You Mean Everyone Brought Potato Salad?

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 Some references may now be outdated but the general advice is very good.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


Knowing What Your Audience Is Bringing to the Table Is Half the Battle

Some months ago, my children were on a playdate at a friend’s house, which is to say, the kids were playing with toys in the living room and we were hiding in the kitchen drinking coffee and chatting about fandom. (I love having fannish friends in real life!) As my friend’s fandom at the time was Harry Potter, and her favorite subject at the time was why Harry and Ginny should under no circumstances be a couple, our conversation drifted to the current discussions on Fiction Alley Park about the pitfalls of the H/G pairing. My friend asserted that Rowling was demonstrating her lack of real-world knowledge, because the Guy Code [TM] said: Continue reading “You Mean Everyone Brought Potato Salad?”

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Dr. Merlin’s Guide to Fanfic

This was originally written by Merlin Missy in 1996 and posted to Firefox News in 2007. Some references are now dated but the general advice is very good. It is used with permission. — Cygnet


Hi there. So you want to write fan fiction. Maybe you’ve already written a story or two, posted them to the appropriate newsgroups, and have received feedback, mostly positive. If so, you’re probably feeling pretty good, and thinking to yourself, “I shouldn’t be reading this. I already know how to write this stuff, and it’s easy.” Who knows? Maybe you honestly don’t need it. Continue reading “Dr. Merlin’s Guide to Fanfic”

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 Some references may now be outdated but the general advice is very good.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”

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”

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”

Mary Sue, Who Are You?

Throughout fanfiction, there is no character so reviled and yet so pervasive as the Mary Sue.

This post was originally written by Merlin Missy in 2007. It is used with permission.


Throughout fanfiction, there is no character so reviled and yet so pervasive as the Mary Sue. Continue reading “Mary Sue, Who Are You?”