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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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romance

A Bookish Valentine

I’m not really interested in Valentine’s Day. However, it is a time of year which brings out a lot of mush on the internet, particularly mush that draws on books. Books are, as you may already know, my bag. Having said that, Dear Reader, I find the complete absence of context contextualising some of these quotes quite galling.  Continue reading “A Bookish Valentine”

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Novel In A Weekend

iWrite (© jeffrey james pacres http://www.flickr.com/photos/jjpacres)
© jeffrey james pacres http://www.flickr.com/photos/jjpacres

Not the weekend just past, or the weekend before that, but the weekend before that, I wrote another novel.

Well, that’s not strictly true – it was more of a novella, whose final word count was just over 24k.  But that’s not bad going for less than 30 hours of work.

Continue reading “Novel In A Weekend”

Young, Single and Free of Venereal Disease? You too could be a romantic hero…

A second guest blog from Rose McConnachie – on subjugation, syphilis and Twilight.

In my previous guest post, I ranted about the inherent confusion in the romantic fiction world between abuse and wooing. In this post, I hope to rant about some other stuff.

Continue reading “Young, Single and Free of Venereal Disease? You too could be a romantic hero…”

Feminism in Romantic Fiction

A guest post by Rose McConnachie.  *Warning – contains spoilers.*

The first historical romance I ever read was The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. To brutally summarise, the plot followed thusly: 16 year old, beautiful, slightly Irish heroine Heather (orphan, raised and abused by a cruel ugly country aunt and spineless uncle) is sold into what turns out to be sexual slavery in the sweaty fleshpots of LONDON.

Continue reading “Feminism in Romantic Fiction”

Fanfiction: A Brief Introduction

A guest post by chemistry researcher and fanfiction veteran Seneska.

Have you ever read a book and thought some characters were clearly capable of so much more? Or wondered in a hilarious television sitcom why they didn’t just stop and think for a second, giving us all twenty minutes of peace? Have you (and I know the answer to this already) watched the Star Wars prequels and thought “I could have pulled better films out of my arse”? Congratulations, you are two steps away from becoming a writer of fanfiction. It’s all uphill from here.

What next?

The next step is to think of a scenario you want characters to perform. Then, finally, you have to actually write it all out.

It’s usually that last phase where people fall down, but it’s only that extra drop of dedication that makes the brew complete. That is where the distinction lies between a reader/watcher/player of a medium, and a fan. A fan doesn’t see writing out all this stuff as a trial. I have managed to write a thousand words of A-Team fanfic in thirty minutes; a fact that I’m not particularly proud of, and one wish I could repeat the when it comes to my work…

Fan communities are generally considered to have started with the onset of Star Trek: The Original Series, with magazines written by fans for fans. The arrival of the World Wide Web to our daily lives, however, made the fan’s life much easier.

Getting involved

I first got involved in a fandom with a Lord of the Rings online forum with my best friend a decade ago when we were 16. There were discussions about creation myths, the evils of technological advancement and poetry… and all that was just supplied by JRR himself! The people involved with the community were friendly and very forgiving, unless you asked them whether a Balrog has wings. My first steps into fanworks (fan- fiction, poetry, videos, art etc) came by re-writing well known song lyrics to make them LotR-based.

Knitted Draco by Nicky Fijalkowska (knitforvictory.co.uk)

Never been kissed

It was my best friend who first made the jump to writing her own fanfiction. She had a thing for Draco Malfoy, so she dated him, fictionally. It was all a bit bite-y from what I remember reading… And therein lies the main issue people have with fanworks. The people writing these stories blatantly have too much time on their hands, meaning that they tend to be quite young. After all, who wants to do homework when there’s romance just a click away? And if there is one thing that is on a teenager’s mind it is sex.

Not all fanfic is romance, but the majority is. Unfortunately, inexperienced and hormonal young adults aren’t necessarily going to deliver quality fiction. That’s where the community comes in.

Help is at hand

The community will help edit works and offer development advice, so that adolescents grow into reasonably good writers (and maybe even lovers). It takes time and practise, but I’ve known fanfiction authors develop huge fanbases, the strength of their popularity letting them branch out into being professional authors. They wouldn’t be where they are today if they hadn’t written those stories about Draco Malfoy and his jeans.

Labour of Love

The first rule of fanfiction is that money can’t be made from the work of the fan. If you try to make a profit, you’re breaching the author’s intellectual property.

You also need to be aware that some writers don’t like fanfiction on principle. They feel that their creations are for them alone to play with. Others are happy that their works generate such fannish (the preferred term to fanatical) tendencies. Regardless of their personal viewpoint, very few original creators will ever admit to reading fanfiction, in case of any copyright issues if similar plot points turn up in a sequel.

For some people it’s a form of expression. For others it’s about the two hundred friends you make while doing something fun. For others it’s about Aragorn and Legolas and their obvious gay love affair. Whatever floats your boat, the fan community can accommodate you. You’ll almost certainly learn something along the way.

For more from Seneska, follow on Twitter @Seneska.

For examples of fanfiction that has led to publication, check out Molly Ringle’s blog, or her LoTR parodies (Fellowship, Two Towers, Return of the King).

Bookmark This Post

If you are reading this, I am probably in Berlin – or elsewhere in mainland Europe. I have scheduled posts to cover the time I am away, and I’d urge you to keep coming back to read them all because there are some corkers in there. Such as:

Monday April 23rd– Interview with Sian Bevan about Electric Tales storytelling and comedy night in Edinburgh

Wednesday April 25th – Why I Write by John Steele

Friday April 27th – April’s Pictonaut Challenge

Monday April 30th – Fanfiction, a brief introduction by Seneska

Wednesday May 2nd – The Book Blogger interviews #1 Roof Beam Reader

Friday May 4th – How to Say Thank You Part 1 by Tracey S. Rosenberg

Monday May 7th – How to Say Thank You Part 2 by Tracey S. Rosenberg

Wednesday May 9th – The Book Blogger interviews #2 Tolstoy is my Cat

Friday May 11th – Interview with Laura from Write in for Writing’s Sake

Monday May 14th – The Politics of Book Buying by Lyndsay Wheble

Wednesday May 16th – The Book Blogger Interviews #3 Rob Around Books

Friday May 18th – Feminism in Romantic Fiction (or lack thereof) by Rose McConnachie

Monday May 21st – Young, single and free of Venereal Disease? You too could be a romantic hero… by Rose McConnachie

Wednesday May 23rd – The Book Blogger Interviews #4 The Lit Bitch

I will endeavour to moderate comments occasionally so please do leave them to show my lovely guests some love – if your comment doesn’t appear right away it’s because I’ve not been on tinternet to tell Word Press you’re with me, but it will turn up eventually!

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