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Reblogging – FanFiction

I wrote this post almost a year ago, before Fifty Shades of Grey became massively successful. I thought it deserved a repost. What are your thoughts on FanFiction?

No "aspiring" about it

Writing Prompt: Think of a critical scene in a book you love. Write a different ending to the scene, then continue the story with the new ending in mind.

Congratulations, you’ve just written FanFiction.

Time Magazine had a piece in a recent issue about FanFiction – what it is, who does it, who likes it, and who doesn’t. It was a well written piece, and it really got me thinking.

I’ve never thought much of FanFic – and by that I mean I don’t think about it often. I’ve known about it for years, of course, and have read some, but sometimes finding something of quality is difficult. I don’t even have time to find new good blogs, let alone good FanFiction, so it’s simply not something I’m into. I don’t think I’ve actually written any FanFic, although I have thought out scenes in my head: What if Angel meets…

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Fiction, Thoughts

 

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It’s a writer’s life for me

Since I last blogged here, my life has changed drastically.  I am living every writer’s dream (well, one of their dreams):  living abroad without having to work for a living, all the time in the world to write.

Oh, if only I could say I was using that time well.

You see, last year I met the most amazing man.  Things were going well, and he got a job offer in Finland.  After some discussion and frantic planning, we got married and we both moved to Finland.

Unable to work, I am now a housewife.  With no kids to fill my time.  From 8 in the morning until 6 at night, I am free to do whatever my heart desires.  My job, my husband says, is to write.  He has full faith in my ability to write a best-selling novel and have it off to an agent by the end of the year.  He is my biggest supporter, my loudest cheerleader, my most enthusiastic reader.

And yet.

In the six months I’ve been a full time writer, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.  I started to finish one work in progress, but got stuck and didn’t feel like it had as much potential as another WIP.  So I started working on finishing that WIP, and I’m stuck again.  I have two other stories in my head begging to be let out, but I feel the need to get something finished rather than start anew.  After all, I’ll never get published if I never finish anything.

I told my husband the other day that if I let loose on the two new ideas in my head, I could have 50k words pounded out in a couple of weeks.  I would feel (and be able to show him) that I had been productive.  It’s this finishing thing I have a problem with.

I am also, remarkably, fairly busy.  The other ex-pat wives I know are just as surprised as I am by that.  We don’t work, we don’t have kids, and yet we are busy all day.  Not with shopping and watching TV and lunch with the girls that lasts for hours, but with the normal housework and errands you always have – dusting, laundry, dishes, mopping; going to the grocery store, the bank, the insurance company.  It’s often after 3 before I have a free moment, and then I think, “Oh, I have to start cooking dinner in a bit, I don’t want to get immersed in something I can’t really devote the time to.”  You know, like figuring out how to connect Plot Point 1 to Plot Point 2.  Honestly, I have no idea how I got anything accomplished when I actually worked 40 hours a week.

Time to turn things around.  Time to make myself a job, with tasks and deadlines and goals.

Because that is my job.

Goal/Task #1:  blog every day.  Whether it’s here on this blog, or on my other blog about life as an ex-pat, I will blog every day.  My deadline is midnight my time.

Goal/Task #2:  From 9am-11am every day, I will work on finishing my WIP.  And only that.  No dishes, no laundry, no dusting – only writing.

GoalTask #3:  I will actively join a writing group.  No lurking allowed.

Do you have suggestions on how to make yourself work as a writer?  Please share!

 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Thoughts

 

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Writing Exercise, or Copyright Infringement?

Writing Prompt: Think of a critical scene in a book you love. Write a different ending to the scene, then continue the story with the new ending in mind.

Congratulations, you’ve just written FanFiction.

Time Magazine had a piece in a recent issue about FanFiction – what it is, who does it, who likes it, and who doesn’t. It was a well written piece, and it really got me thinking.

I’ve never thought much of FanFic – and by that I mean I don’t think about it often. I’ve known about it for years, of course, and have read some, but sometimes finding something of quality is difficult. I don’t even have time to find new good blogs, let alone good FanFiction, so it’s simply not something I’m into. I don’t think I’ve actually written any FanFic, although I have thought out scenes in my head: What if Angel meets another vampire with a soul and falls in love with her – would she be his salvation? What if she’s an original vampire, and is immune to sunlight? The scenes I have written in my head are a mishmash of Angel/Blade/In the Forests of the Night mythology. So, yeah, FanFic.

Because isn’t that what we, as writers, do? We imagine What If. That is our mantra. We ask What If when it comes to the stories and characters we write, so it seems only natural we would ask it of the stories we read and watch.

What if Gale had been chosen for the games instead of Peeta?

What if Tom Buchanan died – would Daisy and Gatsby have gotten together?

What happened after Johnny drove away from Baby? Did they ever meet again?

What happened when Inigo Montoya took over as the Dred Pirate Roberts?

We think What If, we write that story down, and we want to share it with others who also wonder What If. It’s natural.

But is it legal?

FanFic writers do not make money on their stories when they post to websites like fanfiction.net, but is it still copyright infringement? Authors Ann Rice and Orson Scott Card think so, and are quite upset when fans pen What If. But others, Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, are all for it, figuring it’s a great promotional tool. Is one group right and one group wrong?

It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I think that if I were published and someone did fanfic on my work, I would be excited – I mean, after all, something I wrote inspired someone else enough to write! That’s amazing! But, wait, you’re having two of my most loved characters do what?! No, no, no, that’s not good at all. So yes, I understand perfectly where Rice and Card are coming from, in that respect, because you can’t say fanfic is fine, unless you do this with it. It doesn’t work that way.

Good FanFic truly is amazing – the ability some people have to truly know the characters the same way the original author does – or, at least, the layers the original author wants you to see. Maybe Stephanie Meyer did her own fanfic, wondering What If Bella had chosen Jacob instead of Edward, or What If Charlie dies in a werewolf attack? A thorough writer would certainly entertain the possibility, to see where the story goes.

Honestly, good (note the use of the word good here) fanfic seems like a lot of work to me. You have to really know these characters that were created in someone else’s head. That takes research, study, and more imagination than I think I have. (Not sure what that says about my skills as a writer…)

So, what do you think of fanfic? Good? Bad? Would you want someone creating fanfic based on your work?

Be sure to check out the Time article – some good quotes:

“…fan fiction was not just an homage to the glory of the original but also a reaction to it. It was about finding the boundaries that the original couldn’t or wouldn’t break, and breaking them.”

“…I love the show, but what if it went further? What happens if I press this big, shiny, red button that says “Do not press”?”

“It was a way to bring to light hidden subtexts that the show couldn’t address.”

“Fictional worlds, while they appear solid, are riddled with blank spots and unexposed surfaces.”

“It’s human nature to press at the boundaries of stories, to scrabble at the edges, to want to know what’s going on just out of range of the camera.”

“A writer’s characters are his or her children, but even children have to grow up eventually and do things their parents wouldn’t approve of.”

 


 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Random, Thoughts

 

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“Wierd” words that trip me up “alot”

I think I’m a pretty good speller, and although my grammar isn’t always perfect, I do a pretty good job with it.  I know how to use to, two, and too, as well as you’re and your and their, there, and they’re (note the Oxford comma, TYVM).  But there are certain words and phrases that trip me up every time.  You would think that after spelling a word wrong 200 times, I would know how to spell it, but no.

“I before E, except after C, unless sounding like A, as in ‘neighbor’ and ‘weigh.’”  But, ‘weird’ is not pronounced ‘wayrd,’ so why the hell isn’t it ‘wierd’?

I refuse to ever write “Xmas” on anything.  If ‘Xing’ is “crossing,” wouldn’t ‘Xmas’ be “Crossmas?”

Chicken Xing

Image by 4nitsirk via Flickr

There are specific lessons that stick with you from school.  For me, one of those lessons came from Mrs. Nelson in 8th grade English:  It is not ‘alot,’ it’s ‘a lot.’  To this day, seeing one word instead of two drives me batty.

Separate.  Sep-ah-rut.  I have to distinctly say each syllable in my head, lest I use a second E instead of an A (seperate).

Commitment – one of one letter, two of another, but which is it?  Whichever way I don’t spell it.  And ‘disappointment’ – 2 S’s?  2 P’s?  Thank goodness for autocorrect.

I end sentences in prepositions often enough that I think that grammar rule is null and void.  And “Where y’at?” doesn’t actually mean “Where are you,” at least according to Remy McSwain, so it’s totally acceptable.

(And apparently, I can’t spell ‘sentence.’ I always want to throw in an A instead of the second E.  What kind of writer can’t spell that word?!)

What words do you have a hard time spelling correctly?  What grammar issues do you have, which ones drive you nuts when you see other people use them?

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Random, Thoughts

 

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Words escape me

Writers should have a command of their native language.  As wordsmiths, they should rock at word games.  As a writer, I should rock.  And yet…

I’ve been playing WordTwist on my phone, and let me just say…I suck.  SSSSSSSuuuuuuck.  With a capital S.

In a recent game, I had the following board:

E   U   A   V

W   A   Y   G

H   Y   E   O

O   T   W   H

Here are the words I found:  ahoy, aye, get, hay, hew, hoe, hog, hot, hoy, tea, thaw, toy, way, wet, yaw, yew

I found 16 out of 56 words.

Now, granted, I can’t possibly find 56 words in the 2 minute time period provided, and some of the “words” are iffy (wha, vau, tho, tew, hayey – they don’t even exist in MS Word, damn it!).  But still, I couldn’t come up with more than 16?  What about ago, or age, or hey, or why?

I mentioned my vocabulary inadequacies to the Beau, which I think prompted him to invite me to a game of Words with Friends.  The first game he whooped my butt 387-209.  Yes, I suck that badly.  I’ve done better since, and it’s been a fun way to kill time at work. 

Then this weekend we played Quiddler – it’s like Scrabble, but with cards.  One round, I came up with the words “the” and “is.”  He looks at me and says, “I would have gone with “thesis.” 

Duh.  (The score count would have been the same, but I would have gotten 10 extra points for having the longest word.)

Anyway, I’m enjoying the mental calisthenics these word games are giving me.  I hope it helps me extend my every day vocabulary, because obviously, I need it.

(What words can you find in the WordTwist board above?)

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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If shirtless is the new black, I want my man in hot pink

(***This post was originally posted on Open Salon on February 10, 2011.  In light of recent developments with yet another politician being a dumba$$, I felt the need to repost.)

I remember when I was young and immature, and I thought showing skin was the epitome of sexy.  A short, off-the-shoulder dress.  Daisy Duke shorts and a halter top.  A skirt with a slit up the hip and a cleavage-enhancing blouse.  Anything see-through.  Then I found out that sometimes hiding the more tempting goodies was sexier than putting them on display.  If a man knows they’re there but can’t see them, he’ll work harder to get to see them.

Women work a little differently.  Yes, a man shirtless, gleaming with sweat, with a hammer in his hand, is sexy.  Daniel Craig in his first Bond movie getting out of the ocean in those itty bitty shorts is sexy.  A man wearing nothing but pajama bottoms, holding an infant in his arms, is sexy.

Sexy is natural.  It is not something you can fake, or stage, or pose for.

I’ve been on various online dating sites for…far too long.  One of the sundry lessons I’ve learned is that some men really have no idea what sexy is.  A man wearing board shorts getting out of the water:  sexy.  A man wearing board shorts and posing:  not sexy.  A man working shirtless under the hood of a car:  sexy.  A man standing next to an expensive sports car, obviously showing off:  not sexy.

A man standing in front of a mirror and taking any sort of picture, shirtless or not:  not sexy.

Not Sexy

Men, there’s this nifty little thing called a self-timer.  I know your cell phone camera probably doesn’t have one, but most point-and-shoot digitals do.  There’s really no need for the “picture in the mirror” photo op.  Set the camera on the mantle, set the self-timer, sit your butt on the couch fully clothed, and smile.

That’s really all a woman wants.  A nice man with a nice smile.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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My Own Butterfly Effect

(***This post was originally posted on Open Salon on January 20, 2011.  Please see this post about my decision to migrate to WordPress…if you’re interested.***)

I’m a writer.

I have a hard time saying that. If you look at it in it’s simplest terms, of course I’m a writer, in the same way I’m a reader. I read, ergo I’m a reader. I write, ergo I’m a writer. Everyone is a writer – everyone writes emails and blog posts and grocery lists.

It’s the job title aspect of “writer” that I’m uncomfortable with. When someone asks, “What do you do for a living,” I would love to reply, “I’m a writer.” But of course the follow up to that is, “Oh, anything I’ve read?” And then I would have to say, “Oh, I’m not published.” At which point the person smiles and nods, then turns around and rolls his eyes. Right, a writer, and I’m freaking President of the United States.

But I am a writer, by the most basic definition. I am also an author, by the most basic definition. So why do I have a hard time saying so?

I’ve written a couple of full length manuscripts, although I haven’t edited them or submitted them to an agent (yet). I’ve written numerous short stories, never considering possible publication. And don’t get me started on the number of blog entries I’ve written, some more literary and thought provoking than others.

I was working on a writing prompt today, out of The Daily Writer, about motivation. What motivates me to write?

While musing on that prompt, I realized that writing (for public consumption), for me, is like having a baby. I’ve brought this thing into the world, this thing that only exists because of me, and it will affect the world, however minutely, just by existing in the public forum.

My writing is the flap of a butterfly’s wings.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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