Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Fanfiction. I have been pondering over it. Is it something good? Or is it painful painful stuff that the original authors would tear their hair out over, wondering how on earth anyone interpreted their characters this way?

On the negative side: It is super-depressing to read when someone writes something that kills all the nice characters off or kills them figuratively, exchanging them for some sex addict/psycho feminist/other such exaggeration of character. I am thinking here of Harry Potter and Jane Austen fanfiction, the only two types I've really read much of. For example, I once read the first chapter of a Harry Potter-based fanfic in which Ron Weasley was secretly in love with Harry. How depressing and pathetic is that? Or once there was a Pride and Prejudice fanfic I read that killed Jane Bennet off two weeks after her marriage (leukaemia, apparently). What a waste of time. It is also annoying when people copy out huge chunks of the author's own writing when they cover the same events. Apart from probably being illegal, it is very uncreative and immediately stands out as a different style of writing from your own. ALSO (and let this be known), I am SICK of "modern retellings" of Pride and Prejudice, starring "Will Darcy" and "Liz Bennet", set in some American town or college.

Also, if one actually wants to be a writer in one's own right, I have a sneaking suspicion that spending all one's time on writing stories based on other people's characters is perhaps not the best way to go about getting your own stories published.

However, on the positive side: Fanfiction can, on occasion, be really good, and really fun to read. Let's face it, when my favourite author died almost 200 years ago and only wrote six novels... I crave more! This doesn't mean when I visit a site like Fanfiction, I expect to find works of genius that sound like Jane Austen has been resurrected. However, I do hope that someone out there who is an intelligent Jane Austen fan has had fun creating a sideline story with an original idea. I especially like it when they obviously have their own highly developed style yet somehow the characters seem like they should be, with very little effort.

Fanfiction is also very fun to write. You can do it to gratify your own whims about what you think happened to the characters. This doesn't mean you have a moral right to misuse the characters to push your own agendas or write trashy smutfics. It does mean you can follow where your creative instinct takes you without constantly thinking "is this publishable?" It is also very good practice. A lot of the hard work of thinking up a plot is taken away and you can concentrate on developing a plot and writing it well. I had never written a longish story that finished before I had a go at fanfiction. My first was absolutely terrible; they got better gradually as I went. As I've written a few more, I've realised I prefer fanfics that have only an obscure connection with the original story. Maybe they have one character in common, the character who sparked the idea, and this character may be seen only a small amount. This is seen as a bad thing by many fanfiction fans, I understand, but I quite like it.

Sooo, in conclusion (!): Fanfiction is horrible. Fanfiction is great. I could say anything I liked about it and it would probably be true. It is annoying sometimes, yes, but I think it's worth having.

Photo: in the park near my house, on Sundays they have miniature trains that old men run around these tracks and children ride on. They're pretty cool.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

hollywood here I come

This evening at youth group we are going to be making movies! What fun. We'll be splitting into two teams, one doing a Tragedy and one a Romance. The way I've planned it, I've got six different categories they'll be given (Hero, Heroine, Problem, Setting, Props, Line) and they'll pick an option out of a hat for each, so as to get a nice random plot! These are the options I've thought of:

-a hitman
-a funeral director
-a very romantic poet
-a cowboy
-an Australian crocodile hunter

-a supermodel
-an air hostess with a twitchy eye
-a fortune teller
-a dental nurse
-an Italian opera singer who doesn't speak much English
-a scientist who has just discovered a dangerous chemical that terrorists want

-aliens kidnap one of them
-the world is about to end
-bubonic plague/bird flu/some other deadly disease
-their families are opposed to their love
-one has been arrested for a crime they didn't do

-on a beach in the moonlight
-a bar in the Wild West
-a cruise ship
-a desert island
-an airplane heading for Madagascar
-another planet

Props (of which they have to choose three, and for the Tragedy genre, one has to be a murder weapon)
-a photograph
-a clock
-a thermos
-a suitcase
-a torch
-a box of tissues
-a cushion
-an apple
-a doll
-a handkerchief
-a cellphone

Line (which they have to use somewhere in the movie)
-"My name is ____, you killed my father, prepare to die."
-"Go ahead, make my day."
-"Nooooooo! Why me, God, why me?!"
-"Luuuuuuke [or other such name]... I am your father..."
-"The day may come when men will faint in the face of the enemy, but it is not this day."

So yeah! I hope it works out. If everyone's feeling shy it won't work at all but if not it should be very funny.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

a saga of a mouse

My father, who enjoys writing little books to send to his grandchildren, has recently been inspired by my mouse woes. Here is the result. (I hope you can read it - if not, try clicking on it to get to a larger version.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

advance australia fair?

Okay, so here is my dilemma:

My sister has invited me to skip next semester at university, and go stay with them in Perth, Australia as a kind of nanny. She's having a baby in October and she's going to have to go back to work (as a doctor) pretty soon; understandably, she's not too keen to send a little four-month-old off to daycare every morning.

I find this idea velly, velly tempting, especially as I spend this week learning what the different manner of articulation, place of articulation, etc etc of different consonants are, panicking about the test, and wondering why I need to know this stuff and why I was ever crazy enough to do this course. Also, there's something quite nice about knowing I would get to look after my little niece/nephew whom I was wondering if I would even get to see before the end of next year.

Only problem: Kirstie, a girl at my church, and I have been organising a girls' kids club for our very needy neighbourhood, starting next year. Our church just doesn't have the huge reserves of man/woman power to run things like this and it's very likely it would get put off for six months if I wasn't around. Kirstie thinks I shouldn't go. This makes me feel very very guilty, because I really want to.

Ugh, decisions.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

study study study

I am having a novel experience. I am writing a History essay on whether the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was too harsh or too lenient. I am enjoying it. This has never happened before. I have found previous essays... interesting, revealing, enlightening, satisfying at the end. However, the huge amount of note-taking and getting-my-brain-around-it when I could be doing other things has always tipped the scales a little. This time, I still took lots of notes, but I am finding it so interesting.

It turns out that what we were taught about the Treaty in high school (that it was evil and harsh and caused WWII) is actually a little outdated. It isn't so black and white as I had thought before, and I think, because it is so controversial, that it makes it very very interesting. I was talking to a girl who's doing the same essay the other day who feels differently to me about it and it was so exciting having a big historical debate about something that is so crucial to twentieth century history and really quite relevant to today.

Plug: do History at uni. It's the best. English gets snobbish and postmodern, and Linguistics gets sciency and scary and hard. History is hard but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you're allowed to search for the truth.

Ooh ooh ooh! I got a job, and it's exactly what I've been looking for! I am very happy about it. It's with a language school in town. I will be tutoring English as a second language to school students after school; very flexible hours, very good pay, VERY good experience as I would like to go overseas in a year or two and teach English. My new boss seems really nice and really helpful and I can't wait to get started.

The photo for today is one from a few weeks ago, but this time in sepia.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Alison Grace S-----'s Aliases

Your movie star name: Quesadillas Silas

Your fashion designer name is Alison Paris

Your socialite name is Fish Dublin

Your fly girl / guy name is A Ste

Your detective name is Wolf Middleton

Your barfly name is Banana Bitters

Your soap opera name is Grace Cashmere

Your rock star name is Snickers Cheetah

Your Star Wars name is Alimit Stemit

Your punk rock band name is The What The Heck Gherkin

Thursday, August 03, 2006

the animal kingdom

The mouse is now living in my bedroom. *scream!* I woke up in the middle of the night on Tuesday to hear scratching, turned on my light, and it was running across the floor. It must have got in my door during the day. I did not scream. Of that I am proud. Instead I took my pillow next door into the spare bedroom. Okay, so I'm a wimp... but of my sleep and my dignity, I prefer sleep.

The mouse trap sucks. It has gone off twice and failed to kill the mouse. This morning Dad looked in my door and couldn't see the trap and we decided the mouse must have got caught in it and dragged it off somewhere. Thank goodness the mouse wasn't caught; the trap had snapped shut and jumped out of sight. I would rather know the mouse is alive and well than alive and terrified and bleeding all over my room, poor little thing.

This is a story I will not be sharing with my niece Lydia. She is the most animal-obsessed girl I have ever met. She used to hit me if I killed mosquitoes - "How would you feel if you were one?" A few weeks ago she said to my sister, "Mum, when I grow up I'm going to translate the Bible into chimp." She would treat this as premeditated murder.

LATER UPDATE: The mouse is dead. Hooray!!!!