Aja

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Fan
Name: Aja, Aja Romano
Alias(es): vanityfair, bookshop, bnfshavemorefun, wayfairer, ningenfucker, topgallant, Darcy [1]
Type: fan writer
Fandoms: Good Omens, Gilmore Girls, Jane Austen, Kevin Spacey, Harry Potter, Prince of Tennis, Hikaru no Go, Inception
Communities:
Other:
URL: circa 2005 wayfairer LiveJournal;

circa 2009 Bookshop LiveJournal;

circa 2013 Bookshop LiveJournal page
AO3
notquiteroyal (fiction and essays)
Aja Romano (short professional and fannish bio)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Aja is a blogger and previously primarily a fanfic writer, most notably in the Harry Potter fandom. Being an active and vocal member of fandom, Aja participated and participates in many discussions and has at times been a contentious figure within fandom.

She was formerly a member of the group of Harry Potter BNFs some fans collectively referred to as "The Inner Circle". In the Harry Potter fandom, she co-moderated the mailing list Armchair Slash and was a frequent participator in Veela Inc..

Her primary ship in HP fandom was Harry/Draco. In later years she was more active in Hikaru no Go fandom, shipping Akira/Hikaru, and in Inception fandom, shipping Arthur/Eames.

Aja has participated or moderated a number of convention panels and other appearances involving fandom: the current listing is available on her tumblr.

Some Short Bios

From a 2003 bio statement in the Nimbus 2003 convention program book:
She joined the [Harry Potter] fandom a few months before the release of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"... While in the fandom, she has served as a Niffler for FictionAlley Park, and as a moderator for the Guns & Handcuffs web site, as well as the Yahoo!Group Draco_101. She owns the the fan fiction list Armchair_Slash and the discussion forums, as well as Nraged, the livejournal community for the discussion of the Nocturne_Alley rpg, of which she is also a member. She is perhaps best known for her opinions on the subject of Trilogy Slash. While not all that fond of the pairing in general, she admits that there is some slight merit to the idea of H/D in Draco Veritas.
A short autobiography (date unknown, sometime after 2010):

Aja (pronounced "Asia") is a writer, reviewer, web content editor, and fangeek. She has freelanced as a theatre/film reviewer, editor, and writer for a decade, as well as working with web design and CMS development firms and projects.

As a blogger, Aja's personal interests are primarily centered around fandom, fanfiction, women in pop culture, and progressive politics. Her political posts have been featured on Daily Kos and the Democratic Underground, and her posts on YA literature and fandom have been featured on Jezebel, Boing-Boing, and Salon. Selected works of her fanfiction have been taught in university and high school courses on fandom and fan culture. She has been a guest blogger for a variety of websites, including The Mary Sue, Manga Bookshelf and the Organization for Transformative Works, and has been a panel guest and moderator alongside professional writers and acafen including Henry Jenkins and Holly Black.[2][3]

An 2004 autobiography is at notquiteroyal.

Controversies

See below for details

As a Fan

Her livejournal (as Bookshop) was cited in Livejournal's 10-year-anniversary anthology as "an example of fandom at its best."[4]

Aja was a moderator and BNF in the Kevin Spacey fandom in late 1998/early 1999.[5]

As an H/D shipper, her notable contributions to Harry Potter fandom were the longstanding WIP Love Under Will[6] which was the base of the community Armchair Slash, a player in the RPG Nocturne Alley and creator of its fan community, NrAged, creator of The Eros Affair, an invite-only fic challenge that ran in 2005 and then opened for public contributions, and as co-mod of the original Big Bang challenge, Big Bang, Baby.

In July 2003, Aja made a friends-locked satirical post in diary format about her attempts to beat Ivy Blossom in gaining BNF status in HP fandom and befriending Cassandra Claire. According to Aja, that post was viewed by a third-party who hacked one of the filtered journals which had access to the locked account.[7] The post was then made public without Aja's consent, along with her real full name, which was attached to the post.[7][citation needed] Ivy Blossom interpreted parts of the clearly tongue-in-cheek post as a death threat, and announced plans to cancel her trip to fan convention Nimbus 2003, which was being held later that month.[8][9] Much discussion ensued.[10] This and other issues let to some infighting between members of The Inner Circle, a group of BNFs within Harry Potter fandom.[11]

In October 2003 Aja and Cassie Claire had a public falling out over numerous interpersonal tensions. According to Aja, they had already de-friended one another on LJ when they disagreed about whether Aja's story Twelfth Night was plagiarizing Cassie's story A Season in Hell.[7] Cassie accused her of passing around spoilers for future plot points of Claire's Draco Veritas.[12][13][14]

In April 2006, Aja announced that she was leaving Harry Potter fandom for the Prince of Tennis.[15] A few months later, Aja hosted an anon-meme, but later deleted it due to concerns that it had become too mean,[7] and also IP addresses of posters could be determined. Some people were unhappy and/or amused about it.[16][17]

In the wake of Strikethrough in 2007, Aja demonstrated her repudiation of Livejournal by burning a LJ t-shirt on video.[18] However, the t-shirt was robust, and therefore very difficult to ignite.[19] Many viewers were amused.[20][21][22] The original video is no longer on YouTube, but the remix edition (using Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love") is still viewable here. This is thought to be the first Video Flounce. See Burning a T-Shirt. Despite intentions not to post fic to LJ anymore, Aja returned a few months later under the pseudonym ningenfucker to post A Tithe To Hell saying she couldn't format it properly anywhere else.[23]

In July 2009, she accused another Hikaru no Go fan of plagiarism[24] but there was disagreement in fandom about the evidence and whether it supported the plagiarism claim.[25] The accused plagiarist deleted her livejournal and fic and never responded to the accusation.[7][citation needed]

In January 2010, Aja opined in a post which a nonny described as "flail[ing] and self-flagellat[ing]"[26] about feeling marginalized within slash fandom for appreciating female characters because "I feel like I can't legitimately talk about how much I love certain female characters, because [...], it's seen as just trying to politely include the women for the sake of political correctness." [27] but then a week later likened writing/valuing female characters to eating one's vegetables and thus creating the fandom phrase "eating your veggies".[28]

Aja volunteered for the Organization for Transformative Works during the OTW 2011 Board Election wank and joined the Development & Membership committee. She quit in 2014, citing bullying by a Board member.[29] FFA gossiped about it here and discussed wider structural issues in the OTW that would lead to bullying.

In 2017 Aja and earlgreytea68 started a project/series known as Shenanigans Universe. Shenanigans is an experimental original fiction series which consists of multiples works that all feature the same cast of original characters, with all the works being a separate stories in various alternate universes. "Basically, we set out to write canon, and we ended up just writing a bunch of fic. For a non-existent canon. There is no canon. The author is dead. Have at it."[30] Aja and earlgreytea68 co-wrote some of the stories and wrote others alone. All the works were published on AO3. The writers invited any fans of the series to write their own works, which would be considered an extension of the Shenanigans universe. The tag "Shenanigans (Original Universe)" used for the series was synned to AO3's Original Work tag.

In 2018 Aja, collaborating with EarlGreyTea68, released Kaleidotrope, an audio drama rom-com podcast based on fanfiction and romance tropes.

Timeline of Primary Fandoms:

Other fandoms she has written fic or meta for include K-pop, J-pop, Bones, Death Note, Die Hard, Good Omens, Merlin, Nobuta wo Produce, Dresden Files, and SGA.

Example Fanworks

Fanfiction:

As a Journalist

Aja's professional career as a writer on fan issues has provoked many different reactions from fans, not all of them positive. Aja has frequently been a topic of discussion on anonymous community Fail-Fandomanon: a full run-down can be found at the FFA wiki.

In 2011, Aja began writing for geek feminist website The Mary Sue about fandom and other areas of interest to fans. In 2012, she was hired to write for the Daily Dot as a "fandom reporter." Aja has professional experience as a journalist; however, her Daily Dot position drew more on her previous experience and writing about fandom than her previous professional work. Also in 2012, she began a column for Manga Bookshelf and was hired as a rotating columnist for AfterElton's new column on slash fandom, "The Shipping News." In April 2016, Aja co-founded a fandom marketing consulting company, Fanspeak Interactive.[31] In April 2016, she started to work for Vox as a culture reporter.[32]

In December 2012, she announced her intention to write an article on Hockey RPF fandom. This was not greeted with enthusiasm by fandom members, who objected both to the wider exposure and to Aja herself. For a full run-down of events see Hockey RPF and the Fourth Wall. The debate reopened in October 2013 when Aja pointed to an article published about hockey fic as an example of why fandom stories should be written by people in fandom.[33]

In February 2015, Aja published an article on notorious fandom member Andy Blake (aka Thanfiction, Amy Player, Victoria Bitter, Jordan Wood, etc.). Many fandom people found the article to be overly sympathetic to Blake, whose checkered past includes documented fraud and theft, as well as brainwash and abuse of other people. The article and the events that followed provoked a highly negative reaction from the individuals interviewed for the article, and fandom at large.

On 11 March 2015, Vulture.com published an article on fanfiction, It's a Fanmade World. The multipart article included A Fanfiction Syllabus: "Ten classics that cover the history, breadth, and depth of the form, with original custom-designed covers"; Aja Romano is credited as one of the consultants. Many fans criticized the list for being overwhelmingly white, male, and slash-focused. While it was acknowledged that Aja was not the author of the article and did not bear full responsibility for the lack of diversity, Aja's presence as a consultant on the article and as a prominent member of fandom (and reporter thereof) meant that she received a lot of attention following the publication of the article and was a focal point of the discussion that ensued. Aja responded to the criticism here[34] and here[35]

Interviews

Meta

The Daily Dot: Some Essays/Meta

Aja began writing for The Daily Dot where her position there drew more on her previous experience and writing about fandom than her previous professional work.

Aja's byline at The Daily Dot includes all articles she wrote for the publication. Some sample articles about fandom written by Aja include:

Years In Review

Teen Wolf

General Slash

Basic Fan Primers

50 Shades of Grey/FanFic Going Pro

Sherlock

KPop

Supernatural

Yuletide

Interactions With TPTB/The Fourth Wall

Tumblr

Fandom Meta

See also

References

  1. ^ She mentions "Darcy" in Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Bookshop.
  2. ^ "About". 
  3. ^ A November 2004 autobiography is here
  4. ^ bookshop. Evernight! + LJ + Whip It. Posted October 9, 2009. (Accessed July 22, 2010.)
  5. ^ Back in the day, I was a member of the Kevin Spacey fandom. Yes, Kevin Spacey has a fandom., bnfshavemorefun, June 24, 2004
  6. ^ sulky_rhino. Poll: Harry/Draco Fandom Classics - Results. Posted September 18, 2007. (Accessed July 22, 2010.)
  7. ^ a b c d e "Bookshop's Fanlore edits". 
  8. ^ Fandom Wank Wiki; The Very Secret Diary Of Aja, via Wayback: 14 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  9. ^ Referenced by Aja in 2004 at Back in the day, I was a member of the Kevin Spacey fandom. Yes, Kevin Spacey has a fandom.
  10. ^ kitty_tahin in fandom_wank: Since there was a request below, the links to the latest HP wank, 08 July 2003. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  11. ^ Fandom Wank Wiki. Wherein Cassie's Good Name Is Besmirched via Wayback: 19 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  12. ^ Aja. Me & CC; or, BNFs do not have more fun, 16 June 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  13. ^ Fandom Wank Wiki. You Plagiarist! Only Cassie Can Write Intellislash! - Fandom wank wiki, Archived version (2005-2007) via Wayback: 15 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  14. ^ Those Damned HP Plagiarists, Archived version October 20, 2003
  15. ^ narcissam in fandom_wank: The End of the Inner Circle Wank?, 26 April 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  16. ^ snacky in fandom_wank: Oh look! It's time for anonymeme wank! Or, "It's about grief.", 23 August 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  17. ^ Fandom Wank Wiki. Farewell, Panda Porn..., via Wayback: 06 February 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  18. ^ hearsawho. Transcript of the video, 04 August 2007. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  19. ^ Fandom Wank Wiki. The T-Shirt is Robust, via Wayback: 05 September 2011. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  20. ^ Discussion thread in fandom_wank: Strikethrough Two: Electric Boogaloo - Apologies for trolling but ..., archived, 04 August 2007. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  21. ^ A latter-day anon commentator wrote in fail_fandomanon: "I will never get over that. The fact that the t-shirt didn't light on fire at all, that it was horribly planned out in case it did light on fire (just sitting on her couch holding it with her arm??), and then that she still posted the unedited video online. Wow. Amazing." Re: Aja and Andy, 11 March 2015. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
  22. ^ from a fan in 2014: "Oh my god I forgot about the attempt to burn a shirt. What beautiful fuckery that was." from All this leaving tumblr talk is making me hark back to the LJ days of old, man oh man.
  23. ^ bookshop. my modus operandi is amalgam, 31 December 2007 (accessed 2 February 2017).
  24. ^ bookshop. Plagiarism alert!, 28 July 2009. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  25. ^ ladyofviolets in fandom_wank: You're a plagiarist becase *I SAY SO*!, 30 July 2009. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  26. ^ Nonny in fail_fandomanon: Re: Wank Repository, 12 March 2015. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  27. ^ bookshop.The flip side. ("Pickering, why can't a woman be more like a man?"), 13 January 2010. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  28. ^ bookshop. 1. Subtext. 2. Fandom misogyny. 3. coverfail., 22 January 2010. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  29. ^ Aja Romano on Twitter: "I've just resigned my staffer position with the OTW citing what I feel has been sustained hostility and bullying by a member of the board.", 2 Oct 2014
  30. ^ Introducing: Shenanigans by Aja, earlgreytea68 (2017-08-10)
  31. ^ Otaku Journalist. How to turn your fandom interests into a business. Posted April 19, 2016. (Accessed April 20, 2016.)
  32. ^ "It's Aja! I'm a web culture reporter for Vox, and a writer/editor/fandom consultant." -- Bookshop Tumblr
  33. ^ fail_fandomanon. Aja v. Hockey Fandom, Round 2 (3? 4?), 10 October 2013. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
  34. ^ Posted to tumblr on March 12, 2015 with 275 notes as of 11 April 2016. archived
  35. ^ Posted to tumblr on March 14, 2015 with 19 notes as of 11 April 2016. archived.