The Collectiva Diva Asks 5 Questions to Your Favorite Fanfic Writer: Renne

Renne happens to be the first Stucky AU writer I ever read and I fell in love with the attention to detail, captured characterization and perfect level of angst and need this author balances between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. I first rec’d “this city bleeds its aching heart” a few months back (I will never not rec this perfect “convenient husbands” trope!), but since then have explored her unique Stucky zombie!AU and there is also a space!military AU I am itching to read. I personally believe this writer has a knack for post CA: TWS Stucky, but since there are 67 works in 40 different fandoms over on her AO3 page, I can say with a doubt that Renne is definitely multi-fandomed and multi-talented. Read the answers below in the last installment of my “5 Questions” series, and find a few new fics to bookmark as well as words of inspiration for authors looking to overcome the worst ailment of all: writer’s block.

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

1.) What/Who inspired you to write fanfiction?

I first started writing fanfiction when I was a little kid and never really stopped from there. I was precocious with reading and started reading my brothers’ scifi and fantasy novels when I was still in single digits, because I lived in the country and didn’t have a lot of friends around or things to do, but we did have a mobile library that came around every two weeks.
My first ever fanfiction that I can remember writing was a self insert/Mary Sue fic set in David Eddings’ the Belgariad/Mallorean universe. And yeah, you bet my character was a Dryad. Or possibly a Dryad/human cross. There was definitely some Dryad going on there though.
I think wanting to be in the story with the fantasy universe characters I loved and having these adventures inspired me, as this was well before the Internet and I was too young to access zines – even when I was older, the circumstances of where I grew up meant I was already well into fandom online when I first heard about zines. (Bear in mind that when I say “well into fandom” I mean usenet groups and mailing lists and message boards.)

2.) What do you look for when you read fanfiction? Are you reading anything now? What is it and why do you like it?

This isn’t an easy one – *generally* when I read fic what I really look for is a combination of an interesting storyline and plausible behaviour from the characters. I need to be able to believe the characters would do what they’re doing in the story because it’s something I could see them doing. Happy endings are not a requirement, but a positive ending is at least preferred. There’s nothing quite like investing your time, for example, reading 20k of fic and the ending is without even hope. Makes me cranky.
That being said, I do read a lot of fic that scratches my id. Like dramatic, trainwrecky fics usually with what is, to be honest, pretty terrible characterisation but that have excessive amount of time dedicated to specific tropes that I don’t usually get in that volume in other, better written pieces. Jealousy is a good example. I have a real thing for characters stewing in their jealousy – particularly if the other person knows but doesn’t know what to do with it! oh no! conflict! and particularly if it’s unfounded – for a ridiculous amount of time and then usually behaving badly because of it. And people like to complain about the misunderstanding trope, but I don’t care. I love it too.
I aren’t reading anything at the moment, but I am going to rec some of my favourite Steve/Bucky fics because they’re fabulous and deserve it:
Uphill Both Ways in 5 Feet of Snow by palavapeite (This is a special one, because it’s a bit Steve/Bucky, but it’s more post-CATWS relationship between Sitwell and the Winter Soldier/Bucky. It’s very good and exactly the Sitwell fic I wanted.)
Of course, I also recommend anything by lanyon, haipollai, beardsley or caughtinanocean on AO3, and not just because they’re my people. 😉
fan art by
fan art by

3.) What is the favourite piece you’ve written and where can readers find it?

I am going to give three separate pieces I like in three different fandoms, because I’m no good choosing between my fic.
Steve/Bucky (Captain America) – Where the Circle Ends
It was the first Steve/Bucky fic I ever wrote in response to a capkink prompt, and it’s still got a very special place in my heart. It’s my baby. It’s a 29K zombie AU and it just makes me sad it’s not more well liked. Oh well.
Arthur/Eames (Inception) – Lessons in Causality
Up front I’m gonna say it’s a WIP that’s never going to be finished, also in response to a kinkmeme prompt. I reread it the other night, actually, and I can remember how much fun it was to write. Why couldn’t I have finished it?? Ah, the thing I ask myself whenever I look at the multi-fandom thousands of words of WIPs in my gdocs.
Skids/Getaway (Transformers: MTMTE) – Circumnavigation
Yes, giant metal robots. Just in case you thought the amnesia thing was just a thing I liked with Steve/Bucky, turns out that no, this trope is apparently one of my hot buttons. Amnesiac supernerd and his codebreaker BFF super agent shenanigans, yes please.

4.) Are you working on anything now and, if so, can you tell us a little bit about it? Fandom? Pairing? Plot points?

I… am attempting to climb out a very dark hole of writer’s block, to be honest. I have been trying various things with not a lot of success.
I have been poking at a couple of WIPs, two different rule 63 Steve/Bucky ones – one is kind of stalled at the moment, but it’s a fairly substantial and 616 compliant and all about Bucky’s stupid jealousy as well as the history that brought Steve and Bucky together. It’s a very jumbled timeline.
The other is just something I am trying start to kick the writer’s block which is MCU compliant and set after CATWS, when I started wondering how Bucky got the clothes in the post-credits scene, and how he’d get money – preferably without murder or mugging – and where he’d go. Not to mention questioning the general fanon assumption that he’s together enough afterward the events of the movie to automatically know/remember where to go to start with the “destroying HYDRA bases” trope. Rule 63 thanks to all the glorious female Steve and female Bucky art on tumblr, just for something a little different.
I am also a massive Mass Effect fan, so I have a few little WIPs set in that fandom that I’m poking at too. The main one is a Shepard/Garrus post-Destroy ending fix it fic. (Of course, what else would it be? Everyone should have a post-Destroy ending fix it fic!) I’m sure you’re all epically surprised to find that in this fic Shepard has amnesia.

5.) Any advice for aspiring fanfiction writers?

Read. Read everything. Accept criticism. Ask for help. Ask for someone to read over your fic. Read some more. Read fanfiction and fiction and non-fiction. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don’t feel discouraged. Learn. Learn what works for you in writing and what doesn’t. Learn what you like and dislike. Experiment. Try different things. Read and reread. Write about what inspires you. Write every day. (Read every day too, this is important.) When in doubt, ask. Spend some time researching. BUT DON’T SPEND ALL YOUR TIME RESEARCHING, IF YOU SPEND ALL YOUR TIME RESEARCHING YOU’LL USE IT AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO WRITE. No, I’m not speaking from personal experience shh what are you talking about??
Get a beta you trust and who will tell you the truth. Don’t be afraid to ask advice from writers you respect and/or admire, whether it’s about writing or things they like to read or even what inspires them. Take the opportunity to learn from everything and take note of it too.
Keep a document where you write down bits and pieces, sentences that tickle your fancy but you mightn’t have a home for them yet, or ideas you could use in the future. Don’t be afraid to edit your work and remove parts that are not integral to the plot or don’t fit in with the story you’re telling. (This is not easy. Trust me, I know.) You can always put them into that document you keep for the bits and pieces that don’t fit anywhere else if you think it was really good writing.
Don’t ever be afraid to find your own voice.
What a perfect way to end this transformative series. Find your own voice and don’t be afraid to use it. Fanfiction writers are doing something amazing by taking these characters we love and exploring what they are capable of being. Thank you to all my amazing writers who were willing to share writing tips, fandom secrets and of course, extra special kinks. If you liked the series and want to know how your favorite fanfic author might answer the 5 questions let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva