Cascade Library Interview with T. Verano

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Cascade Library Interview with T. Verano
Interviewer: Cascade Library
Interviewee: T. Verano
Date(s): April 6, 2009
Medium: online
Fandom(s): The Sentinel
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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In 2009, T. Verano was interviewed for Cascade Library.

Some Excerpts

I do use a pen name, yes (and only one). In RL I often use T as my signature, and it's the name I use to refer to myself inside my own head, so it's not the 'pennest' part of my TS name. "Verano" I chose because it means "summer" in Spanish (which I'm totally not fluent in, but is such a lovely language) -- summer is the season closest to my heart, for many reasons. Why a pen name? As far as RL-meets-fannishness is concerned, I'm pretty fond of staying in the closet. :-)
I remember watching the show when it was originally aired -- and falling like a ton of bricks for the guys -- but for some reason now lost in the mists of time I only saw a handful of the episodes. Then I totally forgot about it again until I stumbled on some fanfic accidentally three years ago or so... At the time I started writing, I'd been reading in TS for about six months -- rapaciously, and with great joy and an immense amount of gratitude for every one of the writers out there who'd shared their take on TS, shared their souls.

I started writing fanfic out of curiosity, mostly. I'd known since a regrettable incident in the ninth grade that I wasn't a writer and never would be, so it wasn't particularly optimistic curiosity. But I couldn't help myself -- fanfic writers are pretty inspiring, you know?

And fanfic is a fabulous place to give your writing curiosity free rein -- you don't have to invent the characters or the setting, and you've got tons of backstory. And hey, if it works out okay, you'll have a new fic to read yourself, whether you end up posting it anywhere or not.
When I started writing I didn't know anybody in TS at all and was way too diffident to ask somebody I didn't know to beta my fic. Now I've had three extremely dear and helpful people who've beta'ed things for me (Jane Davitt, Laurie, and JadeBear), and not having one of my fics beta'ed would feel like I was cheating the fic -- it's so easy for me to get way too caught up in my own patterns of hearing and expressing and thinking about things, and a fresh pair of eyes is totally invaluable. The fic always ends up being better and I always end up learning something new about writing.

I don't always get a beta for really short and informal stuff, though, but that's not because I don't know it would be far bettter to have whatever it is beta'ed; it's more just not wanting to take anybody's time for something that's just a short and informal nothing thing.

Posting -- oh, that's tough, knowing when to post. I usually post before I should -- ten minutes after I post I almost always have my head buried in my hands, having a sudden and crummily belated attack of clarity about all the things I could've written better.

But overall, I post when I've gone through a fic obsessively so many times that I can virtually recite it word for word and I've gotten to a place where I think I've got it as close to what I'd like for it to be as I can get it, and suddenly I can't stand not kicking it out of the nest for even ONE MORE MINUTE -- it's like a fever at that point. I give in to it too soon and then I regret it; that seems to be the immutable pattern.
I tend to be negative about aspects of a fic [of my own] or about particular bits more than about the fic as a whole (probably because I'm an up-close reader and writer and not good at the big picture). I could go fic-by-fic with you and point out all the parts where I could have written something way more smoothly or articulately or intelligently or interestingly. Or with fewer unnecessarily italicized words. :-)

Would I like to revise the things that make me flinch with embarrassment now? Yes and no. I'd definitely love for the fics to be better in every way and maybe someday I'll think about polishing them further, if and when I ever have enough time to do that. But what if what I end up polishing away is something somebody likes? That doesn't seem fair to me, exactly.

Okay, that's not what I mean -- it's not unfair, and I know I can revise if I choose to, and many writers do revise fics. And I think that's totally cool and I absolutely never think of it as being unfair in even the slightest way when anybody else revises a fic. It's just a personal weirdness that applies only to my own stuff; I'd have to wrestle with myself that it's okay to get a do-over, really it is, and that I don't have to live with my mistakes.
I kinda suspect all writers love to get feedback. Not just writers, but anybody who creates something and shares it, or who shares some part of themselves in some way; knowing that what you've sent out into the wide world is making a connection with somebody in some manner -- most people need a little of that, I think?

And feedback and concrit can be really valuable; I know I've got a heck of a lot to learn about writing (and I hope I never stop learning), and hearing what people like or don't like about a fic, what works for them or doesn't work -- all of that can really help.

But now that I've said that, I also need to say that I have complete empathy with not sending feedback even if you want to marry a story and have its children, you're so in love with it. I'm in that particular space myself right now, thanks to a long and still ongoing stretch of time- and stress-challenged RL. And when I first started reading fanfic, I absolutely could not believe that a writer would want to hear from me -- what could I say; how could I say it; would I be bothering them? And whether somebody has those reasons or other reasons or no reasons at all for not sending feedback is totally understandable to me. Getting feedback is sort of a bonus kind of a thing, something that I appreciate immensely, but receiving it or not receiving is something I'm cool with either way. Whatever works for people, whenever it works, if it works. No worries. :-)