The World of Fanfiction

With the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades and the new venture that is Kindle Worlds, fanfiction is rapidly becoming mainstream.

As a fanfiction reader of 16 years, I’m actually feeling a little sad about it.

Not because I don’t think fanfiction is good or that the authors don’t deserve recognition but because for me, it was a world to escape to that existed outside of mainstream.

Back in the days of dial up connection, Angelfire and Tripod, I remember sneaking onto the PC to devour fanfiction at all times of the day and night.

It started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Buffy and Angel to be precise. Then it was all about Spike – Buffy and Spike. In fact, it was Buffy and Spike for a long, long time.

After perusing Angel and then Leverage fanfiction (because of Eliot who happened to be Lindsey in Angel which was an offshoot of Buffy…) and not quite getting the same buzz, it’s now all about Vampire Diaries fanfiction.

Damon and Elena, to be more precise. This generations Buffy and Spike – but not quite as raw or broken.

I think fanfiction is an amazing world to be a part of. I have even dabbled with writing some myself over the years. And guess what, everyone was encouraging and supportive and genuinely happy to read what I had written.

As a writer, it was an incredibly rewarding experience and gave me some of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had.

I didn’t write for profit or fame, I wrote for love. I didn’t read to criticise, I read to escape and live a little longer with the characters I had grown to love during the course of their series.

For me, fanfiction is a compliment to a writer – they have created something so special that viewers/readers can’t bare to let it go; the prospect of living without those characters or in that world is just too difficult to comprehend.

And sometimes, some of those worlds were a lot better than the reality that was my life. `

Now those worlds are expanding to incorporate more traffic, I worry that the fanfiction world itself will expand and transform beyond recognition for someone like me who remembers the magic of the ‘good old days’.

In a world of technological evolution, looking at the next cycle of innovation, I’m aware that this makes me sound old.

But for me, the fear is that the commercialisation of fanfiction will eventually wipe out one of my most precious sanctuaries of which I have the fondest memories.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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A Visit From Mother

I have no idea why but before my mother visits my house, I have an inexplicable urge to clean. Not that I don’t usually clean – of course I do.

I mean really clean. What people here in the UK call a spring clean.

A total dust, polish, wipe, clean, bleach, tidy, wash of every item in the house – like, at once.

It’s like the sheer thought of her stepping over the threshold inspires this whirligig of activity which to be fair, she wouldn’t ever expect or believe to be warranted.

I don’t have a dirty house so why the sudden clean-freakiness?

My partner tells me our house is a house that is meant to be lived in – a home.

And he’s right. Whilst I do have my OCD tendencies on particular issues, I am lacking on others (see my previous post, ‘Routines’). We have demanding jobs, busy lives, other things to do and to be fair, sometimes we’re just downright tired and can’t be bothered.

My mother knows that, she’s not judgmental. She’s lovely.

The pressure comes from me.

Because when I visit her house – a lot more regular than she visits mine (due to logistical reasons aka blessings in disguise) – her house is meticulous. It’s still a home – it was a very happy home for me for many years – but her perfectionist leanings manifest in housekeeping whereas mine manifest in … well, I’m sure there’s something.

You won’t find a magazine pile on the kitchen table, a crinkled pillow, a dusty ornament nor a wonky picture in my mother’s house. Everything has its place and it is impeccably positioned.

And as today is ‘visit from my mother day’, I sit here typing this from an incredibly clean, fresh smelling, tidy house… but I better give the kitchen another once over, you know – just incase…

Buffy, Bella & Elena

When I saw what Joss Whedon had said about there being no empowered females in Twilight and Vampire Diaries, I was a bit surprised.

I mean, he’s right – he did ‘like that band first’ and did vampires before they became sparkly and went mainstream – aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Joss says that the females in the new franchises are ‘passive’ and don’t really ‘know what the hell is going on’. He’s likened the franchises to ‘Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie’ and says they essentially ‘go against’ Buffy.

I mean, I thought Bella and Elena were cool. Well, admittedly, I could kind of see where he was coming from with Bella but she wasn’t so offensive that I couldn’t read the books or watch the movies.

Elena has her own quirks and admittedly, it takes her a season and a half to get up to speed with everything but for me, she gets there in the end. Sure, just after she’s found her feet, she’s turned into a vampire thus back to square one but … well, we’ll gloss over that one.

Buffy was and still is one of a kind. She was created to be the ultimate empowered female in a male dominated and patriarchal world. Her quick wit, her love of ice cream and her dating woes were red herrings in an otherwise kick ass world of crossbows, hard choices and the pressure of being the ‘chosen one’. She surpassed expectation:

  • She got dead but she was still pretty.
  • She saved the soul of the man she loved then sent him to hell.
  • She’s bled to the brink of death to save the man she loves, yet again.
  • She saves the world from an evil robot.
  • She actually does die this time – saving her sister – and goes to heaven (but is brought back; darn it).
  • She saves the world – from her best friend.

Then she finds a way to not only save the world but save herself and her future in the process.

She fights and she fights hard. Sure, she cries, she breaks nails and she misses dates but she steps up to the mark every single time.

I think because neither Elena or Bella are that well developed or defined, Joss does actually have a point with what he’s said.

However, in their defence, none of the new franchises really set out to create a new brand of heroine – I don’t think they gave it much thought.

They are paranormal romances. And all of them have the age old ‘love triangle’ kicking around in the mix.

The difference is – for Elena and Bella, this is primary. For Buffy, this is secondary.

She does what’s needed to be done.

And though it has been some time since I’ve watched Buffy, this scene came to mind:

Buffy: I killed Angel! Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything I had to be with him. I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life. And I put a sword through his heart because I had to…. It is always different! It’s always complicated. And at some point, someone has to draw the line, and that is always going to be me. You get down on me for cutting myself off, but in the end the Slayer is always cut off. There’s no mystical guidebook. No all-knowing council. Human rules don’t apply. There’s only me. I am the law.

Sure, Buffy was paranormal and it had its romance – but it had conflict; real tangible conflict that went way beyond the ‘should, I shouldn’t I’ dance that Joss refers to.

Does any of the above mean that I love Vampire Diaries (or like Twilight) any less? Hell, no.

Elena and Bella really become vampires – Buffy never (and couldn’t) go there… that’s new right? Damon and Edward are hot – eye candy is always good. And there is conflict, albeit not on the same scale or to the same intelligent degree that there was with Buffy.

Buffy, despite the name and the veneer of superficiality that goes with it, is actually one of the most intelligent pieces of TV ever written.

And I admit, when I think back to how I felt when I watched Buffy for the first time, when I watch Vampire Diaries, sometimes it does just feel like settling.

(But I’ll still watch…)

My Latest Lie

What was the last lie you told? Why did you tell it?

I told my partner that I had posted something that I hadn’t. I have no idea why but I am terrible at putting things in the post. It takes me ages to stuff the envelope, let alone find the address it should go to and find a stamp to put on it. Then it sits in the car until I happen to pass a post box – which I’m sure I do but somehow I never seem to notice them. The whole process of posting anything is just so longwinded and troublesome.  I know it’s easy really, it’s just not easy for me.

School Days

Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?

When I think back to my school days, I recall with great clarity how raw everything was.

My primary school days were mixed – making friends, losing friends and coming to terms with school life as the only single parent child and the only ‘only child’ in my ‘year’ or ‘grade’. At times it was fun, other times were heartbreaking. I was a sensitive child and my naïveté, trust and forwardness were quickly repressed.

In junior school, it took me a while but I found my voice again, enjoying the majority of my time there. I learnt how to stand up for myself and how to be myself.

Secondary school was the place where I learnt how to be by myself and the great power that this would give me. During this time, I had friends, I had boyfriends and I had ‘epic’ life moments both good and bad that I’ll never forget. I finished my time there in a much better place than where I had started and moved onto college and university with a lighter heart, a lighter mind and for the first team the ability to be independent both in thought and in relationships.

I wouldn’t go back. I hated the food, getting wet at break time, doing PE, the school bus and all of my Science teachers.

I don’t miss anything.

But I wouldn’t change my experience of school as it has made me who I am today.

The Full Moon – The Other Me

The daily prompt today on WordPress is Full Moon…

When the full moon happens, you turn into a person who’s the opposite of who you normally are. Describe this new you.

This ‘new me’ would be like a ‘super version’ of myself.

She’d keep her cool in the smallest of crises.

She’d always have a witty comeback.

She’d never spill anything on her white top.

She’d never trip over the cracks in the pavement in her skyscraper heels.

She wouldn’t embarrass herself at pay-at-pump petrol stations.

She’d never attempt to go ‘up’ the ‘down’ escalator in shops.

She’d be able to park in any parking space, by reverse parking.

She’d never have smeared nail varnish.

She’d never bump into things and give herself bruises.

She’d know, just because of her sheer ‘superness’, just how quirky and real she actually is and she wouldn’t give a damn about what other people thought of her.

Irritants & Oddities – Pt 1

I spent some time today thinking a bit about my blog and what direction I’d like it to take. Whilst I don’t want to limit my input to one single topic, I do think some themed posts would be a good idea. The idea for my first ‘theme’ came from random observations I made over the course of my day today and reflect general similar thought patterns.

So, without further ado, I introduce ‘Irritants and Oddities’… They will be specific to me, always random and hopefully interesting.

Irritant

Doughnuts. Not just any doughnut. A doughnut disguised as particular type of doughnut when it actually is another. I myself only like jam doughnuts. Not custard, not chocolate, not apple, not vanilla.

Jam.

So imagine my disgust when I bit into what I thought was a jam doughnut and it turned out to be a custard doughnut.

It put a downer on my dinner and needless to say, this event irritated me enough to make it onto my blog.

Also, you should note that the person responsible for said mistaken identity doughnut is now on my ‘not a true friend’ list.

The disappointment was just too much for me to bear today.

Oddity

People who walk at the side of the road where there is no pavement, walkway or even a cycle path. Like, how do they get there? Where are they going? What are they doing? Yesterday I saw a couple with a carrier bag and they were rummaging around in the bushes along a dual carriage way.

Before you jump to any conclusions, they looked clean and relatively sane – apart from the rummaging in bushes at the side of a dual carriage way thing.

But like, why? What makes someone do that?