Summer! How’s yours going? I might be old enough to be an adult, but I’m still on a student’s schedule (and I’m also at the mercy of my kids’ school schedule) and I have the summer off. It’s been worse than during the school year, too; as I write this, I’m at my kid’s swimming lessons. I live in Southern California and it’s overcast, gloomy, and cold. What the hell, dude? A week ago I sat on this bench and got more tan as I wrote updates… now I’m sitting here, freezin’ balls and bitching about it, heartily.
Anyway, on with the questions. And for those of you wondering which updates I just referred to… go check your inboxes, if you have me on alert: I’m actually updating today. You can thank the swimming lessons for allowing me to multi-task. This is a short article, though. That’s what she said.
I have some bones that need pickin', and I really don't know where to turn to. Maybe you can help.
First thing: I've been writing FFn for a year now. I've got a healthy little following of readers, but that's just it- it's little. I guess I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I always take great care with editing my chapters and I try to update on a regular basis. I try to stay away from the typical characterizations of the characters, and I almost never use words like "center" and "mound" in my smut. So what gives? I've yet to win any contests or awards, and it's kinda tearin' my dream down, man. It's bummin' me out! Maybe you could let me in on the secret, cuz I'm definitely feeling like I need to step things up.
Second thing: Maybe I'm just a poor sport, but sometimes when I read some stories that have thousands of reviews and a healthy following, I'm left wondering. Most of the time, they're amazing. Sometimes, though, I just see the need for a better beta. I find myself tempted to tear my hair out when I'm reading a story I really like, only to have the author switching their "than" with their "then" or their "you're" with "your." How can these authors get such a following if their stories are so riddled with mistakes? To me, it just doesn't display care and attention to their craft.
Oh! And it drives me nuts, especially when I see a note at the beginning of the chapter thanking the author's beta. I mean, really, did they post the unedited version? I just want to email the author and tell them to fire their beta or find a secondary editor to fix their shit. I know we sometimes pick betas because we respect their opinion more than because they have any editing background, but still. It's too distracting and my interest in a story (that may be absolutely AMAZING) wanes if I have to mentally correct things as I'm going through. I try to take care with my chapters, and an accident may occasionally slip through, but I make that effort and I guess I just expect others to make that effort, too. I wanna see a clean chapter so I can enjoy your story, dammit!
And for the love of god, how many more mouths will "crash" together, how many tongues will "beg for entrance" or be "granted access"? And don't you dare rub on my "bundle of nerves"!
Okay, my rant is over now. I feel like a spoilsport, but really. I hate it when these things happen. It makes me wanna cry harder than I did when Tofutti stopped making my favorite flavor of vegan cream cheese. Ugh.
Dear Sporty Spoiled Spice:
Look, here’s the thing.
You speak of poor editing and betas and perfect characterizations.
What I want to know is this-
Why are you here?
Are you in it for the laughs, or the validation?
What I’m about to say might be construed as rude, and I apologize in advance, but it isn’t intended to pick on you, or anyone, really, just me being blunt, but-
-this is fanfiction. You call it “craft”, I call it funtimes and exercising my writing muscle. I think there’s a distinct difference between a “craft” and a “hobby”, and the difference to me is what you expect to get out of it.
As a craft, writing would give you some sort of return, some sort of validation, I guess. The satisfaction of a job well done. That’s what the reviews are for. As a hobby, you do it because it’s fun, or because you love writing, or it relaxes you, etc.
It doesn’t really matter which of the two fanfiction is for you; it sounds like you’re on the craft side, and over the last year of writing for this fandom, I’ve decided to remain firmly entrenched on the hobby side. Nothing wrong with it being a craft, either; that’s not what I’m saying.
But what I’m saying is this: it’s not craft for everyone. Plenty of people are in this for the fun and could give a shit about syntax, plot development, editing, etc. God knows my stuff isn’t perfect, and that’s because I refuse to get a beta.
Now, the rabid readers are often finding themselves in one of two camps: srs bsns OHMYGODYOUSHOULDPUBLISH and HOLYSMUTTINGFUCKINGSHITTHAT’SHOT (or sometimes, a crazed combination of both). Heh, I know I’m generalizing broadly, but consider me General Broad here- not all readers are in it to read stuff that transcends canon and could be turned into a book, just like not everyone is in it to read the most graphic, pilates-questionable, googling-“BDSM” material possible.
Dude, I don’t even know what I’m talking about. I guess what I’m saying is that not everyone is as serious about it as you seem to be or others are, and that’s okay. Do I read stuff and question its popularity? You bet your ass. Do I wonder who these betas are that don’t know the difference between accept/except? I roll my eyes every time. Does it keep me awake at night? Never.
Now, as to why your story isn’t getting the reviews or popularity… dude. There are people who get paid millions consulting with Hollywood as to which movies are going to make the boocoo bucks, and they’re often wrong. Who can tell? A lot of it’s promotion, sure, but it’s not like there’s a sure-fire rule about how to effectively promote your shit. Just keep doing as you do. Promote yourself in any forums you participate in; rely on word-of-mouth with your readers.
And godspeed, love.
lets get down to it shall we?
when writing a fic i want to know how the hell you start? i have sooo many ideas for stories and i have pages upon pages of random chapters and ideas for said stories. my problem is that i cant seem to get a good enough start and the chapters i do write, i read over and over and wonder if ill ever be satisfied enough to post. (dont even get me started on the concept of actually posting -- where i will find the balls to actually do it is beyond me) it doesnt make it any better that these stories are floating around in my mind all dam day while i am sitting around with my thumb up my ass.
another problem i have is my writing skills. i love to write but english and i have a messy relationship and as you can tell by this email, i have no regard for grammar or anything in its vicinity . (im also pretty sure there are a couple of run ons in here...my bad dog)
any help you can give will be greatly appreciated and who knows? maybe ill actually have a story up once i get over myself, yes?
thanks a bunch
--- mrs. robward cullenson
Dear Mrs. C-
I don’t know what you’re asking of me. How does one write, or how do I write?
I can’t speak for others; I just sit down to write, and I generally find it effective if I just type and type and go back later, editing and adding and deleting as I go.
Now, if English and you aren’t on the best speaking terms, I would definitely suggest getting a beta. Just because I’m not a grammar Nazi in my fics (see above question), doesn’t mean it doesn’t irritate the shit out of me when I see really bad errors. Project Team Beta is a livejournal community created for the express purpose of finding people betas. I don’t use it because I edit my own stuff, but I do hear wonderful things.
If you wanted to know how I, specifically, start- I just do. It’s hard to explain. One day I’m sitting here, talking with jandco, the next we’ve written three chapters of Scotch, Gin and the New Girl.
Good luck, dear. If the story’s hollering to you loud enough, you’ll get it written. If not… there’s also a livejournal for people who have ideas/need ideas. Lemme dig that one up for ya, if you want it?
Yeesh, everyone’s asking srs bsns today. I feel like I’m a stern librarian, chastising you guys for making too much noise. >:( DON’T YOU KNOW THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM?
Darling Dirty Uncle,
I had a question for you about the Twilight books. This blog primarily deals with the glorious world of FF, but I was wondering if you could give me the final word on the books themselves? I'm a bookish person, and when I stepped into the Twilight realm, I noticed two categories of Twilight readers.
a) frightening obsessiveness
b) hyper uber anti-Twilight
I've gotten mixed impressions of Twilight, but mostly I regard it as tasty braincrack, and not much else. What do you think? You seem to appreciate it on some level, but it's no secret that you object to certain parts. Can you break it down for me and give us the final word?
Hey Mrs. Wilsonnnn!
The more I hang around this fandom, the less I like the books.
I’m trying to figure out why. I actually tried to read Twilight recently to aid my writing of wolvesnvamps’ auction!fic, and my mind kept wandering. I remember when I first read it last February that I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t stop thinking about it; now it kind of bores me.
Is it fic? Is it the legions who start websites devoted to mocking it (one of which I love, is super notorious, and I love the girls in it to death and no, it’s not the Gazebo)?
More like a combination. I mean, we’ve all read some good fanfiction that is much better than canon (Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?) and we’ve all seen the hype and subsequent Twilight Movie backlash.
I, personally, still like the series, but maybe not as much as I did last year. I think it’s because this fanfiction thing I’ve found has brought me so much more enjoyment than the books did- the people, discovering I love writing, Rob (haters to the left, please), this blog, my new stuff, etc. I’m a book person, too; I’m currently reading five books at the same time. But who was it who said “Books are fine in their own right, but they’re a mighty bloodless substitute for life.” Err, something like that. I can’t google, the pool has no internet, dammit. Anyway, yeah- the internet Twilight has given me so much more pleasure than the books, and that’s rare. This fandom is so very large and so very involved, and I have too much fun in it sometimes.
Okay, final word:
Twilight: still my fave. After the prefanfic/fifth reread, I began to let the weaknesses in writing and fail characterizations bother me; ‘tis why I clicked on the “mature fanfiction” link on a certain website who shall remain nameless.
New Moon: I am not a Jacob fan, sorry. Mostly because his biggest failure is choosing a girl who wasn’t good enough for him. That makes sense right now, and it probably won't make sense tomorrow, but whatev. I won’t lie, though- the scene in Volterra where Edward's all “Carlisle was right” is my favorite in the series. Aside from the “leg hitch heard ‘round the world”, which is a phrase I stole from someone in the Gazebo. I think?
Eclipse: love/hate. This is when I really start questioning Edward Cullen’s motives, man. He’s so fucking manipulative in this one, which I love and would hate it if it were me being manipulated. The thing is, I can see why Bella was so blind-sided by Edward; we all were, initially (those of us who actually like the book, anyway). You see what S.Meyer wanted you to see, and you fell in love with Edward, too. But for me, with each re-read, his character quirks started making me question him, completely. Like, why was he a virgin for so long? Why such a fucking hold-out? Sure, it’s romantic to think that a guy waited for you, and maybe I admire it, but I’m not entirely sure, man. I write sex scenes and get a little horny; he sees people’s dirtiest fantasies and does nothing about it. Come on. What kind of guy is like that? Maybe a complete gentleman, maybe not.
Breaking Dawn: alright, look. I didn’t hate the book, even though it definitely fails. They got married, they had sex, Bella became a vamp, Edward stuck around. Those were my conditions going into it, those conditions were met. The fact that Jacob was given more personality than Edward stung. Edward was mysteriously missing from the thing. Needed more Jasper. ALICE FUCKING LEFT. Rosalie was never redeemed (Rose is the unsung hero of Twilight, if you ask me). And don’t get me started on the plotline-that-wasn’t-supposed-to-be-possible.
Anyone else have any thoughts on the books?
I wanted to know if u guys are going to finish Saturday School and of course Must Have Been Love... I seriurously love ur stories and Im going trough withdrawal without updates on those.
Thank you so much for ur stories, and keep em coming
Check your inbox. No Saturday School, though; I fear that one may never finish.
I've noticed an epidemic in Twific that I'm concerned and ultimately frustrated about.
I’ve tried to take and apply the advice that Alice and Rosalie offer Bella in the countless club/dancing scenes that have been plaguing Twifiction, but I can’t seem to attain her acquired grace.
How does someone as clumsy and uncoordinated as Bella manage to seductively "sway and grind" against Edward every single time they are at a club simply by “feeling the music” even though she has never danced before?
Am I simply handicapped or does that shit happen in real life?
Well, here’s the thing. Mary Sue Swan does a lot of shit in fic that we writers dream about. I’m an old bitch and prefer to write about the stuff I have done because it’s easier to write. My lack of imagination is my true motivation for writing, really. But a lot of stuff is written that you can tell the author has no experience with, whether it’s sex, living in Seattle, being a doctor (oh god, my biggest pet peeve is medical shit. I have a medical background, and those errors drive me craaaaaaazy. My husband can’t even watch old ERs with me because I rant at the television.) or you get the picture.
Is there something wrong with this? Nah. A lot of people pull off their stories with good research, and only those who are some sort of expert on the subject know the difference (especially with all the fics dealing with some sort of psychological condition that you see lately).
But as for dancing? Well. I like to shake my ass and these hips don’t lie, but I’m in it for the fun. How does a clumsy, graceless oaf suddenly turn into Jenna Jameson on the dance floor?
Wishful thinking. No, it’s not you.
Jasper Hale Question o’the Week:
Dear Ms. Wtvoc -
As ever, I appreciate your insightful response to my inquiry on behalf of my brother and his betrothed. Alice was able to keep Bella's embarrassment concerning the topic to a minimum by discussing your advice with her privately. Edward was alternately touched by your compliment regarding his virtue and offended by what he perceived to be an insult to his... stamina. Regardless, he begrudgingly listened to your advice and seems to be slightly more optimistic about the human's survival, if not her enjoyment.
I apologize for failing to address the question regarding vampires' ticklishness last week. The short answer is that I am not ticklish. However, neither is anyone in my family, nor have I encountered any ticklish vampire in my many years of existence. I am aware that many humans are ticklish, and I became curious about the difference. Wanting to be as thorough as possible, I asked Carlisle to address the issue. He was kind enough to draft a written response.
Ticklishness is a neurological response to stimuli. This much is easily understood. What is more difficult to assess is why some humans seem to be more ticklish than others, and why even some humans seem to have very little tickle response at all. I believe some of the theories on this issue may also answer the question of why vampires do not seem to be ticklish.
Many scientists believe that ticklishness is an evolutionary development. They theorize that the tickle response developed in humans as a defense against insects and spiders, a physiological response alerting the body to a specific type of threat. This theory explains why particularly vulnerable areas of the human body - feet, abdomen, and armpits - are among the most ticklish.
Vampires, having skin that is impervious to insect bite or burrowing, would not have developed such a physiological response.
I hope this answers your kind reader's question to her satisfaction.
As it would happen, my question to you this week dovetails nicely with a topic you desired us to discuss. In your column last week, you featured what appears to be a still image from a film loosely based upon my family. It would appear that the talented thespians in the photograph are certainly giving their all in the scene.
With the exception of Bella, the members of my family have all existed since the earliest days of filmmaking, and our eidetic memories provide us with the means to have lively discussion about which actors we think could best portray us. Therefore, my question to you this week is this: if you could cast each member of the Cullen family with any actor, living or dead, who would you select?
Until next week,
P.S. Rosalie, perhaps justifiably, does not believe any human actress could adequately portray her superhuman beauty. Nevertheless, I would still be interested in your selection.
Dear Mr. Hale
I am rather satisfied with your tickling answer, and I agree with it to an extent. I’ve read a theory that states tickling is sexual in nature, and I won’t lie- I rather hoped you would’ve addressed that, but alas.
I’m keeping it short because your question is going to be answered in a major page rape kind of way. Consider yourselves warned. If you don’t know who the followering actors are, shame on you. Or you can just ask.
Twilight, as cast by withthevampsofcourse:
(shut up. my column, my choice.)
The Other Vamps
Volturi Guards 2 and 3:
Angela Weber :
Disagree? Have a better option? Wanna give me a job as a casting director? Comment below, or write me a scathing email.
‘Til next week, gents. Stay classy. Don’t forget to write to your dirty uncle: firstname.lastname@example.org .
withthevampsofcourse is currently undergoing maintenance in the form of writing the winning auction!fic for wolvesnvamps as well as writing for this blog and maintaining the musicsundays affiliate blog. And likewhoa, she’s actually updating today!