Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Stats for 2009

Thank you to all the readers from all the countries that showed interest for my stories on ffn. For the year 2009 there were 25448 page views and 10688 readers (yielding a ratio of 2.38 pages viewed per reader).

The following countries placed in the top three slots for the year 2009 (highest metal medal (say that three times quickly) earned shown for the country):
  • Bronze (3rd place): Brazil

  • Silver (2nd place): UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Israel

  • Gold (1st place): USA

It took approximately 150 page views (reading MSR three times) to make the list; it took on average 1500 page views to score the gold.

The following are the countries that viewed 50 or more pages in a month for this year, earning them a Golden trophy (reading MSR once in a month will earn this trophy):

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, UK, USA

Thank you again to all the countries and to all the readers of my stories. If you wish to see your country here on this list next year, you simply need to read MSR once in one month. To earn a medal for your country, read MSR thrice in one month.

Read MSR! Not only is it good for your soul, but it shows nationalistic pride!

Um ... yeah. Well, anyway, thank you all again.

December 2009 stats

The end result for the month of December 2009 for page views, readership and ratios on ffn are as follows:
  • Top 10er (Dec 2009):
    1. USA
    2. UK
    3. Australia
    4. Canada
    5. Romania
    6. Brazil
    7. Philippines
    8. Italy
    9. Germany
    10. Spain

    It took 29 page views (or reading ½ MSR) to make the top 10 list this month.

  • Holy Crow (double-digit ratio): Romania

  • Improved (ratio): USA, UK, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Philippines

  • Up, Up, and Away (improved ratio twice or more): UK(x6), Australia(x4), USA(x3), New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, Canada(x2), Philippines

  • Reversi (reversed a downward ratio direction to an upward one): Australia(x4), UK, Brazil, USA(x2)

  • Kicking Butt (4.0 ratio or higher): UK, Tanzania, Romania, Spain, Puerto Rico

  • Player (show up on the top 10 list during the month): Australia, USA, UK, Hungary, Germany,Israel, Hong Kong, France, Greece, Canada, Brazil, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Italy, Tanzania, New Zealand, Romania, Puerto Rico, Philippines

    Yes, Australia held the number 1 slot at the beginning of the month.

  • Comeback Kid (got knocked off the list, but then made it back on): France, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Spain

  • Golden (50 or more page views): USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Romania, Brazil, Philippines

There were 3497 page views with a total of 1231 readers for this month. Good show everyone and every country! Thank you for your interest in my stories.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Charlie Swan

I think sometimes, Charlie as a father, wonders what he's there for at all. He loves Bella to death, but I think he's a little lost at times, being steamrolled by his own daughter, and loving her, helplessly, for it and in spite of it.

I think Bella turned out kind of exactly the way he wanted her to turn out: strong, independent, beautiful, smart, a self-starter, ... a take-charge girl.

But now, Bella is ... Bella.

And Charlie is so lost.

Because when Bella is strong, he feels like a third wheel on a bicycle: in the way, quiet too often, and saying the wrong things when he does speak up.

And when Bella is weak, he ... he just ... he just doesn't know what to do. He wants to take away her hurt and her sadness; he wants to fix it; he wants to see her smile once again, just one more time in her life before she kills herself today, as he's sure she will (that's why he takes the rounds out of his sidearm now, even though he never had to before). He wants her to be happy, but he doesn't know what he can do to get to the point where she's even eating again, instead of just picking at her food, listlessly.

And it's that boy Edward Cullen, that boy who left her in the forest to die, that boy who broke her heart in two, is the one that brings her out of the pit of her despair.

Remember when Edward carried her up the stairs from the airport?

What did Charlie want to do? Nothing. Besides murder that boy. Right now.

But then Bella gives him what-for ... and for what? So Charlie does what the parents' manual says: rules, grounding, hovering, chaperoning.

And now, that Charlie is the bad-guy dictator, he's even more lost than before, and so much more unhappy.

Because Bella is happy now ... but when that boy breaks his little girl's heart again, there won't be any recovery for her.

And Charlie can't do a thing to ease that fall: not grounding, not jacobing, not "other friends"ing not nothing-ing can stop her headlong plunge that she's embracing, that she's running toward with all her might and with that big happy smile on her face.

Bella is "everygirl."

Is Charlie Swan "everydad"? I wonder.

Monday, December 28, 2009


In MSR, ch 53 ("School in Session") Rosalie hugs Bella. Well, now, I've gotten requests for hugs from readers. And, well, anybody who asks for a hug needs a hug, right? So maybe they should get the hug, if the other party is not against the idea of hugging (as you see in the chapter, Rosalie doesn't seem to be against the idea ... or if she is then she doesn't put up too huge of a fight, now does she?).

So, if you need a hug, tell me "I need a hug from X, geophf," and presto (that is presto if X doesn't mind giving hugs), it'll be here.

Now, you must prove X is not unwilling to give hugs. Edward thinks it's improper (cf the whole canon and RLT). Esmé loves giving hugs (she has to stop herself from giving too many hugs, in fact), the other twichars? Well, we'll take it on a case by case basis (except the pixie, of course, proof: Twilight, "Alice mauls the BFF human while everybody's wondering if Bella should eat the food or if they should eat her" chapter).

But I do have a question. Did anybody ever see it coming that Rosalie would give anybody a hug before reading MSR? Just askin'

But do consider this caveat. What kind of hug are you going to get from a vamp? "Ooh! You're a vamp, Rosalie: hug me!" She'll hug you all right! But only after kidnapping you to a cabin in the woods and asking you annoyingly penetrating questions until you cry. Then she'll hug you. Just sayin'

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bella: Pride and Prejudice

"Boy, geophf," you say, "reading the latest, that Bella surely is ... well, frankly, stupid!"

I would beg to differ with your assessment (translation from Austen-speak: "Um, no").

"But," you insist: "How could she guess so wrongly as to why Rosalie would be wanting to teach her sign language?"

Okay, so, here's the thing. Reflect on her prior thoughts when she considered the presence of the American Sign Language book ... what was she thinking then?

Her thoughts precursored her thoughts now: "Rosalie is/will teach me this so she won't have to speak to me again."

That was her prejudice, or, as we say now: her preconceived notion.

Now, try this. Have somebody pick at you until you are thoroughly ticked off about it and about them. Become furious.

Bella's pride was offended, because Rosalie was criticizing her with compliments.

Now try to think straight.

You cannot, right? Because you're angry. It's called "a loss of perspective."

Bella's prejudice lead her to believe a certain thing ... she is very intuitive, after all, and what does that mean? It means she jumps to conclusions. And her pride was offended, that means she's very likely to stick by her guns, right or wrong, come Hell or high water.

Sounds a lot like Elizabeth Bennett as Mr. Darcy rattles off all her (and her family's) faults, and then ask her to consider something.

She surely "considers" something, all right! That Mr. Darcy got an earful!

Now, people are quick to criticize Bella in this chapter, including, particularly, Rosalie (which does not help matters any). Put yourself into Bella's shoes. The next time you are so furious you can't even see the person you are "talking" with, because all you see is red, ... well, I dare you to do what you accuse Bella of not doing: think about what you are saying.

Is your argument sound or ad hominem? Are you "thinking straight"? Or have you "lost perspective"?

That Bella Swan is just so "eat up with pride" and just so often jumps to conclusions, the wrong ones. Doesn't she!

Hm, yes, she does. But she's not reading the story. She's living it. So, you, living your stories: you have it all mapped out, now, do you?

Bella Swan has a mote in her eye.

But she's trying, sometimes, to look in the mirror.

Give her that, at least, please.

And before you cast a stone, recollect when you were seventeen. You knew everything there was to know then?

If you say you did, then you're not casting a stone at Bella. Doesn't feel like such a good idea now, because, of course, you know it is kind of like throwing the stone at the mirror, right?

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction


I'm serious.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction. Because if I read it, I'll review it.

If I review it, you will hate me. Forever. And all your fans will hate me. Forever.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if you don't know the names Strunk and White better than you know your own.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if you haven't charted the plot of your story from its inception all the way to its conclusion.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if your characters aren't real. If they don't have something to say to me, then I will surely have something to say to you about that.

In fact, don't ask me to read your fan fiction until you have read my beta profile and read every entry here under the writing category, and know that your fan fiction can survive those meat grinders intact and whole. Oh, you say you have? Then you won't mind me quizzing you a bit, then, will you?

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction. Because your fan fiction is your baby, and I am King Solomon, and I will rip that child, that means everything to you, right in half.

You are writing. You love writing. You want some positive, affirming comments about something that you love doing. Or you think you are strong. You think you can take constructive criticism.

Yeah? I bet you do. I bet you do ... like so many other who said they would be professional and courteous and open to suggestions and told me that "but my story is different! Read it, geophf. Please! It'd mean so much to me!"

I have this message for you, my dear, particularly: don't ask me to read your fan fiction.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

"If I have the time ..."

I've gotten this three times in the last month.

"Oh, I was skimming your story, and I was wondering if it'd be a waste of time for me to read."

"Oh, I was skimming your story, and I'll read it maybe someday when I have the time."

"Oh, I read your story (all 300 pages of it) and I'll leave one review on it, when you come out with a new chapter, if I have the time."

Read those statements above, and turn to somebody, face-to-face, and say that to them about something important to them.

"I'll watch your first ballet recital, if I have the time."

"I'll buy you a Christmas present, if I have the time."

"I'd come to dinner, but the game's on. I don't have time for family time."

The sad thing is: people do say that now, all the time, don't they?

They're talking on their cell phone while they're "with" you.

They're working on their computer while they're "talking" with you.

They're ... I don't know ... they're making excuses to cop out of plans with you, because, frankly, the TV's more important to them than you are.

What ever happened to respect? What ever happened to treating people as persons, not as things? Did it never happen at all before, and I was misled? Was I raised wrongly by my parents to try to give the people I'm with my attention?

So you wrote to me and said you would read and review my stories "if you had the time."

You're busy; I'm busy; we're all busy. How nice. And it IS nice that you're willing to make the effort to comment on my stories.

But "if I have the time"?

You may not have the time. You may have a family with two daughters. You may have work deadlines. You may have other friends you like more. You may have to watch an average of 8 hours of TV or 'net-slumming. You may have all of these things, and more.

But saying that to somebody? "I love you, and I'd tell you, if I had the time." "I'd do that report, boss, or professor, if I have the time." "I'll leave a review on your story, if I have the time."

The good intention is destroyed by the equivocation. If you have the time, do the good thing. If you don't have the time, don't do the good thing.

But time is prioritization, and saying "if I have the time" translates directly into "you are on my priority list, somewhere below watching TV, or whatever."

When I talk with somebody, when I talk with you, I give you my full attention. My whole time. I MAKE the time to talk with you. Out of the many readers I've had today, out of the many markings of favourites and PM and story alerts and sometimes reviews, ... and the rest of my life.

I do not "if I have the time" anybody. When I'm with you, I'm with you.

Please, don't "if I have the time" somebody. "Everybody does it" these days, because everybody treats everybody else as things, not as persons. But I've worked with people who have taken time out of their busy-busy schedules, I'm talking Captains and Admirals, who have more meeting time scheduled every day than they have hours in the day. When they do that? When somebody makes time for you, how does that feel?

Doesn't it feel nice when an authoress, like, for example, Jocelyn Torrent, replies to your reviews? (You do leave her reviews of the chapters that meant something to you, don't you? You do know how much substantive reviews mean to her, don't you?) She has more than twice the reviews in one story than I have total. And she responds to every single one. AND all her PMs. I know. So does Lion in the Land. So do I. So do more than a few others, as well.

Many, many, many do not. That is not your problem. That is their (serious) problem. Your problem is how you are treating this person you are writing to or this person in front of you right now, and you cannot justify your callousness, no matter what anybody else says or does.

"Everybody does it" is the weakest, lamest cop-out of an excuse to justify what you know to be a wrong doing. A slight. Besides: do you wish to be like "everybody"? That is a faceless "nobody" in the crowd? Or do you wish to be you, and be treated with kindness and individual attention?

As we few writers do when we respond to your review, even though it's the 283rd review for this story we've received. Even if it's the 711th.

Those of us who do this, well: we MAKE the time for you, AND we write these wonderful, in some cases, award-winning stories that have captured your attention and fired your imagination.

"But I was just saying that, I wasn't being mean, I was just explaining myself." Yes, I know you weren't being mean. I know this. But how much thought did you put into those words, because every word you say means something.

I am a person. You wrote to me, or you talked with me. Please treat me as a person. I prioritize things, not people. Please don't prioritize me below things: I don't like feeling less than a thing. I don't know anybody who does.

You may review what you've read of my story that had meaning to you (and you've read my story and nothing has moved you at all?). You may not. But please don't so blithely dismiss me or my work with "time." You read it. Perhaps all 300 pages of it (so far), so you've had time to do that, but you didn't have time to select the "review chapter" link?

Maybe not (I cannot believe that). But telling me? "I read one of your stories, but I didn't review any of the 52 chapters. Maybe I will after you do more work (because a card deck of chapters isn't enough) ... if I have the time."

Please don't do this. Please don't imply this.

Because time is all we have, and there's only a limited amount we're given, and we don't get it back, so make your time you have precious. For yourself, and for others.


Writing this post, I've come to the sudden realization of the following. Others have complained that MSR is taking it's sweet time, going hardly anywhere at all.


Because Rosalie is doing something that hardly anyone does. She is taking time with Bella. Instead of saying: "You are like this, so I will treat you like this" (and Rosalie does do a lot of that in MSR, I grant you), she is taking these days to find out who Bella really is ... you know? The apologia for this piece? She is finding out who Bella really is and treating her as that person, not as the person she wants Bella to be.

Now, Rosalie is very unhappy with the real Bella, the person who she is. But she does work with that person, and not (always) dismiss her out of hand.

Unlike how Edward treats Bella in the canon, perhaps?

Is this why MSR is so frustrating for so many? Is it because they wish Bella and Rosalie just to move on and treat each other as ... what? ... and ignore each other's and their own faults and failings ... and consequently ignore each other's and their own strengths and humanness?

Hm. If you're frustrated, and you want Bella and Rosalie to get on with it ("What 'it'?" I ask. And you answer: "Oh, the obvious, you dummy!" And my answer is: "What obvious?"), then I wonder. Do you treat your friends and family like this?

Do they treat you like this ... and you allow it?

It may be your best friend that you've know from first grade, but she's still a person. It may be your daughter or mother, but she's still a person.

It may be your dad, but he still needs your love.

"If I have the time ..." to treat another person as a person?

You do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on your Life (MSR, again)

"Gosh, geophf, MSR just goes over and over the same thing, over and over again! It just ... well, to tell the G-d's honest truth, pretty aimless!"
À propos de rein, I love it when people tell me they are telling me the G-d's honest truth. Does that mean they are lying to me at all other times?
Let me ask you: what kind of fic is MSR?

What kind of fic is an in every way ordinary girl's life? I mean, for real.

An every day, ordinary girl does what, day-in and day-out. Wake up. Potty. Go to school. Eat lunch. Potty. More school. Go home. Supper. Homework. Brush teeth. Bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

"But, geophf, I don't wanna read about boring. I wanna read about vamps!"

Boring. Hm. Well, okay.

The "Mirror, Mirror" chapter is day two of Bella's imprisonment. On day two of anything, is one blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge? No, on day two of anything, one is adjusting to life at school or on the job.

And Bella's life, now? Boring? Having just nearly died, what? Four times in the last twenty-four hours?


Now, let me argue from your side, if I may.

"GOD! Bella's period is taking FOREVER! AND I JUST WANT TO SCREAM AT HER AND GOD! AND ..."

Okay, Rosalie, settle down there, GF!

Rosalie hasn't been able to say a peep for this whole time AND IT IS DRIVING YOU AND IT IS DRIVING HER CRA-a-a-a-a-a-ZY! Remember that scream in the forest at "The Promise"? Remember it?

In a chapter or few, Rosalie will begin to be able to talk again.

And Bella, finally, will get her wish, eh? FINALLY, they'll be able to have a conversation, right?

What kinds of conversations have they had when Rosalie could talk?


Fireworks ahead.

But please do note. MSR is NOT Twilight. Vampire baseball is right out. And if it is in (which it's not), there's not going to be a plot-derailing James that's going to show up, because that's being handled by a very different plotty plot line (yay! geophf admits there's going to be plot development eventually), off-scene entirely from MSR (read future chapters of 13ways for the entire Laurent, James, Victoria debacle).

MSR is NOT "Terminator 27: the reunified destructinization!" MSR is much more like "Out of Africa." MSR is chick-flicky, and not chick-flicky like "Thema and Louise" but chick-flicky, like, well ... MSR.


geophf, writer of chick-flicky fan-fiction

So, if you're looking for Edward to come crashing into the party tomorrow ... well, there's Bonne Foi (it even stars plot-derailing James). But fireworks do happen in MSR. Why? Because it does star vampires. But the last set of fireworks was at "A Swim," right? And the next set is at "Lillian, Arise!" (sort of), and the following set is at ... well, it depends. Is Bella's escape fireworks, or the visit of unexpected company to the cabin fireworks? or ...

Talk-talk-talk. That's what MSR is. Along with vampires, and near death experiences. And misunderstandings. And UST.

You know: "Pride and Prejudice and Vampires." Hey, somebody ought to write a book like that!

(YES, I KNOW! Okay? I already KNOW!)

But you already know all this about MSR right?

MSR has zero sex appeal on ffn. It's not an AH AU ExB smutfest (previously mentioned). It's a slice-of-(un)life story. You know? The everyday ennui and horror of life. The everyday hope of it.

It doesn't gloss over the dull and dreary and dreadful details of the person standing right next to you all day every day. But it also doesn't gloss over the nobility of that self-same person.

Be that person an inept cowgirl, or a stunning socialite of a vampire.

Repetitious? Yes. Does your life have a plot advancement every two days? If yes, then, have a cookie and why are you reading boring old MSR, when you're going skydiving today, and yachting tomorrow?

I think boring old MSR is so very much more exciting than Bella ever dreamed her life would be, even though that includes a regular trip to the potty.

I think boring old life itself, you know, the one most people live? Is way more exciting than ever anyone would have ever thought it would be, if only they opened their eyes to look up from their desk to see the rain storm outside, or the person right beside them.

MSR doesn't do that. Both Bella and Rosalie absolutely refuse to see the other person as she is, instead they try to see the other person as how they think the other person should be.

But MSR tries.

It takes an awfully lot of tries even to begin to see the other person as something other that an echo of 'it' - the way I want them to be. And its so hard, maybe even too hard, for most people even to try to do that. I mean: it's boring and unrewarding work, to see the other person as a person, and not an it that I can just use and then discard, so I can move onto the next adventure.

This is the curse of the Buddha, you know. That unrelenting search for happiness beyond the next hill. You know what the redemption is, however? Finding happiness, right here, right now, in the small, little, ever repeated, everyday grind of life; the task at hand.

Not fun. Not exciting. Not adventurous.

But, when one finds satisfaction in it: peace and happiness.

Maybe even joy.

Maybe hope.

Is MSR self-satisfied? I don't think so. I think MSR is a very unsatisfied work. I think I put every ounce of quality I can into every chapter I publish.

But does that mean you have to like MSR? Nope, of course not, there are many excellent pieces on ffn. And do they agonize over the final things, like MSR does? Most don't. They're well-written and a rip-roaring read.

What do you come out of those stories with? What did you come into MSR expecting? But now that you are here ... is what that MSR is, in its quiddity and hæcceity of it, worth a continued read of it? Do other fan fiction pieces make you work at them? Sure! Some really great works do (medicine wheel) ... don't they, also, consider the final things?

Like 'hope' and 'friendship'? And 'I and Thou'? Or, more properly, 'Ich und du'?

What is MSR?

To most, it's boring; plotless.

What is it to you?

Oh, one more thing. Rosalie is — surprise! — a vampire, and Bella is just a plain old human. Still with me?

If you dislike the imbalance of their relationship, Bella likes it perhaps less so than you. But you know who hates it the most? Rosalie (cf RLT). Finding a "balanced" relationship? TRULY balanced, that is, right down to the marrow, not just on the surface? Hm. MAKING a truly balanced relationship where one is an invincible goddess (literally from Ancient Greek times: read Hymn to Aphrodite by Sappho and tell me that she's not describing a twivamp) and the other's a plain girl of no breeding nor bearing?

That, truly, is an adventure.

In my book, anyway.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Representing Rosalie and Bella

I've just read a wonderful canonical one-shot about Rosalie, called "And I Am Not" by Jocelyn Torrent. I received two surprises in that story: the first was an accurate portrayal of Rosalie, then second was an accurate portrayal of Bella. Read it.

Both characters have been so easily, so callously, misrepresented in fan fiction, so getting them just right? Well nigh impossible. Bella isn't a perfect character who does everything right except for falling down three times per chapter. And Rosalie is, well, I've harped on this before.

Okay, I'll harp some more.

My heart always gets in the way of my pen, and I'm so scared that my representation will turn sympathetic, not accurate.

Rosalie qua Rosalie has everything she needs to be what she is, and tampering with that, Charles Dickensing that, only takes away from the strengths that she has. She is vain and conceited, but she still is strong and righteous and determined and has gone through everything, in her life and in her unlife, and still holds her head high, proudly.

To say: "Aw Rosalie!" robs her of her battle scars (that she mostly inflicts on herself), robs her of herself.

But it so hard to abstain from reaching through the screen and giving her a it'll-be-okay-hug or just pure happiness.

She'd probably turn it down anyway. "A freebie? For Rosalie Lillian Hale? I don't need your charity nor your pity, thank you, geophf."

She sure is one tough cookie. As they say when and where she grew up: a right broad.

Rosalie and Bella. Each in her own way: two right broads, and when written correctly, such a pleasure to read.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

PM Response Policy

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sending me the PM about one of my stories. I appreciate all substantive and polite feedback, positive or negative, and ffn has provided a service to facilitate that called the reader review process. I see in your PM you have questions for me, but you haven't availed yourself of the review process on my stories, ... yet you say you've read my stories from chapter one? And if you haven't, then I'm afraid that the most recent chapter doesn't make all that much sense out of context.

So, here's the thing. I've found that out-of-the-blue PMs about my works usually devolve (eventually) into one thing or another, and I'm tired of me or my work being savaged. I have other things to do, like write the next chapter, or respond to reviews or PMs from my reviewers. You wish to have a conversation with me? I wish the same, but now I can only afford to have conversations with people I know and I trust, so that if we do get into an argument, we have a track record of recovery so that we can both walk away still respecting each other.

We don't have that relationship yet? Then I recommend that you establish then build upon it. Leave me your substantive reviews of the chapters you loved or hated. Show me why and tell me why. I reply to every substantive or polite (or, preferably, both) review I receive. From that position of trust, THEN we can have a conversation about whatever we desire, eh?

But until that time? I will send you my one-liner response: "Thank you for your PM. Please see my PM response policy located on my profile page." It's not personal against you, it's just that your PM is the next pitch, and I already have two strikes against me: if I'm going to be swinging, I want to know that it will do something for the team. I want to get on base; I want that grand slam. So throw the ball hard, yes, but in the strike zone, please.

"But I don't have time to review your story that I just read all 300 pages of I just wanna know ..."

Hm. Ayn Rand has an interesting way of categorizing people: producers and users. Which are you? And, if you are fine being a user, if you just wish to use me, then I recommend you not waste your time PMing me, but curl up and enjoy reading your Being and Nothingness because your time will be more fruitfully employed there. After all, Sartre did eventually return to the Church, receiving Absolution and Last Rites on his death bed, maybe that course of study will help you to see beyond yourself, too?

But if you're fine being a user, I'm not fine being used. I have limited time and a very delicate ego, so I wish to spend that time productively, that is, writing the next chapter or responding to reviews or reviewers' PMs, and I wish to open myself up to people who will hurt me, yes, but do so because they care, and will work on mending the relationship afterward.

Thank you, again, for your PM. I may have read it, I may not. I will be happy to respond to it, however, after you have left substantive reviews. It's nothing personal, until it is: I respond to PMs of people I have a personal relationship with.

Build that first, then we'll chat.

cheers, geophf

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Your reviews; a writer's replies

I'm a writer of fan fiction that is published on the web. As such, the system afford people to comment on my works, that is: to review them. And, many people do. I've received hundreds of reviews.

Thank you for your reviews.

I respond to every credible review. Even if it takes days. Even if it takes more than days. That is, I feel, my responsibility.

No, I don't countenance reviews that descend to personal attack or that savage my works, but yes, every other review, even one word reviews ("Gud", "MOre", "updatesoon"), receive a reply from me. One by one, even it's sometimes form: "Thank you for your review. I've received so many, but each of them means so much to me. Thank you for yours." The vast majority my reviews are substantive and substantial, however. That's a lot of work. A lot of work that takes me away from writing my story. A lot of work that takes me away from other things. You know: life (yes, I have one), family, work.


A reader's job is to review, but so few readers do review at all (my ratio is that 120 page views generates one review). Wouldn't be nice to the ones that do review receive a little extra love and gratitude?

Reviewers sometimes are sad little creatures that need to know that their little peep of 'gud stry update soon' was heard. Reviewers sometimes need that extra little bit of love ... so that they review another story of a writer who, maybe unlike me, needs that one review of her story to keep going on in her story, yes, but also in her life.

It is the reader's duty to review.

But, listen to me, please, you writers. Once you receive a review, it'd be really nice to reply to it. You know, really nice as in your duty as a writer. You could actually turn somebody's life around, you know. Or two lives, when that reviewer, encouraged, reviews another story. You could, with your reply, turn a life around, or save it.

You are a writer. You may a luminary in fan fiction. If so, please use your fame to keep doing what you are doing: sharing the love, both in publishing that next chapter, but also, in responding to that next review.

The same goes to you, writer, who has just published her first chapter and has just received her first or second review, but just has to get that next chapter out by midnight and it's quarter to. Look, somebody's reviewed your work! To her, you are famous. You know where the most 'business' comes from in industry? Repeat business. You know where most reviews come from? From a reviewer who's reviewed your work before.

Cultivate that. Tell her you are grateful. You are helping yourself, but, that reviewer, encouraged, may review another new up-and-comer.

Who won't be an up-and-comer if she gets discouraged at chapter 3 (right? where most stories die on the vine?) because nobody has read it or said anything about it.

You have a review, for G-d's sake!

Many writers don't. And your reply to that review could give another writer that one review she needed to go on.

A reader has exercised her responsibility in reviewing your work.

Now, it's your turn, writer: reply to it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Edward, redux

Okay, in my most recent chapter of MSR ("A Hair"), people are giggling at me and pointing fingers:

"Ooh! Lookit geophfy being all nice to Edward, and stuff, give him more of whatever meds he's taking today!"

Okay, ladies, put down the offered whatever; I'm not taking meds, nor 'shrooms, and I haven't weirded out, nor changed positions (on Edward). Edward is, after all, as one reviewer stated, "so wise ... and dreamy."

Because, canonically, he is.

I may have my own views about this guy, and I may have a list for him, but, the amazing thing about Edward is that he has this debilitating handicap (reading minds) and may have grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, and both contribute to his view of people and how he treats them, but then he does offer wisdom to Rosalie, then he does act as a gentleman, then he does, at times, try to listen to the other person's thoughts and words and then he does try to consider their position.

And he does talk with Rosalie or whomever, but then he keeps everything he "overhears" to himself.  He may think of you meanly, but he tries not to be mean about it.

But I'm still not going to ask WWED.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MSR: Less Talk, More Rokk! Please!

"A little less conversation, a little more action-action."

What are chapters of MSR like?

In the most recent chapter ("A Hair") our girl combs Rosalie's hair. And they make plans for cooking supper.

How ... how ... how ...

Well, how boring!

Why are you doing this to us, geophf?

MSR is a relationship fic. A chick fic, as it were.

Ya know. Two girls, in a cabin, talking.

There they are, in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere, bathing, eating, sleeping, ... and. just. talking.

Well, let's compare MSR to life. Real life. Not "Heroes" or "V" or whatever's showing on the tube, but real life.

Is life filled with massive whatevers?

No, for the most part. For the vast majority of the day and of the year, life is just that, just living, just nothing, just everything.

And most people waste that opportunity, because that's all that life is, unless you're literally on the front-lines, like I was. You know, the front lines, where every decision I made affected the lives of four hundred men and women, every second of every day? And I wasn't even the head honcho, but one valve opened at the wrong time? One wrong order I give to my engineering team? Our ship goes down, and, being where we were: we all die.

And do you know what that was like? Boring. Tiring.

And sometimes, with M-16s and shotguns armed and free when I'd be on a boarding team, a little fun, a little scary.

What is your life like? Really. Does every decision you make potentially kill someone?

Yes, it does.

Because every decision you make involve somebody else, and every decision you make fundamentally reduces to: do I treat this person in front of me as 'thou' or do I treat them as 'it'?

And how is that?

Boring. Tiring. But also a little fun, and a little scary.

What's MSR like, right? Boring, right? Talk-talk-talk.


Because Bella and Rosalie, most of the time, treat each other as 'it' but, sometimes, they try to treat each other as 'thou.'

This last chapter there was a little bit of 'thou' going on, where Bella tries to understand Rosalie, and Rosalie tries to open up to Bella.

All in the context of combing hair after a bath then a conversation over the breakfast table.

Boring, isn't it?

Or is it boring? It sound more like it's 'life' to me, and living life? It's the only one we're given, so if it's boring, then, I gotta tell ya, that's your choice. I choose to allow myself to experience my life as an adventure, living it viscerally, in the eternal now, even if that now is a plain old boring conversation at the dinner table ... that will affect us and our relationships for the rest of our lives.

Oh, and p.s.: Martin Buber's I and Thou (Ich und du, actually) is, like, 200 pages (or hundreds of pages less than the latest HP or Twi fantasy (or fan-fic) that tells you nothing about life except how to escape from it). Read it. Now. Please! And rokk less, talk (and listen) more.

And, p.p.s. because I know you demanded it (and I listened): "Less Talk, More Rokk!" And, yes, MSR will also have that, too. Sigh.

Wherefore Vera

I've recent read a couple of stories about Vera, and have read (and reread, and reread) Eclipse, chapter 7 "Unhappy Ending," which is "Rosalie's" chapter, but, in a very real way, is Vera's chapter.

Because, I argue, the key to understanding everything between Rosalie and Bella in the canon, is to understand Vera.

Please allow me to explain.

First, I think we need to examine Rosalie and Emmett's relationship.

Emmett seems to fill a need, but their relationship seems to be more surface. They are "happy" with what they give to each other, but they don't probe to any depth. I would think Rosalie would need more than a strong, sexually charged, easy-going, funny man. I would think she would want somebody she could open her heart to, all the way, and really, not cry, because she can't, but scold her like Vera did, not let Rosalie get away with the stuff Emmett does (in canon), share with Rosalie her deepest sadnesses, and let Rosalie share hers with her.

I think Rosalie needs this, no? And I think she's not getting all that from Emmett. Nor from Royce (well, who she thought Royce would be), and that's why she had Vera then. A true friend, of the heart.

Now let's look at Vera, herself.

Rosalie doesn't have much good, in the canon (E, ch 7), to say about Vera. Vera married early and had a baby at 17 years of age. She married down. Far down. Sure, Rosalie and Vera are "only" middle class, struggling to climb the social ladder, but they were friends, so they were in the same social circle, and that circle?

Upper middle class. Rosalie's father worked at the bank ... during the Depression! ... Rosalie's father bought her dresses (not just an apple for dessert); Rosalie's mother introduced Rosalie around to the elite.

And Rosalie and Vera were friends. Friends of the heart. Why? What names does Rosalie mention in her life story? Emmett, Royce, ... and Vera. Not her parents' names, not her brothers' names; no: Vera's name.

Vera was Rosalie's only friend ... ever.

And Vera had ... as they said back then ... moxie.

She married a carpenter. Do you understand what this means? Her parents were in the first circles. So they told her this: "Don't marry him." And she did.

And they cut her right off. She lived at his house, on cheapside ... not at a house that her parents could provide for her.

Or they didn't cut her right off, and did offer easy living. And she told them no. "Thank you, Mother, Father, but I'm going to cleave to my man, and go where he will go, not where you tell him to go."

Either way, she chose her own path, not the path her parents "offered" to her.

And Vera was Rosalie's friend. Whom do you visit a week before your wedding? A casual acquaintance? Royce had his buddies, that he liked much more Rosalie, and Rosalie had Vera, whom she loved more than anybody in the world.

Because, as much as Rosalie belittles Vera in her story she tells in canon, Vera was the only person who put up with Rosalie, besides Emmett and Royce, but Vera went one step further, and this is implied by the canon: Vera chose her own path, and she let Rosalie choose hers, too, but she didn't let Rosalie get away with her lies.

Because Rosalie lies. All the time. She tells Royce or Emmett that everything's beautiful and pristine and happy. Worst of all, she lies to herself. She turns her nose up to everything and looks down: "I'm perfect; you're not."

She even does this to Vera. And Vera rolls her eyes and says "I'm happy for you, Rosalie, I really am. But I choose this. I choose true happiness, and this is what it is." And she shows Rosalie, not mean-spiritedly, but kindly what happiness can be.

She shows Rosalie so clearly that even Rosalie sees it, knows it for what it is, and acknowledges that Vera chose better.

I think Vera's been through enough in her life that she has the experience to share something and to know enough about Rosalie to know that there's more to her than she's letting on, and she's old enough not to allow Rosalie play her games with herself. I think maybe Rosalie needs Vera in soul-mate kind of way.

I think Rosalie needed Vera then, even though she had the perfect handsome prince in Royce, and I think Rosalie needs Vera now, even with her big teddy-bear of a perfect husband in Emmett.

Now let's look at the "relationship" of Rosalie and Bella

Woo, boy, does Rosalie want to tear Bella to pieces pretty much the first second Rosalie sees her, and why? Because Bella can have babies, but no, she's going after a vampire, for goodness sake!

Or so Rosalie says.

I would beg to differ with Rosalie's supplied argument.

We never get a physical description of Vera, but she wasn't as beautiful as Rosalie. We get a physical description of Bella, and we find out that she's not as beautiful as Rosalie.

Just like Vera.

No surprises there: Rosalie is the most beautiful person in the whole world. That's canonical.

But Bella chooses her own path, over the objections of Edward, her parents (NM, catatonia), the whole universe.

Just like Vera.

Bella forgives Rosalie her (very serious) mistakes (NM, post Vulturi) and accepted her, not holding Rosalie's faults against her.

Just like Vera.

Rosalie had a conversation with Bella. Who is the only other person in the whole world that Rosalie ever had a conversation with? Conversation, not diatribe. Emmett? No.


Your point, geophf?

Rosalie is a hurting person. She wants to kill Bella (MS, post Phenomenon), because, I argue, Bella sees too much, even, possible will see into Rosalie's soul.

So Rosalie's hurting.

And Vera's dead.

And here's a little quiet, brown-brown girl, who forgives Rosalie, talks with her, and chooses her own path.

Rosalie wants to tear Bella to shreds, because if Rosalie dares to take that risk of opening her heart to VeraBella again, she'll just die on Rosalie ... again.

So that explains Rosalie's (very) antagonistic attitude to human Bella.

And (pre-)vampire Bella? Now that Bella has made her irrevocable choice and has stood up to everyone, just like Vera, Bella may die (and Rosalie is just so fiercely protective of VeraBella here, and of herself, possibly preparing herself for being hurt again when VeraBella dies again), but VeraBella "re"born, that is "newborn"?

Suddenly, it's a BxRose love-fest. Why?

Because now, NOW, VeraBella can be a friend of Rosalie's heart, and not go dying on her, as humans are wont to do.

Everybody says: "Rosalie wants Renesmee."

Everybody is missing the point.

Rosalie likes Renesmee. Rosalie loves Renesmee. But her babysitting and all that serves two purposes: it gives her time with the baby. And it gives VeraBella time with her husband.

Rosalie is doing this for herself. Rosalie does everything for herself. But Rosalie is being selfless, as well.

Rosalie is being selfless.


Because, I argue, when she was alive, she didn't appreciate Vera for what she was. A friend. Just that. A friend.

Rosalie has never had a friend before or since.

And Vera was there for Rosalie, in spite of and despite the fact that Rosalie is just so Rosalie.

And now here's VeraBella again. Now, finally, Rosalie can say "thank you" to her for that one thing Vera gave to Rosalie that nobody else in the world ever did. AND Rosalie can finally, finally-finally-finally, have that true friend that she can (maybe some day, centuries from now) open up a bit more than she did in Eclipse, ch 7.

You know, a relationship like Alice has with Bella. Bella's not a replacement, nor substitute, for Jasper.

A relationship like that, but, because this is Rosalie, after she gets over her vanity, it will be a relationship so much deeper than that.

Even though she doesn't know this herself, even though she's fought so fiercely against it, she'll have a relationship that she's been looking for her entire existence.

If we look at the relationship of Rosalie and Bella through the lens that Vera provides, we see that it is consistent from start to present (not "finish" because now, thankfully, it will never end). It's not baby-envy. It's not "human"-envy. It's Rosalie. Hurting Rosalie, scared; protective Rosalie, scary, and, eventually, trusting Rosalie, loving and understanding, and finally ... opening.

Just like the relationship she had with Vera, more than seventy years ago.


When Juliet says "Romeo, o Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" She's not saying, "Where are you Romeo?" she's saying "Why are you Romeo?" That is "Why are you my family's enemy, and not some other cute guy to make this whole liebestod thing easier for me?"