Archive for the 'Fanfiction' Category

Fan Whisperer Question

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So over on pinkraygun.com, my five-parter piece on fans in fandom has been being posted regularly on Tuesdays. The last part posts this Thursday, right before SPN comes back from hiatus.

?I’m glad I finally got it posted, and my editors are pleased with it. But except for a few very lovely responses, I’m hearing crickets. I would have thought, so many fans like to hear and tell stories, what could be more interesting than learning about a fellow fan? Apparently this isn’t true.

There might be a problem with interviews overall. I’ve noticed that no matter who writes them, there’s usually a dearth of responses to interviews. I’ve done them, WorldofHiglet’s done them, Alpha-Girl’s done them, Thera’s done them, Theresa’s done them, and so on. When any of these writers (good writers all), or when I, write anything else, anything at all, there are comments or numbers or feedback or something. And whether readers hate the writing or they love it, the article resonates somewhere in the interwebs.

For example, pinkraygun.com has done a number of interviews with actors on popular shows. I’ve done a few myself, and it is fun and I get jazzed about talking to someone who plays a character I like, and usually the whole experience of talking to an actor is pleasant and fun. The article I write about it is pleasant and fun too, but afterward, the article just tends to sit there. And I don’t know if it’s because readers aren’t interested in reading interviews, or if the interviews themselves are boring, or if I did a terrible job presenting the material.

It might be a mixture of all of the above, because I’ve noticed, after the jazzy feeling of talking to someone with face of a character I enjoy watching wears off, that the answers I get seem rather practiced. Now, I can sure that being an actor with a public face and a career that depends on reputation as well as talent, that all these famous people have been groomed by someone (their PR guy, their agent, their mother, whoever) to put a positive spin on everything they say.

I’m not saying they’re being dishonest, but their answers are rather….ordinary. There’s no grit to them, no life, no passion. I’m not saying they have to give me the dirt, I certainly don’t want that. But when was the last time you heard an actor tell you how he or she really felt? They always say stuff like, “Oh, so-and-so director was really challenging to work with, I learned a lot.” And never, “Oh, my GOD it was really hard, and I didn’t enjoy it! I’d rather stick a PENCIL in my eye than work with So and So again!”

(For actor, you can also insert: director, writer, editor, webcomic drawer, foely artist, set designer, producer, whatever. I’m using actor as shorthand for any kind of person that gets interviewed.)

Maybe the actors are dying to tell us the truth, but can’t. Maybe the actors are just tired of answering the same questions. Or, maybe like me, a lot of readers have read these types of answers so many times, it’s hard to be interested in yet another actor telling us how interesting thus-and-such project was, or how they’re going to start a new line of perfume, or how they’re going to open up their own chain of fried chicken restaurants.

Meta discussions or reviews of books, movies, or shows tend to do better (both on pinkraygun.com and everywhere), and whether that’s because the meta/review comes directly from one person’s head onto the page or, in conjunction with that, there’s nothing less interesting than hearing Person A’s story filtered through Person B’s format, I can’t tell. And I really have no idea.

I know that I don’t read interviews most of the time, and if I do, it’s by accident, because I stumbled across it somehow or someone sent me the link. I find that the format of Q&A makes me drowsy, or maybe I’m drowsy because because I always have a feeling that the answers won’t tell me anything new. And maybe, as has been suggested to me, there’s nothing really to add to an interview because it’s a description of a conversation that’s already happened, and not an invitation to discuss at length.

I know very few interviews that I have liked or can even remember making a point of going to read or to watch. The ones I have read or watched seem…banal and ordinary and I remember thinking that they all sound like they’re saying what they think we want to hear. They come across as genuine…but not, if you see what I mean.

The ONE and only exception to this is ANY interview that Werner Herzog has ever done. I could listen to that man all day long. Check this guy out. To me, he brings a vibrancy to anything he says and I’m mesmerized every time he opens his mouth

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/09/shadows_on_the_walls_of_our_ca.html

Or if you want something really amazing, check out his documentary about Timothy Treadwell, called “The Grizzly Man.” If you can, get the unabridged, three hour version; it’s much better than the shorter one.

But I digress.

I don’t know showbiz and I surely don’t know how it feels at the other end of the microphone. But if fannish readers feel the way I do, in general, about interviews, then I can kind of understand why the crickets are singing as I’m telling stories about other fans.

Except, when Supernatural ends, the question was raised as to what I would write about for Pink Raygun? I’ve been discussing with my editors the prospect of continuing the Fan Whisperer pieces. This time around, I would interview one fan, asking a series of standard questions, and then following up with a series of more personalized questions that would be based on the first set of questions.

But that brings up two issues: First, do fans want to tell their story? I think some do, some don’t, and some don’t care. And second, do fans want to hear other fans’ stories?

I was completely interested and frankly enjoyed the heck out of getting the stories of the people who responded. I was amazed at how different they were, but how they all had some very strong, common threads. We’re so different, yet so alike. And I was excited about the prospect of talking to more fans. And even though there is the spotlights on vidders and writers over at spnrountable, and except for some pieces over at the Order for Transformative Works that focused on a particular work of a particular fan, or elsewhere on the interwebs (I’m thinking specifically about the songvid “Us” by lim), I’ve not yet seen interviews/pieces about fans doing their regular fannish things.Which brings me to my question, and thank you for reading this far: Do you want to be interviewed about your fannish life? And, equally important, are you interested in reading about other fans? When I write stories, I write for myself. When I write for pinkraygun I write with a different purpose; there’s an audience out there, and I’m writing for that audience. Did the Fan Whisperer piece work? And is it going to be productive and interesting to do more of the same?

You can drop me a line at sylvia_writing@yahoo.com or you can post a comment; I’d really like to know what you think.

Fan Fiction of my Fan Fiction: Dark Shadows Stories Written By Someone Else, Other Than Me

Dark Shadows, Fanfiction, Gina Lee 1 Comment »

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.

The Grasshopper and The Ant

The Grasshopper and The Ant

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!)

The Cover of Stone

The Cover of Stone

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.

We’re Not Crooks, Not Even Close: Meta on Censorship

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My meta on the current issue on copyright infringement, which includes a statement by [info]morgandawn , is up at pinkraygun.com.

Evidently, your government wants to allow itself to shut down your website or blog if it feels its engaging in “infringing activity.” And it’s not pretty.

Gina Lee Series: The Gift of the Master

Dark Shadows, Fanfiction, Gina Lee, My Fanfiction 5 Comments »

Title: Gift of the Master
Author: Sylvia Bond
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count: 10,800
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 19)
Summary: It’s Christmas time. Again. Done Collinwood style, with too much work for Willie, and not enough heat in that damn Old House.
A/N: This was a fun story on account of Barn being a little nicer than usual. Plus it was fun to work with what would be in those wrapped packages under the tree. Of course, the story is still dark, I haven’t gotten all soft, even if it is the holidays.

***

It was a bad idea to be moping in the kitchen, and Willie knew it. But with a cold front barreling down through the woods from Canada, it was the warmest place in the house. He’d built the fire up and was sitting as close to it as he dared, scorching his toes as he propped his feet on a brick laid before the grate. Even with the heat seeping through him, battling territory for the raw, cold areas in his body, his fingers were still numb as he stared at the Christmas card in his hands.

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Gina Lee Series: Home Among The Dead

Dark Shadows, Fanfiction, Gina Lee, My Fanfiction 8 Comments »

Title: Home Among the Dead
Author: Sylvia Bond
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count: 22,262
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 18)
Summary: Willie visits the Logan family in California and does his best to take care of them. Unfortunately, he’s only got a week, because Barnabas is expecting him back. Gina doesn’t want him to go and Willie doesn’t want to leave her. But with Barnabas’ threats hanging over his head, each day brings him closer to the ultimate parting.
A/N: Barnabas deserves a stake through the heart for being such a jerk. Perhaps, one day, he’ll get what he deserves.


Of modern morals, the beaten road Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread, Who travel to their home among the dead By the broad highway of the world, and so With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe, The dreariest and the longest journey go.

—Shelley

***

Remember, Willie, no situation will ever take you out of my reach.

He awoke with a jerk, feeling the press of a slight weight against his chest just as his mind swam up through layers of cotton wool and the dull grey awakening from exhausted sleep. His left arm felt tight and stiff and seemed to be detached from him and hooked over the weight at the same time. He took a breath to see if that would ease it some, and found it did only along one side, and then heard the returning sigh of someone close by. His eyes opened to see the black thatch of Danny’s hair pushing up from beneath his chin and the slightly curled and rather small hand tucked up against him. He was in a bed, he recalled lying down on it and someone saying something about rest and after that it was all dark. And Danny was now sleeping next to him, wedged in close, baking with warmth.

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Gina Lee Series: Connections

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Title: Connections
Author: N.J. Nidiffer
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count: 13,010
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 17)
Summary: Willie travels to California by plane, and arrives to find the Logan family in pieces. He’s there to put them back together again, though he can barely stand himself.
A/N: Poor Willie!

***

Lisa noticed him when she came off her dinner break—the thin, hollow-eyed man in the green turtleneck and the nylon windbreaker that seemed much too light to protect him from the cold spring rain, huddled in the seat closest to the boarding gate with an ugly old suitcase parked at his knee.

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Gina Lee Series: Love’s Embrace

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Title: Love’s Embrace
Author: Sylvia Bond
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count: 9,235
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 16)
Summary: Willie has to ask for permission to go out to California to visit the Logan family. He manages it, yes, but at some great cost.
A/N: This is my other favorite because it was interesting to set things up so that Barn would have to let Willie go.

***

On a scale of one to ten, the job shouldn’t have been very hard, and it wasn’t. Just sanding down the floor-boards in a little room at the end of the main hall on the second floor. The cornices had already been repaired, the walls washed and painted white, the door taken down, stripped, replaned, and then rehung. Barnabas had said it would make a fine guest room when it was done, though Willie couldn’t imagine anyone who would have wanted to stay there. Except for Vicki Winters, of course.

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Gina Lee Series: Counting Costs

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Title: Counting Costs
Author: N.J. Nidiffer
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count: 3,117
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 15)
Summary: Willie receives a terrible phone call from Gina Lee. Polly’s been hurt, is in the hospital, and might die. He’s promises Gina that he’ll be there as soon as he can, even though there’s no way he can do this.
A/N: I was in tears the first time I read this.

***

A flurry of erasing tore the grubby leaf trapped beneath his hand as the overworked paper finally wore through. Willie puffed away the pile of pink shavings with a single, resigned breath and held up the sheet to examine the damage.

No saving it. The formula was obliterated from marking and erasing and marking again. Nothing was left but a ragged-edged hole.

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Gina Lee Series: To Feed On Rose Petals

Dark Shadows, Fanfiction, Gina Lee, My Fanfiction 3 Comments »

Title: To Feed on Rose Petals
Author: Sylvia Bond
Genre/Rating: Gen/PG
Word Count:  7,673
Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 14)
Summary: Unbeknownst to Barnabas, his servant Willie has been receiving letters from his pen pal in California. Trouble is, Willie’s not been answering those letters, and it’s going to look like Barnabas can’t control his servant. So he makes Willie sit down and write something.
A/N: Barn always has to be in control! (And secretly, this is one of my favorite stories of this verse.)

***

The first he knew of the entire matter came on a night in mid-spring, when the snow finally gave itself up to a rain that pushed beneath the doorjambs and trickled in neverceasing drops from the leadings between the glass panes in the second floor windows on the north side of the Old House. The beginning of it came with a knock at the door, which he answered with his own hands as Willie, armed with buckets and pans, was occupied elsewhere, seeking to capture the result of the leaks in the master bedroom’s ceiling.

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Gina Lee Series: Last Word

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Title: Last Word

Author: N.J. Nidiffer

Genre/Rating: Gen/PG

Word Count:  13,041

Fandom: Dark Shadows

Verse: Gina Lee (# 13)

Summary: Gina Lee determines that the best thing for her family is if they all move out to California. Willie is devastated. Barnabas is predictably less than sympathetic.

A/N: This is probably one of the saddest stories in the whole bunch.

 

 ***

 

The wind freshened as the tide turned. Not that it helped the stench any.

 

Willie tucked his chin more tightly against his shoulder, closing his eyes against the sting of windblown sand. The random fingers of air that skimmed the scum-foamed tidal pools before rising to caress the tears from his cheeks were thick with the reek of fermenting seaweed, but he didn’t mind the odor much. Hardly noticed it, in fact, -though his nose couldn’t help but wrinkle whenever the wind puffed the worst of it up his nostrils.

 

He had far darker thoughts on his mind than what sort of offal might be decomposing at the base of his boulder. Strands of kelp. Tide-trapped minnows. The remnants of his careworn soul. Let them all be heaped together to swelter in the sun until the hungry waves came to suck them out to sea again. It was all the same to him.

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