Popshifter » Thomas Dolby, A Map Of The Floating City.

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head, clearing of

June 1, 2011

I have yet to open the ginormous box that I know contains my author’s copies. It’s as though once I slice open that tape, I’ve taken a step that I cannot take back, and I have to acknowledge the thing-ness of what I’ve done. Also, I know that once I lay eyes on the books, I will start wanting to come up with a great book event – a launch party, as it were – but I really don’t have time this month (as it is now June) and I definitely don’t have the money. Perhaps, though, in July, I can have a local event. BUT! BUT! of course there’s BUT! What about having a non-local event? I only have so many copies – ten of each, I was told. If I can’t afford to have a party in town, I damn well can’t afford it out of town.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

I am hoping/planning on a major surgery for later this year. It is fraught with emotional complications, even though it shouldn’t be. I am afraid of the expense more than anything else. I am the most risk-averse person I have ever met. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

Completed the Torchwood watching project. And yet I need more. Please send fanfic recommendations – rated NC-17, if at all possible. What’s Torchwood without twisted smut, I ask you?

No writing at all has been accomplished in weeks. I’ve been sick, then I had a nightmarish period, and now… I’m just weary. The incessant rain has finally worn me down and I can’t fight back anymore. I just want to drink cocktails and sleep. And there’s so much to be done – revising My LGB of the Apocalypse (does that title make sense? … oy vey), completing a draft of Plums… well, OK, that’s not that much. But still. I’m having a hard time making my thoughts coherent right now… which is why I’m taking a quick blog break, so that, ideally, I can write some marketing copy. For the actual job. Towards which I really ought to change my attitude. I’m just so tired. I don’t want to do anything.

But I do have an idea about how to publish Plums. It’s a pretty great idea. I just need to finish writing it before I can work towards the release of it. Which means I need to walk away from Captain Jack Harkness (my dear Jack; my dear Ianto – such a dark, horrible love story between two hopelessly fucked up people) for a little while, and get back to the machinations of Michael, Jim, and Jesse. Which means I need to get my inspirations back in line. It’s not like I don’t have them in the house – all four volumes, in fact, though I think I only really need to review the first one. 😉

Send Hendricks’ Gin and orgasms in large quantity. I will pay for expedited shipping. Thank you.

Fan fiction.

A very loaded phrase, isn’t it? Often used as shorthand for “bad wish-fulfillment writing by subliterate teenage girls” by those without respect or understanding for the form. It is indeed a form, and not a genre; fanfiction (or “fanfic”, or “fic” for short-short) comes in all genres, hundreds of approaches, millions of thoughts. Much maligned as plagiarism, outright theft, the result of a lack of imagination/creativity/originality/a writer’s own ideas. There is often a sexist bias present in this disparagement, but I’m not interested in getting into that here (I’d love to go to grad school and study it officially, though; anybody got a spare $90K they’d be willing to donate?…); I’m much more interested in how ideas take root, grow, and sometimes bloom into something that surprises even the creator.

Fan fiction provides a space for exploring taboos (and certainly, that’s where a lot of my own interest lies, both as a reader and writer). Taboos of ownership and permission (“Am I allowed to write my own stories in this pre-existing, copyrighted-up-the-wazoo ‘reality’?”); taboos of sexuality and gender (a fun challenge is to think up the most unlikely or outré “pairing” and then look on the internet to see if it exists – and I have never once been disappointed); even taboos of respecting the “reality” of the source material, or even of reality in general as we understand it.

I write fanfic. I have done since I was twelve or so. Indeed, that is really how I got started writing in the first place. I wrote it as an adolescent and I have never stopped, and I have no intention of ever stopping. I consider some of it amongst the very best writing I have ever done, and it makes me sad that most of it will go unread – not because it’s fanfic (one of my favorite authors, Steven Brust, wrote a brilliant fanfic Firefly novel, posted it for free on this website, and hasn’t gotten into any trouble as far as I know) but because for most people, if they’re not interested in the subject matter, they won’t read it. (Why aren’t more people as interested in reading about gay sex as I am? Am I peculiar in some way? 😉 … ah, so be it.)

However, if there’s any interest in reading it, I’m more than happy to share it. And hell, thanks to the vagaries of copyright, it’s all free; I don’t make any money from it. The funny thing is, fanfic is still some of my very favorite writing to do; I only write about characters who can take up residence in my head, so that I don’t have to make much of an effort to depict their “voices” on the page (true for fanfic AND original fic, for that matter). It’s really all the same to me; it’s just whether or not I get paid, have to hustle and pimp it, play by someone else’s rules, negotiate commerce and expectation instead of negotiating a pre-existing fictive space and doing the pleasurable research of (usually) watching an episode of TV with an eye for freeze-frame minutiae (“Where is the couch in position to the chest of drawers, the sideboard, and the mantelpiece? And IS THERE A RUG?! And what kind of rug is it? Does it look comfy?”). When I’m writing original fiction, I’ve got all this detail already in my mind; I just transcribe it. It’s really not any less work to write fanfic; not really. And as much as I’d love to get paid for all the writing I do, when it comes to fic, I just want to, as I say, “Rock worlds.”

I’d like to get paid as a writer so that I could devote myself entire to the craft, instead of worrying about what I’m going to pack for lunch and if the upcoming staff meeting promises to be stressful; but really, I’m here to Rock Worlds. I want to entertain the hell out of you. I want you to see a reflection of yourself in me, and I want a knowing laugh, a tear, and a feeling of not-displeasurable tightness in your trouser area. I want you to have fun in my world, as I’ve had fun in the worlds of leGuin, Brite, Gaiman, Speed McNeil, Whedon, Baker (Nicholson and James Robert), Parker, Conan Doyle (and Moffat and Gatiss), Straczynski, Watterson, Thompson (Jim and Hunter and Jill, too), and you too, Mr. Brust. I write to reflect my love out to the world, and if you inspire me in just the right way, I will pick up the loose thread and start knitting my own sweater.

And I encourage you to do the same with my works. Please, please, please, write fanfic (and create fan art!) based on my works. It’s the greatest compliment I could ever receive (that, and a nice fat check, but first things first).

the creator/fan schism

May 19, 2011

I’m kind of right in the middle of it…

For the last 10 years or so, my life has been a struggle to reconcile the two major parts of my personality – that which longs to create, and that which longs to enjoy and obsess over that which others have created. In other words, I am both a creator and a fan. Oddly enough, the two make for uneasy bedfellows, at least in my life. Every day brings the decision – “Shall I write? Or shall I read some of these books I’ve got piled up, or watch some of these movies I own or have on loan, or listen to music with my full mind, or…”

I have no particular solution to this problem.

Current viewing crack:
Torchwood. I’m in the middle of series 2. It’s become incredibly brilliant and hard-hitting. Too much love.
Game of Thrones. I was a supporter/curious as soon as this series was announced, and caught up with all the episodes within two weeks. So far, I am pro- pretty much all the ladies, except for that whiny, pretty bitchface Stark daughter. I do believe that eventually she’ll come into her own – hopefully with the help of some hot lady-on-lady sex scenes.
Doctor Who, current series (season 6 by our US reckoning). Good stuff. Frequently wet-yourself scary.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I’m going to probably have to cut this short; it’s from the library, and it’s due back in 2 days. Love it, but ultimately inessential; as brilliant as Jeremy Brett is, I’m a Cumberbatch loyalist through and through. It’s called imprinting.
Glee. Because I’m one of those people.

Current reading crack:
Sherlock fan fiction. Don’t judge me; the writing is brilliant.
Torchwood fan fiction. OK, you can judge me for that. Itches must be scratched.
Echo, a comics series by Terry Moore. I have been a fan of Moore’s for a long time, but I can still forget how brilliant he is as a writer, artist, and character designer. This series is blowing me away – great characters across the board, and some of them are women. Amazing, right?
Chew, a comics series by John Laymon and Rob Guillory. I was curious; I bought Volume 1; that was all it took. Demented and fun.
Various other single-issues of this and that – Superman, Hellboy and BPRD, Scarlet, the Ring of the Niebelung miniseries from P.Craig Russell (exquisite!!). I’ve got a thick stack of American Splendor comics I liberated from work, too, but I haven’t started on them.

This is too much to do already, let alone the actual work of editing and writing that should be happening now. I get to it when I can, but I’ve been a bit sick and a lot tired lately, and all I can do is slump on the couch and watch TV shows on DVD. I’ll get back on the horse, but sometimes, my creative juice just runs dry, and I have to prime the pump with other people’s creations. It makes me just as happy, generally speaking. And I guess therein lies the problem – I don’t know any other writers who are also just big slobbering fans of stuff. I know other writers with enthusiasms, and obsessions, certainly, but they aren’t the type to want to seriously consider buying a Cumberbitches T-shirt, getting Deep Space 9 themed tattoos, or running out of money by the end of the month because they bought comic books. Maybe they’re out there, and I just haven’t met them yet.

Portland, Oregon, springtime. When it rains, it frequently hails, and it can get violent. Last year brought a hailstorm so insistent that, by the time it was done, the streets were piled so high with small hailstones that it looked like snow. That was an awesome day; the power went out at work, and we went home early. And then later I went and had coffee with the wonderfulZane Grant .

Today, I’m hard at work a personally-staggering amount of very cool projects. In addition to my editorial duties at Dark Horse, I am:
• working on organizing a loose coalition of friends and minions to help me self-publish a novel (which will be retitled, but the working title is My Little Golden Book of the Apocalypse… yeah, have to change that) that I wrote all the way back in 1998, but still believe in
• still working on finishing the first draft of the novel still known as Plums, as well as thinking over potential angles for using social media marketing and reader interaction
• preparing for the Vampire Quartet re-release, which looks like it’s going to happen in mid-May (a specific date is still unknown at this time)
• being a guest on a KBOO-FM radio show, the Eavesdrop, on Thursday, May 5th, at 7pm. If you’re a Portland local, you can hear KBOO at 90.7 FM. If not, you can listen to a live stream of the broadcast at kboo.fm. It’s during Pledge Drive, so… y’know. 🙂

Springtime brings pollen. It’s been a rough year for the Pacific Northwest – people who are usually free from allergy symptoms are feeling them, and people WITH allergies are in hell. For those happy shiny people like me, with autoimmune disorders, it’s been even rougher. I’m just lucky and grateful that my only problems have been blazed-out eyes and achy legs. Everyone’s cranky because they want summer to get here. I’m fine with a few more weeks of reprieve so that I can acquire some cute summer dresses.

In the meantime, the new season of Doctor Who is almost overwhelmingly good. Expect some gushing about it.

Happy spring, everyone.