You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Ramblings’ category.

…just really, ridiculously busy. I never thought I’d be too busy to write fan fic, but there you go. Life has a way of surprising you.

I’m still writing, just writing other stuff for right now. I’m sure a plot bunny will bounce on me one of these days and something Housey will pop out, but it’s just not my priority at the moment. I do want to write something though, coz I kind of miss Greg and the gang (who in my stories are mostly imaginary – but then House is imaginary too – so I miss all my imaginary friends, including House – oh, stop me now…)

Found some great writing advice from John Scalzi. It’s modestly called John Scalzi’s Utterly Useless Writing Advice, but it’s one of the most useful useless pieces of advice I’ve read in a while.

I still have other things I want to say about fan fiction, even if I don’t write a fic myself for a while, so if anyone’s still reading, hang in there…

Advertisements

Singapore, actually, and it’s hot and sauna-humid! Do they have House here? Yep – season 6, Thursdays at 10pm. Might even get to catch it while I’m here. (Although I hasten to add that watching TV isn’t usually a priority when I’ m in another country!)

I haven’t been around for a while. I have still been writing though, just not House fiction. I’ve got two stories being considered by publishers right now – a short story and a novel. I’ve been busy doing revisions and getting them submitted. I’m also working on a new story (also not House) although it is coming slowly because work is keeping me busy.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for news on anything, if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past couple of years of finding my way in the publishing world, it’s that everything happens very, very s-l-o-w-l-y.

But that wasn’t what prompted me to jump on and blog – it was reading this blog post that prompted me to write. Many of you would know of Diana Gabaldon – she wrote the series of time-travel books featuring the hot Scots warrior, Jamie. (Called “Outlander” in the US and “Cross Stitch” in other parts of the world.)

Well, it appears Ms Gabaldon really, really, really HATES fan fiction.

I had very strong reactions when I read her post. (I have not read all of the 500+ comments, but I imagine my own reactions are mirrored in there somewhere.) On the one hand, I must admit, I wondered if there was a difference between writing fan fic about a TV character as compared to a character from a novel. The character of a novel is the creation of one person only, as compared to a TV character who is an amalgam of the writing, the actor, the director, etc. Does that make novel characters somehow more ‘private’? More ‘copyrighted’?

I have never been tempted to write fan fiction for any character other than House and for reasons I can’t explain, the idea of writing fan fiction about a character in a book somehow seems ‘different’. But is it really? Once a character is out in the public domain, be it in a book, on a TV program, in a film, isn’t it ‘out there’ regardless of its original format?

On the other hand, I was really angered on behalf of myself and the many other very talented writers I know who write fan fiction. She made some broad, sweeping generalisations that people who write fan fic do so because they are unable to do ‘proper’ writing of their own. That is so absolutely not true. I know at least FOUR other fan fic writers who are actively pursuing published author status. And that’s just the four people I know.

Ms Gabaldon has obviously been a published writer for a long time, and has clearly forgotten the rocky, disheartening and downright soul-destroying journey that it takes for an unpublished author to finally see their name in print. What real harm is done if, along the way, you write some fun stories using someone else’s characters, for no financial gain, but for the encouragement and reinforcement of your writing abilities?

I can’t refute her point that some people who have very poor writing skills will find themselves an audience if they shove in enough sex scenes or if they write the romance or storyline that fans want to see. (In the House fandom, witness some of the extraordinarily bad Hameron or Huddy stories – I’m NOT saying that they are all bad, but some have huge numbers of reviews not for the quality of the writing but for the adherence to the ‘ship’.)

But fan fic exists in a world in which anyone, anywhere, can be ‘published’, in the sense that your work can be made available to a global audience. Back when unpublished Diana was trying to work on her writing, the best she could hope was that her friends and family might have a read and give her some encouragement. Maybe she could enter a competition or two, or join a writers group. Those options are all still open to  an unpublished writer today (and, indeed are all things I’ve made use of). But what that young Diana couldn’t do, that I – and many like me – have been able to do, is put my writing up on a global stage, to get the feedback and encouragement from people in the US, Poland, Brazil, India, Sweden, Chile, Russia and more (and that’s just the fan fic stats for May so far). I’ve had tens of thousands of people read my work.

Welcome to Web 2.o and the twenty-first century, Ms Gabaldon.

Exactly what harm is it doing to you that people want to write about Jamie Fraser and Sassenach Claire? It’s certainly not hurting your hip pocket.

All I can say is that if I ever get my books published, I totally give you all permission to write as much fan fiction about them as you can. Go for it. Wild, sexy, implausible, pornographic, OOC, ridiculous, comedic, slash, crossover, even badly written. In my mind all it would do is honour my work, demonstrate affection for the characters of my invention, and let others learn from my experience.

I made a little tag cloud of this site. I likes it.

I used Wordle. I’m not sure why “Alex” is so large, obviously I used her name a lot when talking about “If you really loved me”. I like the way it says House in the middle and Wilson is kind of popping up at right-angles. For some reason that just seems appropriate.

And I love that “story” is the biggest word of all, and that it has the word “idea” all nicely snuggled inside the “o”. Excellent.

The fact that the word “really” is quite large is a quite concerning. Really concerning, actually. (lol)

In my current story, Affair to Remember, House and my character Cameron, a teenage boy, have a conversation about music. House is impressed by the Foo Fighters poster in the kid’s bedroom. To come up with this detail, I went and looked up guitarists who own a Flying V guitar like House, to give him something to brag about. From that list I chose Foo Fighters, figuring it was a band that a thirteen year old boy might like.

Then Cameron tells House he plays saxophone and House asks him to play Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. Just because it is one of those standards, and has that very famous sax riff.

Today I’ve just discovered that Foo Fighters have done a cover of Baker Street! I was a little blown away by that. Also it means that if Cameron was a REAL fan he would have certainly recognised the song. Oh well.

Just inserting this link to prove it’s true. Honestly? Go listen to the original.

I’m in the middle of doing revisions on a manuscript as requested by an editor. An actual editor from a publishing house! Who’s asked to see it again when I’m done!

Yes, it is very exciting, but combined with insanely, mind-numbingly frustrating as I pull apart my ‘baby’ and rework it — a very strange mix of emotions, I’m here to tell you . . .

A lot of the advice/revisions from the editor was absolutely spot-in (thus the frustrating part) and has resulted in me losing thousands of words in the first two chapters alone. Why? Because there was too much between the start and the action.

As I was sitting here with my finger on the ‘delete’ button, I was reminded of this song about the King Kong movie from a few years ago (audio only, very funny but rude and NSFW):

The band is Tripod, and if they ever track back this link I think they will be proud to see themselves referenced in something as potentially geeky as fan fiction. (Wouldn’t put it past them to have tried a little themselves. Probably Star Wars.)

Anyway, partly as an excuse to avoid my revisions, and partly to pass on this solid advice, I decided to write this short post. The song puts it best: Get to the fucking monkey!

I wanted to write a little more constructively about the process of writing “If you really loved me”, the House fan fic story that I’ve just recently published the last chapter of, but I’m finding that I can’t. (But I will, in a future post.)

I’ve talked to other writers about the strange emotions that happen when you write and publish fan fic and I think that many of us go through the same kind of process.

At first, when I’m writing a story, I’m filled with enthusiasm and excitement for it. I can’t wait to find out what happens and I’m practically obsessed by writing – I simply don’t want to do anything else (eat, sleep, work, go outside . . .). It’s like an addiction, and occasionally just as unhealthy!

Usually, I start to post (publish) a story when I’m about two-thirds of the way through writing it. It’s when I’m still quite excited by the story and I’m bursting to get some feedback from someone and share my words with the world.

Then, a strange thing happens. I work out what’s going to happen in the story. I know how it’s going to end – all that has to happen is for me to sit down and type it out. And that’s usually right when I fall out of love with my story. Sitting down to do that typing feels more like a chore than a labour of love. I also no longer think it’s very good, despite any lovely reviews I might be getting (thank you) and I have a massive crisis of confidence, wondering what the hell I was thinking putting it out there anyway. I no longer have the drive to write that I did at the start.

Generally speaking it takes me two- to three-times longer to write the final two chapters as it did to write the whole rest of the story. Silly, hey?

So they’re the first two “emotional” phases of the process of fan fic writing – well for me, anyway. But there’s a third.

Once I’ve finished writing, I’ve typed the words “The End”, and then I’ve posted my final chapter, a weird kind of melancholy descends. It’s like Christmas Day when you’re a kid and all the presents have been opened and you didn’t get exactly what you’d hoped for. That sad, kind of restless sense of anti-climax. I think it’s because I used to have this ongoing sense of purpose, I’d wake up and know I needed to post. People were out there waiting for it! Not only that, I would get regular emails (review alerts) filled with praise from people – often complete strangers! – about how well I was doing with something. And then, all of a sudden, it stops.

I guess it’s a little like being an addict and having your “culottes” taken away. (That’s a House reference 🙂 ) The “high” that you once had is over. No more nagging to post from keen readers, no lovely reviews – no personal satisfaction simply from seeing thousands of words from your own imagination right there on the screen.

I don’t want to overstate this. It’s not like I’m sitting curled up in a ball in the corner of the room, rocking back and forward. I still have a life to lead, bills to pay, work to do, family and friends to annoy. But there’s this little weird, nagging sense of loss, of something missing, of a gap where something used to be.

That is, of course, until the next story begins . . .

I’m very pleased to have been nominated in the second annual Whiteboard Awards. These awards are run on the Fox Forum (although they are unofficial) and they recognise excellence in House fan fiction across all ships, genres and characterisations. Check out the cool promo video:

Being nominated is very exciting and I honestly don’t care too much what happens next. There are so many wonderful writers nominated (including many dear friends) so the competition is very tough. I will be excited if I win, I will be excited if my friends win. Either way, I can’t lose!

Hope 2010 has started off well for you, whatever you are up to!

Mine has been a great one so far. My story “If you really loved me, you’d let me kill you” is still getting lovely reviews and currently has 247 in total! It’s not quite a record, but it’s closing in fast. An old story of mine, “Change of Heart” has a total of 258 — I’m having my own private and self-indulgent little race to see if “If you really” can beat it!

I’m still not sure why “Change of Heart” is so popular. It still regularly gets hundreds of hits each month. I think it is because it is the story in my list with the highest number of reviews. (Which goes back to my previous post about reviewing.) Other than that I’m at a loss, because I can’t say I think the story is any better than any of my other, more recent ones. It does have a lot of sex, though. Hot, House smut. Maybe that’s it.  😉

I finished writing “If you really” just before Christmas. I’m very pleased with how the ending turned out and how all the threads twisted together. There’s also a very “out there” scene towards the end that just popped in of its own accord, but I really like it and I think it is quite unusual and moving. Not giving anything more away — it will be posted within the next week or so!

We’re closing in fast on the end of the story. And I don’t have another one planned right now. I really want to try to spend some time on my non-House writing this month. My work is quieter at this time (being summer in the Southern Hemisphere) and it’s a good opportunity for me to concentrate. But you never know, something might pop up.

Oh, and before I go, thanks to all the lovely people who nominated me for the “Whiteboard Awards” over on the Fox Forum. It really is such an honour to be nominated along with some other wonderful authors. My only regret is that one of my stories from last year, “Rebirth”, isn’t eligible because I posted it on ff.net, not the forum. It is one of the stories from last year that I’m most proud of. But the rules is the rules!

Sorry, this isn’t a particularly fascinating post, but I just thought I’d pop in, let you know I was still alive, still intending to keep up this blog, and…. well, that’s about it. Promise I’ll be back soon with more of my (hopefully) scintillating stuff. Once “If you really” is complete, I’m planning to publish a post about how I felt about writing it and some DVD extras, “behind the scenes” stuff. Hopefully that might be interesting!

Gertrude’s House. As if I didn’t bang on enough in other internet forums, I decided I needed one of my very own.

Basically, I realised that in my efforts to get published in the “real world” , there was no end of helpful advice out there in blog land. But I get a lot of my writing practice  – and, to be honest, my writing pleasure – from writing fan fiction. (Specifically, just so you know, House MD fan fiction. And I primarily write House/OC (OC = original character) romance fan fiction.)

And on that topic, well, there’s really not so much out there. Or, if there is, it’s hard to find!

I know, fan fiction writing is seen as geeky and nerdy and – to use an Australian word – daggy. And often looked down upon as an inferior literature form. Yes, there is some terrible fan fiction out there. But, let’s be honest, there’s some terrible books out there too. I know. I’ve read them.

What I want to do with this blog is:

  • talk about my writing  and what I’ve learned about writing, posting and reviewing fan fiction (because after all, isn’t every blog just a little bit selfish and self-centred)
  • to have somewhere I can interact with my readers outside of the limited review-reply features
  • occasionally get some of my wonderfully talented fan fiction writer friends to contribute their wisdom and advice
  • pass on some of the things I’ve learned to the betterment of my fellow fan fiction writers

I know, it’s not “save the world”, but hey, it’s my blog. And I’m not doing this out of a sense that I am any kind of expert – far from it. I guess I hope that by sharing my knowledge, I might encourage others to do the same and then we all get to learn.

I can think of so many things I want to blog about. A few of the topics I want to cover include:

  • some of the general writing hints and tips I’ve gathered along the way that apply to writing any kind of fiction, whether your own characters or some you’ve borrowed
  • posting fan fiction – how often, how to build a ‘fan base’, how to make readers eager to read your work (not that I know all the answers, here, just a topic I want to explore!)
  • reviewing fan fiction – what authors really want to hear from readers
  • how other writers write, the processes they use, the techniques and tools and tips they have to pass on
  • the specific challenges and opportunities of fan fiction writing and the limitations of using someone else’s characters
  • the decision of whether or not to follow the ‘canon’ of the ‘verse you are playing in
  • how to deal with developments in your chosen fandom within your writing

There. I figure if I can think of seven post topics just off the top of my head, that’s a good way to start. And of course this is where you can add comments and tell me about other stuff you’d like to see me cover — or write something yourself for me to publish – I think I’m going to love guest bloggers if I have any volunteers!

Who knows where we’ll go from here. Drop me a line if you have further thoughts and I hope this turns out to be an exciting new adventure for us all.

Pages

The great and wise Gertrude Stein