and humans’ emotions as they die.

That’s some pretty hard-core shit.

I sent some questions to IdreamofEddy, author of the Darksper story Colliding Meteors.

1. What is your most important consideration when characterizing Jasper in the angst genre? Are his powers important to this?

The past that was built by Stephenie around Jasper is all about angst. From being turned at a young age as a young confederate officer to being immersed into the hellish vampire wars of the south. And it had to be true hell, didn't it? I've tried to imagine what it was like for him off of the information that was given in Eclipse, which really wasn't very much from his perspective but it gives a writer plenty of angst material to build on. While he managed to escape the horror of his past and find meaning to his existence, it's a part of his life that he can never escape from. So I see Jasper's character as being somewhat hard and complex. He's quiet, he's shy, and even though he is an empathic vampire I can see his character having a difficult time displaying his own emotions and feelings. The ironic thing is this makes him so human, for a character who probably thought he was far from being human. His past and the power he has gives a writer plenty of material to cover when writing Jasper's character in an angsty story. His powers are always important for him because he can gauge another character's emotions and respond to that as appropriately as he can. Basically, he can cover his ass if he needs to.

2. Is there anything in canon that makes you inclined to portray Jasper in an angsty fashion?

Maybe some of my response above would fit into this question also, Jasper's past is true angst. I've considered doing an angst story based on his time with Maria and Peter, it's on my to do list. Of course that pivotal moment in New Moon when Bella gave herself that papercut gave several writer's (including me) a way of introducing a Bella and Jasper Romance.

My recommendation for Darksper is an AH story by Struck Upon a Star. Tie Me Down to this World portrays Alice and Jasper in the genre of Angst/Hurt/Comfort beautifully. It's just too emotional to even sum up.

Edsper : “You’d hit that shit too, and you know it.”

Excuse me a moment…


Okay. Whew. Sorry about that. Slash does strange things to me, like giving Edward the go-ahead to give it to someone who isn’t Bella.
I know, it’s difficult for many to stomach, and that’s perfectly alright. It’s just… well it’s a fusion of the Rob Effect and the Jasper Factor. It’s a force to be motherfucking reckoned with, if ya’ ask me.

I contacted one of my favorite slash authors, Starfish422, author of Over The Top, and asked her some E/J related questions.

1. Is there something special about the E/J dynamic in canon that caught your eye and inspired this concept?

In canon? No, I can't say there is. Jasper is my favourite Twi character, followed by Edward; so when I was considering writing a Twilight slash fic, to use their characters was the natural choice.

2. As both a reader and writer of slash, do you find it easier to depict an E/J romance when A/B aren't present?

In slash, a world where Bella doesn't exist makes for a happy reader in Starfish world. I suppose it's because Bella isn't related to any of the canon characters. On the other hand, Alice, being Edward's sister in canon, doesn't bother me as a peripheral character in slash. Funny story: when we were up to chapter...what, 17, I think?...of OTT, I got a review asking (and I picture this being asked with some degree of frustration) whether we'd ever see Bella in this story.

3. Do you have any advice for new authors out there interested in writing E/J as romantic?

If you have to choose, err on the side of reality. Writing well is a balancing act - weighing the readers' expectations against the reality of the plot. The fact is that most fanfic readers are women, and women in general have a certain picture of what the ideal relationship looks like. But these characters are men - men in a relationship are not the same as women in a relationship, gay or straight. If you find yourself in a place where you have to choose between realism or romance - in my opinion, realism should always win out. The readers will respect it, and you're likely to see your readership expand beyond us straight girls. :)

My recommendation for Edsper is any story by mithrilxmoon. Her "T" rated E/J one-shots are quick reads that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It's a beautifully poetic portrayal of their romances.

Bellsper : “Because, unlike Edward, I'll hit that.”

Romantic Shipping: Okay, so I’m not a big fan of the shipped Bellsper, personally. Bella can only be with Edward for me, whereas I grant Edward ship leniency with Jasper and – very occasionally – Carlisle. I won’t explore this double-standard, because it’s my own unjustifiable preference and no one really gives a shit.

I asked JanaBananna, author of the most well-known J/B stories -- When Darkness Turns To Light -- a few questions regarding the coupling.

1. What is the biggest hurdle when shifting realistically from canon to Bella/Jasper?

The hardest thing for me was coming up reasons for the Edward/Bella and Jasper/Alice relationships to end in a manner that the readers would accept in order for them to be okay with the Jasper/Bella pairing. So, the perfect spot was when Edward left Bella in New Moon and I made it that he never came back. That one was easy. I worried about the Alice/Jasper aspect but thought that if I made it that Jasper and Bella were meant to be together and Alice saw it, it made sense that Alice started to pull away and Jasper also had his own problems with the relationship as well but they parted as the best of friends and no one was hurt in the process. I had a dream of Bella dancing with someone in a bar and Jasper watching her, his crossing the bar to get to her and then giving her the steamiest kiss ever. So, I actually wrote that chapter first and then based my story on that one scene. I had read several Bellsper stories and it bothered me that they both would just jump into a relationship with one another without proper respect being paid to the deep love that each of them felt for their respective partners (Alice/Edward). Or, the stories where they cheated on Alice or Edward - that would just never be able to happen with Alice's visions or Edward's mind reading, there is just no way to get around that if you want to stick to canon characteristics.

Do you ever find it difficult to justify the Bella/Jasper romance without demonizing or vilifying Alice and/or Edward?

I never wanted to vilify either of them as I thought that would turn people off the story, especially if I were to vilify Alice. In the actual series, Alice and Jasper's love was solid and everyone loved Alice so I had to tread carefully with that relationship. Not only was the relationship with Jasper so solid in the books, so was the relationship between Alice and Bella. So, I felt strongly that Alice and Jasper, even though no longer lovers or mates, be still very good friends and be there for one another, no matter what. Now her absence in Bella's life was due to Edward's extremely bad decision in New Moon when he left Bella and required his family to do the same. Alice, having been Edward's "sister" for several decades felt required to abide by his decision, no matter how bad it was.

I can't honestly say I don't feel that I vilified Edward, I just pointed out his bad decisions and expanded on them. He did make decisions for Bella without considering how those decisions would affect her. His not trusting the depth of her feelings for him was disrepectful to her in so many ways and was what allowed him to walk away from her in New Moon and I used that to my advantage in that he never looked back. I also found several instances in the series where I thought he was so condescending to her so it didn't take much for me to be able to play on that.

Why can Jasper put out when Edward insists that vamps/human relations are impossible?

Ha, ha! Well, that was another Edward decision that I twisted to my own use! Edward could have put out but he didn't trust himself to not lose control. Having never had sex before, he had no idea what to expect and therefore, did not want to hurt Bella should he not be able to control the "monster" within once they were fully in the act, be it by biting her or or just flat out killing her with his strength.

In my mind, though not touched upon in the story, Edward would never have attempted to have sex or even kiss another person as the mind reading would make it almost impossible. Can you imagine having sex with someone only to know that they are thinking of something or worse, someone else. Edward's ability made it hard for him to get close enough to another person to even contemplate sex and therefore he kept himself closed off of those emotions. With Bella, it has been so long since he had been close to another that he was taking baby steps to get used to it.

Jasper was quite used to physical relationships and had a ton of experience both before he was turned and during and, therefore, knew what to expect.

: These are the fics in which Jasper – who could have easily been a love interest for Bella – has managed to find himself in “The Friend Zone,” which usually gets mixed reactions from the audience, for obvious reasons. It’s easier for the larger, more generalized B/E enthusiasts to swallow, while still getting the added thrill of the possibility.

I interviewed SorceressCirce, author of Just One of the Guys, and asked her what made this work.

1. Is there something specific about Jasper, as opposed to Emmett, Jacob, or any of the other Twilight male characters that makes him a more feasible friend for Bella?

I think the best choice for a male friend for Bella really depends largely upon the Bella character. When I started looking for a best friend for my Bella, Jake was immediately out because of his romantic interest in her. Bella needed a friend, not someone who would complicate things or make her feel guilty because she didn’t return his feelings. Emmett, while I love him, is a little too easy-going and blunt. It was really Jasper’s empathic nature that made him the best choice. He can sense the things that Bella keeps hidden and knows best how to draw her out to talk about them. Bella has a tendency to lock herself away and take care of other people without dealing with her own problems – Jasper doesn’t let her.

Is there anything in canon that makes you inclined to portray Jasper and Bella as close?

I’d like to think that with the way their relationship was going, Bella and Jasper would eventually become close. Jasper kept his distance for obvious reasons, but there were times – such as at the hotel in Phoenix – where he reached out and really tried to make Bella feel valuable. I think that sort of caring had been rare in Bella’s life until that point, and she needed a bit more of it. Bella’s happiness, by virtue of Jasper’s empathic gift, becomes Jasper’s happiness, which will keep him close to her as well. The close friendship between Alice and Edward would likely help contribute to an eventual friendship between these two as well.

3. What makes Jasper such an awesome homeboy?

I think Jasper’s empathy is the biggest factor in his being such an awesome homeboy. It has to be cool (and occasionally annoying) to have someone who just gets how you feel all the time. Feeling everyone else’s emotions makes him more thoughtful and careful than a lot of guys (a la Emmett – though I love me some Emmett too), so in some ways, I guess he’s more girly. At the same time, he’s a badass with the scars to prove it. Pretty hard to beat that. I was always intrigued by his Southern upbringing as well, and I think that weird mix of gentleman-but-best-friend is a fun one to explore.

My recommendation for a Jasper/Bella story that I think even E/B loyalists can enjoy is Someone Else's Memoirs by a certain slant of light. This story takes place after a tragic incident in which Edward and Alice were both killed. Instead of it feeling as though Jasper and Bella are somehow betraying Alice and Edward, it simply feels as if they help each other heal, and grow close in the process. It's complete, and a relatively short read at 24k words. Also... I fucking BAWLED.

Thirdsper : “May I join you?”


Hales yes! Thirdsper is a truly awesome phenomenon.
Not only can Edward and Bella be together, but Jasper can enter into the romance without any betrayal or sour aftertaste of love triangleage. This is easier for the B/E loyalists to handle, I think. It's also Edward and Jasper, straight, in the same bed. Come on. I mean, seriously.

I asked Manyafandom, author of The Arrangement, what makes this trifecta so damned awesome.

1. Why does the concept of B/J/E appeal to you, as a writer?

To begin with, Jasper as a character has massive appeal to me. At the time I started writing there wasn’t that many Jasper-centric stories. I wanted to explore Jasper as a main character and not just Alice’s love interest. Also I feel there is a bond between Edward and Jasper that isn’t touched upon in the books that much. I wanted to take a deeper look at that. Throw Bella into the mix as the main love interest and the dynamic becomes even more complicated. Also, it just made sense to me that if Bella wasn’t with Edward, she would be with Jasper.

2. Do you ever have difficulty with the E/B, A/J canonites out there?

Not really or not anymore. The fandom has changed in the 8 months since I started writing TA. Back then non-canon was a taboo of sorts, now it’s somewhat accepted. Any difficulties I had in the beginning weren’t related to the non-canon nature of the story. And I wouldn’t say difficulties, more people wondering if Alice was going to show up in the story eventually. I think readers that would have a problem with this coupling just don’t read it. Surprisingly, I had grumblings when I brought Alice in, some readers wanted it to stay the trio.

3. Is there anything specific from the canon series that makes you inclined to portray E/J/B in this fashion?

Nothing specific, more an overall feeling that if not for Alice, Jasper would have developed romantic feelings for Bella. Her calm, perceptive nature would have appealed to him. Edward and Jasper have similar personalities and struggle with the same issues. Because of that, I think they would be close, maybe even closer than Edward and Carlisle. I’m not substituting Jasper for Jacob in the equation, I think with the similarities between Jasper & Edward make the relationship more realistic or plausible. Also it makes it all the more difficult for Bella to choose between the two.

Mr recommendation for a good Thirdsper (E/J/B) is Calefaction by ExploitingReality. There is no sex between E/J for the people out there that don't prefer it.

For a good slash E/J/B, I recommend Just The Three Of Us by kuntrygal.

And -- for the love of Jackson -- for those brave souls that might enjoy Thirdsper in E/J/C format, read We Three by Starfish422 and let her blow your fucking mind.

Of course, there are other Jaspers. Domsper, as seen in stories like Dark Salvation and Primal Needs, is always intriguing. And I'd be remiss not to make mention of Sagesper in the masterpiece known as Cowboys and Indians.

Empathic Manipulation vs Mindreading:

Which is the cooler power?

There were a lot of mixed emotions on this. Obviously, both powers present enormous burdens -- physically, emotionally, mentally. On the other hand, both can be really awesome. I conducted a small survey and asked 20 readers and authors to opine on this topic for a bit. Here are the results.

Empathic Manipulation : 7

Mandi1, author of You've Kept Me Waiting:

Excuse me, do you see “manipulation” anywhere in the word “mindreading?” Hell to the no, you do not. Jasper has control and that, my dear friends, is not only incredibly useful but also insanely sexy. I mean, you can think of something else to cover up dangerous thoughts, but you can’t hide your innermost feelings. Edward can hear what people are thinking, but Jasper can feel the same vein of thought and control it, manipulate it, change it if need be.

SorceressCirce, author of Just One of the Guys:

Of the two, I think empathic manipulation is cooler. Why? Well, mindreading is nice – saves you the trouble of asking what they want for dinner and all that – but being able to sense what someone is feeling and then manipulate it is awesome. It definitely reminds me of the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing though. Can you imagine someone who thinks like Mike with Jasper’s power? Hello, man-whore.

Mindreading : 10

manyafandom, author of All I Ever Knew:

Damn, this is a tough question. Cooler: Mindreading, it has to be. The power I would want; Empathic Manipulation. I think hearing the thoughts of people would drive me bat-shit crazy. Whereas with EM I could get the basic jist at what people were thinking without hearing all the dirty details.

Random Reader Comment from The Twilight Sisterhood:

As for the powers... I think they are both incredibly intrusive; you're either invaded by their thoughts or their emotions. I think I’d have to go with the thoughts, because it is the lesser of the two. I think Edward learned to ignore and tune out the chatter all around him, but they never said anything about jasper being able to ignore emotional surges around him. I’m a very empathetic person, and I know how hard it is not to succumb to the emotions of others when they're running high. I imagine most of the time he's not even sure how he himself feels, he is so inundated with the thoughts around him.

Copouts who couldn't make up their mind or said 'Precognition' : 3

Idreamofeddy, author of Colliding Meteors:

I have and had admired Edward's ability for mind reading because I couldn't even fathom the madness that he hears in his head. It was actually a wonderful thing for him to find, someone who he couldn't hear. It makes me question whether or not he and Bella would have fallen in love if he had been able to read her mind, and I'm just not so sure it would have happened. Jasper's gift however has been with him for a long time, and in a sense he has the same ability. He can't hear thoughts but I believe he could sometimes perceive what the thought is with the emotion behind it, giving him an advantage of sorts. They're both great gifts.

Random Reader Comment from The Twilight Sisterhood:

The "cooler" power is relative... I think the mindreading thing is cool, but not sure I'd want to live like that the rest of MY life or live with someone else who had that I'd have to choose empathetic manipulation, although I'm a moody bitch, so I'd have to choose C - none of the above...if I had a choice, I'd choose seeing the future like Alice...she has the ability to change the future based on her visions! Way coolest power!

So, Mindreading wins this round, yes, but empathic manipulation is a very close second. I suppose in order to explore this fairly, they should both be put up against Alice's precognition. I like what SC said. With great power comes great responsibility.

I'd also like to point out that in Let Me Ease You by fibbins, Jasper can use his power to make people orgasm -- without even touching them.

Just sayin'.

Jackson as Jasper?

Do you envision Jackson when you read or write Jasper>?

Well, why wouldn't we want to? Jackson is gorgeous and adorable. I added this question into my survey and asked readers and authors whether or not Jackson is their Jasper. This got mixed results as well. Jackson isn't tall, which makes some people iffy about placing him in that role mentally. Some just use his face, while others are devoted to Jackson as the whole image.

Jasper is Jackson : 11
Jasper is Jackson, with physical alterations : 5
Jasper is not Jackson : 3
Jasper is Joe Anderson : 1
Jasper is Tatum Channing : 1

So, I'm going to end this craziness now because the article is late and so fucking long. Jasper has this effect on me.

Does the Rob Effect have a formidable foe?

I think so, but... you can read all of these fabulous stories and be the judge.

Support the fandom's Jasper! Feel free to comment with discussions and questions, and a huge thanks to all the authors and readers for contributing.
Big thanks to Touchstone and Pastiche for helping me gather recs, and the girls over at the Twilight Sisterhood and my chat pals for participating in my Jasper survey!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask Dirty Uncle wtvoc jandco

WTVOC had a horrible lapse of good judgment and decided vacationing with her husband and children was important enough to leave me. I’m chalking it up to temporary insanity and ignoring my hurt. Anyhoo, she’s gone, so I’ll be answering the questions this week. I’m not nearly as witty or fun, so bear with me and forgive her letting me do this. I’m sure her priorities will right themselves soon. Right?

dear wtvoc jandco

So I'm not such a fan of the personal questions, just cause I'm sorta a "if you wanna share, please do, if you don't, that's cool too."

Apparently I'm also a poet and I don't know it.

Apparently I'm also lame as hell. Whatever. Doesn't matter.

Back on track...I will ask, got any good (preferably fantasy) book recs? I'm following all the blog recs and such, but I'm a sucker for books. They'll be the death of me cause I'll go completely broke one of these days. More than I already am!

More importantly, have a cure for procrastination? Guess what I'm doing right now by e-mailing?

Fine. Getting my ass in gear. Yes, I know I'm probably certifiably insane.

Till later,



Well heya. First, I like personal questions. I’m way better at them than not personal questions. Most narcissists are. Okay. So, this is already off to a rather disheartening start. I don’t normally read fantasy. I only read Twilight because my sister told me I must and I wasn’t allowed to read the jacket before I read the first one hundred pages. Thank god. Anyhoo, The Time Travelers Wife would be considered fantasy, I suppose, and I absolutely loved that book. I can, however, offer a lengthy list of non fantasy fiction!

God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo (Jacob Grace was my Edward Cullen before Edward Cullen)

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
(because every, every girl should read this one, at any age)

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

And for fun I also love me some Sophie Kinsella.

I can only offer my full support in favor of procrastination. In fact, I’m actually known to convince other people to procrastinate with me. Come over. I have cheese fries and Pepsi and an original Nintendo.

Dear dirty uncle jandco,

If you had to pick 3 stories as your favorite within the fandom, which would they be and why?


Dear Agustina,

Do you hate me? Do you get your rocks off watching people agonize? This is near impossible, so I cannot think too deeply about it, as my answer has already changed 458 times. And it’s subject to change again. And I assume I can’t pick a one shot.

Here goes anyway:

The Elite by Fate of Gabriel. Because wow. It should stand alone, it doesn’t need the Twilight names backing it up. The author built these characters up from the ground and created an angsty story, full of honesty, creativity and self discovery. I adore.

Sanctuary by Jfly. Priestward. It’s not sacrilegious, in fact, I love it for its innocence, it’s a beautiful story about being torn at a crossroad.

Wild Swan by Scarlett Letters. Because read the rec I gave it.

Dear dirty uncle fester wtvoc jandco,

You are walking down the street when you meet a gentleman named Marty McFly.

He gives you the chance to go back to the 1980s in the delorian and observe the Cullens’s musical taste.

What band and song represents each Cullen, and why?

You can't use any rap, or use the same band, and song twice. For example; If Edward's song is 'Like a Virgin', you can't use Madonna as his band/artist. Each character has to have something different, and you need to provide us with visuals, and a link to the song.

Go ahead, make our day.

Love Kenan and Kel

Dear Sexay Starfishes,

Which one of you is the fat, semi successful one? Really, I love this question. It made me all excited and wide eyed…so, here’s me picks. But, keep in mind, I have thought about this many times before, and, well, the answers change according to my mood and level of cynicism.

1. Somebody by Depeche Mode for Edward.

This song, and heck, this original emo crew sums up Edward in the eighties. Visuals? As in Edward sitting at his piano crying sensitive man tears he can’t really cry at all? Anyway, the lyrics to this song are, well, pussified yet I love it anyway-- but more importantly, it seems as though the lyrics were specifically tailored to a lonely, soul mate-less Edward. I realize he was resigned to being alone and all that, but come on. You know he pitied himself secretly. Please do listen. And you should all know it was a ridiculously close call between this and Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. Because like a drifter Edward was born to walk alone, goin down the only road he’s ever known.

2. Brass In Pocket by The Pretenders for Rosalie.

Cause I’m gonna make you see/There’s nobody else here/No one like me/I’m special/I gotta have some of your attention/Give it to me…and then the lyrics go on to describe how she’ll use her various body parts and looks to get said attention. It is fitting. Visual? I’m still confused, but in the 80’s I see Rosalie tsking all things Day-Glo, but you just know that mane of corn silk hair probably touched the sky.

3. Another Thing Coming by Judas Priest for Emmett.

One life I'm gonna live it up/I'm takin' flight I said I'll never get enough/Stand tall I'm young and kinda proud/I'm on top as long as the music's loud/If you think I'll sit around as the world goes by/You're thinkin' like a fool cause it's a case of do or die Mkay. I realize this is a horrible song, but the lyrics fit and I just couldn’t find anything else for him and it’s better than Don’t Worry, Be Happy, which I almost had to pick. Look, I’m not freaking WTVOC. If it’s any consolation his current song is Float On by Modest Mouse. Emmett completely wore a red bandana around his head sweatband style a la Brand Walsh in the Goonies.

4. Crystal by Fleetwood Mac for Jasper.

Yeah, it’s not an eighties song, but it was released before the eighties, which means it did exist and if we’re all being honest with each other we can all recognize that Jasper thought all music from the eighties was crap. He doesn’t buy into trends. Or synthesizers. Special knowledge holds true/bears believing (his wife is a psychic for crying out loud) I turned around/and the water was closing all around me/like a glove/like the love/that had finally, finally found me/then I knew/In the crystalline knowledge of you…”

We know two things about Jasper: he fights some wars and he likes Alice. I don’t know what he was doing in the eighties, but I like to think that he spent the decade laughing at Flock of Seagulls.

5. Father Figure by George Michael for Carlisle.

Stop. You just rolled your eyes and questioned my effort. But really, the lyrics are just…astoundingly right for Carlisle. “That’s all I wanted/Something special” (he just wanted a companion, right?) “but sometimes love can be mistaken for a crime/ I will be your preacher teacher/I will love you til the end of time.” Mmmm. Hawoah. Preacher Teacher indeed, Dr. Cullen.

6. Take My Breath Away by Berlin for Esme.

What’s an 80’s playlist without this song? That’s why. And because it’s soft and romantic like Esme and because Our House just didn’t seem Esme-ish. And because Carlisle indeed took her breath away. Hah. So, remember in the 80’s when women entered the work force with a vengeance and they all wore lady suits with huge shoulder pads and floppy ties? Yeah, she did that, too.

7. Let’s Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams for Alice.

I toyed with the idea of giving Alice a current song based on the fact that she saw Cobain coming while he was still in diapers, but I didn’t. Mostly because I cheated on Jasper’s song. With all of Alice’s traits, the fashion, the foresight, the slight stature—what sticks out the most to me is that she’s Jasper’s cheerleader. Unlike Rosalie, Alice was in to Day-Glo. Legwarmers as well. I am giving the Footloose clip, because, well, you know why. And you’re welcome.

Dear wtvoc jandco

What do you think SMeyer's reactions to stories like WA, the Sub/the Dom would be? Especially since her chasteness created this fodder for smut-filled fics.


Dearest twilighttrin,

Oh dear. I think she’d lay the smack down on our filthy fun. And I couldn’t even hate her for it. Hah, kidding about the smack down. Obviously, publishing anything past college ball second base goes against her moral grain. Which is honorable and I respect the heck out of that. Sister has been coined ‘cockblock’ and ‘ice crotch’ (by me), but really she did what she set out to do with her characters. I think if she read some of the more hard core fic she’d be a little shocked and possibly uncomfortable. Afterall, no one knows these characters better or more intimately than her. I also think she’d be completely turned on. The bottom line is Cockblock Meyer is doing all of us a huge service by letting us play with and pervert her characters without making any fuss. I mean…she’s gotta know what’s going on here. Yet she is allowing us to build off of her work and I like to believe she does that for the sake of budding authors, who want to learn to hone their craft…for the sake of the art! And because she secretly reads it and wishes she had the nuts to throw a swollen bud and a throbbing cock in Breaking Dawn.

Dear perverted The Uncle jandco,

What are your thoughts on the fact that Smeyer originally penned Phil as being a molester, and that was Bella's motivation to move to Forks? She also made Eddiepuss kill him. Do you think this warranted a killing?

Since celery, The Vulcan

Dear whereonearthdoyougetthisdeliciousinformation?,

Twhat? Is this true? I don’t care if it is, I like this question. I think it would’ve had to have been a much darker book, ya can’t just skim that crap over, and, gah, what about the ten year olds who love Twilight so?? Can you imagine? And then Renee…Bella was just going to let Renee go on living with the molester in ignorant gross bliss? And why am I pummeling you with questions?

Okay, my thoughts are I’m glad she didn’t go the molestation route. It would’ve taken away from the simple, pure need and want for Bella to be with Edward. If she’d been molested, it would be too easy to believe she wanted to be changed for escapism, not for Edward. She’d forget most human memories, she’d have reason to disappear, to never see family again…it would’ve detracted from the love story.

Now, Edward kills Phil?? That would’ve been hot. And not a big deal, I mean, he likes to eat humans anyway, it would just give him an excuse. But again, what about the children fans?! Tsk. Violence is never the answer kids. (but it would’ve been hot)

Does molestation warrant a killing. Gah. I’m pleading the fifth on my real life personal opinion. In this alternate version of Twilight, however, YES. Because, frankly, I’d want to read about pissed off Edward defending his lady-- and Edward actually did kill ‘lowlifes’ during a lost decade in the sixties. (I choose to believe he got lost in the sixties) Bella showing up in Forks with a horrible past like that would simply validate Edward’s past kills. I’m okay with that.

Hey Unkie jandco,

So what's the deal with the Emmett? He gets no love! I've seen Bella with the obvious Edward or Jacob, but also sometimes with Jasper or Carlisle, but not really Emmett. In slash I see Edward +Jacob, or +Jasper, or even +Carlisle, but rarely +Emmett. Why do you think that is? Are writers that afraid of Rosalie, or are we just not ready for a Emmett+Bella+Edward sandwich??? I say no to both. BRING ON EMMETT'S HOT BOD!



Dear Large Member Enthusiast,

You are right. I myself would love to bite on mah knuckles while reading some Emmett porn. Alas, I do know the answer.

His dick is too big.

He cannot do slash, or he’ll ruin Edward, from the inside out. He can’t do Bella because sister can barely handle Edward, she’s always writhing and going on and on about how much he fills her and stretches her…and if we’re being real here, Emmett’s dick is bigger than Edwards. She can’t handle it.

I’m fairly certain most people think even all human Rosalie has an ice crotch, much like vamp Rosalie, and frankly, who the heck knows how to describe that? But. Stitches and Scars by Bittenev has some finger lickin’ good Emmett porn. Try it.

Hi wtvoc jandco,

I've always wondered, did you and jandco know each other IRL before fanfiction? Or did you meet when you both started writing Twilight ff?


Junie, Junie, Junie…

Is it documented when two shooting stars cross paths in a black sky? What exactly led Romeo to Juliet? Fate? Evil? God? What is the exact origin of the Rob/Tomstu bromance? Some questions about such divine collisions simply cannot be answered.

Fortunately, yours can.

Last summer, around chapter three of Cullen’s Island this unholy union was formed. We took turns stalking each other. It’s pretty much the same relationship now, except we’ve roped our significant others into it. WTVOC would like to add this: YES unholy? i'm fucking holy as shit.

Special thanks to the lovely and talented Jandco for filling in for her girl, wtvoc. Every time she writes for the blog it is filled with insight and a hearty dose of lusty humor. We all look forward to her contributions and hope that WTVOC is having a fantastic time floating down a river listening to Styx (no mythological humor intended) and sipping Gentleman's Jack.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Affiliates: WeBook Apparel

We have a treat for you! The amazing Texbelle, author of "Restoration", has the site for all you book lovers who want to share with the world what you love!

WeBook Apparel - T-shirts for book lovers (WeBook Blog)

Fun, unique, message tees for fans of Twilight, BDB and the Southern Vampire series. We cater to the fangirls and the book nerds alike with our design approach, in that only true fans 'get it.' You can support your love of The Cullen crew or your favorite Brother without having the obvious splashed across your chest. There is nothing better than walking down the street in a WeBook Apparel shirt and you see the flash of recognition in a passing strangers face as they notice your shirt. We're working on a line of designs for writers and general book lovers so check back often, or better yet follow us and keep up with us on our blog! Stop by and say "hi!"

So all of you with pop on over and check them out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Style III- part 2: Getting down to the nitty gritty

1. Preparation | 2. Influence | 3. Process

Process II- Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty:
The Technicalities

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words.”
– George Eliot

“Be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.”
– H.W. Fowler

“The shorter and the plainer the better.”
– Beatrix Potter

“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words when short are best of all.”
– Winston Churchill

“Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
– C.S. Lewis

“Men of few words are the best men.”
– William Shakespeare

“Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.”
– William Zinsser

Do you get the point of the eight quotes above?

Quite honestly, if I were to listen to these great authors I would have only included one of their quotes as the rest are entirely redundant. But how many of us follow these rules? How many of us wax poetic or turn our prose a lovely shade of byzantium only for the sake of adding more words to a page?

Who polices us when we get out of hand?

Today's style series is a continuation of the last installment on process. While the first segment was about how you lay down the framework for your story, this one will be about how you physically go about creating your story. The writing and the editing process.

Editing can be broken down into the types of editing we choose to use. As fanfiction writers, we don't have to have our writing critiqued or corrected before it is published, but even the best published authors would never say that editing was above them. Even those who don't use editors would probably admit that they could use them. Continuity and redundancy, grammar and style, no matter why you have your work edited it would be wrong to say it is because you are any less of an author than the next person.

As writers, how do we go about physically producing and editing our work? Some might see this as the "boring" part of the style process. But others might see this as what sets some writers apart. The process of proofreeding, sending to others, rewriting. Whether what they do comes easy to them or if they really work hard to create.

This is the "how" of the process and it can give us insight and help us figure out how we could go about things as well and how it would benefit us.

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
– Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

Back before the computer, the typewriter was seen as an amazing invention that would transform the way people write. Before the typewriter it was the ball-point pen. Before that the fountain pen. I am sure there was a time when the quill seemed positively modern. One might see the computer as the reason our medium exists in the first place. We are here because of the internet. Not just TLYDF but fanfiction in general.

As we sit at our computers we can edit as we go. We see our spelling errors and at least a small number of our grammar errors as they are done. We can cut and paste and copy and insert. It used to be that an editor would get a copy of a typed manuscript, typos and all. Their job would be to go through the manuscript and copy-edit with a red pen before corrections would be made. Paragraphs and even pages might have been thrown out.

Now, the process is much different. During the school year, I type all of my chapters on Google docs because it is saved online. There is no reason to carry anything with me, it is entirely secure and I can work on it in my office as well as at any of the computers in my home. Google docs doesn't care that I have apples and pcs. It doesn't care if I save it to disc. It is convenient and very fast. Many people think that the majority of our work will be saved online in the very near future. We used to judge a computer by the amount of space that was on it, but no longer. Now we want whatever is most convenient. In many cases going back to a portability similar to the notebook and pen.

Where do you write and what equipment do you use? A laptop? Desktop? quill and ink? What word processing program do you use? Is there some reason you prefer it over others?

I write anywhere. I use a netbook (mini laptop) that easily fits in my purse and goes everywhere with me. I usually use Works because it pretty much leaves me alone. Writing in Word is distracting because it tries to help me all the time. I always have Notepad open as well for notes to myself- things that come to mind as I am working. I usually back up my work by emailing it to myself, but I have recently begun testing out my compatibility with google docs. We'll see how that works.


I outline using my laptop, mostly Google Docs or Open Office. The bulk of the writing occurs in a notebook, the key scenes are hand written and once completed I type them up into the Google/Open office document. I then flesh it out more and do the first edits. I keep a copy in Google docs so I can access from any computer and then once it is finalized I store a copy in my laptop.


I have a beloved laptop named Tosh. I use Microsoft Word, so my beta and I can play with those lovely track changes. And I write in a lot of different places, but my favorite spots are in my comfy chair next to my bookcase or at Caribou Coffee wearing my writer’s scarf, looking all smug and artsy-pretentious and crazy. It’s fun, you should try it.


Sometimes I'm on my desktop, sometimes on the laptop. I use Word, just because that's what on my computer. I'm a caveman with technology.


I write wherever my laptop or netbook takes me. I live a very portable life and whether it be TLYDF articles whipped up at my local coffee shop with free wi-fi or my batcave, cigs a burnin' next to me, I utilize my laptop or netbook (SOOOO CUTE!). But when I am not able to sit down and write a wholechapter or article, I jot notes in an app for my iPhone called Notebook. It's dead useful and most of the outlines for my Twilight Exchange and LJBT fics were in there. No matter where I go - I am plugged in baby. Love the digital life.


I write in my living room recliner with my laptop. I bought MS word 2007 so that I can use all the flash when editing. I like word because I like all of the editing options. I like editing hella more than I like writing.


I can write anywhere on anything. But I tend to use my laptop, and tend to use Word Perfect because I like it MUCH better than bloated Word. I convert my stories into HTML for my website (The Medicine Wheel) so they look better [format wise] and I can include images. Word, as some of you know, inserts the most AMAZING range of sheer GARBAGE into their html pages! Drives me INSANE.


mostly, i write at my desktop, but i just got my first laptop. i write a lot in class, too. i have tons of notebooks that i carry around with me in case i think of something or i'm bored while waiting for the gynecologist. i use MS word '07 because my husband is PC while i remain MAC, but unless one of you lovely people wants to start a "wtvoc needs a MAC!" fund, here i fail using MS word.


Typically I write with my laptop while sitting on the couch in my living room. I use MS Word 2003. It's what I'm used to and I prefer the editing/commenting features over Word Perfect.
However, I outline with a nice pen and a notepad. (By 'nice pen,' I mean that I usually go out a buy a new one whenever I plan to start work on a new project. I love buying pens and notebooks.) And sometimes when I have writer's block I'll take the pen and notepad and write while I'm in the bathtub.
Oh... and I write on my laptop while I'm in the kitchen doing the dishes if I'm writing smut. It's because I can write a sentence and think about it while I'm focusing on cleaning, before I have to go back and add another sentence.


“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”
– Truman Capote (1924-1984)

In fanfiction, we often refer to our Beta, the blanket name for our proofreader, our continuity editor, our copy editor and our all-purpose hand-holder. It's the gate-keeper to the next stage. Some of us may only want someone to read it over while others want someone to be brutally honest. Others prefer to check their own work and publish it, skipping this stage all together.

Maybe it is my background, but I can't imagine in a million years not having someone read and correct what I write before it is published. It is hard for us to see our own mistakes. It is hard for us to catch redundancies and continuity. Even if we are okay with grammar, we can still make many mistakes. Most people write as the thought comes to them. Grammar is secondary to that insight. We check and recheck to find errors.

With me, I have a tendency to over-edit my work. I debate myself in usage v style. I cut and add, then subtract and rework. It becomes exhausting. What has worked for me is to just give my completely unedited work to my beta. This takes the critical eye away from me and I am able to see what I did right while I can focus on what I need to work on.

“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar.”
– Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor (1368-1437)

“Caesar is not above the grammarians.”
– Tiberius, Roman Emperor (42 BC – 37 AD)

Do you check your own work or send it off to Beta?

I use a beta. My grammar is frightening.
-Ginny W


I've only used a beta for one story. As a rule, I am too impatient to work with others. Also, I am fairly confident in my grammar skillz.


Both. I go over a new chappy a couple times, take a breather for a fresh perspective, revisit, then send to beta.


BETA BETA BETA! siDEADde is my savior, but emibella, GinnyW, shug, avalonia and tnuccio have all come to my aid. I used to not have a beta. Thought I couldn't "suffer" the inconvenience - that I wouldn't "mesh". Bullshit. All that is just another way to say BIG ASS AND UNCALLED FOR EGO. But I have been schooled and now am humble and cringe each time I send copy for edit.


Praise jeebus...i send it off to two betas, and anyone else who offers to check it for me. -SiDEADde


I have editors, often more than one. Notice I said "editor" not "beta." They aren't the same thing, even though they're often conflated in fanfic. :-) A beta reader is someone who reads for overall impression, continuity, or specific knowledge of a subject used in the story. An editor is someone who reads for everything from typos, punctuation and internal consistency (a copy-editor) to a structural or architectural matters such as pacing, overall flow, cohesion, foreshadowing, characterization, cutting, etc. I typically have at least a copy-editor, and often a second reader for whatever purpose that story requires. (In HP fiction, I also have a Brit picker because I'm not British and Jo's novels are VERY British.)

Writers are very hard on other writers. Choose a beta who likes you.

“Plato was a bore.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.”
– Leo Tolstoy

“I'm not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.”
– Ernest Hemingway

“Hemingway was a jerk.”
– Harold Robbins

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
– William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”
– Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner

“That's not writing, it's typing.”
– Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac

“Why don't you write books people can read?”
– Nora Joyce to her husband James

Writers in our genre, in general, choose someone that they respect or know as a peer. In the "real world", writers and editors are not one in the same. Most writers would never think of being editors and vice versa. Here we have the reason why our beta is so much more to us than just a proofreader.

My relationship with jfly is something that I would never give up. I trust her with my work implicitly. We are in a reciprocal relationship of respect. We were readers of each others work, then friends, and most recently mutual betas. We have a marriage of sorts. I can go to her with any thought or idea and she can go to me. We always make time to work on things together, we don't take it personally when one is critical and we only accept honesty. This is how a relationship with a beta should be. When I was doing technical editing by trade, I hardly even talked to my writers. We had no real relationship other than me being an annoying nitpicker and they trying to explain to me why every word was the most important thing in the world. Needless to say, I don't miss it.

Is your Beta someone who you chose BECAUSE she is a beta or was she a friend first and a beta second? Tell us your beta story. ;)

I've had a lot of different betas over the years. Some were betas first before they became my friend later; others were friends first and they offered to beta; and some were betas and nothing more. My current betas were friends first, and they were supportive when I said that I wanted to write Twilight fanfic. They listened to me brainstorm and were supportive when I began to write. And then I asked them to beta read for me. However, they have both been betas for quite sometime and for multiple people.
I really don't recommend simply asking any friend to beta read. Sometimes friends will simply "fangirl" the author, never giving true feedback, only praise. Or they aren't familiar with common grammar rules. When I am looking for a beta reader, I want someone who will be honest with me and tell me what they really think. I want someone who will look at things with a critical eye and tell me when something isn't working. -Ginny W


My beta and I mutually admire each others writing. Sadly, my beta doesn't write much, so I don't get to enjoy her work as much as I would like. But we began talking because of the mutual admiration. One day I asked her if my idea would go over at all with readers, and she went nuts for it. She supported me valiantly as I struggled with putting a touchy subject out there.


My betas were friends first, betas second. I met them via the fandom and they offered to beta for me.


Aw, this is like telling a proposal story! I actually hunted EclipsedbyJacob down after reading her stuff, because I wanted to be her beta very badly. I sent her my beta profile, and squealed a bit when she accepted me. When I started writing HL5, it was only natural that I asked her to beta for me, because we already had that candid trust and healthy respect for each other’s work.


Um, I wrote an article with siDEADde on this here on TLYDF. Have a looksie "A Yin Yang Tale You've heard Before" by smellyia & siDEADde (second half of article).
- Smellyia


When I first started writing fanfiction, I sought out a beta from the my list of favorite writers at Ramblings and Thoughts. Eowyn77 wrote a series about the Denali coven that I loved and she was a beta, so I asked her. She helped me with my first chapter and introduced me to TwilightMoms. Then she got hella sick and was in the hospital, so I figured she had better things to worry about than fixing my mess. I wrote 7 chapters without a beta and they are pretty wretched. I was whining on TwilightMoms on my fic thread and Tnuccio offered to read for me. She is wonderous. She showed me the glorious ways of MS Word and all its editing fun. After a few chapters she had a bad week, and I needed to post. I didn't want to pester her, so I grabbed my favorite reviewer and begged her to check it for me. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Now both Avalonia and tnuccio read for me. It's the best situation ever because they both read in different ways and for different things. I would NEVER post a thing without both of their approval. Both of my betas were vested readers first, and I got lucky enough to get women who know grammar -and- canon -and- my story. I'm so lucky.


I tend to work with a limited range of copy-editors because I expect certain things and I trust these people to deliver. All but one are professional editors in RL, and the other was an English teacher, so we're speaking the same language. It's important that writers and editors be on the same page.
The person I work with most often and have for 9 years is Naomi Kraus. There is a (slightly) funny story to how I got her. I'd written an X-Men novel (called "Heyoka") and she sent me feedback that began, "I've never liked an X-Men story more whose premise I liked less ..." *grin* She then made a few cautious grammar/typo corrections, asked if I wanted more, we exchanged a little mail, I realized she was a pro editor for a major Travel publisher and SNATCHED her up. We work well together; Naomi knows my quirks and doesn't have to constantly query me if I really meant XXX, or walk on eggshells when editing. If she says "Jump," I ask how high, especially when it comes to grammar.

Incidentally, I think it's important for a writer to communicate with her editor or beta reader, respond to comments, explain why if one doesn't take a suggestion, etc. Real editing takes a lot of time, so I try to "give back" to the editor who's doing it for free. Even if I get an edit I think is utter garbage (and it's happened, although not from the editors I choose like Naomi), I thank the person and then explain why I disagree.

Entries the First on editing:

"Drafts, Revisions and Editors"

"Editing (or Beta-Reading)"


No two beta's work exactly the same. Some prefer to read along with you, some like to send you back edited copy. It is important to get a feel for a beta's style. You need to know wether you need a proofreader, a copy editor, a style editor or if you really just want to know if it's okay to throw out there. You might not find the perfect fit at first. Style is more subjective than one often thinks. Even grammar rules can be trumped by personal style. Stick to your laurels and you will find the right beta/writer friendship that works for all.

What is your beta process, do you prefer your work beta'd for content, flow, style or a technical beta'ing?

While I'm writing, I am often asking for feedback for the content, flow, and style. Shug and I talk almost daily whether it's via phone, email, or IM and we frequently discuss my story's content, flow, and pacing. I tell her the portion that I'm working on, my plans for it, and how I think it'll progress. Then we carry on a discussion about how the execution would work best and if there are any details that need to be present for the idea to work.
As the chapter gets written, I send off scenes and snippets to my betas. One because they will tell me if I'm heading in the right direction for the story and they can help me spot holes. And two, because when I feel bogged down or stalled, they encourage me that what I'm writing it good and to keep going.
Once I finish a chapter, I'm mostly looking for the technical stuff since most of the kinks are typically ironed out prior to that.
-Ginny W.


I write. I send the chapter to Beta. She reads while I am on G-chat with her. She pastes sentences or paragraphs or questions for me into the chat box. We discuss. It's a mix of all of the above, really.


I check my own work and then it is sent off to beta #1 who works with me on content and flow. Once that is done I send it of for final editing with beta #2 who checks my punctuation and grammar. Lately the chapters are becoming more critical and I am using an extra beta that does a cold reading once its completed the first time around.. In the end at least 2 or 3 people have read the chapters before they are posted.


EbJ and I do all of the above (sounds kinky, I know). I tend to catch most of the technical stuff, so I depend a lot on EbJ for letting me know if a scene is working or if it’s murky. I also brainstorm a lot with her—I’ll get an idea for a story twist, then I’ll run it by her to get her take. She comes up with suggestions that I never would have thought of. -gondolier


Both. If my copy is not thoroughly reddened and comments galored - I am insulted. It's actually funny to me - many people do the whole "I'm not a nice beta, I tell it like it is, I don't hold back - blah, blah, blah". OOOOH - can I tell you all the ways I'm not quaking in my pants? Why? Because. Most folk aren't that harsh and if they are unnecessarily harsh - it's to get personal kicks. A good beta will be kind about it, respectful of you and then return you a copy so filled with marks that your eyes will roll in the back of your head. But it's OKAY - your work will be so much the better - technically, flow, content and style!


I want it beta'd for ALL of those things, and as stated above, I've found betas who can do all of it.

Do you talk to your beta as she is editing? Do you talk after? Discuss? Defend? Or do you believe that Beta Knows Best?

Well, since much of the beta'ing process is discussion either before I start writing the chapter or while I'm in the process of writing it, the answer to the first question is a definite "yes," we talk while she's editing.
If there is something to discuss afterwards, we discuss it. But since I typically talk about what I'm writing as I go along, there usually isn't much to defend. The biggest key is that if I do need to defend something, that's usually an indicator that I'm missing something in the story. If my betas are questioning something that seems obvious to me, it's most often because I have information that I've neglected to give to the readers.
Beta Knows Best? Yes and no. Ultimately, it's my story and my decision. Sometimes I just need to go with my instincts and write the story the way that I see fit. However, if my betas are constantly questioning something, then that could mean that my thought process is wrong. As I said when it comes to defending my story, sometimes I haven't spelled things out clearly enough or I've given conflicting information in my chapter. Or sometimes it's because I overlooked a plot hole or neglected to see an issue from all sides. A beta is a second set of eyes and when they agree to invest the time and energy into my story, I at least owe it to them to listen to their viewpoints and give them due consideration. After all, I asked them to work with me on my story for a reason.
When the issue comes to grammar, I rarely question anything. ;)
-Ginny W


During. We do discuss. I do defend. Once, we spent about 2 hours on a single sentence because she HATED the way I had worded something. In the end, se won the fight, but I keep anything I cut in a txt doc. I might just go back in and change the sentence back to the original wording one day.
She doesn't always know best. But neither do I. The whole point of having the beta is to have someone I trust question me and push me. She does both, but if I can defend my point or my words or my phraseology, then she concedes. If I see that she is right (usually she picks on sentences that I already was unhappy with), then I concede. Aside from having conflicting schedules, I think we work well together.


For content/flow betas I talk to them as they read. I take the suggestions that I feel work best with the story and incorporate them. For my technical beta I get a final markup and I do use the same approach. I review her notes and incorporate as I go. -gustariana


We email before a chapter, then after. I’ll ask her to look for certain things, like if a scene is too emo or confusing. Once she’s read, she’ll write responses both in track changes and in the email. I’ve never felt like I need to defend my writing with EbJ. If she’s confused or thinks something doesn’t mesh, then it’s usually a sign I need to look at a scene twice, and maybe do a bit of rewriting.


I do not discuss with my beta as she is going through the copy. For the system we have, I do my job and she does hers. We do not interfere with each other's processes by showing mutual respect and letting the other do what they do without interference. When I recieve my copy back, I go through make all grammatical changes and then go through the comments. I only speak with her on these if it requires clarification or I am adamant about keeping the story as is - that has only happened maybe twice. I try to never be defensive - that's makes the whole process a waste of both our times. In my case, MY beta knows best. I can't say that for everyone else, because I've seen some pretty fucked up ones in my fandom time.


We talk during the process, we discuss and occasionally there is defend, but rarely. We have a fantastic working relationship. If I want to keep something, they don't bat an eye. If I whine about being stuck, they throw ideas out left and right. They know best 99% of the time. I'll give myself 1% veto.

How does your Beta send your work back to you? Is it more comments than changes? Suggestions? What percentage of suggestions do you think you take into account?

Typically, there are more changes than comments on my chapters. The changes are almost always for missing commas, or for when I word a sentence backwards... or because I tend to use the word "that" excessively. ;)
I take all suggestions into consideration. That doesn't mean that I follow all of them, but I do think about them. Sometimes I follow the suggestion, sometimes I'll ignore it, and other times I'll modify it to suit my style better.
-Ginny W.


I edit it all myself in real time as she reads.


For content/flow we usually discuss over google chat or email. They send me their comments on what they thought and I then use those to rework what needs extra clarification. For technical we work of a word/open office document. She adds comments where she sees there is a need for an update and I review and incorporate those that are needed.
I would say that for technical beta I take 98% of the suggestions because they are mostly grammatical or punctuation in nature. For content / flow it varies. There are some chapters that their feedback is less and others more.


Emailed Word attachment with track changes, typically more comments and feedback than changes. EbJ always has a nice balance of “I like this because” and “This isn’t working because”. Getting both the good and the not-so-good keeps motivating me to improve. And she’s funny as hell, with her overwhelming desire to jump Jacob’s bones. Of course, she checks biases at the door and takes my story at face value, which is probably the most important thing a beta can do.


My docs are sent back in Word with tracking and comments. She rarely changes ANYTHING other than MINOR grammatical items and even then, she may track them so I can see and learn so as not to make that mistake again in the future. I get oodles of comments on the side. I love and hate them - but she is respectful enough of me to not change in my doc and let me see what and why she suggests something, the ultimate decision being my own.


Both of my betas read differently. Tnuccio is so technical, she fixes awkward sentences, corrects my ghetto spelling, and leaves a few comments as to direction or confusing passages. Ava is more holistic. I rarely get sentences changes from her...definitely more comments and suggestions. I take 99% of what they both say, and there has been a drastic improvement in my writing.


Depends on what I'm asking them to do. I'll always take typo corrections from anybody (even post-publication), but Naomi tends to handle grammar, as does Muridae in addition to Brit picking. They usually send it in Word with the Track Changes option and comments (if needed).

Beta readers tend to offer more comments than corrections ... Laurel gives me extensive comments and canon checks, as well as engages in Evil Plotting (tm) for "Aorist Subjunctive." Heatherly read over everything in "Special" due to her work in the foster care system and sex abuse counseling (I'm an ex-counselor, but I specialized in bereavement, and each field has its own quirks). I had special readers for the sections of "An Accidental Interception of Fate" set in Berkeley, and those of "Special" set at Yale. And for "Grail," I had the assistance of a virologist who read for and corrected all the information on the Legacy Virus (and boy, did she put in hours and hours explaining virology to me ... with diagrams! LOL!). So what the editor or beta reader gives me depends on why I engage their assistance.

Entry the Second on Editing:

"The Three Tiers of Editing" -minisino

Our next installment to the style series will be the final in Process. We will be discussing characterization further with our panel, how they form their characters and their relationships with them.

The key behind this series is that everyone is unique. Thank you to all the wonderful, unique writers who are participating in this series as well as to you for taking time to read.

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