Author has written 3 stories for Twilight.
Thank you Stephenie, more than words can say, and thank you to your sister, who encouraged you. (Does anyone feel sorry for her long suffering husband, to whom Stephenie apologized for how he was forced to eat at restaurants? Just wondering...)
I stumbled through the looking glass and found Wide Awake. Thank you, Angst Goddess for going there, and the coolest name (and reputation) evah.
I lurked at first, but it didn't take long to I realize there was so much more to this phenom than meets the eye. All these women writing their minds, their taboos, and their unfettered stories. There is nothing else out there like it, and the variety is amazing.
And it's women. It's not about cooking, or raising children, or shopping, or fashion, or decorating, or celebrities, or gardening, or anything else aimed at keeping us domesticated. This is about telling our stories in our own voices. What a powerful and unique thing, non?
Well, the above comment was based in my admiration for the golden era of twific writers. The last two years, with a few notable exceptions, saw a marked downturn in the number of quality stories. Now there is a plethora of popular twifics about cooking, raising children, shopping, fashion, decorating, and/or celebrities. This mundane-woman's Home & Garden Lifestyle as the new twific standard is disappointing.
I have been grieving for the lost tribe that wrote against the grain, and joyfully razed Forks and burned down the forest in La Push with their sharp wit. You see, Twilight is not a great book, and many of the themes are pretty messed up. Good writers not only recognize that, they redress it in their writing. It was de riguer to roast Twilight, not mindlessly toast it.
I blame "Master of The Uterus" for the low standard of twific writing these days. 50ShatsTheBed sent us a rush of new writers who aspire to the 'success' of that fic's ignominy. MotU was regarded by most twific writers and critics at the time as the most awful and sensationalist writing of all the popular twific genres. It had an interesting premise, and a certainly interesting Edward, but Icy lacked the writing chops to carry it off. It isn't something emergent writers should strive to imitate. It is best observed as a 'what not to do'.
Too many writers accept Twilight and 50ShatsTheBed as 'successful' writing, rather than the problematic books they are. The books make good fanfic fodder because of over-simplification of complex issues in our modern life, not because they are 'good' books.
You can tell the new writers are unaware of Twilight's patriarchy, or 50ShatsTheBed's misogyny because the pennames switched from caustic and ironic, to the facetious and crass:
MrsCullensHouseofPancakes, MRSCullenzCupcakewithGoldenSprinkles, PattzCherryPopper, RobnEdwardRdaSAMEthingImmariiiight, RobsProctologist, SadSmuttyGirlSeeksAttention, ButterflyRainbowDreamTearsInHerSadEyez, ImmaMarried2MYedwardUbithes&HesNOTgay, HighschoolNeverEndz&IwoodKnow, BrazilianWaxCommandoInMomJeans, MrsMommy, MrsHusband, MrsShutIn, LogoInLieuofPersonality, DaddysLittleMouthbreathingPrincess, DisneyIsMyLife, TattsRMyLife, DisneyTattsRmyLife, GettingTattsOffHurtzLikeCrazy, CupcakesRmyLife, CupcakeTattzRMyLife, xxXGettingCupCakeTattsOffHurtzXxx, BandwagonzRmyLife, ProductPlacementPsuedoCool, or MyChildrensNamesBecauseIHaveNoIdentity, or MyChildrensNamesBesideDIRTYp0rnIWrite, I.M.MySoonToBePublishedDrek, DiaryofaFontrum, or MyDogIsMyLifeNowRomanceWriter.
Chances are that if you don't see the cringe-inducing irony of your badly chosen penname, your writing will be just as trite.
Criticism is not Cancer
I am often unable to see the talent behind recent stories that have become so big. Sure the premise might be interesting, but if it's rife with cliches, clunky plot-devices, or idiotic characters, it's not worth the party being held in their name. I believe their success stems from undiscerning bloggers, rather than gifted writing.
Twilight Fanfic used to be cool, like the Indies. Now it's overrun with fics as mundane as any LifeTime made-for-TV movies. Twific reccers too often remind me of movie bloggers that beat a drum over every big action flick, because 'explosions' are awesome, rather than a discriminating review about what makes a quality film. The doggerel we see today is because bloggers promoted a friend, rather than following any sort of integrity about promoting good writing. Their buddy's mediocre story became popular because of the bloggers self-serving efforts, and in turn, their log-rolling spawns ever more mediocrity, ad nauseum.
The worst part is author's over-confidence despite apparent low self-esteem. This is often the result of linked-arm fraternization, which impedes a fair and critical assessment. I often witness thin-skinned authors who are up-in-arms over one critical review, despite having a large majority of fappy-happy ones. This ridiculous umbrage discourages reviewers to leave an honest opinion, and trust me when I say this: you don't want that.
The "don't like, don't read" goes both directions: don't read the bad review, or at least don't take it so personally. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but I can't understand writers who post their amateur writing on the WorldWideWeb, but expect only pats on the head: it's never gonna happen.
Sure some reviewers are nasty, but maybe don't throw a drama picnic and feed the sea-bears. I see over and over writers rushing to each others defense, stroking each others ruffled feathers and voicing outraged crocodile tears, rather than advising fellow writers to keep a cool head, and to keep their perspective, and stand in the safe circle of anonymity. This 'I'm a delicate flower who flounces if y'all don't lurv me' defense has no place in writing, especially in a public forum.
You, Only Better
It's understood that under no circumstances should a writer make a character a self-insertion (MarySue = BellaYou):
1) Because you can't get perspective on any needed criticism (and all emergent writers need it). It will seem like it's criticizing 'you' personally, rather than about the writing.
2) I don't want to read about how 'you' perceive yourself as you schtup 'actor' Robward. Your perverse need to make me an unwitting voyeur in your personal fantasy life is creepy and offensive, and rather reminiscent of 'furries' or 'cosplay', which is infantalised p0rn.
I don't have a problem separating people from the fictional characters they play. I notice there is a fanfic genre, however, that lacks that capacity, and on purpose. The reason for it is evident when the author seeks to further blur those fictional/RealPeople lines by inserting themselves into the story. RealPeople fic passing as twific has its niche fanbase, but in my experience, the OC-You character is transparently pathetic. If honing your writing skills is what you want to get out of fic writing, then avoid these RP-You fics.
3) It's usually a case of narcissism in which the author thinks their ship don't stink, but even BellaYou roses smell like woo-hoo-hoo.
4) The point of fiction is to create verisimilitude. This makes readers relate to the characters. Realism also means the characters have faults and flaws, and bad things happen to them in the plot. If you are writing a BellaYou fic, you lack the emotional distance to do that convincingly.
5) Chances are if your autobiography would sell only two copies (Mom and you), your BellaYou isn't interesting either.
One final note: You should also know that inserting your children into a fictional story, especially one that includes erotica, is considered bad parental judgement. Should your kids, their grandparents, their teachers, etc. ever discover this, it will come back to bite your bared heinie. Surely, being a writer, you can invent a child, non?
Arrogance is the New Snooky
Twilight Fanfic is a great place to meet people, but keep in mind some betas or readers cozy up to writers because they have a self-serving agenda. There are a lot of betas out there who have no idea what they are doing. Only some are willing to admit that. Sure, they might have read a lot of books 'n fics, but eating in a lot of restaurants doesn't make you a chef. If they don't have a formal college-level education in creative writing, they are not qualified to develop your work to a professional published level.
If it's for fun, a grammar-nazi is all you need, along with any taken-with-a-grain-of-salt feedback. If you're hoping to eventually publish, you should be aware of the pitfalls of following bad writing advice, no matter how kindly offered. A beta's prior experience on a popular story does not mean they have what it takes to take your writing to the next level. Many betas are just pro-fappers, and as long as you understand that, you're good to go.
Don't surround yourself with sycophants. Ask for feedback outside your BFFer twific wives and groupies. Avoid rushing to self-publish, just because they said you def should. The Amazon free market will crush you far more cruelly than a mere anonymous flame. Do the revision work: you'll be glad you did.
The Walk of Fame or Shame
It is good form to respect the community, even when they don't agree with you. Without the Twilight fandom, after all, you would not have access to the readers you are now soliciting for feedback, or to buy your self-publlished book. A writer's foolishness is evinced by the blathering in their fics AN's, boldly claiming their work is 'completely original' (As if, ladies). Even worse, most new writers don't bother to give an appreciative nod to Ms Meyer's work.
To clarify why this isn't even remotely smart: anyone with a college education in creative writing can tell you that there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them. Your unique voice and writing style is what makes it 'new', but fanfic is never original. If you are using someone's premise (Twilight) and their characters, your claim to be original is naive. Why? Most writers are here to garner readers using the ready-made and eager Twilight fandom. Once you write a twific story, you are automatically using Meyer's conventions: ie Edward and Bella's destiny to love each other despite great odds. Even if a story is a Bella and Jake romance, it will be told in light of Bella and Edward's failed relationship.
In a nutshell, twific writers tell stories intrinsically aware of the twific reader's expectations about the canon, and infamy and dishonor to any writer scorning those expectations, such as killing Edward at the end.
If you are still not convinced, do the following: change your character names to Harry and Hermoine, or Sherlock and Molly, or Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. If the story doesn't work in these new fandoms (and I guarantee it won't), it's because your story is derivative, and not original. The good news is Twilight isn't original either, but the difference is that Meyer acknowledges her work is influenced by other stories, and she openly pays her respects. Hint, hint.
If you can't bring yourself to recognize that, why don't you go ahead and self publish your story, but don't feel the need to make it a twific first, and don't bother to inform anyone in the twifandom about your book. Good luck, you're going to need it without this ready-to-buy-anything-Edward audience. If you are trying to cultivate loyal twific readers into paying customers, it's a far better strategy to be humble and grateful about your twific origins. Reply to reviews, and pay your dues.
It is incredibly craven and disrespectful to blackmail your readers by suddenly pulling the twific (sometimes even before it ends) and announcing it will be published. It is equally disrespectful to get your hands on books in pirated form, no matter how accessible. If you liked the author, you should support the author's difficult journey to published writer by buying her e-book. If the twific writer treated you like some carny shill to be duped and milked, well, turnabout is fair play.
Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Amazon has made self-pub 'easy access', but just because you can, does not automatically mean you should.
I urge all writers to spend some time at writing blogs. There a lot of them, and some as just as good as any college level creative writing class. Learn about the craft of writing, such as the importance of dialogue, or the ins and outs of complex characterizations ... or how about including an intelligent metaphor or two?
Finally, try to be worldly, not Snooky. Nothing bugs me more than an 'adult' story that is promoting ideals that belong to the ignorant: not stupid per se, but clearly uneducated, and thus unaware of the larger world around them. This oblivious world-view results in shallow characters, which is basically the 101 on How To Write an Unlikeable Character.
Writers need to be aware of the modern world's sensibilities. Homophobia, misogyny, mindless consumerism, or even benign 'white' imperialism can be spotted by readers, and your lack of awareness will make your story ridiculous, even offensive. The vast majority of readers grasp that bigotry and racism is the lowest any writer can sink, and a tell-tale sign of the basest ignorance, without exception.
If you are going to write slash, you might want to have a few basics down like gender theory and why gay stereotypes are insulting, because that middle-aged mom-jeans frilly-curtain infantilized sob-fest is disturbing. Why are there so many candlelit bubble baths with Edward and Jasper weeping? I love well-written slash, but a lot of it is just ... not.
Or how about addressing human sexuality without the the crass or puerile BS. We can always tell when a writer is 'faking' an orgasm when writing about sex. The key to good erotica isn't in the bedroom verbs; it's found in the chemistry between the characters beforehand, which is something no writer can fake.
Dear Author 'n YourManufacturedFapperFriends: We can see you've gone to a lot of work planting all those the fake sockpuppet reviews, whether it's on Amazon or here in FanFiction. Resorting to fake self-fapping so a story appears popular will result in 'The Queen Has No Clothes'. Do you really want the world to see your sockpuppet cellulite hanging out in the breeze like that? Think of it this way: the motivation behind fake sockpuppet reviews is no different than plagiarism.
Write better, and you won't have to cheat.
Asinine is the new Controlward DILF Billionaire Soldier Genius Seeking SWF, preferably a poor, small town Teen Mom: Must Love Money
You can't write good romance without acknowledging modern reality. For example, a plot premise based on a single-teen mother's struggle to find her place in the world, finds love and unproblematic wealth by getting a spanking in the bedroom of a controlling and much older CEO insults reader's intelligence. If you want to write this story, you need to address the issues about the uneven power-exchange, and the duality of self and society. Or you can be asinine and pretend sex cures socioeconomic gaps, erases gender politics, and creates world peace. It's just fanfic, so it doesn't matter what you write, right?
If you are writing about perfect babies and a designer label MILF, and all the money that falls from the sky DILF, with a Jessica bitch-slap thrown in because you think that's cool and dramatic, I promise that your story will be banal, empty, and boring. If you can't understand why that is, you lack what it takes to be a writer.
The Play's the Thing
To those who are writing to create something fresh and new out of the well-trod town of Forks, I salute you. I am so grateful that some of you are still willing to play around with type, get messy, rather than play house. Your fresh storytelling is in the risks you take, and that's what makes writing vital and relevant.
Great storytelling starts and ends with your own self-respect. Please yourself, first, and find your own voice, and the readers will come, and most importantly they bring respect for your work, which is far better than your fans fapping for more gratuitous lemons. Telling your story, your way, is worth the risks, because of the rewards.
If someone flames you, chances are it's because you shook them up, which is far better than indifference. A lot of great books were once banned, because they shook up status quo, so don't be daunted by strong reactions: it's often a good sign. Be fearless in your storytelling, and if you aren't nervous, you aren't pushing yourself.
"I was sitting around one day thinking to myself, Where have all the Lady Macbeths gone? Gone to Ophelias, every one, leaving the devilish tour-de-force parts to be played by bass-baritones. Or, to put it another way: If all women are well behaved by nature--or if we aren't allowed to say otherwise for fear of being accused of antifemaleism--then they are deprived of moral choice, and there isn't much left for them to do in books except run away a lot. Or to put it another way: Equality means equally bad as well as equally good"
To this I say: Write on, Women of Twilight
My slash fic Tell Me True was awarded Judge’s Honorable Mention for the M/M category for the 2010 In the Closet Contest. There are loads of great entries and that my name was mentioned was so many authors I deeply admire is truly an honor.
www (DOT) fanfiction.net/u/2424392/intheclosetcontest.
(DOT) fictionators (DOT) com/contest-winners/announcing-the-in-the-closet-contest-winners/
My one shot Crude Oil, won Honorable Mention in the Slash Backslash 3.0 Contest There were a flock-ton of great entries, so check out AngstyG's and Pastiche Pen's Annual boy lovin Contest and marvel at those fabulous judges who had to choose from so many great entries:
on the TwiSlash Unveiled Blog (NSFW):
(DOT) blogspot (DOT) com/2011/10/slashbackslash-30-winners-cirlce.html?zx=8d0d63fc5eee6ff8
I had an the most amazing review by the incomparable Conversed:
"Crude Oil" story link is below:
Support your writers: Read and Review! Pay it forward...
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