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.

Myth: “It’s just fiction”

No, its not just fiction. The art is NOT separate from the artist. Every writer, everywhere, is responsible for what they put out into the world. As a reader, you should imagine what the author who wrote this book is like and why they wrote it.

I decided to take a chance and be a good community member on JukePop and read from my fellow authors. One of the JukePop 30 authors, B.B. Edmunds, has a serial there called Deathless. Within the first 500 words of this story, the main character is pilfering corpses and standing over a dead, raped woman while essentially saying, “I would’ve raped her, too, but been nicer about it”. The first chapter is over 8000 words long. Why would I want to read this? To add to this already mountainous-in-quality bullshit, Edmunds responds to my comment by saying he defends this character. I was really shaken and admittedly annoyed by Edmunds’ defensiveness and his desire to have the last word until I stated my point and opted not to respond to him anymore. Then he gets his feelings hurts and continues to argue with me about my position on Deathless. B.B. Edmunds didn’t get the takeaway, which is

  1. You are responsible for what you justify and what you write
  2. Readers will drop your book because your main character sucks
  3. Everything you write says something about you
  4. Yes, your book will be judged by the first 500 words, that’s all it takes sometimes.
  5. In getting criticized, don’t keep arguing with your reader.

I learned about JukePop through National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always found JukePop’s use of “reader analytics” and votes to be suspicious at best. Which is why I had hesitated to publish anything there since The Taker a few years ago. Its not my style, I just find parts of the platform to be helpful. But if this is what it means to be a JukePop 30 author, I can live without it.

I really feel that I need to be honest: What I’ve found in my quest for good serials on this website is that a lot of authors have great ideas but not enough skill, experience, or style to carry the great ideas. I’ve come across typos and perspective issues, for example; I’m not an editor or a proofreader and even I can see them.

Writers like Edmunds have skill and style but are writing stories I don’t want to read (because of their unnecessarily violent, trendy, or pretentiously gritty elements). I really hope this is not all there is to JukePop. More reading investigation is required.

It would be nice to surrounded by writers and readers who are aware of what they’re doing and supporting.

Writer’s Voice, Reader’s Mind

Every time I re-read a book, I see something I didn’t see before. My journey as  reader and writer is to see the soul of an author’s work.

Sometimes readers will make comments about my work that make me think, You didn’t actually read what I wrote, did you. I’d be the last person to turn down constructive criticism. But if I sense that they’re offering “advice” or “criticism” but didn’t take the time to read the words and understand them to formulate a useful opinion, I get irritated and jazzy in the mouth, just downright sassy towards them.

When I read, I don’t go in saying, “Let me see how well this author writes like my favorite author!”. (Also because I don’t have a favorite author.) And I don’t write stories for people who skim and speed read or want something fun, quick, and trashy to read at the airport. No, as a reader, I try to see how that writer is delivering information, details, so that my imagination paints on the canvas of my mind and shows me the story.

What next?

Coming down with it. I feel an overwhelming pressure to publish something this year.

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My plan is to run a short story/novella on JukePop. ^This is what I’m working on, ORACLE–fantasy fiction all the way!! I did these e-book covers on Canva.

Welcome to Oracle–a sprawling school of magic overlooked by a crystal mountain, surrounded by fields and forests beneath whipped clouds and endless blue skies. But you know what they say: If something is too good to be true…it usually is. Caprice Bilberry is a witch who suddenly arrives at Oracle’s extraordinary campus and is informed that as a student here, her greatest wish will be granted: She will be freed from generational enslavement and have the right to go to school and practice her magic. Why leave the only life she’s ever known, risking death and the murder of her family? Why say no and return to life as a slave in a colonial village where using magic is an offense punishable by mutilation and death? Caprice, Nezzle, and Bossa become friends, soon unraveling a terrifying secret: The school is more than what it seems, demanding a price more sinister than its lofty goals reveal or make up for. Its the ultimate fine print. For one does not simply enter and become a student at Oracle school….

And I just got an email that JukePop is doing the 2016 Summer Writing Project with 1888. Perfect, I’ll just do that.

Personally, I’m a little selfish and I don’t want to share my work for free but that’s my vanity talking. Most people advise against doing this though some argue that giving away some work for free helps build an audience. Writing is my calling and art should be freely shared, yet some part of me still wants to write for a living despite what that actually means in my society. Its a working class/poor people thing I guess, that dream of getting paid for doing what you love. I’ve had multiple people tell me I should be paid for my work and I decided to believe them.

I didn’t publish anything last year. Even if I do publish, I’d have to do book covers, editing, proofreading, and back matter/synopsis–all on my own. Not to mention promoting it. Or attempting to rather. I guess I’m already part of the way there: books covers done, synopsis okay, and first four chapters finished.  I wonder if its enough to go, “I wrote this thing” and shove it out there. Wanting a little bit more than that is a lot of work. (If I’m wondering then maybe its not….)

Critique or Not to Critique

Isn’t it presumptuous to tell someone how to write a story?

Or act as if you have the right to tell someone how something they have written should be written? Even when I’m in writing groups commenting on the work of other writers or asking for critique fr my own work, I find myself wanting to stay in the safe territory of “I like this/I don’t like this and why”. In my recent experience critiquing, when I have acted like an authority, the writer whose work is being critiqued will argue with me regardless of the validity of my comments or how nicely I say it, especially if I commented on plot, tone, and characterization regarding race and gender.

Every writer is different and/or imitating another writer by study. For example, when I was in college, I saw many white male students who imitated vaunted white male poets and novelists, holding them up as the standard as sure as the curriculum did. It was by that ruler that these students measured and judged the literary world around them.

So outside of technical/grammatical corrections, I always wonder from where inside of them does the critique of readers and writers comes from? I came to the conclusion that literary critique comes from two places: 1) What a writer/reader has read from other writers, and 2) What the writer/reader themselves would do in the place of the writer whose work they are looking at.

Writers will request advice or feedback, yes, but all critique is really just someone’s opinion, isn’t it?

Currently, I am in the middle of completing the first draft of Exactly As You Like It, a fantasy romance about two witches, a knight and a cleaning lady. I was wondering how I can get reliable feedback for the story. I feel like I’m overcompensating because its the first story that I’ll be finishing in the magic world I’ve been envisioning since I was in high school (meant to be a short story but turned into a novel). Buuutttt I’ll work on finishing it first.

Less is More? Social Networking Sites

Social networking: I’ve never been one to use Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Honestly, I thought they were superfluous fads. Of course, they can be useful but most of the time it’s about numbers. Yes I want people who are interested in me and interested in my work and want to follow me but blogging and social networking sites look like a popularity contest with a circus on top and I’ve never been the type to get caught up in those types of things or the type to attract that sort of attention. If rather have one reader who really likes and finds value in my work than a thousand followers that I have no real connection to. I’ve created profiles in several different places but I don’t use them, not the personal ones or the professional ones. Now that I have them, I’m not sure I should get rid of them even though I don’t use them. You never know what will be useful later. A tool that’s not relevant now might be a good thing to have in the future.

As much as I hate popularity contests and trying to win people over, planning and scheming, and numbering people, I always agonize over whether or not people hear me (as evident in my agonizing over whether cover art is part of my problem). Am I writing and no one is reading? But aren’t I writing for myself? If that’s true, then why does it matter who read it and how many? But, as a writer, I’m supposed to care about that right? With so many digital methods of reaching people, or audiences as they say, shouldn’t I be doing everything I can to connect with readers? How can you know for sure if you reached even one person on a meaningful level?

I’ve always believed that social networking and the internet has made people lazy and ultimately uninterested in each other. Everything seems so impersonal. Click a button to “like”. Share with contacts. “Unlike”. Follow. Retweet. Reblog. It seems meaningless and shallow. It gives some people a reason to be lazy and hide from solid connections with others. Some it strengthens and helps maintain their connections. Others it gives them a chance to meet in the first place.

So far I’ve deleted my Twitter and my Tumblr (which is still there but I’m not using it). I still have a FB page that isn’t getting any hits so that’s next on the list because I see the tumbleweeds a-blowing ’round. Honestly, I don’t know what will work for me. Even with this blog, I try only to post once a month out of concern for doing way too much.

New Year’s

I’ve spent Christmas and my last week of the year crafting and writing (a craft itself) since my family isn’t particularly close. I finished National Novel Writing Month with over 63, 970 words. I finished the first draft of Dionna’s Wish, a romantic fantasy novel currently at 72, 312 words. I am currently finishing Exactly As You Like It, another fantasy romance. I’ve also finished several short stories such as Love Little and Void Masters. None of which I’ve talked about yet.

I’d say I’ve had a pretty fruitful year and I hope to publish something soon on Jukepop Serials or Smashwords. Or somewhere.

It’s about two hours and thirty minutes to midnight here. Whoever is reading…Happy New Year’s and whatnot.