A Diary Fan Discovers Blogs and LJs

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Title: A Diary Fan Discovers Blogs and LJs
Creator: Shomeret
Date(s): April 30, 2002
Medium: online
Topic: Fan Fiction, Live Journal
External Links: A Diary Fan Discovers Blogs and LJs/WebCite
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A Diary Fan Discovers Blogs and LJs is an essay by Shomeret.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


In the middle of the spectrum is a fannish institution called the perzine. This is short for personal fanzine. I quickly discovered perzines when I became active in science fiction fandom during the seventies. They remain the most popular type of zine among literary (non-media) science fiction fans. Perzines include journal entries, essays and reviews all by one person. They also have a letters column commenting on the zine. The letters are selected and edited. There is usually a lengthy WAHF (We Also Heard From) list at the end of the letter column mentioning the names of those whose letters weren't selected for publication. So unlike the commonplace book, there is selectivity in a perzine. The author has an intended audience. Perzines can be as public as the author wishes. Some have a mailing list of hundreds of people while others are sent to a few personal friends of the author. The largest circulation perzines are often sent to publishers in order to garner review copies of books. Many Blogs and LJs seem very much like a perzine. The authors are conscious of an audience ,and their writing is much more polished than in those Blogs and LJs that resemble a commonplace book.
Some might feel that calling a Blog or LJ boring is a personal attack. After all, the subject of the Blog/LJ is the author. So saying that a writer's Blog is boring may seem akin to making a similar judgment about the individual. Yet it's really the manner of presentation that is being judged. If a writer intends a Blog/LJ to be read by others, selectivity and emotional insight will enhance the material. The commonplace book mode of presentation is chaotic. It resembles preliminary notes toward a fanfic which includes notes on plot, character, bits of dialogue and research all jumbled together. These notes are a resource that can be mined in order to produce the story, but they are not the final product. The best diaries are like the best fiction. They have continuity and focus while still representing the author's unique perspective. I am sure that the Blogs/LJs that I have read on the internet will change and evolve as their authors do. Just as my diary went from the theraputic prop of my adolescence to the helter skelter commonplace book of my early twenties, Blogs/LJs may reflect the author's needs at different stages of their lives. I will continue to observe the phenomenon with interest because I will always remain a diary fan.