Anything John Oliver does not only cracks me up, but makes me feel better about the world - just knowing there's someone out there who can articulate what lies behind my snarky and disdained declarations!
I like to write #fanfiction, as I've admitted previously, and I have to say I'm thrilled that it is rapidly becoming a much more mainstream source of entertainment. There's a great site to read both fanfiction and original stories called Inkitt.com. I was invited to post some stories there after the creators of the site found my Harry Potter fanfics on fanfiction.net.
Now, Inkitt is having a fanfiction competition, so I entered my most popular HP fic. Check it out if you dare. But be warned, it's a feelgood/sappy/sometimes snarky thrill ride, as is my style. Some scenes might make your teeth hurt. #JustSayin
Writing fanfiction is the most effective way that I have found to discover the true meaning of "flow" as a writer. Every fiction writer should give it a go!
So, like I've admitted, I do like my Harry Potter Fan Fiction. I'm slow on the uptake as far as the fan fiction universe vernacular is concerned. I'm way too stubborn to look for definitions, and would rather try to piece together the acronyms in the author's notes (A/N's), and by reading the actual story than going to someplace like Wikipedia for quick answers. It took me a while to figure out what bunnies are, for example and I'm still wondering about lemons. But the term that makes me laugh out loud, and then feel entirely defensive is the term Mary Sue.
According to Wikipedia, "Today, the term 'Mary Sue' carries the strong connotation of wish-fulfillment, and is commonly associated with self-insertion, the literal writing of oneself into a fictional story."
...Well, duh. Why the hell else would one write fan fiction??? OK, so that's a very broad and over-the-top generalization, which doesn't even apply to my own stories. I've finally written 3 novel-length fanfic pieces, and I did not insert myself into the story, but I do so at least to some degree when I write my own fiction. However, for me, inserting myself into my stories is a way to live vicariously through a character. I do it for fun, but am cognizant enough to realize when the character representing me is a bit too blessed with circumstance or ability. But come on, for romance stories? It's just not a good romp if I'm not in there somewhere!
In conclusion, I will declare that the challenge to write competently enough to create something worth sharing, while still inserting oneself into the story, is to keep it real. Just keep it real, and hopefully you can avoid the Mary Sue stigma.
The Gid•dy Fac•tor: (thuh gid ee fak tur) n. 1. The urge to giggle and weep at the same moment. 2. The bubble of thrill that hovers between the throat and chest. 3. The sensory response to creative expression. 4. The knowing that this is right. 5. The map by which to navigate the journey of life.
When I question my abilities as a writer, I simply return to the basics. A designated symbol, which for me is a turtle, like those I see every summer in Hawai'i. It reminds me that I am connected to a higher power, a source of guidance that I have an inherent ability to tap into. I call this my inner navigator. The Hawai'ian turtles gently glide through the surf, making their way to their destination in a slow, methodical fashion. Even when the water is choppy, they keep that same smooth pace. Once reminded of the importance of staying in "the flow," I return to the best tool I have. The Giddy Factor.
My own personal drive to write fiction is based on the ongoing need to have my characters stay in motion. This can be accomplished by rewriting, or retelling, or developing another story with an alternative plot. As long as I feel that bubble of giddiness, I know I'm on the right track.
The bottom line? Write what you know, write what you feel, write what you wish for, write the impossible as possible, and most importantly, write without hesitation. Do this for yourself first, and the world around you will benefit.
"Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that it is not real?" ~Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling.
My fanfic mantra.
I have always written fanfiction. It's the best possible way to keep a story alive. Even when the charcters are of my own creation. I will write a scene, rewrite it, and write it again with a new twist, or a different outcome. I am forever loyal to those potent characters that make fanfiction so compelling.
In my efforts to flesh out my own original fiction, I find that I "write" stories with favorite characters all of the time (in my head). I use it as a means to keep a storyline going when my own plotlines with my own characters sputter to a halt. My character obsessions tend to gravitate toward alpha males (or to the ones that could evolve into alphas). Perhaps I have an unfulfilled quest in my own life. Except that I'm not male. Perhaps it's simply because the alpha males are the leaders, the strong ones, the heroes. And they're usually the most misunderstood, the most complex, and the most tragic. And therefore, they are most fascinating and meaningfully contemplated.
I'm someone who retains fictitious characters on the brain long after the story is over. I'll keep favorite characters in my head for years, actually. Certain types, usually male for some reason, just plain embed themselves in my mind. My imagination usually takes them on journeys of my own creation that run in the background while real life goes on around me. My sources are books, television and film. And the more accessible my favorite characters become via internet and digital communication, the better my inner world gets.
I've written about discovering fanfiction on my fanfic blog, The Fan Fiction Review. It was quite a delight to discover that I am not nearly as unique (for lack of a better word than strange) as I've always believed myself to be. Other people have the same inability to let go of characters that I do! Sweet! I personally have only read Harry Potter fanfiction because there's just not enough time in the day to get to the other options.
My own fanfiction creations usually stayed in my head, until last fall, when I finally posted a story on fanfiction.net under the name of cre8tvdeb. My first officially offered story was called Failure To Thrive, and when I reread it now, can see how difficult it was at first to let go of my own self-imposed taboo about fanfiction. But I got feedback, and it was very addictive. So I tried a second story, and then a third, and had an absolute blast.
My obsession seems to be cyclical as well, and I write my own fanfic in my head accordingly. I will cycle through Joss Whedon's Angel every couple of years and it never gets old, but his style of angst and tragedy becomes too negative after a while. His characters struggle with conflict incessantly, which I love to indulge until my own desire for resolution in a storyline inevitably takes over. I'll visit the Nash Bridges Universe to rekindle the familiarity of San Francisco. And then I'll move on to Star Trek, both original cast and the newly casted adventures by JJ Abrams.
My favorite Potent Characters, not necessarily in order of preference (since that changes frequently):
Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Lucius Malfoy, of the Harry Potter Universe
Spike, Wesley Windham Price, and Angel, all of the Joss Whedon Universe Nash Bridges,
Harvey Leek, Evan Cortez, Joe Dominguez of the Nash Bridges Universe ,
Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy of the Star Trek Universe
And now that I've compiled the list... yes, they are mostly male. Hmmm.
Creating fanfiction is a way of life. As far as I'm concerned, my characters are always in motion. I'm always playing with them in my head, and I'm happy to share their antics. If you would like to check out the creative enDEBers Universe, start with Participants of the Project, available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle, but also at several Independent Booksellers(click).
There are many things about Hawaiian culture that once experienced, will permanently affix themselves to your soul. Hawaiians value family above all else, at what equates to a spiritual level that is embedded in both culture and language. It's quite easy to overlook this when you're watching the sunset with pupus and drinks in a seaside resort bar. But if you've had the opportunity to actually live as a local, you come to relish the Hawaiian language that is integrated into the casual speech of fellow islanders. The themes of "living aloha" and "please kokua" that have a much deeper translation than the average mainlander truly realizes are like a secret relationship between you and the islands themselves. Achieving the resident status of Kama'aina is something to treasure.
I love all things Hawai'i, even managed to live on the island of Maui for 6 months in the mid 90s. I pay that island a visit every year around Labor Day, and get a brief chance to reconnect. This past September, I was working on my newest novel and using my Kindle to proofread my work. I accidentally hit the Kindle store menu and managed to stumble upon Maui Widow Waltz by JoAnn Bassett, which of course I grabbed on the spot. I did not, however get a chance to read it until this past week.
I instantly felt connected to the main character, Pali Moon, and within a few pages was in a full swing reconnect to Maui and the local way of life. The narrative is reflective of the pace of Hawaiian living, or as the locals say, da kine. The mystery in the plot and the realistic romantic tugs between Pali's friends and new acquaintances became so real and so familiar that I was sad to see the story end in spite of the drama the characters went through. Fortunately there are several others in the series. I've got Living Lahaina Loca downloaded for this weekend.
And finally, as I did a tad of research on the author, I came upon misterio press, which features Ms. Bassett as one of four fiction authors. The other novels on the site look quite tempting for fun, easy reads - my favorite kind of fiction!
This is that book you read in your chaise lounge, while you sip that yummy umbrella drink, or on a long plane ride, or while you are home on a mental health day.... and just head on off into a deceptively low key adventure. (Romance/Suspense/Thriller)
And by the way, these two Don Henley songs literally inspired the entire story for me. In 20 years, I've never, ever gotten tired of them.
From the Album The End of the Innocence:
My labor of love, self published in 2003 where it has been seated in a realm of the internet (and in a stack of print-on-demand paperbacks in my closet), is now re-released in digital and more affordable paperback versions. Available on amazon.com (kindle version and new paperback 2nd edition published by Creative EnDEBers Publishing), barnesandnoble.com (for your nook), kobo, smashbooks and LuLu.com.
It's already been a few weeks since Andy Hallett died, and I've found myself pulling out my Angel DVDs and re-experiencing the thrill that is the Joss Whedon Universe. I was late to the game in watching both Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angel, not even discovering them until they were both on DVD. I relish every one of the characters in these two amazing shows, and Andy Hallett's character on Angel as Lorne (The Host) was one of my favorites.
Once I've begun reliving the highly entertaining journey through the Angelverse version of LA underground crime, I get completely drawn in by the the fascinating take on life that these creative minds have conceptualized. Between the angst, the humor, the horror, the deception, and the marked degree of "daddy" issues, I find so much fodder for my own imagination it's difficult not to immortalize anyone connected to the show. As an ensemble, the characters of Angel throughout the five seasons had such a remarkable chemistry and are an awesome resource for a writer to study and emulate. But I must declare now that I've found Andy's Lorne to be the most cleverly created. I especially grieve the idea that he's gone because it is always the episodes that have Lorne in them that I find the most appealing. I really wish there were empath demons with karaoke bars in real life. How cool would that be?
So, a toast to The Host! Have a Sea Breeze and a song, and smile as you remember Lorne's journey back to Pylea, back to "Mom" and Numfar doing the dance of joy.