No, actually you can't. *clings to fandom, barnacle-like*

Somebody at some point a few months ago (I can't remember who or under what circumstances, as I've been working doggedly on Quicksilver for the past six months while trying to get my mother through cancer treatment and a series of debilitating vertigo attacks, and everything that's happened to me since January is pretty much a blur) told me I should write something about the way I relate to fandom, which they thought was interesting and fairly unusual for a pro author. So here I am, writing about it.

First, my fannish credentials )

I'm far from being the only professional author who got her start in fandom, of course. Several people I met in X-Files fandom or HP fandom or Alias fandom, or any of the other fandoms I was part of in the early 90's, have since been professionally published and gained a fan following in their own right. Yet I know at least some of them still dabble in fanfic from time to time when a plot bunny hops across their path. And sometimes they write meta and get involved in other aspects of fandom, too--cosplay, fanart, going to cons as an attendee rather than a guest. Because they're still fans at heart, they still love the kinds of shows and movies and books and music they've always loved, and getting paid for their original work hasn't changed that. Why should it?

That being said, nearly all the pros I know who are still involved with fandom use a pseudonym. And often with good reason, because... )

I don't hide my identity, however. Like Diane Duane, Peter David and a few other stout or possibly reckless souls, I do my fannish activity under the same name as I publish my books.

One day, perhaps, I may come to regret this. But so far, using the same name for all my writing and meta and fannish interaction hasn't caused any problems for me. For one thing, my fanfic has pretty much the same content and rating as my original novels, and in some cases is even a bit tamer than the canon I'm writing for -- so it's unlikely that a parent is going to go ballistic if they find their tween or teen reading my stories.

Another reason I don't bother with an alias is that I am no longer a BNF [5] in any fandom, if I ever was; which makes any accusation of me profiting unduly from another author's work to be a pretty long stretch. [6] So I still have the profile on that I set up when the site first opened. I'm on AO3 and Fiction Alley and a few fandom-specific archives as well. I'm a happy member of [community profile] sounis, and though now and again some other member recognizes me and says something nice about my writing, I keep my replies brief because I'm not there to talk about me, I'm there to share in the Queen's Thief love.

Here's my philosophy of fandom in a nutshell: it's not about me )

Anyway, that's how I do fandom, for good or ill. Because I am still a squeeing fangirl at heart, even if my pro commitments keep me too busy to write a lot of fanfic or meta these days. And unlike some pro authors I know who have had nasty experiences with fans harassing them for not writing more fanfic instead of those STOOPID ORIGINAL NOVELS HOW DARE YOU, I've had a pretty easy ride in fandom on the whole. The tiny group of readers I have who've stuck with me since my pre-published days have been lovely, kind, supportive people; and the modest amount of fanart, vids and fic I've seen for my books has been created by enthusiastic young readers who have no idea I've got any fandom history at all. And as long as that keeps up, I've got no reason to go underground.

And when, as happened this afternoon, I get a bunch of thoughtful, enthusiastic reviews for a fic I wrote back in 2003 from a reader who has no idea I've written anything professional at all, it makes me just as pleased as a good review for my published books does. Because I put all the same heart and skill into my fic as I do into my published work, even if the skill set involved is a little different. And because, as a fan, I know how enjoyable and worthwhile a well-written fanfic can be.

[1] This was before I had any idea that Anne McCaffrey was militantly opposed to fanfic based on her work. Sorry, Anne.

[2] We will draw a merciful veil over the Spies & Detectives' Convention crossover with Manimal and Simon & Simon, in which my self-insert Mary Sue accidentally stabbed A.J. Simon with a letter opener and had to nurse him back to health. And an even more merciful veil over the everybody-gets-mutant-abilities crossover that had twenty-six characters but only sixteen pages.

[3] All 120K of it. I still feel like I owe that poor editor at Del Rey an apology just for subjecting him to the first three chapters.

[4] Naomi Novik, for instance, is heavily involved in fandom and it's no secret that she writes plenty of fanfic herself; but most people don't know her fannish alias, and she prefers to keep it that way. I know of two or three other well-known authors who take a similar stance.

[5] Big Name Fan -- i.e. an author or artist whose name everybody in a given fandom will probably recognize, even if they haven't seen their work.

[6] Since I got published I have only written one piece of fic based on another author's books, and I think said author and I are on pretty similar levels at the moment as far as book sales go. So if somebody reads that particular fic, they're just as likely to be a reader of mine discovering her work as they are to be a fan of her books discovering mine. And since the story is so heavily based in her world and characters, it isn't really an advertisement for my own imagination so much as proof of my mad fangirl love for hers.

[7] I did mention it on my Teaspoon profile, in the first flush of my "Squee, I'm going to be published!" enthusiasm, but even then I didn't mention the title of the book. And it's changed now.
Gacked from [ profile] lizbee:
If you could make a request in a ficathon that you knew I would be assigned, what would it be? I probably won't write any of these, so don't think of it as binding, and feel free to be wacky and/or full of yearning. So if you're game, provide fandom, pairing (or gen) and prompt (by which I mean, slice of a song, bit of poetry, three things you want and two things you don't -- no specific plot points -- that sort of thing). If I could write you a story, what would it be?
Well, I couldn't get the LJ fairy to respond to my request to remove the defunct [ profile] rjanderson feed, so I did the next best thing. Now I'm signed up as some variation of "R.J. Anderson" almost everywhere I have an online presence, and folks here will no longer have to struggle to remember how to spell "synaesthete7".

But I've been curious about something. If you're a published or soon-to-be published author with a background in online fandom, would you mind telling me what you decided to do with that background once your deal went through, and why?

If you chose to separate your fannish and professional identities, for instance, what factors influenced that decision? Was it your agent's recommendation to hide your secret Bat-identity, or did your publisher require it, or was it just something you felt would be prudent? If the decision was mostly yours, did you make it because you were embarrassed by the thought of people digging up your old fanfics, or because you worried about possible legal repercussions, or because you feared that your fellow pro authors would despise you if they knew? Or was there some other reason?

If on the other hand you've chosen not to hide your former (or present) fannish involvement, what gave you the confidence to make that decision? Have you had any unpleasant experiences that make you wish you'd chosen differently? Or have you found reasons to be glad you made that decision, and if so, what were they?

For my part, I've decided to write under the same pen name I've used for years, and keep my fanfic links page as part of my author site. I've been open about my fanfic writing past with both my agent and my new editor, and neither of them seems to think it's a problem, so I'm going ahead and hoping for the best. But sometimes I wonder if I'm going to regret that choice.

I'd love to get as much input on this as possible, so if you know of someone who fits the bill, please give them the heads-up. Anonymous commenting is welcome for authors who prefer to be discreet.
I was not planning to spend the next 20 hours of my hard-won leisure time watching Ben 10 episodes on YouTube, but the sad truth is that I totally could.
Er, so who's planning to go to Prophecy, then?

Here's proof of how far I'm out of the HP fandom loop these days -- I had no idea the conference even existed until [ profile] melissa_tlc mentioned it in passing -- naturally assuming I'd be there. And why not? It's only a couple hours' drive! Only, I just found out about it last week. Erm.

So now I'm trying to decide whether it's worth going to the whole shebang (or part of it at least), or whether I should just try to zip into Toronto one day during the conference for a casual meet-up. What say you, loyal readers? Will you be there?
Thanks to the brilliant and talented [ profile] cesario, and no thanks to Canada Post for hanging onto the package for so long --


Now I just have to find the right place to display them. Thank you thank you thank you, [ profile] cesario!
Yes, I have a new fandom. No, really, I do. I blame Josh Reads Comics for getting me started.

It involves snarking on For Better or For Worse.

Yes, I confess to being really irritated at the thought of Liz Patterson getting together with her lame, wimpy (but recently divorced, and therefore available) grade-school boyfriend Anthony, particularly given the general awesomeness of her current boyfriend Constable Paul Wright. Long have I been tempted to leave flaming bags of poo on Lynn Johnson's doorstep every time she seems to be foreshadowing the horrorshow of white-bread mediocrity that is Liz/Anthony. Long have I also wanted to beat several of the Patterson family members with a clue stick, especially April, so it is a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.

The good thing about FBoFW fandom is that it has precious little fic, no vids, and very few ship wars (unless you count the growing number of people who think that Constable Paul is way too good for Liz, but it's kind of hard to disagree there).

Okay, so admitting to emotional investment in a comic strip soap-opera (which is, unfortunately, what FBoFW has mostly become) is a bit lame, but hey, at least it's not Rex Morgan or Mary Worth.


As you were.
For those of us suffering from withdrawal after the end of [ profile] charlottelennox's fandom saga, [ profile] yahtzee63 has written a short but pithy fic:

On The Run

Between this and [ profile] cesario's Mina/Charlotte, it could be the start of a whole new fandom!
I'm still around, really... just having a remarkably busy week. I keep meaning to sit down with the printed manuscript of Knife and read through it scribbling notes on every chapter for the rewrite, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm thinking about it all the time, though, and occasionally jumping out of bed at 11:30 p.m. to jot down ideas that I'm afraid of forgetting otherwise. I've had at least one thought of this sort that made me very happy, as it resolved an issue that has bugged me about the story ever since I first wrote it in 1993.

Funny, though. I thought that taking a fannish hiatus would give me more time to work on other things, but it really hasn't -- not much, anyway. I used to grab a few minutes to read forums and such whenever the baby wasn't actually screaming the house down, snacking on guinea pig poo (don't ask) or otherwise obviously needy of my complete attention, but I became guiltily convinced that those bits and pieces of browsing time were adding up to hours over the course of the day. Which was, no doubt, the case, and it's not a bad thing that I'm now using that time in different ways: but the problem is, I can't edit my novel, or study the Bible, or spend quality time with friends and family, in random five-minute installments. So anything meaningful I want to do still has to be crammed into the times when Paul is napping, or after all the kids are in bed at night.

Mind you, I've discovered one unexpected gold mine of productivity: seems that five or ten minutes here and there is not a bad way to work on web pages. And [ profile] lizbee was so kind as to provide me with a subdomain after I lost access to my previous web host. So for the first time since *cough*, I've completely redesigned my personal web site with new content and a catalogue of all my online fics (or at least the ones I'm prepared to admit to writing, anyway). I even bit the bullet and polished up my Mary Russell page. Now I just have to figure out what to tackle next...
Fandom turns up in the oddest places. The Thinklings blog has a LOST thread, and I was too weak to resist, so I read the comments and laughed until my sides hurt. Now you must share my pain. Courtesy of a commenter named De:

"Jack [Shephard] is on the short list of folks I would follow into Mordor"

Well, I’m not sure you would have made it "into Mordor". My guess is between his frantic yelling on the fringes of the Emin Muil (bringing every orc in the district down on him) and his cocky, dismissive ways with Sam and Gollum, the half-life of the Fellowship of the Ring would have been about 20 minutes.


"He also said that he would follow Jack Bauer not only into Mordor but straight up to Sauron, because Jack would probably torture him."

Jack Bauer would have killed Sauron with his thighs.

Then he would have melted the ring by staring at it.


Oyez, Oyez

May. 28th, 2006 09:39 pm
rj_anderson: (Aztec Camera - Knife)
Be it known that as of this evening, I'm going on a fannish sabbatical of sorts. I hesitate to call it "gafiating", but it has something of that flavour, I suppose: I've decided to cut back drastically on my fandom participation in the interests of getting my priorities in order. Spending more time with family, trying to get back into a consistent habit of prayer and Bible study (something which has gone all to pieces over the last few years since I had kids), hammering out another draft of my original novel... that kind of thing.

I'm not defriending anybody, but for the next few weeks I won't be reading or participating in forums or communities, and I may not be able to keep up with everything that's happening on my f-list. So if you'd really like my comments or input on something, you might want to drop me an e-mail or try and catch me on IM.

Don't worry, though, I'm not planning to disappear entirely. I'll still be posting, here and on [ profile] rjanderson_blog, and I'll be on IM -- possibly even more than I have been for the last little while, since Actually Talking To People In Real Time is one of the things I'd like to do more of. I just thought it only fair to let you know that if you're holding your breath waiting for another Snape essay, or the sequel to "Galatea", or more of my scintillating (ha) Doctor Who reviews, you should probably relax before you turn blue and explode.

Okay? Okay.

Coming soon to [ profile] rjanderson_blog: A review of [ profile] jamesbow's just-published YA fantasy novel The Unwritten Girl.

P.S. Just to make sure people don't get worried, this isn't a flounce or anything. Fandom has done me no wrong, and I'm not mad at anyone in it. It's just all shiny and distracting, and I need to knuckle down and concentrate on other things for a bit, is all.
Mmm... meta chocolate. Where were we? Oh, yes...

[ profile] drakyndra tells it like it is about the various incarnations of the Doctor, and why they are all good even though some are more equal than others. I heartily agree with her, especially in regard to her feelings about Nine vs. Ten. Check it out.


Mar. 4th, 2006 11:17 am
rj_anderson: (10th Doctor - No Second Chances)
Yes, I know people complain about this site being a fascist totalitarian web state, but I personally have never had problems posting at TWoP. (I've seen examples of moderatorial decisions that struck me as odd and/or inconsistent, and in the case of the late lamented House fanfic thread positively bewildering, but that's not the same thing.) And while some of the recappers are more bitter and cynical than they are funny, others are just hilarious... so I can only hope for the best:

Television Without Pity's brand-spanking-new Doctor Who forum.

*runs off to play there*
Fandom meme gacked from [ profile] yahtzee63:

Name a character or pairing! Watch me ramble on about it!

Simple, no?


Jan. 3rd, 2006 12:30 pm
rj_anderson: (Severus Snape D&L Lies)
In the felicitous absence of my children (they're across the road playing with a friend, and the baby is asleep) I have written Snape/Luna, for which [ profile] lizbee is entirely to blame. And not only did the universe not end, I find myself dreadfully tempted to fix it up and submit it as an honest-to-goodness fic. Only I won't, because I have to write Hermione and Luna gen for [ profile] omniocular's January Challenge instead.

In other news, [ profile] omniocular replied to my post-rejection inquiry by telling me that they like my art, but not so much my fic. My fic, they say, is a bit too prone to telling rather than showing what the characters feel and making general statements rather than giving specific details (this on the basis of "Bewitching the Mind...", "First Impression", "Cold Water" and "Cry", links to which I submitted as part of my application).

I do not in the least reproach them for this, as it's a worthy ambition to avoid an over-expository style, but it's ironic seeing as my just-written Snape/Luna consists entirely of dialogue without any speech tags and only five words of exposition (and I was thinking about cutting those), and I deliberately wrote "Secrets and Lies" in impersonal third without once telling the reader what any of the characters were thinking. So one could say that particular problem has already corrected itself...

I guess the moral of the story is that I need to write more recent stuff in this less expository style. And that it needs to be gen (by the "no romance, please" definition of gen that [ profile] omniocular seems to be using, anyway -- I know that by the other working definition of "no graphic sex and let there be an actual plot, please" I've never written anything but gen, but that definition appears to be less common).

Anyway, once I've written the Snape/Lily drabble I also owe [ profile] lizbee and figure out something Houseish to write for [ profile] cesario, I shall post links here to all the shortfics I've written in the last few days. It doesn't add up to much, but it's still good to be writing again.

Speaking of good and writing, if you haven't seen [ profile] junediamanti's splendid Snape genfic The Shipping Forecast, go and read it straight away. It's funny and quirky and heartbreaking and a great deal more plausible than the author makes it sound in the summary, and it indulges my long-held belief that Snape's present speech pattern is self-taught rather than the one he was brought up with. So of course I was bound to love it.

More later, since all the children have returned at once and my son is regaling me with the entire plot of Home Alone II.
So where are the cool kids submitting HP fics these days?

I've done my duty by Fiction Alley, of course, and eventually I'll probably get around to putting this fic up at the Pit of Voles, just for the sake of those who have me on Author Alert. The Sugar Quill is no longer an option, alas, but I'm open to other suggestions as to where I should put this "Secrets and Lies" thing so that people who've read and liked the Darkness and Light trilogy (and hey, even some who haven't) would be likely to see it...
I won't be posting for a week, since we're off camping. (No, not rustic in-a-tent camping, more like hanging out at a nearby resort/conference centre kind of place where our meals are all provided and we sleep in air-conditioned comfort. My biggest challenge will be deciding whether or not I really want to be venture out in public wearing a zebra-print maternity swimsuit. I suspect my nerve is likely to fail me there.)

Anyway, y'all take care and don't let HP fandom explode without me (oh, wait, it already has done, never mind).
Let me count the ways.

Bad Wolf: 0.6% done, 1:16 hours remaining...

*crosses fingers and bounces up and down*
It has occurred to me that a few of my flist may be a bit shellshocked by all the Doctor Who raving all of a sudden, and are wondering whether I've completely lost my mind and will ever talk about anything else. To which the answer is:


Erm, actually that's not quite true. Just expect the DW stuff to be dominant for quite some time to come, because I have loved this show since I was a kid, it was one of the first fandoms I ever wrote fic for (and probably the one in which I've written the most fic, word-count wise -- don't even get me started on the illustrations!), and as you know I'm loving the new series all to pieces.

However, for those of you who couldn't care less about the Who prattle, and are wondering if I will ever get back to the Good Stuff, a brief explanation of where I'm at with regard to my other fandoms:

HP: Waiting for Book VI, like everybody else. Don't feel like speculating any more, even about Snape, until I have the straight goods from JKR Herself.

Alias: Keeping vague tabs on plot goings-on by reading other people's LJs, as am not actually watching the show at present. Understandably somewhat discouraged in my Sweiss leanings at the moment, so not so inclined to write a sequel/second chapter to A Man of His Word the way I'd once thought I might. You never know, though, things could change. Especially if You-Know-Who shows up later in the season as promised (no, not Voldemort).

Lost: Love the show. Have great fun speculating about it. Have developed elaborate theory about the island that I keep meaning to expound upon some day, but haven't got around to it yet. Absolutely no desire to write fic, however. I find the show itself too satisfying, and I'm too interested in the answers that the writers and JJ have to offer, to maintain that feeling of "ooh, I simply must fill in this gap!" that usually inspires plot bunnies.

Sherlock Holmes: Read Locked Rooms and loved it. Looking forward to reading other people's reviews. Still running the RUSS-L list, mostly by approving new members and glancing at the day's digests to make sure nobody is killing each other. Of course, nobody ever is, so it's a pretty low-stress job being ListMom. When was the last time you heard of a mailing list that has run busily for ten years and has hundreds of members, with not one single flamewar in the entire course of its history? This is why I love my Bees. *blows kisses to the Bees* Oh, and I haven't forgot about Case of the Winning Woman, it just requires more research than I have time to do at the moment. (Plus, where does one even start to find out about the terms of Victorian life insurance policies?)

Star Trek: Never again. No, really. I can't see it happening. I just don't care any more.

X-Files: On the other hand, never say never. I still get nostalgic for Mulder and Scully from time to time...

Oops, and almost forgot, which shows where my brain is at:

Kalan Porter: Felt that the Time Had Come to move on. Resigned my quasi-moderatorial status at KP4GU, and my real moderatorial status over at the Red Hot Topic KP board. Occasionally poke my nose in to one board or another to see if there's any really big news, but otherwise, that's about it. Wish him well, though.
This exchange, in response to a bunch of complainers over on the Outpost Gallifrey forums who seem to think it's an outrage that the 9th and 10th Doctors have regional accents, made my day. Anthony Hopkins -- hee!


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