Thursday, April 29, 2010

"So, you write fan-fiction, huh?"

I have a question.

So, if anything is possible, what's stopping you?


I read. I write. I have had an editor, a dear friend, named LiLa ("Lion in the Land") for about a year. She's been writing, too.

And she's published her first book under the name Nicki Elson called Three Daves, about a girl going to college in the 80s and meeting three guys, each named Dave.

She wrote this story, she shared this story with her friends, and then she published it, and now it's a book.

So, if anything is possible, what is available?


For LiLa, what was available that her story is now a book. It was real before, just for herself, then it was real for a select few thousands that read it and the select few hundreds that encouraged her writing, dozens of them at each chapter she published.

And now it's a book, and now it's real for the world.


But what does this have to do with the title of this entry?

Jennifer meets Dave, Dave, and Dave in college, and 80s music plays a big role in the story.

Sound familiar? Anybody go to and visit Lion_in_the_Land (note the user id)? Remember the awards and interviews she's had about an AU/AH story she wrote about Bella going off to college in Chicago in the 80s and meeting Jasper and Emmett and Edward?

Or Dave, Dave, and Dave?

Remember all those reviews she got? The ones that said: "OMG! Your writing is so good ..." and all that and "You should write a book!" and all that?

Well, she did.

Now let's look in the mirror for a second, my dear "so, you write fan-fiction, huh?" author(esse)s. Ever got that review or reviews that said, "OMG! Your writing is so good! You should write a book!" But you said: "Oh, I just write fan-fiction; I can't write a book, and who would read it?" and they come right back: "I WOULD!"

"Oh, I just write fan-fiction" as if that's bad? "I can't write a book"

LiLa did. She found a way.

Do you see that trail she blazed for you, me, and everybody? Did she do it for us? Maybe. Maybe not.

But the trail is there now, and it's real.

A fan-fiction authoress that we know and whose stories we've read is now a published authoress.

And to think she almost didn't do it, and just one little song gave her that whatever to put out that first chapter, and her very first reviewer gave her that sense of self that, hey, somebody likes my stuff.

Are you going to publish a book? Maybe. Maybe not. You now can see from LiLa that this possibility does exist for you, even if you've just written one chapter with just one reviewer saying she liked it. Because not so long ago, LiLa was right there.

So let's say you decide to publish. Great! You win. And the lives you touch with your story, now that it's a book?

You win. Big time. And this guy will be standing here with his mouth wide open and his heart fit to bursting, just so happy for you and for your success.

So let's say you decide not to publish now.

You can still win. Because somewhere, there's a LiLa you know whose story you love.

Review it.

Say to her how you love it. What exactly in that chapter makes you laugh so hard you puke or cry so hard you need cleaner for your keyboard? Say this to her. Encourage her.

Because then, she just may publish that next chapter, she just may comment that, hey, your review lifted her spirits, and it may just give her enough to finish the story, and maybe, maybe-maybe-maybe, publish it as a book, so you can hold it in your hands, and know that, wow, she did it. You know somebody who did it and were there with her during the creation of that book, chapter by chapter.

I came along after she finished her story, and she's taken the twilight version off of twilighted and ffn, but my congratulations to her, no: my admiration of her and her work is right here, right now.

LiLa is one of the stars of fan-fiction writers, and her success and the praise she receives is well-deserved. She writes from the heart, and that heart is joyful.

You know your own LiLa, my dear authoress, all you have to do keep encouraging her with your honest reviews.

Or, all you have to do is to look in the mirror, and take that step of pressing that 'add chapter' button, or of mailing off that manuscript to the next publisher.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roman à Clef

Hey, geophf, that new story of yours, "Her Transformation" ... it seems like filler, marking time, what's its purpose?

Hm, 'purpose' ... stories with a 'purpose' are called 'roman à clef.' ... is my writing like that? Ever?

Maybe it is, if purpose is to ask: 'what is this thing? this existence? and why am I here it in?'

Isn't that the fundamental question we ask ourselves?

Isn't Esmé asking herself this? Isn't Rosalie, as she suffers this agony, asking herself: 'why me?'

What if the answer isn't one that we like? What do we do with that? Give up?

As for this piece filling the time line ... well, yes, it is.

Don't all stories 'fill [some] time'? Like msr?

This story fills three days ... and then one year in eternity. "You Kept Me Waiting" fills thirty years. "Twilight" fills a couple of years. "Sense and Sensibility" fills a year or so. "Antigone" and "Medea" fill a day. "One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" fills ... well, one day.

The Torah fills three thousand years, plus or minus a few billion. The New Add On (Testament) starring our most famous son ("He Was One Of Us" after all) fills in another three hundred.

And the कामसूत्र (Kamasutra) fills a night. Night after night.

So, what is the purpose of a story? What's its point? Hm. Well, instead of asking: "Is this real? Is this literal? Is this true? What's its point?" as modern Christian Bible scholars do, perhaps ask this: "What does this mean for me?" "What do I take away from this?"

What does it mean to be a new mother? What does it mean to be a newborn, still so hurting from the old life? What does it mean to love unconditionally, even if the beloved is a tough case? How about on the receiving end? What does it mean to be beloved, so strongly you can't stand it, because you're dealing with your own stuff, and you don't want anybody else, who loves you with all her heart (and why? just because) to see you at your weakest, ... that is, when you most need love?

Ever been there? If you never have, do you want to risk that kind of love? Knowing there's going to be hurt, too?

Esmé is her name: (unconditional) love. This is Rosalie's transformation, but this is Esmé's story. Why? Because nobody ever cares about Esmé.

I do. She is a person, with a story to tell: I am giving her that venue.

And the thing of it is: although nobody cares about Esmé, she, herself, cares about, and cares for, well, ... everybody.

One of those people is Rosalie, and, perhaps, one way Esmé showed her care for Rosalie is not abandoning her, even during the most difficult period in Rosalie's existence.

Funny how every part of Rosalie's existence is her most difficult part.

Hm. There's a lesson in that for Rosalie somewhere, I'm sure.

Vampire Peaches

There is a story where Emmett is caught biting peaches. Not to eat them, but to see if they become vampire peaches.

Ha-ha, yuck-yuck-yuck, Emmett so stupid funny! *sigh*

But the thing of it is, Emmett is funny, but he's not stupid. And peaches cannot become vampires (or, put another way, the vampiric nature of peaches is to be stone ... vampires are the walking representation of King Midas, after all: everything they touch dies).

But what about animals.

Hm. You're a vampire, wouldn't you love to have a pet kitty or fido ... forever? Where, if a car hits them, the car gets wrecked, not they?

Sweet! And you can do everything to it that people do to it: you know, go hunting, pat it, experiment on it by injecting it with chemicals, just like pharmaceuticals and cosmetic companies do! And the cool thing is, your pet won't develop cancer and die after you feed it five pounds of saccharine. Bonus!

No down side to having vampire pets at all, right?


But here's the thing. When fido is hungry, fido has to wait for you.

A vampire dog wait for you? Why would it? It's thirsty, so it's going on a hunt. Now.

Then it bites a wolf, or a mountain lion, ... because it can, and then, can it kill its victim? No. So now you have a vampire mountain lion on the loose in the woods.

Anybody see 28 Days Later? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller?

Hm. And then that happens: a pandemic. And who comes to clean it up?

That's why we have the Volturi, ladies and gentlemen, because some fool vampire's brain goes snap or gets a fool idea into their mind and the little experiment goes right out of their control.

So, vampire pets? or vampire animal experimentation? Bad, bad idea.

And Carlisle's already thought of this. He's probably thought of this at his very first hunt: "Hey, I was turned by being bitten, I wonder if this stag can be turned, too."

Carlisle stayed there and made damn sure that stag's heart was stopped and it was not getting up again, then he buried the shredded remains deeply.

And when Carlisle visited the Volturi centuries ago? And took Aro on a hunt? To show Aro that there are alternatives? That bit of evangelization didn't go so well for Carlisle, but Aro probably saw right away the ramifications, and probably gave Carlisle a little warning lecture, to boot: "Now, Carlisle, I don't care what silly pursuits tickle your fancy, but if this gets out of hand ..."

A vampire animal gets on the loose, and the Volturi come, and they have all the justification they need to wipe out every abstaining vampire in the world.

So, you hate the Cullens and the Denali coven? Make yourself a vampire wolf.

After it turns, and shreds you to bits, and goes on a rampage, the Volturi will exact your revenge.

But don't think the Cullens are not onto this. They read the newspapers, and, as they've shown, they can mobilize a force strong enough to deal with any problem in the world ... including the Volturi. They read about your experimentation, they are coming to have some words with you. Last I checked the Volturi are sending a delegation to the Amazon to have a "chat" with a certain vampire doctor who likes to create half-breeds. You can bet the Cullens may send their own little envoy, too.

And that's the thing. You become a vampire, then you must think of the long-term (and eternal) consequences of every one of your actions, and the things you do locally have a possibly global impact, just as things happening in other parts of the world may have a direct impact on you.

So, do you think that becoming a vampire makes your life easier? That you can indulge whimsy?

Think again.

By becoming a vampire, all your tiny temporal problems are now eternal and far-reaching.

Vampire peaches. Vampire kittens.

Ha-ha. So funny. So cute.

Or not.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Women

My cara spoza reads my blog.

So, she read the last entry, and she told me she enjoyed it.

I asked, "What did you like about it?"

And she told me this story.

But first, let me tell you the story her mother told her.

You see, her mother is a multiple-Palanca award-winner for her writings (It's the Pulitzer in the Philippines), and she told my cara spoza this (in Tagalog) about writing.

Writing is like having a child.

There is the anticipation of it. It's growing within you, as you write, and you can't wait to get it out there. But at the same time you are so scared, ... how will she do in the world? What will other people think of her? How will they treat her? I shouldn't care about what other people think of her ... she is my baby ... but I do. Very much.

And then other people like her, and you are just so proud and so pleased. Or one person says just one little word of criticism, and you just want to kill that person ... until another person savages her. And then you want to die from the despair.

"Oh, she's not loved! ... but I love her! Shouldn't that be enough?"

And as soon as she gets out into the world, stumbling, and then finding her (Bella-)balance and (Bella-)grace, ...

Then she starts doing things you never saw nor expected. Then she creates her own stories, and they take on a life of their own.

Just like Twilight was one little dream that lead to two books (it and Forever Dawn) which lead to four books, when lead to Midnight Sun and now leads to Bree.

So I told you that story to tell you this one.

So, my cara spoza said that: "My mom told me writing is like having your own child."

And I, after I got over the shock of that epiphany, added that writing is an act of creation.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, "you get it!"

But I didn't. It had to be pointed out to me, by my dear wife, who is a woman and an mother. Two things that I am not. Fundamentally not.

And so, for me, reading Breaking Dawn? I know many of you do not relate to that book. There are many things in it that I do not agree with either.

Funny how Book III has a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay ... and funny how Rosalie and Bella grow so much closer in Breaking Dawn ... just saying (*cough* msr *cough*)

But there are things in there that I can and do learn from it. One is this: 'little nudger.' The intimacy that Bella has with her baby, from that very first morning sickness, when she realized what caused it? And the immediacy with which Bella connected with her fœtus? That is something that I had had a dispassionate, an intellectual, understanding of, even until now, even writing stories about women in the most intimate way from a woman's perspective, credibly.

As has been told to me, I cannot possibly be a man, because I write about a woman's monthly travail with accuracy: neither running from it nor glorifying it nor profaning it.

But this one little thing. This one fundamental thing.

When my cara spoza had our second (living) child, it was a very tough pregnancy, requiring an emergency C-section when it was found the two very serious (mortal) issues in the late-term could not be addressed other than immediate delivery.

Out popped little Isabel. And I saw the little blue-eyed nudger, and thought: oh, that's nice. And handed her off to my dear wife on the operating table, and she cried and exclaimed: "My baby!"

Did I get it then? Maybe. Maybe a little bit.

Can I get it now? Maybe. Maybe not. I can try. I can try, as hard as I can.

But I am not my sisters. I am not my wife. I am not my multiple-Palanca-award-winning Mother-in-law.

I do not have children in the way that they could or did.

And that experience ...

I write. I write stories. I write to make life a joy or to make it tolerable.

To try to understand.

Sometimes, my writing touches you, my dear reader. And for that, I am grateful. And sometimes you share your words of connection or anger or appreciation, and I am grateful for those. Very grateful.

And when you share with me, as my cara spoza did today, I learn a little bit of that ineffable mystery that is life, in something so simple, so fundamental as this: my baby.

Please tell me how my writing affects you. Please tell me where I go right and where I go wrong.

Because msr, and my other writings, are my babies, just as Steph has her own babies in Twilight, et al, and the words you say in comfort are a comfort to me, and the teaching words you say, teach me.

Has msr helped you? At all? Tell me. I'd like to know. And, in telling me, maybe, by forming those words in your review, you'll see something about yourself or about msr that you didn't until you articulated it.

That's what 'sharing' is: you grow in the sharing of it, and I grow in the learning from it, ... from you.

And I will reply to your review, and thank you for it, ...

And, yes, I am thinking about the next chapter of msr ... okay?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Steph Bug: a new Bree novella

Fear not, this post is spoiler-free.

So, my brother Mike was pleased to inform me that Steph is sending her latest Twilight novella to be available late June.

Mike knows more about Twilight current events than I do.

(One could actually see the waves of pleasure emanating from him as he reported this item of news.)

Upon hearing this news, I was so pleased and so sad.

I was so pleased, because if anybody needs her story told, it is Bree (the newborn spared by the Cullens in the final battle with Victoria in Eclipse, but then ...), and, as Twilight and Midnight Sun has shown, Steph has a way of writing that inspires others to write (case in point: the gajillion twilight fan-fiction stories out there on ffn, etc).

But I was so sad, too. So sad for Steph. Because of this: I've got the writer's bug bad.

When my muse attacks me, she is mercilessly vindictive, she won't let me rest until I write that piece she's screaming in my face to write. I can't not write that piece, because when I don't my life becomes more and more wretched. I've got the Marcus chapter of my story 13ways on hold now for half-a-year. It's been plaguing me every day. I've started in on the third chapter of "Her Transformation." It's more than a week now, but it just hurts, more and more, and, scarily, less and less (I feel the dulling and the numbing of my will) each day my mind turns to it, ... and then turns away.

It hurts me, almost physically, to keep a piece bottled up inside, and the only way to ease that pain is the publish the thing.

Case in point. The next night of msr. Please, don't remind me. I know exactly what happens. I know why. All I have to do is write it down. After I write the day. After I write the ...


So I'm sad for Steph for this reason.

Ever since she wrote those pages in Eclipse, she's been thinking about Bree, hasn't she? You have ... I know you have. Some of you even went on to write stories about her. So there's Steph, burning with this for years, until now it's published.

Whew! Glad that torture's over with, eh?

But if only it were so easy. MSR. What has it inspired in me? All my other stories. What has it inspired in others? Some of their stories.

What will Bree's story do to Steph, now that it's out there? Has she now been expiated? I hope so, for her sake, but given my experience with writing msr ...

So I'm sad for Steph, because by writing this world of Twilight, she infected me, and others, with this writers' bug. But, as the publication of the Bree novella shows, it appears she's been infected as well.

Poor Steph!

... and poor me! The Bree novella to come out in June? How can I wait all that time?

You: maybe by writing and publishing that next chapter of msr?

Um, thank you for not reminding me.