Although I said we finished this series in November, I realized recently that the interview with Elliex, a prolific transformative author and Destiel fan, never posted, so, we are bringing it back for one last entry. When I get the chance to rec a fic for The Collective, I inevitably go to Elliex. Her work in canon can’t be beat and her coda, “Heaven’s Most Wanted” is all I ever wanted from Season 9 but was too afraid to ask for. The last fic we rec’d of hers was on Dear Collectress’ Christmas list, but there’s more, dear reader, so much more. With 22 works on AO3 in the Supernatural fandom, including a new Demon!Dean series that explores the character development and saving of Dean Winchester, Elliex really should be in the SPN Writer’s Room (in my humble opinion). Read on for some pretty sound writing advice and an interesting look into the process of a fanfic writer.

Also–a shout out from me to El–who left a kind comment on my 1st ever DCBB entry and pretty much made my day by reading my little ‘ole canon-based case fic. Thanks hon!

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

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

Though I’d known about the genre for a very long time, I only started actively reading and seeking out fanfiction a couple of years ago. As I worked my way through some truly amazing ‘verses and standalones, mostly Supernatural but some other fandoms too, I realized that many of the writers spoke about how much they enjoyed writing, how they hadn’t shared their work before, and how sharing gave them confidence. As someone with a stack of fiction manuscripts in varying states of completion and length that I’ve never had the nerve to share publicly, this resonated with me.

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After mulling it over for a few months, and writing a few practice fics that will never ever see the light of day, I took the plunge and posted my very first piece on AO3 – it’s not great; it’s not even good, but it was a necessary first step for me. And then I slowly began posting more. I still remember that simultaneous thrill and anxiety at watching the hit counts on early fics go up, and kudos (and/or comments) were like gifts from readers. Though I still feel that combination of thrill and anxiety, sharing has gotten easier for the most part. And like anyone, I continue to appreciate every kudo and/or comment I receive.

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.
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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.)

Xylodemon is a beast. With 226* works across 17 fandoms on AO3 and new stuff coming out all the time, this writer has a knack for taking canon and transforming it into something simple and easy and totally unexpected. Her characters are clear and consistent, and her reimagined Supernatural codas are some of the best I’ve ever read. You may recognize the handle from either a fanfic rec by the Collectress or I, because her stuff is just that good (her demon!Dean is spot on). Read on to discover how she got started in transformative fiction, the inspirational words she has for aspiring writers and links to her favorite work.

(*note: it’s now 227, since she just released a coda for the Supernatural episode “Fan Fiction” which is lovely, BTW)

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva

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

Weirdly, it just kind of happened. Way back in the day I was in a usenet RP for the Wheel of Time books, and I loved it. I had a kajillion characters and read all the threads, even stuff I wasn’t involved in. A friend of mine there told me I’m probably like reading fanfic, but I didn’t pay too much attention at the time because she was into Harry Potter and I hadn’t read it. I ended up reading some eventually, mostly Lord of the Rings and X-Files. Then I finally broke down and read Harry Potter (I was convinced it would be garbage, turns out I was wrong), and I read a ton of fanfic, and from there it made sense to just write some. My first fic was pretty terrible, but I guess first fics usually are.

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Friend of The Collective, betty days (sadrobots) has 22 works on AO3, but I found her fics through a Twitter rec from one of my smut sisters when I put out there that I was in need of something on the NS side of NSFW. Consequently, “Words with Friends” is one of the smuttiest series (and a favorite) that gives a whole new meaning to term “sexting”. But Betty isn’t just a one-trick pony. Her capability for world building and bold characterizations within AUs make her work exciting and fun to read while keeping the boys in consistent character across the varied themes in her work. Her answers to the “5 questions” are honest and powerful, reminding participants in the transformative community the cathartic nature of writing as well as the benefit of a great support system.

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva

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

I started writing (not just fanfic, but narrative form in general, though before that I’d been writing memoir and poetry for several years) about six months ago because a boy I liked dumped me, and I had all this emotional goo floating around in my heart that needed to be funneled into something productive. I was scouring AO3 for a fic that just hit the spot, something long and fluffy and smutty and engaging that I could just drown myself in, and couldn’t find anything. For lack of anything better to do, I opened up a Word doc and churned out the first chapter of Sex 101 in about two hours, then promptly fell asleep. I woke up the next morning to an unheard-of amount of traffic. I was floored. That night, I wrote another chapter, then another, and another. The feedback I was getting was like crack to me. Suddenly the gaping emptiness that was left in the wake of being dumped like a wet sack of trash was slowly being filled by a loving and supportive community whom I’d only quietly observed for years. Every chapter I wrote healed me more and more, and by the time I completed Sex 101, I was like a completely new person.

Cr: caskringle
Cr: caskringle

Within the 23 works written by OhCaptainMyCaptain, she has created such an expansive universe for Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, from childhood to post CA:TWS, that keeps me coming back and wanting more. I currently blame this writer for my recent delve into the high school AU and Stucky AUs in general. Her 30-day challenge (on day 21 now) is unlike any I’ve ever encountered before; with 10k+ word stories posted once a week or so, her writing themes switch from canon to alternate reality with an ease not too many writers can claim. Cap also offers her “smut monkey” followers gifs and images to go with the story at the end, which, although Dear Collectress doesn’t ship it, even she appreciates that type of dedication.

If you are a Stucky fan but haven’t read “Little Lies” yet, get on that, or else we can’t be friends anymore.

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva

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

I’ve actually been writing fanfiction since I was about eleven years old (funny enough, my first slash fic is still posted on ff.net, under an old account I’d had at the time). Back then, I was very big into anime, and so much of my inspiration came from there. I’d been writing since I was a child, but at the time, it’d been mostly original (awful) stuff; the more I was submersing myself in anime, the more I found myself wanting to write stories about the different characters I was so enamoured with. I think my first piece of fanfiction I’d ever written and posted was from the show, Naruto.

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A few months ago, I came across the artwork of Petite-Madame, in the form of a Bucky Barnes Instagram account.

“This is awesome!” thought I, “but who is this mysterious and talented person?”

Petite-Madame, self-taught artist from Paris, professional illustrator, and self-proclaimed fan, is changing the way fandom looks and art and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

 The artist’s unique perspective on fandom compelled me connect with her in hopes of getting some insight into why and how she does what she does. The following discussion on art and social media is insightful and telling, while her commitment to creating fanart, a medium meant to help audiences understand and explore the characters we love, is commendable. If you haven’t checked out her MOL journal or Bucky art, please do. The links can be found below.

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The Collectiva Diva: Your use of art and social media, particularly the Bucky Barnes Instagram account, intrigues me. What is it about Bucky that fits this particular content (Instagram) so well? 

Petite-Madame: I find it rather funny that a super secret spy who’s described in the The Winter Soldier movie as “a ghost” could have as a main mode of expression an Instagram account where he shares his everyday life with his boyfriend Steve, his work problems, or what he ate for dinner. Superheroes are supposed to have secret identities (even if in the Marvel movies everybody knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man and Captain America has his own exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum) so, exposing Bucky’s life on a public medium such as Instagram is delightfully absurd, precisely because of this contradiction.

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Also, it is very interesting to explore art wise because I have a lot of fun as an artist, trying to emulate an Instagram account and creating fake pictures of food and people in their natural environment; cooking or doing their laundry. I can play with the depth of field, the frame, the intensity of the blurs, the subjectivity of the point of view and of course, my weapon of choice, colors!

The 3rd reason is far more pragmatic: posting a drawing with a short caption on Instagram and Tumblr requires FAR less work than a 1500 word fic and the complex drawings of Journal of a Man of Letters (JOAMOL). Launching the Bucky equivalent of JOAMOL would be impossible for me or I would have to win the lottery and leave my job for good!

Breathe, Diva. Breathe.

Okay. So Scaramouche is pretty much THE reason I became obsessed with Destiel fanfic. First podfic? Scaramouche. First AU that I actually liked? Scaramouche. First and ONLY tentacle fic that makes me squee with joy? Yup–Scaramouche. And, even though she didn’t mention it below, “What Has Eight Tentacles and Isn’t Allowed to Eat Pie?“, proves to me she can write anything, and I’ll like it.

"octo dean" by anubis admire
“octo dean” by anubis admire

As you read through her work, you will find her writing style is superb, attention to detail, astounding and she isn’t afraid to experiment in canon or AU, making her writing versatile while keeping our favorite boys in perfect characterization. The answers below to my 5 questions are familiar and personal, reminding me why I support (and am in awe of) the transformative community.

Enjoy!

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva

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

There wasn’t a specific moment where I went, “Aha! I shall now write fanfic!” In part this was because I didn’t know that “fanfic” even was until the internet kicked off and I eased into the digital world of fannish creative expression and found other like-minded people. Before that happened, I’d say the first media to inspire to me to write would’ve been the Sweet Valley books. They were terribly contraband for schoolkid me back in the 90s (along with such scandalous media like Beverly Hills 90210) but those fictional worlds were vivid enough that I found myself writing short stories, sometimes set in the Sweet Valley world and sometimes inspired by it, though I did not have the vocabulary at the time to know what this was.Then the internet came along, and I found wonderful, meaty fan-written stories that blew my mind. Fans actually wrote this? For fun? They somehow managed to capture the tone and voice of the world, and are sharing it freely with other fans? If this is possible, then anything is possible! The first fandoms to open that world up to me were Labyrinth, the 1980s fantasy movie that’s haunted me for years, and The Secret of NIMH, the 1980s animated Don Bluth film that generated an expansive mind-blowing epic fan novel that I printed out on my poor parents’ computer printer so I could read it like a paperback and still have filed away in a cabinet.
It was in seeing what other fans managed to do that I felt that hey, maybe I could do that, too! I started out rocky, as most writers do, but the first fic I submitted to an archive was a sequel for Disney’s Mulan. The website’s long gone by now, but that was a formative little bump, especially in figuring out how to deal with submissions, feedback, and the self-consciousness of posting to a public forum. Signing up to ff.net came soon after that.

Today we have the second installation of our transformative writers series, featuring friend of the blog, Zatnikatel. Although she mentions below she does dabble in other topics, this writer has 28 pieces up on AO3, all in the Supernatural fandom where she ships Destiel oh-so-good. You might recognize her name from our very popular “9 Smutty Supernatural/Destiel Fanfics” post–she holds the #6 position with one of THE HOTTEST Destiel fics I have ever read (and reread). Another favorite is her story True North, which would have made it on my End!Verse genre fic list, but I had to spread the love around to other authors. The wonderful thing about fanfiction is that, if they chose, writers remain anonymous and therefore can really explore topics in a way we might not be able to if our moms/bosses/IRL friends were looking over our shoulders. Zatnikatel currently works as a professional journalist and editor, contributing to magazines and newspapers in the US and UK. Please read on to find out about her journey into the world of fanfiction and the no nonsense advice she has for aspiring writers. Enjoy!

xoxo

The Collectiva Diva

1) What/who inspired you to begin writing fanfiction?

I started out in genfic, writing a story inspired by one of my favorite early episodes: The Benders. I loved the episode for its delicious Dean whump, for the parallels between the Winchesters and the Benders (who seemed like the flipside of John, Dean and Sam), and for the really lovely performance by Jessica Steen as Sheriff Kathleen Hudak.

I always love those “what if?” moments in TV shows and movies – those forks in the road where everything might have gone in a completely different direction. Where that episode was concerned it was, “what if Missy had gotten out of the closet?” And that first genfic grew into a three-story verse adding up to about 300,000 words altogether. And I had all sorts of high-falutin’ ideas about framing it as a Hell allegory, because I had hoped for more from Dean’s post-Hell PTSD story, and felt shortchanged by what I got onscreen.

I guess not a lot of the people who are familiar with my D/C fic will have read that genfic ’verse! So I’ll mention my first D/C fic, Chrysler Almighty and just say that it was written because some dared me to. I had very pompously declared that the profound bond was enough for me and that I’d never write “proper” D/C. Said friend dared me, and so I wrote that fic as a joke, and threw everything I could think of at it. It was intended as crack, and I thought it would get 10 comments, if that. I still don’t know whether to be proud of it or embarrassed by it. Architecture!porn, what the hell was I thinking?!

 

Welcome to the newest series brought to you by The Collective, in which I interview your favorite fanfic writers and ask them 5 simple questions. Recently, I’ve been trying to work out how to promote transformative works and find out a little bit about some of the best authors writing your favorite ships. What better way to learn about these creative minds than from the writers themselves? This week, we start off the series with Emiliana Darling, who has penned and podficed 29 works on AO3 and one of my favorite Stucky series, Building From The Ground Up (read my review here). Emiliana was kind enough to listen to and then actually answer the ramblings of this fangirl, and I am so excited to share her insights. The comments are honest and telling of a writer who loves her trade, regardless of payment or fame. Enjoy and, if you’re feeling so inclined, check out the podfics she’s done. They’re lovely.

xoxo The Collectiva Diva

Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva

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

The first time I ever wrote fanfiction was in 2002 – back in the days of Geocities and fanshrines, when Fanfiction.Net still allowed stories with an NC-17 rating and wild Harry Potter ship war fanatics roamed the earth. It was only a year or so after I had discovered fandom for the first time: I was 12 years old, utterly obsessive about the media I loved, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Arguably, a lot of different factors contributed to my decision to write my first (utterly terrible, oh god, thank heavens that username has been lost to the ages) fanfic: a desire to understand the source material better by engaging with it more, frenetic devotion to my favourite ships – the list goes on.

More than anything else, though, I think it was old school Harry Potter fandom that made me want to write my own fanfiction rather than just reading other peoples’ stuff; that made me think “hey, this is something I can do.”

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Harry Potter fandom was so big – so impossibly, unbelievably big – that it was full to the brim with every kind of fanfiction under the sun. To my mind at the time, Harry Potter fandom was endless: you could find every kind of story written at any kind of talent level if you spent enough time looking. It was an overwhelming environment, but also an unbelievably encouraging one for a fledgling author to be in.