Slashcast Insider Interview with Michelle (Sfiddy)

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Insider Interview with Michelle (Sfiddy)
Interviewer: wook77
Interviewee: Michelle (Sfiddy)
Date(s): April 1, 2013
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Twilight
External Links: online here; WebCite
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Slashcast Insider Interview with Michelle (Sfiddy) is a podcast posted to Slashcast.

The interviewer is wook77, the interviewee is Michelle (Sfiddy).

Some Topics Discussed

The Interview Series

See Slashcast Insider Interview Series.


Well, it was funny because, er, you know I look back and I’ve had the fandom gene for most of my life. I used to read the Star Trek: Next Generation books when I was in Junior High and I even went to a couple of conventions. So right around the time my first born- whose name is Jacob, and you can so give me as much crap about that as you want [Emma laughs], it was after he was born that I read Twilight, so you can’t get me there – so he was about eighteen months old when he would actually sleep for more than three hours at a time, and I realised that I had more than fifteen minutes of free time in an evening, so... I know! And I thought ‘my god there’s a hole in my day and I didn’t know what to do with myself’. So, everybody I knew had been reading Twilight and could not shut up about it. So, erm, I gave into the demons and bought the damn book, hated myself, bought the second book, hated myself even more, bought the third damn book [Emma laughs] and by that point you’re so emotionally invested in the absolute fuckery that is this series that you have to buy the fourth book just to find out what in the hell is gonna happen. [Emma laughs] And by that point, I mean of course I like to give the author the benefit of the doubt because it is their baby, it is their creation, and so I’m buying the Edward/Bella pairing up to this point though it is cringeworthy. If you don’t know there’s three doorstop sized books full of unresolved sexual tension, resulting in a fade to black on a privately owned island. Let me just say, I’m a big girl, full grown woman, this was very unsatisfying....And I came across a story called Warmth, which is considered, kind of, one of the biggest honeymoon scene fanfictions, read it, was impressed because I think it was written better than the Twilight series itself, and just sort of started to find my way through the web of fandom until I wound up at a website called, started just perusing and, er, yeah, that’s kind of how ended up here. God help me.
And we call it Meyer-voice because nobody writes like this except her. I don’t know... where did this come from? But it’s like putting on a corset of bad introspection, dialogue tags, and then strangling your liver with it. [Emma laughing] I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s such tortured prose, you like stick a dialogue tag everywhere, she does not let dialogue stand on its own ever. The villains aren’t really that villainous in the end. They’re just sort of having an ice cream social, you know? They just kind of get together, they’re kind of creepy and then they go away. Um, and I think that everyone can probably identify with this it’s Mary Sue, Mary Sue, Mary Sue, Mary Sue twenty four hours a day, Mary Sue. [Emma laughs] And somebody commented to me the other night that Mary Sue is not about what the character does, it’s how the author thinks about them.... And I think that was a very perceptive thing to note, because yes, it’s about what they do. If you haven’t read Twilight, and I assume most of your listenership either hasn’t, or won’t admit it – which is fine –, I don’t even own the books any more, they’re not even in my house.
Fifty Shades of Grey is absolutely not the first time this has happened. In fact when I joined the fandom, I want to say either one had already, or was about to be published. Again created their own publishing house called Omnific, and it’s not a vanity press either, its, um, they do pay, you don’t have to pay to have your stuff published. And also The Writer’s Coffee Shop, are probably the two biggest ones that handle sort of the first stage of, you know, sort of swapping out terminology, certain identifying words and phrases and names, in order to take a fanfiction to an ‘original fiction’, quote-unquote. And I have to say that I think that Twilight is sort of unique, like I mentioned earlier, in that we don’t really have characters we have stereotypes, so it’s easy to pluck those stereotypes out of the context and then what has happened a lot is what we call AUAHOOC, the Alternate Universe, All Human, OOC fic, which at that point it’s debatable if you’re even writing fanfiction any more. A lot of times, even when you do that, they’ll still maintain pieces of the charactered archetype, and maintain that as part of their narrative. It’s, er, it’s a tricky issue I think and it’s probably one of the most, it’s the hottest topic right now in Twilight fanfiction. I understand that some of this has happened with the Harry Potter series, but certainly not to the extent that it’s happened here. This has been an all-consuming issue for us lately.
Right, and it’s not only the feedback you get when you post a chapter as a [ WIP ]. Think about the time that if you, you know, if had a beta. What about the time your beta and your pre-readers put into it? And if you weren’t up front with whole idea that, ‘Hey I’m just test marketing my book’, is that fair? Are you putting, you know, on the book cover, you know? Yeah. It’s- Not only that, I mean, there’s legality issues. In fact there’s a recent post on a website called, where they took text from the book Fifty Shades of Grey, next to the original fanfiction, which was called Master of the Universe, and I actually started reading it back when it was about ten chapters in, erm so I actually read it as it was being posted. And, erm. So they took these two texts and put them next to each other in a programme, I guess it’s called Turn It In. Erm...

Right, so it’s a plagiarism check for college term papers. They found they were 89% the same. [Emma makes a noise of understanding] So, I want say that- The author E.L. James just signed a deal with Random House here in the States. She’s currently only published in paper form – well, I think she got picked up by The Writer’s Coffee shop, then she was picked by a publishing house based out of the UK, and now she’s crossed the pond here, to be picked up by Random House. So this was a massive deal that happened, I think, last weekend? You know there’s mounting criticism about this whether you agree or not, whatever. But Random House actually sent out this rather defensive letter to the public saying that this is an original work. And, sort of, the troll element out there took the two and put them next to each other and said, you know, if you turned this in as a term paper in college you’d get expelled for plagiarism. And I guess the issue here is that because it was originally posted as fanfiction, and I think the heart of fanfiction is the fact that that - either because you’re doing it out of love, or because you want to fix it, or whatever, - you’re doing it in respect to the original work...

And you cannot take any payment for it in any way, shape, or form. You know the only payment we get is reviews, we like to say, of course... And now the question is if you originally posted this – and the internet is forever – if you originally posted this without being paid, can you now be paid for it, though you changed the names? So, yeah. It’s a legal grey area and there’s actually, there’s actually new websites that give advice on how to file the numbers off your fanfiction to, er, get it published. Yeah, there’s a lot of mixed feelings out there. And some are arguing that it’s going to kill the fandom, and I don’t think that’s really going to happen, because there’s only a portion of the fandom that’s going to get tied up in this and the rest of us just don’t give a damn. Even in the fen that does go along is probably going to self destruct because they keep getting tied up in the idea of getting published that, I think, they’re wandering away anyway. And sadly right now, I think among sort of the big name authors there’s an attitude that if you’re not trying to get published that ‘why are you writing at all?’