Thursday, December 31, 2009

FandomFluff: Rocks and Islands and Christmas Carols

Rocks and Islands and Christmas Carols

Hoosier Mama

You know that Simon & Garfunkel song, “I am a Rock”? How it ends with “…and a rock feels no pain and an island never cries”? I’m not proud of it, it’s far from admirable, but that describes my motto pretty well. Keep the things you love close to your heart. Don’t share knowledge that can be used as ammunition against you and you’ll never be hurt.

I received a response from reader Julesames regarding my article “Any Given Saturday” that has been haunting me. No, it was not hurtful or negative. My article had mentioned how I keep secret my fanfiction addiction even while willing the teenage girls I was chaperoning to own up to loving Twilight. I was bemoaning the fact that the girls always crumble like a house of cards anytime the boys start mocking them about it. No one is willing to defend and represent the “I Heart Twilight” side of the argument. I admitted to feeling hypocritical, since I keep my feelings to myself while willing others to go to battle for me.

Julesames’s letter stated that she chose to make a stand. She made no secret of her Twilight love, and as a result, she’s been subject to some criticism from co-workers and family but at the same time she has made several RL friends that share that love. She’s one courageous chick; she knows who she is and she doesn’t hide her true feelings.

…and her bravery made me feel decidedly wimpy.

I know this is a difficult subject, and I’m likely opening myself up to attacks, but I think it’s important to shine a light on this topic…the topic being, simply stated: why are Twilight fans derided to the extent that fans feel it necessary to hide their feelings?

In every fandom there are a few loose screws that take their obsession to a level embarrassing to the rest of us. I’m not writing about them; I’m referring to your average, normal yet quietly obsessed fan that average, normal people out there find necessary to mock and ridicule. (I am a rock; I am an island…)

The amount of vitriol spewed by the media at Twilight fans can be fierce. But those attacks hurt no where near as much as comments made by family and friends, who are no doubt influenced by the media and its obvious distain. It’s not great literature, but then we never claimed it was and neither has Stephenie Meyer. I’m not a newcomer to fanaticism. Honestly I’ve been obsessed by other book series, movies and TV shows in the past, but never before have I experienced the amount of hatred and maliciousness that is often leveled at Twilight fans. I’ve never before been made to feel ashamed of my feelings regarding something I loved.

It almost seems like overkill. I wish I could say to them all: “Ok, ok, we get it! You don’t like Twilight! You think fans of the books are emotional and deluded simpletons. Our devotion to Edward fills you with inexplicable fury. You want us to collectively take a long walk off a short pier.”

But really…why do they care so much? Why spend so much energy hating us? Not everybody loves Star Trek or Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but do people waste time viciously badmouthing any of them? No, not to the extent of Twilight. Why?

Here’s Hoosier Mama’s theory.

Feel free to accept it, reject it, or ignore it: your choice.

They are chick books and chick flicks. All of the other hugely successful franchises since Star Trek in the 1960’s have been male-dominated. I’m not saying women don’t get fanatical about them; after all, I’ve been to a Star Trek convention, and I saw the original Star Wars movie ten times in the theater. I read J.K. Rowling’s first two books to my kids at bedtime while excitedly recommending them to my friends who would routinely ask me, “Harry…who?”

Women aren’t supposed to have obsessions, unless they are male-approved, and then we are welcome to jump on the band wagon. Even Harry Potter got the seal of approval by obsessed boys, but Twilight? It’s not male-approved. Most guys don’t get it and there are only a few that have actually “stooped” to read it. Because Twilight is a romance whose fans are primarily women, some men, without even realizing why they feel that way, think it must be torn down off its pedestal. If they don’t like it, and would never read it, then nobody else should either. It bothers them that their opinion is so totally discounted by diehard fans.

Then there’s the whole other stigma that I haven’t mentioned yet; it’s the 800 lb. gorilla sitting unnoticed on top of our computer screens. Not only are we Twilight fans, we’re also obsessed with fanfiction. I suppose this makes us doubly cursed. In the opinion of the bashers, we’re doubly afflicted with poor taste. If we can’t share our love of Twilight without feeling belittled, there’s no way we would open ourselves up to the avalanche of criticism we would be buried under by professing a love of fanfiction.

If I’m right and the bashing is a result of it being a chick book, how then do I explain the fact that out of the four women in my office who read the books at my enthusiastic urging, three of the women hated them? I can’t explain it. Maybe I work with a bunch of cantankerous, opinionated pragmatists without a single romantic feeling to be found in their cold, cold hearts. (Forgive me. It’s possible I’m still slightly bitter…) Would I recommend fanfiction to any of them? Hell no! Not in a million years. In fact, I’ll never again recommend a book I love to any of my co-workers. I’ve learned it’s entirely too painful. (I am a rock; I am an island…)

The one good result from all the Twilight bashing is the creation of a close-knit community of fans. Because we’ve circled the wagons to protect ourselves from the antagonism of the outside world, we’ve become our own cheerleaders, supporters and ultimately…friends.

So the next time someone you know starts a Twilight-bashing rampage, smile a secret smile at the poor deluded moron. Your place is secure in the huge Twilight fanfiction community, an island where you can express your true feelings in safety with your fellow world-weary fans, where there’s always another fic to read, another review to write…and where you are always welcome.

Did You Have a Merry Christmas?

A Very Cullen Christmas Carol

(Sung to the tune of Away in a Manger)

Away with my fam’ly; no Wi-Fi is near.

This means no fanfiction ‘til Sunday next year.

Withdrawal will be painful; I ask thee to pray

That sanity comes back to me some sweet day.

Away with the Cullens! We wish we could be

Off reading fanfiction alone happily.

Instead we’re with Grandma who won’t understand

When we disappear to hook up new broadband.

Away with their fam’lies; no authors are here.

This means no fic updates for long weeks I fear.

Oh authors! Take pity! Your readers are glum.

Please come back and write ‘til your fingers go numb.

Wishing you every fluffy happiness from my family to yours – Hoosier Mama

This has been a Fandom Fluffy Moment brought to you by
Hoosier Mama

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

AuthorInterview: An Angel with Feathers

Author Interview with Alice aka Feathersmmmm By Angel

I decided I wanted to interview Alice aka Feathersmmmmfor the blog. I asked AG if I could and she graciously agreed. She told me she wanted it in a 17 question format. I balked. Instead I caught Alice on Chat and we had a talk…here it is, edited for typos and only a few rando digressions. It’s raw and possibly confusing. I cleaned it up as best I could!

Angel: one second
Alice: k
Angel: my bff (heya mo!) called and was in the middle of a rob is so hot rant
Alice: haha
Angel: we do this three times a day
Alice: always take time for a rob rant
Angel: yes they tell me they want me to ask you like 17 questions and I’m all…
Alice: hahaha who is they??

Angel: "NO I LIKE TO DO THE CHAT"(mods via AG)
Alice: I see
Angel: so I’m refusing
Alice: ask away and then post the chat lets make it nice and loose. thats what she said. in fact, I would post what we have said already
Angel: yes I tell them people prefer the acutal convo (fine this is what I like) trust me
Alice: they do
Angel: I will
Alice: especially for me, since I am clearly insane. People enjoy insanity, not gonna lie
Angel: When you answer preset questions you have time to think it over and filter and edit
Alice: hello mods!! Waves I have no edit button
Angel: bhahah WE SEE YOU
Alice: seriously...i should self edit more but I don’t
Angel: no me either
Alice: we see you, and you will get alice, raw and uncut
Angel: excellent okay let me begin
Alice: wait wait. can i tweet that you are intrerviewing me?
Angel: WHAT? Yes
Alice: or is it a secret?
Angel: no I tweeted earlier that I needed questions I got a couple okay while you are gone I will do my intro:
Alice: ok, just tweeted hit me btw, i just got as brazilian about an hour I am a little cranky...and I hope this makes it into the interview
Angel: people know that I am a obsessed rob lover all the time so a couple of them told me to read I love LA, a Robfic, and I was all "Ewww-hale not those creep me out" so, anyway then came the terrible, TERRIBLE DAY IN THE FANDOM the day of
Alice: dun dun dun
Angel: the horrific Kings of Leon photos and a piece of me died
Alice: can’t even think about it
Angel: no we will not discuss
Alice: I left a piece of my soul on that Parisian tarmac
Angel: I apologize for bringing it up and really you know I can talk about it for days so we won't. anyway-
Alice: I cant talk about it. That’s a hard limit for me.... TURPENTINE
Angel: someone said Annie I think--she said go read ILLA it will make you feel better. I promise
Alice: awwww I love you Annie so getting laid tonight
Angel: so I just dove the fuck in. and I loved it.
Alice: you really have to just dive right in with rl fic. It’s not a hair by hair band aid gotta go all or nothing
Angel: I did. it was great. as you know cause I fangirled you
Alice: hahaha!! I know, I lost my shit when I got a review from you
as I am a creature of habit whore I texted nina I was all "holy sheet angel is reading illa!!!"
Angel: Well, the funny thing is you were reviewing me and posting on my thread and i was all embarrassed that I didn’t read your fic.
Alice: pffft
Angel: I felt terrible--I did
Alice: please
Angel: but whatever
Alice: rl fic squicks most peeps so I never take it personally
Angel: the reality of the situation is that horrible not to be named event brought us together
Alice: but am glad to have you on this side of the sharks vs jets rumble
Angel: me too
Alice: haha, yes, and now our lives are almost complete
Angel: almost
Alice: btw, edit out my typos please
Angel: I will (note: I tried!)
Alice: I say almost complete because it will not be fully complete until we have rob in our kitchen baking cookies and by baking cookies. I mean actually baking cookies, as that would be a great way to kill an afternoon
Angel: it would I would love to bake cookies with rob. QUESTION:
Alice: cracks neck

Angel: if you could do one thing with rob that was not sexual what would it be?
Alice: anything???
Angel: yes
Alice: hmmm other than bake cookies?
Angel: yes
Alice: can I bring him to christmas dinner? just to infuriate mr alice?
Angel: (I love that you have to think of this I totally know my answer). Yes anything
Alice: I would bring him to christmas dinner, subject him to my mother, and then get him wasted and then move on to the stocking stuffing portion of the evening~ahem
Angel: so...serious question:
Alice: cracks knuckles
Angel: Why RL fic? how did you get into this?
Alice: OK here’s the cliffs notes version before illa I had never written anything before I mean anything not even in a journal because whenever iI tried to write in a journal, I felt like a dork I felt like I was cheating, and it felt false and very after school special anyway when i started reading fanfiction and reading anything and everything that I could get my hands on

as you do at the beginning, like a fiend I noticed there were not that many fics about rob now I was new to ff and i had no idea that writing rl
fic was such a big deal and that so many people found it akin to killing kittens that being said, I started to get some ideas. I saw 2 interviews with rob:

1. where he was asked who his celebrity crushes are he answered Patricia Arquette, Dana Delaney and Elizabeth Shue who are not young woman…interesting
2. he told another interviewer that he thought Tina Fey was the sexiest woman on the planet.

This killed me dead. So, here’s this young kid, about to be hugely famous and he is clearly a smart ass and a funny, funny guy besides being illegally cute and I started to piece together some ideas for a story and grace was born the story started out very small, had virtually no readers, and then it just took on a momentum of its own and since I hadn’t written anything before writing a "genre" like rl fic which doesn’t have a large audience (at least initially) but there weren’t many out there, I thought it would be a great way to try something new and make a little niche for myself since there were only a few rl fics out there. I really didn’t think anyone would read it

so its funny now when I reread the first few chapters and think wow, what shite

Angel: ha I do this to. It’s painful. Okay so one reason I loved ILLA is: Rob seemed like Rob, you know, fictionalized but still Rob but Grace? She was awesome
Alice: totally idealized rob btw aw…
Angel: totally. Well, some RL fics…obviously I can not read Robsten fics at all ever, so that cuts out a bunch then
Alice: shudders
Angel: I know lets not speak of it then there are the ones that seem like the authors just are writing about themselves and Rob which is creepy and not entertaining

Alice: I have to tell you I got a criticism early on from someone that wasn’t even reading the fic that was saying that rl fic is just masturbatory fantasies. on the one hand I was like...dur... but on the other hand, i thought that the character of Grace is someone that a lot of people really seemed to relate to
Angel: ha I know yes
Alice: and I was actually glad to get the criticism since illa only got a few bad reviews
Angel: absolutely-well I PMed you and told you that I felt like ILLA was the kind of book I would pick up at Target in chick lit (which I mean as a compliment) it carried itself
Alice: thank you my dear
Angel: np
Alice: Grace seems to be able to hold her own
Angel: she does
Alice: and by that clearly I mean her own boobies. you knew boobies would come up at some point in this interview right?
Angel: I was hoping
Alice: only a matter of time
Angel: Okay next question:
Alice: cracks back
Angel: ILLA was pulled from because the terms of service does not allow RL fics. Care to describe this scenario?
Alice: no haha. It was pulled by because someone or many someones reported it and it apparently is in violation of their terms of service so there :)
Angel: (note: almost all authors on ff violate the TOS at one point or another during a fic. This isn’t an excuse it is just a fact)
Alice: one day i signed in and poof no more all the reviews gone. It was sad really
Angel: well, you are not the only FF friend I have who has had this issue--and there’s weren’t RL fic so. It sucks
Alice: but it had been complete for some time at that point I believe. Yes I agree but what can you do ya know? I was a little pissy but ah well
Angel: well i had just finished it and told a friend to read it...she was midway though and it was just gone-she freaked so I said...oh go read it on twilighted...WHICH takes us to… At least there are other awesome sites that allow all kinds of writing.
Alice: indeed and I love twilighted had actually toyed with the idea of only posting Wallbanger (Edward Wallbanger is Alice’s AHAU fic) on but then I decided I didn’t want to limit the readers to only that site what’s funny is illa did much, much better on twi than on ff, so I thought the same would be the case on ff but no maam the opposite happened I got waaay more readers on ff this time around....its nice I am pleased when anyone reads it, anywhere but I must say I do love the community over on twilighted a lot
Angel: well you know twilighted is so close to my heart because it literally carried me through what we call The Fail of breaking dawn
Alice: ah
Angel: I lived on the fail train
Alice: that was before my time awww
Angel: for about 2 months. It helped me cope

Alice: it’s nice you all had a place where you could talk each other down off the ledge. Later on I will share with you how I would like to see the Isle Esme scene filmed heh heh heh
Angel: excellent okay I have a reader question:
Alice: cracks ass
Angel: From EjSantry of course
Alice: I love reader questions. Wait a minute…are you going to ask me about kitchen sex?
Angel: why yes I am
Alice: I fucking knew it…jesus
Angel: do you refuse this question? I will allow one refusal
Alice: oh no, I don’t refuse it- I welcome it, I just never thought believe me, in a million years that I would be known for my kitchen sex in an online twilight porn community
Angel: Question: Favorite kitchen surface (ykwim)?
Alice: but ah well haha well, for the foreplay, I love sitting on the counter, but for the actual sexing usually the floor which is always spotless thank you very much
Angel: I was gonna say you totally do not have kids or dogs
Alice: neither
Angel: exactly
Alice: altho we do have 2 cats
Angel: meh not the same
Alice: one of whom is named Gracie hahaha Eventually we are getting a Bernse Mountain Dog which will shed a lot might cut down on the kitchen floor sexing we'll see
Angel: well it will but maybe not for the hair but for the fact it will try to join in trust
Alice: gross
Angel: question 2 from EJ
Alice: cracks up
Angel: Favorite place to find new fics?
Alice: ooooo I like to go old school and I click on Most Recent on twi and scroll until I strike gold which just recently yielded With Teeth, which is making everyone apeshit right now not to mention I find a lot of little known fics this way which I really like to pimp
Angel: ape shit? me? Let’s discuss pimping fics. I am a huge fan of the author pimp and I find it difficult sometimes As I have a fairly large readership and they really appreciate the fic rec and I love to read and I love to share what I am reading but...there is this hard side where if you contact an author and tell them you are reading and then idk fall out of love with the story it gets uncomfortable. do you experience this?
Alice: hmmmm…I usually don’t reach out to the author and tell them I am gonna rec. I sometimes I rec it at the end of a chapter
Angel: no no I don’t either but I do contact them by review
Alice: sometimes, especially recently since Wallbanger went on hiatus, I rec it on emails, forum threads, or twitter so, when I rec something I usually hear back from the author within a day or so which is great, since I love to meet new peeps, BUT I usually don’t rec something unless I am pretty damn sure I am gonna stick with it for the long hauland Wallbanger readers especially seem to really like the recs, and they usually start reading them right away which makes me happy since I love to share what is currently kicking my ass
Angel: yes I dont review or rec until it is a good way in.
Alice: especially when its a fic that not a lot of people are reading
I was very lucky that illa caught the attention of some big authors at the time and they pimped the shit outta me and so I always make sure to share what I like and what I love:)
Angel: yes I feel the same way. I was lucky to have the support of some really great authors with COH. It was amazing. I try to return the favor. And you and I both read a lot like daily many authors either don’t or maybe dont admit it
Alice: I read a lot of updates from my phone and it sucks because I cant review from my phone. another reason I like to pimp other fics
Angel: (yes so you say)
Alice: I cant!!
Angel: ha. okay
Alice: shut it

Angel: ahem-next question
Alice: smokes crack
Angel: EJ-things that make you laugh?
Alice: roseanne reruns, mr alice cracks my shit up on a daily basis. weird stuff cracks me up like, really good banter. if you have never watched His Girl Friday or Bringing Up Baby....jesus. that stuff is gold its the back and forth that I like
Angel: okay last one from EJ: Favorite Xmas gift? floor cleaner?
Alice: that I gave or was given?
Angel: idk she didn’t specify
Alice: hmmm…favorite gift was when mr alice bought me tickets to go see RENT, and hid them in a book about musical theater I was so excited to read the book. I was flipping thru it and actually started crying when I saw the pages ABOUT rent, missing the tickets that were tucked in that page He just stood there laughing for 5 minutes while I missed the tickets then when I saw them then the waterworks started for real
Angel: awwww you heart mr. alice and his gifts
Alice: I really do and his peen
Angel: good thing right?
Alice: mm hmm
Angel: okay one more reader question:
Alice: gets crackalackin
Angel: AltheaJames wants to know how much time do you spend reading as you are a pimping machine.
Alice: hahaha no shit. I read updates a lot, that keeps me current, and I pick up probably a new fic each week although not as much lately as I have been so busy. I read a shit ton. That’s actually been measured a shit ton. since we have been doing this interview 2 of my fics have updated
Angel: meeeee tooooo!
Alice: :)
Angel: as we read like 99% of the same fics
Alice: yes we do
Angel: I bet you are trying to decide which one to read first
Alice: its gonna be hard tonight (that’s what she said)
Angel: sometimes I hold out on the 'better' one
Alice: me too!!! Save the best for last
Angel: AG and I use fic updates as carrots for writing "if I write 1k I can read this update"

Alice: I do that sometimes altho I can barely write checks these days
Angel: she is doing this at this moment with Burn and Shine.
Alice: fucking hell, I forgot that updated too!! This is gonna be a good night
Angel: It was awesome FYI I read it
Alice: shut it
Angel: Speaking of Writer's Blocks…
Alice: cracks block
Angel: how much does having a writer's block SUCK?
Alice: it sucks balls, big balls, big huge elephant balls normally I don’t get it, but if I take too long to update ~ahem~ its harder for me to get back into it. outlining helps a lot and I go by scene rather than word count or pages or anything I know how many scenes per chapter I am gonna work on and I go scene by scene but if I stop mid chapter mid-scene rather. it’s really hard for me to pick back up
Angel: yes I can relate to this is why I update weekly-literally
Alice: you are a machine with nuts and bolts
Angel: if I didn’t I would have a hard time getting it done. Ha! Do you find Wallbanger easier or harder to write than ILLA (not including blocks)?
Alice: harder
Angel: any reason?
Alice: when I started wallbanger I was coming off illa, and I was sad but I wanted to get a chapter posted of wallbanger before I ended illa to help transition over some readers but it took awhile to get out of Grace’s head and into Bella’s once I was there I wrote pretty fast but then rl exploded and that has brought us here.
Angel: you write a lot of humor
Alice: I do
Angel: my favorite part of Wallbanger so far is when she follows Edward to the bathroom cause she is scared to be left in the room alone. I would so do this
Alice: hahaha
Angel: I love real life humor in the middle of a story
Alice: I think its funny because so many of us would do this. I remember being at slumber parties and if we were watching a scary movie we would all go to the bathroom in a group--the mental image of Bella outside Edward’s bathroom draped in a sad sack afghan was just too funny to me to not put in with one eyehole darting around furiously
Angel: it was awesome…well...its imagery and imagery is so good
Alice: that’s the thing
Angel: it is a skill many authors need to learn to use
Alice: I see everything in cinemascope that’s why I had the soundtrack to illa so integrated into the scenes I actually thought about if it were a movie--what song would be playing and I try to write scenes so that you cab really imagine it there I don’t know what I am doing half the time but I think if I were reading this, what would I need to feel 'there" and then I go I think because I never took a writing class and know SHIT about writing as a craft. I am more simple in how I lay out a scene I think about the subtext when I am creating dialogue what are they saying, but what are they reaaaalllyy saying what are the stakes in each scene what has to happen in many ways, its more a character study the way I figure this shit out
Angel: you know I do this may be why we like each others writing...its a similar technique. I do all of that too I spend half the time thinking about what they aren't saying in relation to what they are saying.
Alice: yes the subtext--the hum just underneath when he says "pass the milk" what he really wants to say is "pass the milk before I scream at you for fucking that other guy" blah blah blah see, this is why you cant ask an actor questions like this I can bullshit on character motivation for fucking days
Angel: you did pull your ILLA from twilighted? correct? and if you did...did you get any grief from this or comments? care to explain why you did?

Alice: I got a lot of questions about where it had gone and the readers have been insanely supportive George and Gracie will def be back and there will def be a sequel those two are too much fun to go away forever
Angel: ima ask some fluff questions. favorite book:
Alice: love fluff. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Angel: are you currently reading a 'real book'?
Alice: I am about a fourth of the way into Under The Dome, Stephen King, and also Ms Astor Regrets I tend to have several books going at once. I am also reading What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee
Angel: What was your favorite part of NM?
Alice: it would be easy to say the reunion but I actually liked when Bella made the family put it to a vote and in fact, I loved in the movie when she told Edward to shut up I thought it was a nice addition I never liked the idea that Bella’s choices were made for her I appreciated that she was making the rest of the family vote it wasn’t just up to Edward way to ball up Bella
Angel: yes--it was one of the more realistic moments--people in Hollywood think we want passive Bella. as we in fanfic know…we do not.
Alice: no we don’t we do however want to see the trailer to Facepunch. fucking hell, best name for a fake movie ever
Angel: bhahahaha yes. I KNOW it was like Seinfeld and their fake movie names
Alice: I hope it’s on the DVD extras
Angel: okay: what was the last band you went to see?
Alice: I dont see live bands very often I see every U2 show and its like going to church so its hard for me to see other concerts when I am not emotionally invested
Angel: yes I get this totally

Alice: wait wait that’s not true. the last concert I was fucking NKOTB last fall and it was fantastic. wouldn’t have traded it for the world so much fun
Angel: ha I am older than you
Alice: I doubt it
Angel: but I went to see Duran Duran later in life and it was like--a dream come true
Alice: I bet, seriously seeing New Kids, I felt 13 again it was hysterical I was laughing so hard
Angel: it was like I had completed a moment in life
Alice: yep
Angel: ~sees Duran Duran~ check. okay: Kill, Fuck, Marry? Edward in With Teeth, Burn and Shine or High Anxiety
Alice: ooooo oh man you just killed me dead
Angel: I know- that was a good one..
Alice: can I count for the kill?? I guess Kill Burn and Shine, only because she has already fucked him--Fuck High Anxiety because come on, the guy needs it BAD and Marry With Teeth, so they can wait until he is thru his recovery abstaining phase and then he can fuck the shit out of her—I mean me
Angel: okay wrapping up…anything you want to do?
Alice: Yes, can I rec a fic?
Angel: yep please do.
Alice: I’m totally into Stolen Singer by nerac. It’s new.
Angel: great…Thanks for chatting!
Alice: Thanks- I feel like a grown-up.
Alice aka Feathersmmmm is the author of the Rpattz fic I love LA and the AU/AH story Edward Wallbanger. She is also a moderator of Twigasam Podcast. If you didn’t notice she is dealing with a bad case of writer’s block and we hope this gets better soon so we can find out what happens in Tahoe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Guest Fic Rec: KiyaRaven Meets the Sun


It's sometimes weird how connections are made in this fandom. For example, I had being hearing about an author named Miztrezboo for months before encountering her fic awesomeness. I'd seen things written about her on forums, I'd seen some excellent banners for her stories, and I'd even chatted to her on Twitter before I got around to reading one of her stories – finally giving in to my curiosity about this charismatic and well-liked fellow-Aussie.

I read the first chapter of her latest fic, Where the Road Meets the Sun, and I was immediately hooked, and for me, that's the only reason I start a new story. There has to be something there. Some sort of visceral connection that links me to the characters, that makes me care about them, that makes me want to find out more about them and go on some sort of journey with them. Well, Boo grabbed me in the guts with a metal spiked gauntlet with the prologue to WTRMTS, and I couldn't stop reading. The prologue not only starts with Bella and Edward breaking up, but they leave each other completely shattered, and Bella suddenly can't comprehend living her life without him.

“I don’t think you ever tried at all.” His voice was a whisper on the ice cold December wind, whistling in with his parting words. The chill iced over my skin as the door finally closed; closing behind him, closing in on me.

That door shutting was so much more than a block between him and me. It was the dividing line between what we had and what we were, and I was left on the wrong side of it. I felt my body slide helplessly to the floor. The hardwood underneath me was as cold and unyielding as I felt.

How did it come to this? How did we - I let it get this far? Everything I had known as true had disappeared completely. There was nothing I could do, nothing that would right all these wrongs.

As I lay with my warm cheek pressed against the cold floor, a glimmer of silver shone in the dim light. I hadn’t realized I’d still been holding it when he came bursting in the front door. Looking at it now though, my hand reflexively tightening around the cool metal of the handle. Perhaps it was the answer I’d been looking for.

And thus the roller-coaster ride of this great story begins.

Boo weaves a tale in which Bella and Edward have always been in each other's lives, from the moment when two year old Bella is introduced to her next door neighbor's new baby the day he is brought home from the hospital.

As the story goes, as soon as my mother bent low enough for Isabella to peer into the gap of the blankets, my eyes opened and I smiled. Isabella smiled back at me and we were, according to the tale that had been repeated over the last seventeen years, inseparable ever since. As mom went to move away from the fence, Isabella started to squeal, I started to bawl, and the noise between both of us only ceased once Isabella's and my eyes met again. It would seem as if there was love, or friendship at least, at first sight between the older toddler and the innocent babe.

As the years pass, of course, other, less innocent feelings start to develop, at least on the part of young Edward.

Even at the age of eleven I knew that I loved her. I may not have known exactly how deep, or exactly what that love really meant. However, I knew enough to know that I didn’t want any other boy touching her, and that if any boy was to touch her, it was going to be me.

Boo's writing is compelling and natural, and she switches easily between Edward and Bella POV's, each chapter alternating to give us a different perspective on the unfolding drama. Her characterizations are rich and complex, and her descriptive style is truly a pleasure to read.

Edward is an open book. He's a geek who wears his heart on his sleeve and who isn't afraid to cry when the love of his life dumps him.

Bella is complicated. She obviously has issues related to her parents. The causes are hinted at, but so far not expanded on, and because of this she finds she's unable to feel worthy of the only man she's ever truly loved. She finds excuses to push Edward away, and although this frustrates the hell out of me as a reader, as a valid, true-to-life character portrayal, it's pretty spot on. I've known girls like this. You want to slap them and scream at them to stop being so damn self-deprecating and just accept the love that is offered freely to them, but do they listen? Oh, no. And that's the crux of this story.

The supporting players that Boo has created are also excellent. Rosalie is Bella's hard-ass, smart-talking best friend, but when Bella stomps all over Edward's heart, it's Rosalie that's left to pick up the pieces.

Edward's best friend is a perpetually stoned and achingly charismatic Jasper, who likes verbally torturing uptight Rosalie far too much for his feelings toward her to be purely platonic.

The villain of the piece is one of the most thoroughly unlikeable versions of James I have ever read, and in this fandom, that's saying something. His insidious, multi-layered personality is masterfully written.

This story and this author are severely under-appreciated and I would highly recommend you run out and jump head-first into this salty and sweet tale. It's dark in places, but it also has good doses of humor, especially in Edward's POV, and although Bella's self-loathing is untiring, it's written with such gut-wrenching reality, you can' help but pray she finds the courage to move past it.

So go. Read it. Love it. Leave Boo some love, and tell her Kiya sent you.

KiyaRaven is the author of The Screamers and more recently, Grasping Darkness. Go check her out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Drabble Timez: Resolution

A Resolution

Today's Drabbly Babblers

Drabble #1:

I had exactly one Christmas wish, and it was to fuck Bella Swan.

Damn Emmett and last-minute ski trips.

“Bitch,” I says to Jasper one fine snowy day. “I’mma hit that shit like the fist of an angry God.”

“Whatever, bitch,” he said back to me. “She hates your guts.”

“Yeah, but she might love the other parts,” I mumbled, walking up the hallway to her dorm. “Stay away. At midnight, she’s mine.”

Her lips were all I could think of anymore. What better way to ring in the New Year than a sweet kiss from that piece of ass?

Drabble #2:
This will be my last one because she is alone. Had she a friend, then I’d have two more.

As it is, there is just one.

Pornographers burn in hell. I imagine they blister and shriek for eternity. I break her neck and bite as soon as the pulse is dead, so she won’t go right from one hell to the next. I can’t feel guilt when she tastes so good, but I’ll pay for this later, when I finally return to Carlisle.

One minute until the new year and the corpse hits the street.

I’ll never do it again.

Drabble #3:
Last day of the year. Last fucking chance.

I blow out a shaky breath through puckered lips. I can do this. I spent 364 days preparing. I’m ready. I grab a rag and walk toward the dirty table next to where he sat, glued to his laptop screen, just like he did every day.

A simple thing. Resolution #4: Start a conversation with green eyed guy that doesn’t involve the words grande or nonfat.

I stand next to him. Wipe the table. Steal a glance. Face him. Wipe more. Berate my stupidity. Turn around and walk away.

Maybe next year.

Drabble #4:
Diary of Jasper Whitlock 12/31/08

This Year's Resolutions:

1. Get a new hairstyle. Ronald McDonald was so last year.

2. Try harder not to eat my brother's girlfriend. Everyone says I've got no self control. Edward can't stay away from the human, watches her sleep, and insists she get married at 18, but I'm the one with the problem?

3. Stop making Emmett horny during calculus. As entertaining as it is to see him squirm, there are some things those children didn’t need to see.

4. No more letting Alice dress me. I'm 165 years old. I can dress myself.

Think You Know That Drabbler?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fandom News - 12/25

Voting for the The Friendship is Key Contest Ends

Deadline to Submit Your Entries for the Broken Holiday Record Contest
Winners for the The Friendship is Key Contest Announced
Voting for the The Last Minute Holiday Fun Times O/S Contest Begins
Voting for the Who's Under Your Tree? Contest Begins

Voting for the Shimmer Awards Begins
Last Day to Submit Your Entries to the Mentalward Contest
Voting for the Broken Holiday Record Contest Begins
Last Day to Submit Your Entries for The Wrinkly Heart Contest

Voting for The Wrinkly Heart Contest Begins

Nothing Going On Today *Whew!*

Voting for the Mentalward Contest Begins
Winners for the Quileute "La Push" Challenge Announced

Submissions for The Kid Contest are Due and Voting Begins Today
Last Day to Submit Your Entry for The Most Shitteous Craptastic Cuddlecock Crack Contest
Deadline to Enter theTo Go Amongst Mad People Contest
Last Day to Submit Your Entry for theInspiration is Key Contest

Voting for the Twilight25 O/S Challenge Ends at 11am EST
Voting for theTo Go Amongst Mad People Contest Begins
Voting for the Broken Holiday Record Contest Ends
Voting for The Most Shitteous Craptastic Cuddlecock Crack Contest Begins
Deadline to Submit Your Entries for the Forks Hospital Contest
Last Day to Enter theGeekward Shuffle Challenge
Submissions Deadline for the Twilight in the Roaring Twenties Contest
Start Submitting Entries to the A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words Contest

Open for Voting or Nominations:

The Out of this World Crossover Contest - Voting Ends 1/2

Sign Up for the Twilight25 O/S Challenge: Round Two by January 1st

Exercise your writing muscles by joining Workshop Fictionista's WitFit Challenge!

Kassiah has realized the closest thing to her lifelong dream of becoming a real live weather girl by posting the Fandom News on TLYDF every Friday. *Squee* She hopes everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HolidayPost:Reasons to be Thankful

Reasons to be Thankful

It’s the same thing every year.

The mad dash at the end of December. Cookies baked, presents wrapped, parties attended. All the while, I am wondering ‘where the heck has the year gone?’

It definitely holds true for this madcap year. This time last year I was toeing in the water with the first post of my first story (12/28/2008). I had no clue how much this fandom would pull me in, teach me, and give me a new perspective.

With that said, I told the team I’d take on the Christmas Eve post. It gives me a chance to round out my first year in the fandom while channeling my inner sap. So I propped my feet up on the coffee table (which drives my mom nuts, even if I am a grown woman), with a glass of wine, staring into the fire trying to decide what to say. The peace was broken by the whistle of a train from the living room, followed by a shout of ‘Hey Mom, I tied Anakin to the tracks!’

And do you know what I immediately thought? I’m incredibly thankful I don’t have an Edward Cullen doll, because he’d be bound and gagged on the tracks faster than you can say BDSM.

Yes, even in the happy daze of Christmas bliss, we all still have Twilight on the brain. Fortunatley, it inspired me, and saves you all from the really bad ‘Twas the Twilight Before Christmas’ that I was perilously close to foisting on you.

So with further ado, I give you what we at the Ficster are thankful for this holiday season. Warning as you proceed, we are quite the motley crew. Please move the coffee mug away to prevent screen spray, and make sure your family/boss/husband/child/significant other/roommate etc is out of the room, because you don’t want to explain. Trust me.

AngstGoddess is Thankful for:

  • Copy and paste
  • Bokeh textures
  • People who still make PS7 compatible brushes
  • Internet piracy
  • Yoga boy
  • Rob gifs
  • FFn's lack of word limit
  • TLYDF's awesome new admins
  • IP tracking
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • All my betas, previewers, and readers
  • FanFic writers, who have the balls to put their necks out there
  • Those who get their throats cut, and still post anyway
  • FanFic Readers, who have the balls to brave the FFn roll
  • Everyone who realizes there's a real human behind every penname, flaws and insecurities and all.
  • Pickle juice
  • The new clients I've made this year
  • Koalas, pandas, and baby lynxes
  • Jackson and his dimples
  • The word "fuck"
  • Acronyms
  • G-Docs
  • Dry humping
  • Fault
  • Times New Roman
  • ItzMegan73
    and every time she updates
  • My Twitter peeps, who always help me get a word out when necessary
  • The
  • Wankward
  • S. Meyer
  • Hand holding
  • My kittehs, who warm my lap while I write
  • Awkward smut
  • Present tense
  • The em-dash
  • WA Rehab
  • #FandomCuddles
  • Open-minded readers
  • RacketGhost
    s' angst
  • LTR
    , &
  • Star Trek TNG facepalm gifs
  • Slash writers
  • The
    Twilight Sisterhood
    , and everyone else who helped me get to ComicCom
  • PastyP, FrenchyB, and RevyR
  • YSAR
    , for buying me in
    and not shanking me while my WA fail holds up her purchase
  • EZrocksAngel
    and everything related to her glory: Her crazy chats, her ability to make me smile with three letters, her understanding, especially during CC and her ability to calm my batshit, and her ability to always get me, no matter what. Aw, she makes me crinkly-eyed smile like this: XD!
  • Javascript browser hacks
  • Angel reruns
  • HP slash
  • Video tutorials
  • The ability to block PMs
  • Super secret b-day projects
  • Safe mode
  • My mom for being the sweetest hippie ever
  • My brother for introducing me to the internet
  • My entire family for being ridiculously supportive of anything that makes me happy, even when it's TwiFF and a little humiliating
  • Narcotics
  • Dirty Uncle WTVOC
    for being my acronym-decoder and never mocking my ignorance (to my face)
  • Everyone who asks about WA epi
  • The people that don't
  • My fabulous fiance, who puts up with my crazy ass
  • Everyone reading this blog!
  • For having so much to be thankful for, that I can't even squeeze it all in
  • and Bulleted lists

PastichePen is Thankful for:
  • For this blog and the community it floats upon.
  • For my friends, for their humor and insight and honesty (whom I could try to list and qualify but can't do so without feeling like an asshat - so no hate).
  • For my 10 month-old niece who looks more like me than her mother (fortunately (Wait! no! kidding!)), and for whom I have gret, diabolical schemes planned.
  • Roald Dahl
    Mark Twain
    , and
    Oscar Wilde
    because: "A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom." -Roald Dahl; "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." - Mark Twain; and "I am not young enough to know everything." -Oscar Wilde. How can one not wish to (metaphorically) fellate such men?
  • For my 10th grade English teacher who should have been on Broadway.
  • That
    Gwendolyn Brooks
    wrote poetry.
  • For my boyfriend, who brings me my perfect cup of coffee every morning even as he curses the lines on my computer screen.
  • For HarryxDraco, for being the lines on my computer screen.

ElleCC is Thankful for:

  • Legna989
    , and
    for being such amazing women
  • AngstGoddess, Pastiche Pen, and Moon.Witche for asking H and me to be a part of this blog
  • Open-minded readers
  • Commas
  • Everyone who judged, wrote, read, and/or voted for "
    For the Love of Jasper
  • My brother
  • Everyone who has taken the time to read anything I've written this year
  • The drabble
  • Intelligent, thoughtful, and realistic Jasper characterizations
  • Husbandward for tolerating my crazy
  • Friday Night Lights and Veronica Mars
  • Wikipedia
  • Reviewers who make me feel smarter than I really am
  • My RL writing group
  • Gmail, Gdocs, and Gchat
  • Project Team Beta
    and the service it provides to the fandom
  • #jaspergasms
  • 105.9 The Edge
  • My stylist, even though she's moving to Houston
  • Authors who step out of their comfort zones to try something new
  • Painless Grammar
    by Rebecca Elliott and
    The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Nami86
    for her amazing Jasper fan art (and AG for making J/B manips of it)
  • "
    Someone Else's Memoirs
    " by
    a certain slant of light
  • manyafandom
    Lillie Cullen
    , and
    for showing me the potential of Jasper
  • The "X" in the upper corner of my browser
  • AG and H for sharing the spreadsheet love
  • Lake Champlain Chocolate
  • All of the amazing Twilight, SVM, and HP fanfic there is, and SM, CH, and JKR for allowing it to exist
  • Internet anonymity
  • The FGB and Support Stacie auctions/fundraisers
  • li>Finally getting over my fear of LiveJournal
  • Aerosmith, Guns 'n Roses, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins
  • Rigoberto for always getting my Domino's order right
  • Delicious online bookmarking
  • Big-name fanfic authors who are just normal people
  • Starbucks VIA
  • Bikeward
    for reintroducing Moleskines into my life
  • Anyone who writes
    Jasper / Bella
  • BlackBerry, Dell, and Apple
  • Wearing contacts in which I can sleep
  • FreakyHazelEyes
    and Pastiche Pen for sharing HARRYDRACO with me
  • All of the authors who trust me to tend to their words
  • Justin Hartley and Travis Fimmel for giving me #hairfail alternatives
  • Prilosec OTC
  • Everyone who realizes that above all else, what we are doing here is supposed to be fun

Moon.Witche is Thankful for:

  • PastichePen,
    , Claire,
    and all early readers of
    14 Days
    who assured me it wasn't crap
  • all 61 moons of Saturn but especially Titan for having an atmosphere.
  • NaNoWriMo
    and all the amazing people I met because of it.
  • tlydf for basically letting me write articles about whatever I want. And, you know, the awesome people I get to work with on the blog.
  • AG and her willingness to let me win a contest using her Photoshop skills.
  • cdunbar, rialle, and TRE (Christine, Claire, and Danielle) for all the fun we have when we have time to
  • anyone who has ever listened to our podcast. Or been on as a guest.
  • my ebook copy of Sex for Dummies and it's diagrams.
  • Glee
  • YA authors, especially the ones with Twitter accounts.
  • michellephants
    for loving the
    just as much as I do.
  • my iPhone on which I am writing this list.
  • Clive
  • Little Anthony, who is so gosh darn cute.
  • anyone who has read my story and laughed.
  • people who don't take life seriously!
  • Limona
    . For being so awesome. For hating each and evry one of my adverbs. For committing to helping even though she didn't have time to. For writing an amazing story. For seeing the potential in mine and helping me reach it.
  • Snuggies.
  • Cadbury's Mini Eggs (and chocolate in general)
  • Extra old cheddar cheese, crackers, and a pot of earl grey tea. My usual snack while writing.
  • Twitter and everyone who talks to me on twitter.
  • Fanfiction. I've loved you since I was twelve and you just keep getting better.

Last, but not least, I (HMonster4) am Thankful for:

  • The amazing people of this fandom and the good they are capable of doing
  • Profmom72
    , her fabulousness, and her continued tolerance of my eternal optimism
  • Lots of airplane time and long life batteries
  • Red wine
  • The fics that made me
  • My blackberry, my netbook, and the car charger
  • All the amazing women that write wonderful Emmetts, and those that are cooking more up (please please plese be cooking up more!)
  • My boys (the big guy and the miniman) who tolerate this crazy addiction of mine
  • The LOLs I’ve gotten from Twilight merchandising.
    Volturi Makeup
    ? A sparkly
    Edward Ken Doll
    and a real
    Bella Barbie
    (yeah, she wishes they were that big)? Oy vey!
  • Being able to watch New Moon happily buzzed with my buddies. My sides still hurt for laughing so hard.
  • Miztreboo
    and her Friday morning Tommett spams via Twitter
  • The amazing organizers of Fandom Gives Back and Support Stacie, as well as all the authors and buyers
  • Being able to sing Foo Fighters at the top of my lungs, badly
  • Gustariana
    for ranting, and tolerating a hair brained idea that became
    The Indies
  • Panera, Caribou and Starbucks via for fueling morning screen spews
  • All the amazing people who donate their time for all the contests, awards, and challenges
  • AccioBourbon
    for becoming the BourbonMonster to my MonsterBourbon and sharing my love of Em, Garrett and showing me the way of Peter
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Balm
  • Fleece blankets and my husbands gianormous sweatshirts
  • All of the lovely people who read anything I’ve written in the past year, they humble me beyond belief
  • My fellow crazy admins, who are obsessed with bulleted lists, popping my
    Emmett slash cherry
    , and snuggies (even though I am the lone voice of reason and normalcy)
  • Sushi, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and warm bread
  • Nike and Apple
    for Keeping me sane and semi healthy
  • All the wonderful writers who take a blind leap of faith and post their stories for us to enjoy

Whew....that was the most OCD bulleted list ever...

But wait, we forgot one very important item - we are thankful for you, the amazing fandom that keeps this place going. We hope you have a wonderful, safe, peaceful, joyous holiday. Thanks for bringing its first amazing year!

Love and highest regards,
AG, Pastiche, ElleCC, MW and HM4

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Muse, a ruse?

Do you believe in the power of the muse?

You're looking blankly at a white page, or the digital recreation of one, for hours, not knowing what to write. You begin to contemplate your grasp of the english language, how much caffeine you can guzzle, and your sanity.

Then a light bulb. A eureka! And you want to go sprinting through the streets naked praising the name of whomever flipped the switch in your brain. Inspiration has struck, the muse has seen fit to reach down her(his) hand and grace you with intelligence for one brief second.

Is it only me who thinks this is bullshit? Like, utter and complete bullshit.

Can I say bullshit on this blog?

Whatever, I'm doing it. I'm calling bullshit on the muse.

Classically speaking, the muses were ancient greek godesses who inspired artistic creations. Be it music, literature, dance, drama, or visual art. The best was all chalked up to the muses and their favourite humans.

Also, as in most Greek myths, these women were fierce. Nine sisters once tried to challenge the muses and ended up being turned into magpies. Uck.

Now (I'm in no way an expert!) in a lot of early religions (not commenting on modern religions at all) spirits and gods and goddesses were created to explain things people didn't understand. Like, they couldn't explain lightning like we can (er, not me...I honestly forget...something to do with clouds...and electricity, but I KNOW we have figured it all out, and that's what counts.) so they just said, "O.o Zeus is angry today."

I think we can all agree to be more intelligent than that. Not more awesome though. I would LOVE to have that be my reaction to lightning...every time.

In the words of the amazing Maureen Johnson:

I mean, if you opened your oven and found a loaf of homemade bread, you wouldn’t say, “THE BREAD FAIRY HAS COME!”* Because you would know that you spent the morning buying ingredients, kneading the dough, letting it rise, and baking it properly. You also took the time to learn how to bake, and probably burned a loaf or two in the effort.

When writing goes well, it feels magical . . . but there is no magic to it. Writing goes well because you have done some work. You have spent MANY MANY MANY HOURS sitting at your desk, written pages and pages and pages of useless crap, read piles of books, done a lot more wrong than you have right, questioned your sanity and talent . . . and just kept going. No muse involved.

Now, I am the first person to admit that sometimes writing is hard. Sometimes you know where the story and the characters need to go but the words you type are all "and" "the" "she" "he" etc. All those ugly words that are needed but no fun to write.

And it is so easy to say, "the characters aren't doing what I want them to do." Or "my muse just isn't with me, I need to go look at some Rob pics." Or, my personal one, "this is such an off day, I'm going to youtube."

It may feel like life is against you, the characters you created (and have complete power over) aren't listening to you, or Rob is just better than anything else that day, but those are just excuses. Believe me, I use them all the time. You are doing poorly and you want to blame something, ANYTHING else.

An example from the publishing world that angers me, in a recent Q&A Stephenie Meyer had the following to say about Midnight Sun:

So why the hold up? Because it’s not finished and lying in a safe. It’s not done, and finishing it is not a simple matter of sitting down in front of my computer and typing out the words; the words have to be there in my head to type out, and right now, they’re not. I have to be in the zone to write any story, and trying to force myself into that zone is a waste of time, I’ve found. I’ll get back to Midnight Sun when the story is compelling to me again. Just because people want it so badly does not make it more write-able; kind of the opposite, actually. I need to be alone with a story to write, and Midnight Sun feels really crowded, if you know what I mean.

People write for different reasons. I have always written to make myself happy. If I’m enjoying a story, feeling the creativity flow, engrossed in a world, then I write and I write fast. If I’m not into it, I can’t write. I’ve never been someone who writes on demand and I can’t imagine working that way. As cool as it would be to say to my favorite author, “You know, I’d really like to read a great book about a narwhal mafia. Write that for me, ’kay?” or even “I’d love a sequel to that last one,” that’s not how it works. How it works is that my favorite author writes a new book about whatever he/she is interested in. Maybe it takes a year, maybe it takes five. If it’s something I want to read, I buy it or I check it out at the library. If not, I find something else to read. The end.

Now, there are only two authors in the world who could get away with this attitude. Stephenie Meyer and J. K. Rowling.


Because the words they write are worth so much money in the publishing industry, their agents and editors would literally dive to the bottom of the ocean to find their manuscripts with a flashlight and one of them asthma medication tube know, like Bart in that episode of the Simpsons? You know...?

--Side note, it has been brought to my attention that some other authors are similar, eg, Stephen King, Dan Brown, etc. But I didn't include them because, while they are popular and I'm sure they don't need to write to make a living any longer, they didn't change the publishing world. They are, if you will, what everyone hopes to be when they publish. JKR and SM are completely different. No one hopes for what they have because no one believed it was possible before them.--

Well, the point is, that most people who make a living writing need to continue earning money. They need a yearly income that can sustain their level of living. Writing is like any other nine to five job for them. Except it's one they worked very hard to get and if one day they are doing a crappy job, well, they have to just keep on truckin'. Like all of us non-paid-writers do.

Do these moments of crap make you a bad writer? Absolutely not. Sometimes, you're going to write crap. That's just the way it is. What makes someone a wonderful writer, in my opinion, is the ability to see the crap, move on, and trust that they can fix it in editing.

And then, you know, actually go back and do the editing, no matter how painful it is.

If Stephenie had already sold Midnight Sun to Little Brown (who are probably kicking themselves about this) she wouldn't have a choice. She would've already gotten her advance and would have to write the darn thing, no matter what mood she was in. And I'm sure it would be fine. I'm sure it would be just as good as her other work, however you feel about that, as well. I honestly think Stephenie is selling herself short about this. Although, she was a success before really having to live in the industry so it isn't surprising that her attitude is different. J. K. Rowling is the same way.

Not that I'm saying they didn't work for their success, I'm sure they did, I'm sure they had days where they wanted to quit and didn't. I just mean, success, like they've had, in the publishing industry has never happened before, so obviously their attitude is going to be different.

Now, obviously, we don't have to write fanfiction. It's a hobby. But, I feel, that this makes the subject of muses even more important. Criticism and compliments are the only payment we get. Writing is work, it takes a lot of work and I am amazed that so many of us are willing to do it. And it hurts me when people don't take responsibility for the amazing work that they do. And it makes me roll my eyes and discount someone when they blame their mistakes on the lack of a muse.

My own advice for the difficult times is to do one of two things. Or you can do both...whatever works for you.

1. You can work on a different part. Type in a line in red that says something like, "This scene gets finished, and then the characters go HERE" and continuing writing from there. Sometimes, you just have other scene's more clearly in your head, and you need to do those scene's first before you can finish the earlier ones. Writing is seldom a linear process. Don't be afraid to write all over the place.

2. Outline it. Write the whole scene out in point form. Figure out exactly what each character is thinking and feeling and saying. Choreograph it if you have to. This way, even if feel you are technically writing poorly, which is a very subjective thing anyway, at the least you can write out the scene so that it makes sense. So that the story can continue.

What do you do to get past the hard parts?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Admin Rec: Monsters Like Marble


I remember last summer, a friend kept after me to read this terrific story that had her riveted. I was elbows deep in some things, vacation came along, blah blah blah. You know how the excuses of life go. Needless to say, I never got around to reading the story, and much to my chagrin of epic proportions (thanks SM) I never did end up reading it.

Well Friday night the miniman and I were recovering from a marathon cookie making junket. We'd just stretched out on the couch, and I'd hit play on How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After a few minutes, I knew I needed something to ease the pain of the fifteenth viewing of Jim Carey this season, so I pulled up fan fiction and started trolling.

My requirements were easy: a completed story, preferably AU or Canon. I decided to be bold, and dig through people's favorites (you can tell a lot about a person by their faves, but that's a different topic). I knew what I was in the mood for, and figured if I hit twitter, I would get inundated by AH or something I'd already read. I needed different.

After a few minutes of exploring, I tripped across Letmesign's Marble and Mahogany. I wanted to pound my palm against my forehead in one of those duh moments. This was the fic that had been rec'ed so hard over the summer, the one I'd kept putting it off. Well, it was complete now, and fit the criteria, so I dug right in, armed with fresh baked Christmas cookies and large hot chocolate.

Never has two hours of tuning out Jim Carey been so lovely.

The story throws out all the traditional Twilight elements. No high school setting, no infamous meeting in biology. The basic canon mythology is the same; the seven Cullens finding a place to live for a few years. Carlisle practices medicine while the rest blend in and live their lives using academia as a cover, this time as college students. They feed of animals, and Edward is still painfully alone.

But this is where Letmesign flips the traditional facets we've come to know so well on their head. Instead of meeting Bella as a human, where Edward would be entranced by her smell and silent mind, we meet Bella the vampire, who feeds off humans. Bella's bond is strongest with, well...someone other than Alice. And just because Bella isn't Edward's singer doesn't mean she doesn't meet one of her own.

Yep - you read right. Throw out all your predispositions, cause they don't hold water here.

Bella's been a vampire for going on sixty years after being turned on the eve of her wedding by, well... that's one of the surprises. As an unwilling member of the Volturi guard, she recently won her literal and figurative freedom, and fled to the US to pursue her dream of a semi-normal life.

The story starts off with a quick back story on Edward and Bella, then tumbles headfirst into their meeting and instant attraction. The build up is a slow burn, one that is crafted with love by Letmesign. It would have been easy to jump right in and have the mad rush of attraction take over, but this is a more nuanced, detailed story, which takes the time to explain motivations, and much to my happiness, develop characters.

Yep, you read that right, there are some good characterizations in here. The way Letmesign handles Jasper, Carlisle and my beloved Emmett all give me warm fuzzies. Carlisle in particular - in a series of pivotal scenes,

But back to the story, there is a lot going on, but at heart, M&M is a love story about two emotionally flawed individuals who are isolated for two very different reasons. The detail spent delving into Edward's emotional isolation and Bella's trauma at the hands of the Volturi is so incredibly well done, and lends so much to the typical 'they see each other and fall in love' tale. There is so much evolution in these characters as they open up, have faith, start to believe not only in what they have, but what they could be.

Important to note, this story is not all sunshine and roses. Bella's experiences with the Volturi, viewed in a series of flashbacks, are horrific. There are clear warning notes on the chapters that contain potential offensive content, and they are by no means done in a gratuitious manner, but go in advised, for it can be strong stuff. I asked Letmesign about why she chose to go that route, and her answer surprised me:

"Statistics say that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lives. That made it a relevant topic to me, not just something that I could write into Bella's life to be gritty or bring in a slew of dark angsty readers. I wanted to write the story of her conquering her past, and try to use that to subtly encourage women who have dealt with similar things (albeit, barring the supernatural) to take the steps necessary to overcome their own pasts."

Bella does conquer her past, in a way that will have you cheering, doing a few fist punches, and singing I Will Survive at the top of your lungs. A strong Bella is a personal favorite of mine, and I adore how it's dealt with here. A woman facing her ghosts, surrounded by family that will support her and a man who loves her. Yeah, that's what it's about.

This story kept me enthralled all through the Grinch, and well into the night (I did switch to wine along the way - there is some lovely citrus in later chapters, that well, let's just say that it was red wine worthy). As much as I wanted to drown out Jim Carey, there was one line of the Grinch that fit this story so incredibly well:

Inside a snowflake like the one on your sleeve, there happened a story you must see to believe.

It's true. Dig in to Marble & Mahogany, you have to see it to believe it.

HMonster4, recently redubbed MonstyH, is an admin at TLYDF, and is currently entering cookie dough rehab. She inexplicably loves both Emmett and spreadsheets.

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