Monday, May 25, 2009

Reader'sSeries: dvorndran & m81170

Honestly...I didn't think writing this was going to be such a big deal, until I sat down and started to really think about ALL the wonderful authors who have more than impacted my life with their powerful prose. To just say that the stories have been wonderful would be an gross understatement. I started out reading fan fiction as way to "tide me over" while waiting for Breaking Dawn to be released. I can't even tell you how I found it really...but THANK THE HEAVENS ABOVE I did. I soon became obsessed with finding stories centered around canon parings, specifically Edward and Bella. Over the months of reading and reviewing I was more than devoted to not just the reading but emotionally investing with the authors. YOU all take such effort to create these incredible stories for us readers, reaching our hearts that I cannot sometimes put words to the emotions that I feel when reading them. The gifts that you give me as the reader soon became personal. I was blessed with not only the magnificent and stellar body of your written prose which took me to that place of escape, peace, sometimes hot and heavy "OMG where is my husband" or those times of sadness and tears, or even those dreaded cliffies which I wanted to and did scream "oh no you didn't" times...all of which provoked such incredible emotions that I felt I need medication! My family felt I need an intervention even! It was only through the community of fandom did I find the support I needed. No one truly understands this but you...the author, fellow readers.

The most unexpected gift in this whole thing is the fact that not only did picking up the Twilight book all those years ago which led me to finding fan fiction online to fill a void, I not only re kindled my deep passion for reading again but I have been blessed many times over with the most precious treasure of the friendship from the brilliant authors (too many to mention) of whom I read. I have met some many incredibly talented and flat out amazing individuals from all over the world, different ages, different races and yet we ALL have the same interest here. ONE common thread binds us together as ONE! THAT is pretty dang cool!

Sincerest Regards,

In my youth I expressed my teen angst by writing cringe-worthy Harry Potter fan fiction. I spent hours locked in my room reading it, writing it and simply immersing myself in the vastness of what fan fiction had to offer. And yes, it did a lot to gratify my tortured teenage imagination. However, by the time I was 17, I was ready to move on and swore off fan fiction all together, promising myself that I would never waste time on something so altogether useless again. Yeah…

Fast-forward three years later to when I officially broke-up with Harry Potter (we still remain good friends to this day) and transferred my affections to one Mr. Edward Cullen.

At the risk of sounding like a complete perv, my foray into TwiFic began when I was looking to fill in some of the, er… details left out of Breaking Dawn. Knowing little about the Twilight fandom, I Google searched some rather embarrassing terms to find what I was looking for. Google led me to Twilighted, Twilighted led me to Subtlynice , and my love affair with Twilight fan fiction began.

I was very fortunate to find Subtlynice in the beginning of my expedition. Without her I may not have known that I could enjoy non-smut related TwiFic. Her wonderful little PG-rated stories about Mrs. Cope and Angela Webber had me absolutely smitten. On top of that, she replied to every single one of my reviews and made me feel all tingly inside. Generally I only like reading Edward and Bella POV (yes, I’m an E/B shipper all the way) but Subtlynice has a magical way of writing from someone else’s POV and still making it all about Edward and Bella. She makes reading every POV not only tolerable, but incredibly enjoyable.

I next found Blondie’s Dark Side of the Moon . I swear, the woman channels SMeyer herself. She just knows Edward. She interprets New Moon in ways I would never even think about and has completely changed my perception of the book. She’s also another author that interacts with her readers in a way that makes me feel appreciated. I have a tendency to write 500+ word reviews for her stories and she responds to every intimate detail in kind.

Before my obsession with Twilight, I was a nice, wholesome, innocent girl. Enter Laura Cullen’s, The List. I remember beginning this fic when it had only four chapters. I had an hour long bus-ride ahead of me and only my phone for entertainment. It felt so wrong to be reading about Edward taking Bella against a tree while so many people surrounded me on the bus. And yet it made me so… giddy.

Laura Cullen is masterful at writing incredible lemons (no gratuitous use of missionary style), while moving the story forward. She’s also unique in that she masterfully handles criticism. I’ll shamefully admit that I’m no saint when dealing out criticism (but thanks to WTVOC’s Fandom Etiquette I’m happy to say that I’m much improved), but Laura takes everything in stride and uses the analysis to improve her writing and better her story. From a reviewer’s standpoint, I believe honesty in reviews is extremely important in order to help the author glimpse what I’m thinking and feeling as I read the story, whether it be good or bad. If there’s a nice way to send a critical review, I haven’t mastered it yet, but my intent is never malicious. Some authors respectfully disagree, others want to beat me over the head with a stick (which is completely justified and feel free) but Laura never makes me feel like my opinions don’t matter or are unwanted..

Lessons In Forbidden Love by xsecretxkeeperx served the dual purpose of introducing me to the All-Human TwiFic (a concept which originally horrified me) and rectifying my opinion that Alice (who I love) and Rosalie (who I tolerate) could not be horribly annoying in AH fan fiction. When I first joined the fandom, I was surprised to find that in many fics their personalities were twisted to the extreme- Alice being an overbearing shopaholic that relentlessly manipulates Bella and Rosalie being the blonde beauty that makes with the nice-nice and is Bella’s bestest-best friend. And while neither of those storylines has turned me off to a fic, I truly love how Alice stands by Bella and supports her forbidden love for Edward, and the complex relationship that Edward and Rosalie have as brother and sister.

Over 65% of my favorites list is now filled with AH fics. I love stories that bond Bella and Edward together over something more than just physical attraction (though that’s good too). I’ve recently begun reading a new fic by a charming first-time author, kerrybell, called Letters to a Swan. Bella isolates herself after a traumatic event from her past, and Sweetward (one of the most endearing Edwards I’ve read so far) attempts to court her and coax her out of her shell. There are numerous fics out there with similar storylines about Edward and Bella helping each other, and I know each touches someone in a different way. Generally I’ll love it as long as it ExB (to the extreme), well-developed, grammatically correct, with a preferably non-pregnant Bella.

With that said, Twilight fan fiction has definitely become a huge part of my life. I now find myself constantly wondering if anybody can channel Edward’s gift to read my mind, especially when I appear to be smiling for no reason at all (I got an update) or I burst out in random giggles (probably thinking about the latest chapter of The List). My mind is a scary place to be these days.

My emotions are completely wired into my favorite stories. There was one week where about ten stories updated with incredibly depressing chapters and I was in a miserable funk all week. On the other hand, I highly suggest that readers invest in a phone that receives email. Every time I get an update my phone makes a twinkling noise, which I have now deemed my, “happy sound.” Thank you to whomever thought to nominate me for the Reader’s Series. It’s great to know that something I pour myself into and has such a huge effect on my life is appreciated and means something to you.


Author's Blurb by Blondie


“I truly hated your account of this”

…is not something you’d think I’d ever want to hear in a review. But coming from m81170, Mandi, it’s exactly what I want to hear. Before you get the wrong idea, here’s the whole quote:

“I truly hated your account of this, but loved it just the same because you are an amazing author.”

Mandi doesn’t just review, she explodes. Whatever she’s feeling after (or in some cases BEFORE) she’s read a chapter spills through her keyboard and splashes back to me. And I LOVE IT!

As a writer, I’m not just trying to tell a story, I’m trying to create a place where the reader can escape the real world, if only for a short time. I know I’ve achieved my goal when I get wonderful comments directed at the characters, like:

“[Edward] needs to learn to differentiate between self-imposed guilt and guilt that is deserved and carry that lesson with him for the rest of his life so he'll never leave again.”

Mandi makes it clear that she sees my fictional Edward as a real person (like I do). We discuss him like he’s a guy we’ve both seen while having coffee at Starbucks, not a mythical creature who only exists in our minds. I can’t wait for our conversation to continue when I post a new chapter – and I know it will, because Mandi is always there, ready to review.

A question that’s often asked of authors is how they break writer’s block. For me, it’s two-fold: first, I just write…and usually delete…until something good comes out. Second, I reread reviews like Mandi’s and let her passion wake up the characters in me again.

Thank you for the support, compliments, and inspiration, my friend. (Did I mention that she made me a banner, too?) And yes, the next chapter is coming!




One of the good things that comes with writing fanfiction is the instant gratification of feedback. One of the great things is connecting with a reader on a level that’s outside the writing – beyond the story. dvorndran, Doris, has given me the gift of her friendship through her reviews and PMs.

An artist in her own right (a singer and songwriter!), her reviews are as eloquent as they are thorough – I look forward to them as much as most readers look forward to chapter updates. But it’s the personal touches that connected us. Hearing how she laughed so hard at one story that her kids thought she might be in pain, or how excited she was after she’d recorded her first CD, gives a whole new dimension to the writer/reader relationship.

We joke about our parts falling out, lust over the same vamps (twilight, BDB, the Dark-hunters), and wish each other well in hard times. Through it all, she continues to lavish me in wonderful, long, heartfelt reviews. I can only hope that every author has readers as caring and wonderful as Doris.

Thank you, my dear, for reading, reviewing, and for sharing a little of your story with me.

Blessings to you, (and a few sexy vampires, too!)


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