You’re Wearing the Wrong Duck On Your Head

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be outdated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


Qvack. Qvack.

Dr. Merlin has recently had opportunity to speak with someone who asked about what it is like to be her, and she was put in mind of another conversation regarding life on the autism spectrum. To whit, living with autism or its cousin Asperger’s Syndrome is akin to having moved to another country while very young and then spending the rest of one’s life trying to figure out the odd customs everyone else takes for granted. It’s trying to translate the words in one’s head into English and know what to do in social situations. It’s also the unspeakable hope that somewhere, there are other people who don’t blink at wearing a duck on one’s head at formal occasions. Continue reading “You’re Wearing the Wrong Duck On Your Head”

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Character Counts

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be outdated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


Batman Is Unimpressed By Your Emo OC

Ah, once again the debates are raging. How should canon characters be portrayed? Continue reading “Character Counts”

A Day At the Biggest Mall on Earth: Fanfic Archiving and You

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be outdated but the information is very good. I would also note that Fanlib is now long dead, OTW is alive and reasonably well despite drama here and there, and A03 is thriving. This article is used with Missy’s permission. — Cygnet, March 17, 2016.


Internet-based fandom is a constructed space. It didn’t magically pop into existence out of the ether, it was built over years and it’s changed its mailing address many times. Consider if you will the age of Usenet and the WELL. Back in the day, when fans were swimming happily in the primordial waters of SASEs and word-of-mouth fan-run conventions, a strange, shining beacon lured them from the shore: a way to communicate with other fans across the world in real time. Continue reading “A Day At the Biggest Mall on Earth: Fanfic Archiving and You”

Fandom as Democracy

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be dated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


 

Subtitled: This Is Why Many People Prefer Monarchy

There are some things you need to know, young fanthing, and the very first one is this: there is no secret cabal of Big Name Fans conspiring to harsh your squee and take away your cookies. No, not the people who hang out on that members-only LJ community. Nope, not Fandom Wank, either. The folks who go to the chatroom every third Tuesday? Also no. No one in fandom is sitting out trying to figure out ways to make you personally (and all those not in The Group) have a bad day. So the next time you start feeling specifically ignored and put upon, remind yourself that, no, it’s not personal. Continue reading “Fandom as Democracy”

Giving Back, Fandom Style

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be dated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


 

We’ve all heard the stereotypes and the tired cliches. If you’re a fan and other people know about it, someone had told you to “Get a life,” per William Shatner. The person probably even thought it was funny, because as my dad would say, there’s always someone who’d laugh at a rubber crutch, too. The truth is, we do have lives. We have jobs and classes and families and pets as well as our fandom-related hobbies. What’s more, because fandom acts as a large, loosely-knit community, we can spread information and gather help with just a quick post or email, and when that particular power is turned towards helping others, we bring out something else the get-a-lifers don’t see: fandom’s unlimited capacity for giving. Continue reading “Giving Back, Fandom Style”

Constructing Criticism

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be dated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


 

Ah, fanfiction! That light in our otherwise dreary, colorless lives. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, if you clicked on this article, gentle reader, you are probably already well-versed in what fanfiction is. If not, this essay is perhaps not for you.

So you have just read the most wonderful, heart-pounding, well-crafted piece of fanfiction it has ever been your pleasure to open, and you’d like to leave a review. But where do you start? Is a simple “I loved this, please write more” sufficient? What if you didn’t find the story perfect, and you’d like to say so? And what if you are the fanfiction writer, opening a new review and wondering how to respond?

Dr. Merlin can help. Dr. Merlin has been there. Read on. Continue reading “Constructing Criticism”

The Outer Culture Is You

This was written by Merlin Missy in 2007. Some references may now be dated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


 

The current debate over on Metafandom is revolving around those semi-annual fannish topics of racism and sexism in fandom. These are important discussions to have, because as insular as we sometimes seem, fans and fandom are involved in and reflect the views of the wider culture. As we are debating (and re-debating) this, there is an important point that everyone needs to keep in mind. You, little fanthing, are part of and reflect the views and biases of the culture around you, and so am I.

Now, I can hear you already. You are a biracial, observantly Jewish, disabled lesbian with friends all over the racial, social and sexual orientation spectra. How can I accuse you of being biased? Continue reading “The Outer Culture Is You”