On Fanfiction (Fan Fiction)

Between anime and fiction novels of other authors and artists, I’ve started writing about four fan fictions. I like D. Gay-Man by Katsura Hoshino and the anime is the basis for my current longest fanfiction. I’ve had a lot of fun.

But I’m not sure how I feel about the genre.

Taking too much license with someone else’s work makes feel uncomfortable. Some authors and artists don’t approve of fanfiction based off their stuff. I know if I had a huge following where people wrote fanfiction based on my novels, there are things I’d draw the line at whether I had a say in what fanfic writers do or not. And if an artist asked me not to write fanfic based on their work, I would respect their wishes.

Spending a lot of time in my life trying to find value and meaning in what the mainstream publishing industry shoves under my nose has given me a taste for what I refer to as critfic: Fiction that is not necessarily fanfiction. Fiction that is written in order to talk back to another author’s work critically. (Of course for me to go out of my way to write a critfic on your book, there has to be something of value in it for me to get that worked up in first place.)

Maybe its just anime and Twilight, but I’ve seen some fans do some crazy and sometimes downright offensive stuff even with my limited exposure to the fanfic community. Sexualizing characters and situations that really shouldn’t be is at the top of my list.

And why write fanfiction based on somebody else’s work when you should be finishing your books? At least that’s what I ask myself often, especially when I start going down the critfic path over some novel and author that was ultimately offensively and infuriatingly disappointing. Yet another dilemma of the-writer-who-is-a-reader or the-reader-who-is-a-writer.

Just turning over some of my thoughts here. Personally, in fanfiction, I don’t like assuming too much about another writer’s work, like what their characters would or wouldn’t say. It feels too much like guessing the original author’s or artist’s intentions. I find ways to write around doing that as much as possible. I also tend to use my own original characters crafted for that author’s universe (and my own work) and write more about what I appreciate about that author’s work. Or what want to comment on from the other author’s work. Which reminds me how cool it would be to, maybe, co-author a book with another writer someday. That’s definitely a dream of mine. Its cool in my head at least.

Where These Conversations Are

“Fiction by Black Writers: Who Are the Readers?” was held on February 21st by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Eventbrite publicizes the event as–

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi…some of today’s biggest names in fiction are black writers, and yet a predominantly white publishing industry maintains the assumption that black literature lacks marketability. Join writer and distinguished academic Dr. Elizabeth Nunez for a panel discussion challenging this assumption, with Essence Magazine book editor Patrik Henry Bass, Vice President, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of Random House’s One World Chris Jackson, President of the Authors’ Guild Roxana Robinson, and editorial director at Akashic Books Ibrahim Ahmad.

My friend sent me the Eventbrite link to check out some of the authors whose names got dropped in this description. After about a ten-year drought because I was sick to death of white-dominated narratives and formulaic genre crap getting shoved under my nose, I am ready to indulge my love of reading again and pick a new book and a new author to devote some of my time to. Preferably, a Black author who writes Black main characters that I haven’t yet discovered.

But when I clicked on the link in my friend’s e-mail and read the description, I was more interested in attending the even itself to hear to from the speakers. Black FICTION writers? BLACK? People actually talking about the predominantly white publishing industry (read: admitting that the publishing industry is predominantly white)? And likely talking about its assumption that Black fiction writers do not exist or “lack marketability”?

Awww shoot! DANG, I gotta hear this, is what I thought. Tell me the state of the things! For my own validation/affirmation as a Black writer if nothing else. More times than not, this truth about publishing and television is an unspoken truth. It just goes without saying to those People of Color who see it for what it is.

I really, really wanted to hear what other people have to say about this topic. But I’m not just broke, man. No matter how badly I wanted to fly across the country and attend this event, I couldn’t go on February 21st and I still can’t go even if they held the event in New York again.

My head isn’t filled with academic articles from credible sources and published intellectuals on what other people have to say about the topic of Black writers and their marketability (or lack thereof) to white publishers. Nor is my knowledge condensed into a perfectly pitch-able nonfiction volume you can pick up at the bookstore or sample from in your undergrad and masters courses. But I know what I observe when I watch television. What I see when I go into a store and look at their paperbacks. What I’ve read since I first discovered of my love of words and books. I know what I experienced as a little Black girl who grew up on welfare in the U.S. The situation surrounding the marketability and visibility of Black authors deeper than just the publishing industry. The problem is rooted in the core of what readers are exposed to, beginning arguably even as early as the womb. The problem lies in what readers choose to believe and the writers, histories, and narratives they choose to exclude from their bookshelves and consciousness.

As tired as I am of “politics” and navigating a STILL white-dominated media, I feel like conversations like “Fiction by Black Authors” put on by organizations like BSU and the Brooklyn Historical regarding Black and of Color authors specifically aren’t happening as often as they should. Maybe its because I now live in a near-dead, somewhat backwards city. Can’t really say for sure.

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month is nigh!

This will be my seventh NaNoWriMo and I was introduced to it in college. I never go into it without plans to “win”, and by “win” I mean reach the 50,000 word goal of this yearly event. My intention is to finish as much of whatever stories and writings I’ve got that has an ending.

My primary project this month is Oracle, which I started writing back in June. I took October for hiatus on the novel to rest my brain since it’s been at the forefront of my thoughts since I started it. The story is over 50,000 words and I’ve been trying to decide whether to write one long novel or split it into two or three book. Splitting it into books doesn’t change the fact that it continues where some readers would like to stop reading and/or start a new book. I can’t guesstimate how long Oracle is going to be and I don’t really want to. I just want to be true to my story, let it do what it do, and hope people enjoy it.

Though I have never committed to it before and have mixed feelings on the topic, I’m also writing a fanfiction based on a manga/anime that I recently discovered and really like. My fanfic is an estimated novella to light novel length (40,000 to 50,000 words apprx). It seems I’m incapable of writing anything too short, I’m too detail-oriented I guess.

That’s what I’m up to. I hope I can finish Oracle, my fanfiction, and a couple of short stories this coming month. I shouldn’t even be writing this post since I’m supposed to be resting up for NaNo ’16 for ! -__-

Still alive

1

Hey, hey, hey there.

I didn’t “win” 1888’s 2016 Summer Writing Project, not at all unexpected, but I am still working to finish my novel, Oracle, serialized on Jukepop. Usually, I’d really be down about this kind of thing after putting myself out there but I’m managing the mantle of disappointment and suspicions of inferiority pretty well.

I appreciate the recognition of 1888, everyone who voted for me on Jukepop, and the grace of entering the Top 25 in the writing project. And believe me, I thirsted for the rewards and further recognition of winning this competition. I’m not sure how I should or should have used the opportunity so it’s now time to move on, I guess. Time to get back to the heart of this story…ME. Though I really wanted my novel to win, I started writing Oracle as a gift to myself for my birthday, to write a story I (in the precarious state of both reader and writer) want to read–not for a competition or for votes or to participate in the virtual Hunger Games that is literary/publishing world.

Oracle is going on its 37th and likely 38th chapter this week. I look forward to seeing its journey though.

There are so many stories yet trying to get out of my head. Because I feel it’s unwise to divide my energy and attention, I don’t usually work on more than one book or short story at a time. I’ll be an old lady before most of them get squeezed out. -__-

 

Science Is Story: Why We Need More Stories About Science by Dr. Kathy Kitts

This is a great piece by Dr. Kathy Kitts for National Novel Writing Month that discusses some of my issues on the divide between scientists and artists, namely fiction writers.

We’ve all seen the posters that list nifty inventions that first appeared in science fiction and later in our pockets. Scientists and engineers readily admit they take inspiration from the stories they’d read. Yet there is another very important contribution that story makes to science that we don’t talk about. Often, story communicates science concepts better than science itself does.

 

It’s not that scientists don’t know how to write (or can’t be taught), but rather a strong cultural bias exists against employing the tools of story in science. Somehow by using metaphor, we contaminate the data, dilute the message and undercut our credibility…

 

This bias is so pervasive many of my colleagues use pseudonyms for fear that writing fiction may reflect badly on their grant submissions. (If they make up stuff for stories, they might make up stuff in studies.)

Read it all here

Current Work in Progress: ‘Dionna’s Wish’

A romance story sprang to life in my mind at the end of November while I was participating in National Novel Writing Month–that’s Dionna’s Wish. Intended to be a short story, it turned into a short novel before I knew it.

Dionna’s Wish takes place in a world where Santa Claus is not only real but also only one alias within an entire race of empathic beings called Santas who came to our plane of existence to give cheer, hope, gifts, and magic to humans and bask in the energy created by such goodness. Centuries after their arrival, the hatred of humanity visits the tragic horror of murder upon the gestalt-minded Santas, when the soulmate of Santa Nicholas is killed. Having seen a new face in a vision bequeathed on her by the Northern Lights at the North Pole, Nicholas’s friend, Santa Yule, takes it upon herself to find the woman she saw in the lights all those years ago and somehow save Nicholas from the despair of his loss and his growing hate of humankind.

So our story finds Dionna Jackson, a human, newly unemployed and looking for work in her neighborhood, which is being terrorized by the local police who recently murdered an innocent young woman whose only crime was being Black. Secretly terrified of leaving the house because of this neglected upsurge of violence aimed at the Black community in the wake of the incidents like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and in her own city, the open-minded Dionna is more than willing to embark on an adventure when Yule appears to her and offers to take her to the fantastical winter wonderland of the North Pole to meet Saint Nick.

Though she is deliberately callous in the face of Nicholas’s melancholy, grief, and grudging hospitality after Yule brings her to his domain (uninvited), Dionna begins to wonder if she can help heal his heart and find a place there. Nicholas still mourns the love of his life and struggles, like many of his kind, to hold on to his identity as a Santa within his race, the Saints, with their faith in humankind waning every holiday. In the meantime, whilst romance brews, Dionna is introduced to a magical sphere crafted by the Santas known as Holy, which can grant one wish…at the expense of the human wish-maker’s life. Tired of being afraid to walk out her front door and watching racialized violence and murder continue to be a regular part of her life, Dionna contemplates the unthinkable….

Can she bring a slice of peace to the world by sacrificing her life? Will Holy grant her wish this Christmas night?

That description is full of bulky sentences but that’s what the story is about.

I’ve had some stops and starts trying to finish it within three months and find myself struggling to end the first draft. However, I’ve always wanted to write a holiday themed story during its holiday (at least start one during its intended holiday, that is) and I’m stubborn enough to push through to the end.

Write on, Gurl!

I have completed the draft of my second short story this year and will let it ruminate for now.
fireribbonbanner
The first one I finished, Fire Ribbon (which I mentioned without title in 18 Things This Creative Artist Has Done So Far This Year) is a romantic/erotic romance fantasy short with three different endings and two different versions–the first version of the story has nameless characters with no dialogue, purely romantic with a fantasy element and takes place in a fictional town.
fire ribbon contents annttd
The other two stories start out similarly to the first in the same fictional town and are exactly the same until they diverge at the climax of the story and have different endings; it’s definitely erotic and romantic in nature with a kinky bite and delves more into the fantasy end of things with mysterious, magical characters that suddenly pop up together. So Fire Ribbon has two versions with three different endings. I was thinking about those old Goosebumps books that told you what page to turn to and it effected the plot and what ending you got! I also couldn’t which version of the story I wanted to write so I just wrote and kept them all.
purpleavatarbanner
The story I finished this past week is titled Purple Avatar: the rage. This short story/novella follows Micah Highlander, an ex-child soldier turned bodyguard for an escort service, as she guards her charge and secret love interest, Sable Kindes, living on a futuristic technologically advanced Earth unduly influenced by corporate interest and discriminatory body regulations. For a futuristic story, that’s certainly nothing new, right! Its themes are fat positivity, sci-fi/afrofuturism, erotic romance, and dystopian. It originally started out serialized as “Shihoin Avatar: the rage” on two other blogs of mine. After my blogs weren’t doing so well in terms of audience, I didn’t really think it mattered if I deleted them, so I did and I thought Purple Avatar: the rage would never be finished. Then, at some point after that, I made up my mind to finish every story I’ve ever written that has an ending or conceivable ending and that’s how I got to this moment where I can say I finished it! I think there’s a lot of room for more of the story, including Micah’s travels around the galaxy and her past as a conscripted cybernetic child soldier.
I’ve already started finishing Crypt of Angels, the second half of The Taker (which you can read for free on JukePop Serials or buy on Smashwords for 0.99 cent to help me out) and the second and final book of Path of the Righteous, Scepter of the Sovereign (no banner yet, my bad).
coabanner