Paula Block

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Fan
Name: Paula Block (Paula M. Block)
Alias(es): Po, Poblocki
Type:
Fandoms: Star Wars, Star Trek, Hill Street Blues
Communities:
Other:
URL:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Paula Block is a Star Trek: TOS and Star Wars fiction writer and fan.

She joined Paramount/Viacom in their Licensing Department and was involved in the approval of all Paramount licensed products, including Star Trek pro novels, Next Generation Magazines, Star Trek comic books and gaming manuals. [1] Block was one of the editors of the series of pro-fanfic Trek books, Strange New Worlds.

In 1982, she was nominated for a FanQ award and submitted the following bio to The Annual Fan Q Awards Nominations Booklet:
"...Paula's been in fandom since 1974, when Lori Chapek-Carleton introduced her to its joys at Michigan State University. A hard-core media fan, from Trek to Hill Street Blues, Paula's favorite literary past-time is penning Star Wars novellas, and this year finds herself in the uncomfortable position of being nominated for co-authoring two of the Fan Q "favorite long stories: "Continuator" with Jackie Paciello, and "Satisfaction Guaranteed" with Judi Hendricks. Paula's works have cluttered the pages of zines such as INTERPHASE, MENAGERIE, WARPED SPACE, SKYWALKER, PEGASUS and her own SYNDIZINE (she has to get contributions somewhere, she says). She co-edits the ever-growing zine PEGASUS with Judi Hendricks and Jackie Paciello and obtained her first driver's license in October."

Some 1979 Comments by Block

When a new fan wrote to Warped Space (where Block was a frequent contributor) to complain about the tendency of fans to be overly critical about each others' fanworks, Block had this to say:

I will respond to your letter as a writer, not just as a fellow fan —

By your own admission you are what is known in fandom as a 'nouveau Trek', and I think this is the main reason for your, ah, "frozen intestines". You are too new to the scene to realize that what all the nitpicking and "fault-finding" which you find so detestable amongst fen spawns not a massive army of cold-hearted critics but a number of very talented writers.

True, fandom was not a profession in the "golden days" of Trek — but it is very much a profession now, gaining more respectability every day. Fandom (and good strong constructive criticism — which is the aspiring writer's best and truest friend) has made legitimately published writers of such fans as Connie Faddis, Paula Smith, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and with all humbleness, myself. If I had not listened carefully to all the good and bad comments I've had on my fan writing, my writing would never have attained the polish it now has. Fandom is the writer's training ground. Nowhere else does an amateur have the opportunity to be read by so many different people with so many different opinions to voice. Of course some of them hurt, but a person who really wants to write must learn to adapt, to not take criticism personally, to evaluate all suggestions. You are responding in your letter as a reader, rather than a writer, and a rather inexperienced reader at that. You would not be enjoying the Trek literature you are currently reading nearly so much if it were still the pap that much of early fan literature started out as. (And I don't deny that I was one of those early pap writers — just pick up an old copy of WARPED SPACE and you'll see what I mean.)

...

Just wanted to explain that the definition of criticism is not, as you seem to believe, "some nasty things about something," but "an analysis of qualities and evaluation of comparative worth," and it is a most valuable commodity, even if WARPED SPACE isn't Esquire.[2]

Some 2017 Comments by Block

In 2017, Block commented on her editing vs writing:

Paula Block: [Creating the zine Syndizine] was fun. I learned a lot about being an editor, like, there’s such a thing as over editing, you know, and that was about the time when I decided---I originally planned to teach college-level writing, and I discovered that I have too much of a habit of rewriting people rather than telling them what they should do instead, and that was the first place that I ran into that problem. When I was the editor of Syndizine, I would start rewriting people’s stories, and they would get annoyed, and I realized at once that they were right. I said, “Okay. I’m sorry. I apologize.”

Megan Genovese: You’re a writer, not an editor.

P: I am, yeah. That was when I decided that I’d better devote my life to writing and not editing, you know.

M: You became an editor professionally.

P: I did, but I had some pretty strict rules about what I could change and what I couldn’t. I was looking for certain things, like, when I worked for Paramount, I was reviewing Star Trek fictions, and mostly, my job was just to make sure that it didn’t go off the track, that the characters weren’t doing things that they wouldn’t do in a Star Trek episode. So it wasn’t really my business whether they used too many conjunctions or fragment sentences or anything like that. My business was to just make sure that the characterizations were right, and that they weren’t making the characters do anything stupid. So, that was good because as long as I had these boundaries up, I was a good editor. (laughs)

M: If it’s your own zine, you have to make the rules for yourself.

P: Yeah, yeah. Otherwise I end up rewriting stuff, you know, and saying, “Oh God, this would sound so much better if you used this phrase instead of that phrase!” I’m better off just doing my own writing then. [3]

Interviews

Art and Photos

References

  1. ^ from Starland ad in Datazine #56
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "Warped Space" #40
  3. ^ Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Paula Block