Over this past summer, a Dark Shadows fan who I had never before met contacted me, asking me for permission to use one of the characters in my DS story for use in her DS story. She explained that the character of Gina Lee Logan was so compelling to her, that she was bound and determined to have her story, hers and Willie’s, continue in some way.
Being as flattered as I could possibly be, of course I said yes, and you can find the stories here. At the moment, there are two stories I am unable to access, since I don’t have Word 2007 at home and am unwilling to download more software; I can’t keep track of what I have as it is. But I do remember reading “Bloodlines” and being very entertained with her use of character voice, and the many threads she wove into her tale.
The issue of having fan fiction written of my fan fiction (so to speak) is a very interesting one to me. I have never before had this happen, and it may never happen again, but when it did, I sat there for a full five minutes, like I said, flattered as HELL, and thinking. I thought about all those authors who REFUSE to let anyone play in their playground, and then I thought of all those authors who either allow it, encourage it, turn a blind eye, but who all and all realize it’s going to happen with or without them. And I had to think, which kind of writer do I want to be? It is the latter kind, of course, and I promptly wrote the woman back and said yes, and please, and thank you! (You can read about different author’s policies/positions on fan fiction here.)
I did have a momentary twinge of concern for Gina Lee, who doesn’t get out much. But I wrote the fan about my concerns and in the end told her that she should do as she would because Gina could take it.
Although, I gave permission, Gina Lee wasn’t really my character, she was created by my co-writer, Nina Nidiffer, who I knew better as Nik.
Sadly, Nik passed away two years ago this Christmas, and since the stories had been left in my keeping, I felt it right that Gina and her brood should live on, in some way.
Nik and I had our differences, in personality, in lifestyles, in the scope of our interests, in how much we drank, how we made and spent money, in short, you could not get two people who were as different as Nik and I were. We were not like peas and carrots, no, we were like the grasshopper and the ant, and guess who was the ant. Yes, me. She even gave me two little iron statues, one of each, to represent us, and they have been on my kitchen windowsill ever since.
At the same time, we sparked off each other, like flint and steel, like Rogers and Hammerstein, like…John and Paul. We even had our own little Yoko, oh yes we did. And what we did together was light fires and burn through paper, and boil with passion for our subject. I think it started with her writing Deep Water, and then I wrote Tree (at her urging), and then it went on from there. In a tight two-year time span, we wrote around 20 stories, and I don’t know how many words. She was my audience, and I was hers, and it was a writing partnership that I fear will never be repeated. (I’m still working on posting them all; at least two of them have no electronic copy available to me, and I’m gearing myself up for some heavy duty typing.)
Stone (the sequel to Water, for which there is no electronic copy!)
I can never quite explain the fusion we created between us, the conversations we would have over the smallest detail, the glee Nik would express to me when I would pick up a thread she had laid in a previous story, and then continue on with it in mine. And she would do likewise, for me. Like, for example, the wood that Willie cut and delivered to Gina’s house made an appearance in so very many stories, and then when I burned Gina’s house down (becuase I’m mean like that), Nik took special care to make sure that Willie made Gina a rocking chair as close to the original one as he could. And then there was the apple pie that Gina would bring, and the pouring custard, and oh, how Barnabas HATED Gina Lee. That was almost the funnest part of writing the story, finding ways for him to express his disdain, and providing Gina opportunities to spit in his face, metaphorically speaking. And all the while, poor Willie would be trapped in the middle of the battle between the vampire Barnabas and the wolverine that was Gina. What a marvelous trio they made.
So I think I got a good taste of letting something go, let it exist outside of the scope I had created for it, because as we wrote, Gina became as much mine as Nik’s and the Barnabas I had fashioned, became hers as well. Willie was always a mutual creation, as even when I wasn’t working on a story about Willie with Nik, I always had it in the back of my mind as to what she would think, what she would point out that worked and what didn’t.