Fanfiction Friday: Koalavine – Origins

This post may contain slight spoilers for Gossip Girl. Skip the first five paragraphs if you want your innocence and brain cells to remain with you.

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GIF: First one I pulled from Google Images. Thanks gify.

Do you know who is a loser? Dan Humphrey. Dan Humphrey is a writer. He also likes to write about the people he knows.

He doesn’t write very good stories.

But why does Dan write Real Person Fiction? Other than being a bit of a slight creep, it’s because he’s a fan of the people he happens to stalk.

Yeah, that didn’t sound really good to me, either. I’m not here to talk to you about Real Person Fiction. (I’m not a fan, and I don’t like it.) But I want to talk to you about what Dan’s doing.

(An aside: This gif makes me laugh. He can’t even pretend to type, but we’re expected to believe he’s a writer? Really?)

Dan is writing fanfiction.

What is fanfiction? It’s fiction written by a fan of a particular television series, film, book, video game, etc. and often features characters from those works. It relies on the reader already being familiar with the characters, and even the setting, although this very much relies on what type of fanfiction you’re reading.

Fanfiction is how I started in writing. Now, I didn’t write like Dan. I’m not writing about people I know. That’s slightly unsettling for someone like me. Other than writing stories about animals that spoke and understood things as humans did (with really cute drawings that I did my best to colour in really, really well), I used to write about characters I really, really enjoyed in television.

At the time, I didn’t really know that I was. When I first started writing fanfic, it was before the Internet became a crazy thing. I never knew of fanfiction.net, or even any fansites that may have hosted stories. All I knew, as a kid, was that I was writing about my favourite characters and “fixing” things.

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GIF: I adore them. Thanks http://missmarauder.tumblr.com

If you knew me when I was younger, you’d know I was horribly obsessed with Charmed. You know, the show about three sisters who happened to be witches and have awesome powers and very dated outfits? My obsession was pretty embarrassing.

I like to think of this as my first fandom, even though the first one I ever started reading fanfic for was Harry Potter.

There’s really nothing wrong with that. Charmed is one of the best female driven shows I’ve ever seen, and watching it impacted my life in a positive way. But I’m not here to preach to you about how wonderful this show and its characters were.

I started out writing fanfic about my favourite sister, Piper. I rewrote episodes that left me wanting, because they weren’t about Piper. I didn’t understand at the time what I was doing. To me, I was sitting at the computer, rewriting the pilot episode, and giving Piper a happy ending.

It isn’t until, a thousand years later, that I’ve finally come to understand why.

Why did I write fanfic? Why did I keep doing it? Why do I even do it now?

Fanfic is a way to engage with what you’re watching or reading or even playing. It’s another way to get involved in the story, and immerse yourself in a world that may only be with you for thirty to sixty minutes.

I was engaging with this show before and after I consumed it. Instead of it being over for me when the episode concluded, I was still engaging with the content by writing fanfic. It’s like how some people make the fan-videos and fanart. I’m still interacting with it. I’m still engrossed in its world. I think, if anything, if you find fans are engaging with your content outside of the time it’s been allocated, you have something to be proud of.

Some people write fanfic because they’re unhappy. Even though that may be the truth, no one really wastes their creative efforts on content that they don’t love. I write it for the characters I love and can’t leave behind. I write it to try and keep the story going as I’m super, super impatient for the next week to come by.

I also write fanfic in a way to engage with my community. Sometimes, you meet your best friends by pursuing a shared hobby and even interest. I’ve learned so much from the communities I have been in because of how we, as fans, engage with our media.

I’ve found fanfic to be a different and unique way for fans to express their enjoyment of a television series, a film, a book, a video game — whatever it is that you feel compelled to continue the story for. You’re left unfulfilled. You’re too impatient for the next instalment. So, what do you do? You keep that story alive for yourself until you get your fill.

And, in a way, I kind of discovered something about myself. I still write fanfic as a way to understand the craft of writing and storytelling. I put together ideas and try and construct them in a way that will engage someone as though I’m telling them a story. There’s, of course, pitfalls of writing fanfic, as well as advantages, but, in the end, as someone who engages in this activity with no desire to make any profit (other than to refine any skills and even discover some things about myself), I find it to be a very useful, and valuable, social activity to engage in.

As if you couldn’t tell, I’m hoping to make future posts discussing fanfiction and my time with it. It seems like a bit of a taboo subject, and I won’t be posting any of my fanfiction for people to read. I want to talk about the craft and politics behind it. So, I hope it’s okay if I look like Dan, tapping at my keys in a fake manner in the middle of the street with a smile on my face.

So, what I’d really love to know: How did you start writing fanfic? Were you aware that you were? Why did you begin writing it? (And did you type as horribly as Dan Humphrey does on a post office box or garbage can?)

Book Review: INK AND BONE, Rachel Caine

My second book for the Goodreads Challenge. An amazing journey in an alternate world where books are valued more than a human life.

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Ink and Bone, Rachel Caine.
Series: The Great Library.
Pages: 410.
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult.
Publisher: Allison and Busby, 2015.
ETC: Amazon, Goodreads.
Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Thanks to Goodreads for the summary.

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Book Review: GRACELING, Kristin Cashore

So, last year, I read a total of five books. Granted, my Goodreads challenge was five books, so I shouldn’t really be so hard on myself. This year, however, my Goodreads challenge is 25 books. And for 2016, I thought I’d start off on a literal bang when it came to my reading.

gracelinggollanczforbloggerGraceling, Kristin Cashore.
Series: Graceling Realm.
Pages: 480.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult.
Publisher: Harcourt, 2008.
ETC: Amazon, Goodreads.
Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

Thanks to Goodreads for the summary.

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Resolutions

Sophia Bush said it best on her Instagram: Resolutions are meant to solve problems. And so, I’ve decided to make a few resolutions of my own that solve actual problems.

All those NaNoWriMo posts I was going to do? Never happened. Guess what? I failed NaNo. And I’m okay with it. I realised that while I had the potential of a good story in my hands, flying by the seat of my pants wasn’t for me. It’s difficult to stay with a long story for thirty days without a plan. Some people can do it, and I admire them and envy them all at once. But this girl cannot go without knowing what my ideas happened to be, as well as the direction I wanted to go in.

I learned a valuable lesson at the end of 2015 (or 2k15, even though we’re just replacing the 0 with a k. I’m still trying to figure that one out.) and it was that I wasn’t reading or writing enough. I was busy, sure; I had my interning and my work, but what was my excuse for not spending an hour reading or writing? Other than being uninspired with the latter, my inspiration was right before me on my bookshelf.

If timezones weren’t a thing, I would’ve failed my five book Goodreads challenge. That’s right. Five books. One plus four. Two plus three. I’m going to embarrass myself if I keep going with this maths chain. I finished reading Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella on January 1, my time, but it was December 31 Goodreads time, and so I had been successful in reading.

It felt good, even though I knew it was technically cheating. But, hey, it’s not really my fault Goodreads chose to cheat for me. I’m innocent here.

My problem is this: I’m not reading and I’m not writing. I’m not making time. I’m not believing.

But my solution is before me. Around me, even. I asked a friend who reads and juggles a lot of schoolwork how the hell she finds time to sit down and read with her long hours in class. And she said she read in the bath. I wondered how the hell you do this. Doesn’t the book get wet? Aren’t you afraid you’ll drop it? So I started to read in the bath and realised I had been missing out on the good life.

I now read in the bath. Problem solved for when I have zero time to do it otherwise. (And have lost a few paper bookmarks along the way, but some sacrifices have to be made.)

As for writing, I read a few blogs that said I should try and free-write in the morning for ten minutes. Well, there’s no way in hell I’m getting up an hour or so early in the morning to do this.

My problem lately — which is a whole separate entity in itself but bleeds into this — is that I don’t do it my way. I need to read my way. Write my way. Breathe my way. If I don’t want to write at 6AM, I don’t have to. If I don’t want to read, I don’t need to. But I’ve found that I’ve been restricting myself and thereby blocking myself creatively because I don’t read, and because I don’t read, I find little inspiration to write.

The best blog advice I have read came from a blog about fashion. Now, I don’t see myself really turning this into one about fashion, as I can easily use my Instagram to help promote my laziness, but it was good advice. Blog what you want. Blog what you like. It doesn’t matter what it is.

And so I am.

Can you guess what I’m about to say next? Of course I tried to blog like everyone else. But now it’s time to blog like how I want to blog. Sporadically. Using GIFs. Seeing how long I hold out before Real Housewives takes over my blog.

Expect book reviews. Impromptu discussions and whining about writing. I’m writing again. I’m reading again. And I’ve got plenty to say on that.