In Defense of Fanfiction

Fanfiction

I’ve mentioned in fanfiction in passing before, but I’ve never really mentioned how much I love it or why. When I first dove into procedural TV as a teenager I quickly found the fanfiction community to be a place that not only encouraged my interest in television, but also my interest in writing. The first steps I took as a writer outside of school work was entire notebooks full of bad fanfiction that never even got to the computer screen.

The fanfiction community exists only on the fringes of general public knowledge. Put simply fanfiction is stories that fans write about the characters in a favorite movie, book, or TV show. They can run the gambit from novel-length epics that imitate the story of an original work, to 100-word drabbles examining a single character or moment.

Often fanfiction is looked down on in general society and is a taboo topic for the entertainment industry. While no fanfiction writer is trying to steal the characters they are writing about (in fact many put a disclaimer on their work), some creators dislike people considering their characters in any way other than they originally intended. Outsiders sometimes see it as plagiarism or copyright infringement, but at it’s core, fanfiction is just a way for fans to express their love for a story.

Besides that, fanfiction builds friendships and community. In the same way that a group might gather based on participation in a sport or a shared interest in model boats, fanfiction creates a community of people who share love for whatever they are writing about. Writers get to know each other, encouraging each other’s work and building each other up. Friendships take root online and solidify at conferences. What starts as a shared love of Doctor Who becomes an investment in each others lives.

Lately I’ve found myself returning to fanfiction. I’m reminded that these are my roots. Fanfiction is where I started writing.  It’s how I became interested in pulling back the curtain on my favorite TV shows.  In a lot of ways, fanfiction was the first step that brought me to where I am today. And even if I never find a job in LA, if I wind up doing something else entirely, they can never take fanfiction away from me. 

Writing About Writing (week of December 2)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: intern – coverage
blog – WAW
blog – Will be
Tuesday:journal (1)
intern – notes
Wednesday: journal (1)
blog – sound of music
Thursday: journal (2)
school – HR outline
Friday: intern – interview notes
blog – year in TV
Saturday: school – HR paper
Sunday: journal (2)
school – HR paper
school – intern paper
blog – this post
blog – year in TV edits

Last week was really an exercise in returning to regular writing.  I wrote every day in some capacity, so I’d say my goal was achieved.  The only part I’m not happy with is Thursday.  Since it’s my day off, I always set a goal to get a lot done, but usually wind up spending most of it on the internet derping around.

My only focus this week should be school.  I know I will also have a few things to do for the blog, and journaling is sure to sneak it’s way in there, but I have a lot of writing to do for school to finish off the semester on a good note.  This is the last week of my last semester.  I affectionately refer to finals week as cleaning week because of all the cleaning I do to procrastinate homework.  If you are interested in seeing my apartment, I would suggest coming Sunday or Monday next week because it will be SPOTLESS.

Writing About Writing (week of November 25)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday:
Tuesday:journal (1)
Wednesday: journal (1)
blog – has been
blog – Thanksgiving
blog – age (editing)
Thursday: nothing
Friday: nothing
Saturday: school – short story outline
Sunday: journal (2)

I think it’s about time I re-launch this series as a way to restart my blogging roll.  For nearly a year I was posting four times a week, and then I stopped pretty suddenly in September.  This is a hard thing to return to after quitting, and the past month has shown me that, but I think that a weekly feature like this, even if it is more for me than anything else, will help me to come back.

Last week was Thanksgiving so I had more time off to spend how I choose.  I wont say that this amount of writing was typical for all of last month, but give me a break, it was the holidays.  I did some preliminary research and outlining for school papers and some writing and outlining for the blog.  I do wish I hod gotten more school stuff done, but I’m pretty okay with what I did do.

This week is all about school.  I have one paper to write due at the end of this week, and two more to prep for due next week.  This morning I’m planning on spending some quality time with my planner to figure a solid schedule for myself.

NaNoWriMo 2013

This month I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The collective goal: 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November. That’s 1667 words a day. Part wild goose chase, part life-style change. The hope here is definitely quantity over quality.

Personally, I’m more in this for the habit creation than anything else. I am terrible at making writing a part of my daily or weekly routine, and I think that a minimum-per-day system will help me to turn it into a habit. Since I know my schedule and the way that my weeks tend to work, I’ve re-arranged the word-count a bit so that I write 1924 words a day six days a week.

With that in mind, I’m happy to say that I finally have an idea to hack away at. This isn’t to say I have an outline or a fully realized plot or even more than one character, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, don’t you? I didn’t really have the idea to be participating in this shindig until two weeks ago, and I only come up with this idea last week. I even had to enlist some help to come up with a start.

Okay, okay, I’ll tell you.

My protagonist is a teenage girl living in San Francisco who witnesses a murder by someone she knows on the Golden Gate Bridge.  She hides, but her curiosity has gotten to her and she has to figure out what’s going on.  I’m going for a YA/noir feel, but we’ll sort of see how it goes.

Would you ever attempt 50,000 words in a month?  Any other participants want to be friends?  (I’m morethanexist, find me here!)

Writing About Writing (weeks of August 26 and September 2)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Because of the retreat I went on last weekend, there was no Writing About Writing post, so this week is a double-whamy of writing all the things.  A bit longer than usual, but good for my sanity.

Monday: journal (1)
emails
blog – goodbye summer
blog – summer TV
Tuesday:journal (2)
Wednesday: journal (1)
blog – has been
Thursday: journal (3)
blog – has been (edit)
blog – will be
Friday: journal (1)
blog – happy labor day
Saturday: journal (1)
notes/brainstorming
Sunday: personal story

I finished a journal this week.  The second complete one of the year, which is pretty exciting for me because I’m a nerd.  I also wrote a lot for the blog and was in the writing track for the artists retreat I was on.  We worked on a personal story, I wrote about moving to LA and the craziness that was that.

While on the retreat I spent as much time as possible writing in swings that looked like human-sized birdcages.  I’m not sure I’m describing it correctly, but it was magical.  I got to confer with other writers and others who were trying out writing and it was awesome.

For the next week I knew going in that I was going to be on the retreat one day, interning three days, and only have one weekday off to do all my school work.  Welcome back to school!  Honestly, after the retreat I just wanted to get through the week with reasonable energy levels while in public.

Monday: journal (2)
finishing story (draft 1)
Tuesday:journal (1)
coverage
Wednesday: paperwork
notes
Thursday: journal (1)
blog – letter to my future self
blog – this post
Friday: journal (1)
Saturday: journal (1)
Sunday: journal (1)

I seem to have made it though.  Interning is of to a great start.  Both my internships are giving me a chance to practice things that I’ve been meaning to learn for a while and will come in handy in the future.  Exciting stuff.  When I come home I’ve pretty much collapsed into bed every night.  Busy, but good.

One big thing that needs to happen this week is finishing the essay I started last weekend. If I want it to be included in the big book then it needs to be to the people by Friday.

Speaking of Friday, it’s my birthday on Friday. I don’t have plans yet, but I’m thinking of getting some friends together and making a plan at some point this week.

More general goal for the week? Be more on top of my school work. I was so focused on internships and catching up on sleep last week that I wound up spending all weekend doing homework. Let’s not do that again.

A Letter to My Future Self

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This time last year I was in such a different place that I can barely even picture myself. I had a normal, college schedule. I was working for Frequency TV and starting to plan out the semester’s worth of web series episodes. I was filling out applications for study abroad. I was spending long nights in with television and long Sundays with friends from church. I suppose some things don’t change.

Since my life right now would be hardly recognizable by my former self, I want to preserve where I’m at for my future self to remember better. I suppose this is a letter to myself in a way. A letter to my future self so that I can remember where I was and look back to see how far I’ve come a year from now. Perhaps more.

Dear Future Self,

This week in the first week of school. School is a loose interpretation of what’s started this week after labor day, the week after Terra Nova (was it as good the second time?). This week you started two internships in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The Hollywood office feels official and real. The Beverly Hills office feels glamorous and exotic simply because of it’s location. This is your life. You are really working, really living, and really existing in part in this industry. And I hope that’s still true. Plans for these two internships include working hard and finishing my final semester strong.

Meanwhile, you’ve also been starting to meet with your old class – Drama writing, SiLA – weekly. Not that you’ve got anything to show for yourself yet, but it’s a work in process. Writing hasn’t been coming easily lately, but you’re hoping that a more solid schedule with school will help that along. Or it will hinder it, it’s hard to know right yet.

You’ve been blogging fairly consistently for the past year. It’s been a great system without really putting much of a system in place at all. July and August were harder months, but you seem to be back for September…. for the most part.

Every day is a choice to either write or not write. Unfortunately, lately the choice has been not. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just a choice that you seem to be making unconsciously. Focus. I believe that it can happen and that means that you much believe too. Pray about it. Never stop praying.

Speaking of prayer, this month you are set to join the church you’ve been going to in LA. You’ve been going to MOSAIC since Easter, and from then to now you’ve joined two community groups (one neighborhood, one college), gone on two retreats (SHE retreat and Terra Nova), and have been attending the early evening service and the mid-week service. They’ve just begun a weekly Wednesday gathering.

The community there is fantastic. Lean on them when you’re uncertain. Grow into those relationships. I hope you have already, but always lean in. Lean into your MOSAIC community and the old Columbia friends in whatever way possible. Go play Ultimate Frisbee. Because you haven’t been to a yoga class since you left San Francisco and it’s starting to show. Because what you really need is a good session at the climbing gym, but no one seems interested. Because living alone can be great, but also isolating.

In fact, I don’t even know that you live alone still. You do now. With a tiny studio apartment and no air conditioning. It’s a love/hate thing. Perhaps you are settled now into a house with four roommates. An apartment with one. Or still the same, ever the same. Whatever it is, right now you are living alone and for the most part that is a good thing. All the mess is yours and there’s no one to tell you to clean it.

You have been using a scooter to get around. It’s a wonderful thing. The time that’s lost in speed (not much) is gained back by squeezing between cars while they wait at a stop light. Your scooter seems a bit rickety sometimes, but it gets the job done. Once or twice a week you park it at the pump closest to the convenience store, pay two dollars in cash, and fill the entire tank. You don’t think that will ever get old.

I hope you are still living, working, and thriving in Los Angeles.  It wasn’t quite what you had been imagining, but it seems that God’s imagination is better than yours.  Go where he leads you, always say in reply, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Here is what you were, and here’s to whatever you’ve become.

Much love, and God Bless,
Your Former Self

Good-bye Summer!

summers end 1

I’m excited for summer to be over. Fall has pretty much always been my favorite season. It comes with pretty colors, cooler temperatures, and the ability to wear lots of layers.

Now that I’m in the land of perpetual summer, I’ll just have to settle for slightly cooler temperatures. It’s no secret that I’ve been hating the heat here in Los Angeles. I don’t have air conditioning, so I’m dealing with open windows and a few fans. I’m dealing with it by eating lots of homemade popsicles, hiding in air conditioned places, and trying my best not to move.

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Heat isn’t the only reason I’m excited for summer to be over though. This summer in particular has had more than it’s fair share of craziness, and I’m excited that all that crazy seems to be winding down. I started the season in Los Angeles, went back to San Francisco, and then returned to LA again. I’m done moving for a while, and I’m so glad to be staying in one place for a whole year.

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This summer has included some pretty awesome things. I got to reconnect with old friends. I got to spend time climbing, yogaing, and photographing. I got a chance to learn from some truly fantastic people, and get to know some people who I’m certain will become some of my dearest friends.

This summer gave me a taste of what the future could be. Conversations with smart, creative people and growing into my own work and experience. And while I’m excited for all of those things, right now I’m just glad that fall is on the horizon. My last semester or remote learning will give some structure to my life, and (hopefully) the change in season will give me a bit of a break from this heat.

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The best thing I did to help, was actually coincidental. I cut my hair to go along with the #hairforhazel and #itgrows back campaign, and wound up with a cute (slightly uneven) bob. Not only is this fantastic for wearing in general, but this style also fits neatly under my helmet so now I don’t have to worry about my hair getting caught in my helmet or jacket. I donated 12 inches of hair, sent it off last week. I hadn’t been expecting to go short again, but it seems to have worked out to be perfect timing.

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What was the best thing that happened to you this summer? Are you sad summer is ending, or excited about fall?

Writing About Writing (week of August 19)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: coverage
blog – food, no cook
Tuesday:journal (2)
blog – 2nd screen edit
Wednesday: journal (1)
Thursday: blog – right now
statement
Friday: nothing
Saturday: blog – this post
Sunday:

As I suspected, last week was full of random, but fun stuff done with my friend Allason and not much writing.  That was really okay though since I had kind of planned on it.  In other news, I did manage to actually read an old script that I want to re-work.  So that’s progress.

This week I want to further deconstruct the script I want to re-work.  I also want to get ready for the school year by planning some blog posts.  I feel like I’ve been saying that for weeks now.  I don’t know what’s stopping me or why I’m so hung up on it.

Writing About Writing (week of August 12)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: journal (2)
Tuesday:journal (1)
blog – nerves
blog – 2nd screen
Wednesday: emails
Thursday: journal (2)
blog – food idea
Friday: free write
blog – not cooking
blog – summer TV
blog – 2nd screen
Saturday: journal (3)
Sunday: journal (1)
blog – this post

I’m pretty happy with what I got last week.  Not only did I write every day, but I also got a lot of other little things that were on my monthly goals list done.  I finished the process of joining the church I’ve been going to (I’ll be confirmed in September).  The writers group I wanted to help start up is under way.  And on Saturday I picked up my scooter from the shop.

Oh, and bonus, I got a pretty major haircut to join the movement that has become the #hairforhazel and #itgrowsback campaign.  It started when Shailene Woodly decided to donate her hair to Children with Hair Loss as she got it cut to play Hazel in the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars movie.  My hair was long enough, so I figured why not.  I think it will be good for a while to not have to worry about it.  Not that I spent that much of my time before worrying about my hair, but now it will be even less.  And I’ve got plenty to worry about.

There is a lot of stuff going on this week from interviews to organizational stuff for the new semester.  There also needs to be a trip to the DMV in there and hopefully some fun stuff too because my friend Allason just got here last night.  We want to go surfing, and possibly rock climbing.  Not to mention the multitude of groups I’m in that are meeting up this week.  Oy vey.

As far as writing goals, I’m afraid that a few other things take precedence this week.  All I’m hoping for is some journal writing and to get all my ducks in a row for internships starting in a few weeks.  Not exactly writing, but somewhat related.

Writing About Writing (week of August 5)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: nothing
Tuesday: journal (2)
research notes
Wednesday: blog – I did what I could
Thursday: blog – Fall TV
Friday: emails
Saturday: journal (3)
Sunday: sermon notes
blog – this post

What were my goals for last week?  Did I have any specifics?  I think I just wanted to get my life in order and spend time with kitty.  Well, if that was the case I think I failed on both counts.  While I set up a few things, I also messed some stuff up.  I missed a deadline and had to put the kitten down (whole story here).

In the meantime, my sister came to visit, so I spent most of the weekend days hanging with her.  Whenever we’re together all I can see is how hipster we seem.  We made quinoa burgers and she went with me to look at scooters.  I put down a deposit for a scooter you guys, I’m super pumped.

This week I’ll be pretty much on my own all week which I am pretty excited about.  I have two interviews, but besides that I am able to set my own schedule.  It’s going to include lots of friends, picking up a new-to-me scooter, and some writing time.

My only solid goal for this week is to write every day.  As to what I’d like to write, I want to get some blog posts scheduled up.  I’m working day-to-day lately, which is the blogging equivalent to eating hand to mouth.  I want to stop that.  I’d also like to pick a scripty project to work on and get started with an outline.