Del Floria's Interview with Tafizgurl

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Del Floria's Interview with Tafizgurl
Interviewer: Del Floria (Live Journal)
Interviewee: Tafizgurl
Date(s): April 13, 2014
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Man from U.N.C.L.E.
External Links: interview is here; Archive
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Del Floria's Interview with Tafizgurl is an interview with a Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan.

It is part of a series at Del Floria's. See Del Floria's Interview Series.


How would you respond to a critic who says, “Oh, you work fan fiction. It’s not real.”

1. “I know it’s not real; that’s why they call it fiction.”

2. “Tell that to Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, Alan Dean Foster, Timothy Zahn, D.C. Fontana, Naomi Navik, Mercedes Lackey and the dozens of other professional writers who got their start -- or are currently making small fortunes -- in fan fiction.”

3. “Have you been to a bookstore lately? Have you see all the Star Trek books? The Star Wars books? The Dragonlance books? What about the proliferation of Sherlock Holmes pastiches? It’s all fan fiction, and it’s a billion dollar business.”
What do you say to someone who approaches you about the Beta process? Are you encouraging or initially discouraging until you decide his or her level of commitment? I warn them that I am not a nice person when I Beta. I don’t pull any punches; if I think a story sucks, I’ll tell you so in just that many words. I’m ruthless about technicalities (grammar, spelling, punctuation), and I’ll rearrange words just because I think it sounds better. I’m a stickler for timelines. I make snarky comments. If I think someone is acting out of character, I’ll call you on it. That said, if you are truly committed to making your work a better story, if you are willing to learn from your mistakes, I’ll work with you as much as you like.
What do you consider the most frequent mistake new writers make and why do you consider it so? Self-insertion. Much of the time I won’t finish a MFU story with an original female character, because it’s so very often a Mary Sue. That said, there are some excellent stories out there with OFC’s (The Drunken Bet Affair comes to mind), but I think it’s really difficult for your first story not to be a Mary Sue. We all want to be a part of the Boys’ lives, and since fan fiction is the only way we can be…
If you could do it over, what one story would you erase from the time continuum… and why? I’m not going to name names, but I Beta’d a story for one writer that I’d never touch again. I won’t even read anything else they write. It was a very long story, and I sweat blood over it. I corrected grammar and spelling (and that writer’s technical skills were extremely lacking). I explained most, if not all, of my corrections. (Most of the time my writers just accept that I know what I’m talking about when I say “comma splice” and move along, but this person obviously didn’t have a basic grounding in grammar.) I wrote pages about why I didn’t think certain characters were acting in characters, and why Mr. Waverly would never have done what the author had him doing. I researched the setting to make sure the place names were correct. I explained why the nickname they’d given one character didn’t conform to the way Russian nicknames are formed. When I finished, I sent back the marked up manuscript and my five or six page letter of comments. Their response was to tell me that they wrote for their own pleasure and so they’d just post it the way they had it.