Witness: Baixue88

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Witness: Baixue88
Interviewee: Baixue88
Date(s): February 5, 2019
Medium: Tumblr post
Fandom(s): Mad Max
External Links: Interview responses
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In February 2019, the Tumblr community Mad Max Fanfic Awards (community) posted an interview with Baixue88, a Mad Max fanwork creator, as part of the Mad Max Fandom Creator Spotlight.[1]


Creator name (AO3): baixue88

Creator name (Tumblr): bai-xue-lives

Link to creator works: https://archiveofourown.org/users/baixue88/pseuds/baixue88

Creator name (other platform- please specify): bai-xue88 (DA); baixue1492 (twitter); bai_xue1492 (insta)

Q: Why the Mad Max Fandom?

A: I fell in love with the Mad Max universe when I saw Fury Road for the first time. Afterwards, I found that the movies had a strong, supportive, and dynamic community full of creative and intelligent people.

Q: What do you think are some defining aspects of your work? Do you have a style? Recurrent themes?

A: My visual art style has been described as a mix of Mucha, Botticelli, and anime. Generally, my (non-commissioned) paintings use religious and classical motifs in new contexts. My writing focuses on the delicacy and malleability of relationships between people. Recurrent themes include manipulation, abuse, and eroticism, as well as the strong friendships that can form between women. One of my greatest inspirations for all my written work is the novella Lust, Caution by Zhang Ailing. I am also deeply inspired by the poetry of Warsan Shire.

Q: Which of your works was the most fun to create? The most difficult? Which is your most popular? Most successful? Your favourite overall?

A: I’ve always had the most fun with commissions. Trying to capture a character or scene based on someone’s description is a great challenge. Painting, for me, is far more fun than writing, which is both more difficult and more rewarding. My fic, Such Things, was almost certainly the most difficult piece I’ve done, but also the most popular and successful. I think it’s also my favourite, simply because the difficulty of writing it increased the feeling of reward I felt afterwards.

Q: How do you like your wasteland? Gritty? Hopeful? Campy? Soft? Why?

A: Gritty and hopeful are one in the same to me. You can’t have hope without despair as its shadow - and there’s a lot of that in the Wastes. However, part of the beauty of the postapocalyptic genre is that it’s a celebration of life’s perseverance. To quote the incomparable Jeff Goldblum, “life finds a way,” and that’s beautiful.

Q: Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished product. What’s your prefered environment for creating? How do you get through rough patches?

A: Generally, if I come up with a longer writing idea, I write down a quick summary and individual chapter summaries, if any. I usually prefer to do my writing first in a notebook, and then transcribe it onto the computer. Lighting candles and incense and putting on the right music helps me get into the right headspace, too.

Q: What (if any) music do you listen to for help getting those creative juices flowing?

A: It depends! If I’m doing art, I usually put on a documentary. If I’m writing, I often create playlists for my stories. My playlists tend to involve a lot of female voices, which works, since most of my stories are from women’s perspectives.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a creator?

A: Finishing things! I have ADHD, so coming up with ideas is easy, while carrying through with them can be a real challenge. It’s a lot easier when I know I have an audience, such as a commissioner or a fic fans.

Q: How have you grown as a creator through your participation in the Mad Max Fandom? How has your work changed? Have you learned anything about yourself?

A: In my main MMFR fic, Such Things, I made the conscious decision at the start of writing to make a character (Mint) who was extremely different from me. It was certainly a challenge to learn to think in ways that I’m not used to. She’s a very kinesthetic learner - I’m the exact opposite. I had to learn to think not only with my own body, but a fictional body. I feel like that really stretched my skills as a writer.

Q: Which character do you relate to the most, and how does that affect your approach to that character? Is someone else your favourite to portray? How has your understanding of these characters grown through portraying them?

A: I definitely relate to Toast the Knowing the most. She’s a bit of a loner, and is very focused on the practical. That’s definitely something I can relate to. I’ve only portrayed her once, toward the end of Such Things, but I’d like to do it again. The character I have the most fun with is Immortan Joe. He’s definitely a way to unleash the inner id. It sort of feels like building cities out of blocks when I was a kid only to romp around destroying them like Godzilla. There’s a certain glee to it - though I will note that this glee wasn’t there in Such Things, because it was out of a different character’s perspective.

Q: Do you ever self-insert, even accidentally?

A: Despite setting out to make Mint different from myself, I think she ended up having a lot of my qualities anyway! There’s also Roadside Find, which is just unabashed self-gratification with a stand-in.

Q: Do you have any favourite relationships to portray? What interests you about them?

A: I loved exploring the relationships Joe might have with his wives. The politics of the Immortan’s bedroom, with all the horror and burdens that go along with it, are darkly fascinating. I tried to keep it tasteful, though the horror is obviously still there.

Q: How does your work for the fandom change how you look at the source material?

A: That’s a tough one! I think looking at the source material now, I’m far more analytical about it than I was the first time I saw it. The main change in how I view it is the memories I now have attached to these stories - especially memories of friends. I can’t help but think of them and smile.

Q: Do you prefer to create in one defined chronology or do your works stand alone? Why or why not?

A: I prefer stand-alone works. Once a work is finished, I prefer to let it be and move on.

Q: To break or not to break canon? Why?

A: I try as hard as I can not to break canon. I’m afraid I don’t really see the point. Part of the fun of fan work is seeing how flexible you can be within someone else’s cage.

Q: Share some headcanons.

A: Immortan Joe absolutely unironically loves AC/DC. He’s also a Leo.

Q: If you work with OCs walk us through your process for creating them. Who are some of your favourites?

A: Usually, I can come up with OCs fairly quickly. People just blip into my mind, and suddenly I have characters. Mint was a bit of a process, though. I came up with her when I awoke in the back of a jeep in the desert (long story) and found myself imagining what it would be like to wake up in the same way on the way to the Citadel. That became the opening scene of Such Things. I knew immediately what Mint looked like, too, but then I had to figure out her personality. That took a little more time. I made lots of notes and thought of people who fit that internal description, then considered what they would do in various scenarios.

Q: If you create original works, how do those compare to your fan works?

A: There’s a lot of similarity in themes! I often deal with the problem of womanhood, issues surrounding emotional and sexual intimacy, as well as toxic relationships. The main difference is that my original works tend to be fantasy stories, while I write fanfic for all kinds of genres.

Q: Who are some works by other creators inside and outside of the fandom that have influenced your work?

A: There was a fantastic ASOIAF AU fic, I believe by GhostRelic (sadly long since deleted) which inspired the 100-word ficlets-within-a-fic structure of Such Things. I loved that idea, and I’m very sorry that the story is gone. I’ve also been deeply inspired by @goeticdisciple / @bulletfarmersdaughter, who writes the most wonderful little vignettes.

Q: What advice can you give someone who is struggling to make their own works more interesting, compelling, cohesive, etc.?

A: Read. Certainly read more than just fanfiction, and more than fiction. Read every kind of genre you can come across. Especially read stories by people from different time periods and cultures and continents than yourself. There is no better way to breathe life into your own work than by having ingested as much as you can of the world.

Q: Have you visited or do you plan to visit Australia, Wasteland Weekend, or other Mad Max place?

A: I am on staff at Wasteland Weekend and go every year. One day, I hope to visit Australia - for both Mad Max and the beauty of that country.

Q: Tell us about a current WIP or planned projectI am hoping to write a slightly softer story about a wife for the Bullet Farmer. I also have an unfinished watercolour sitting around that is currently just sky and sand, but will hopefully have some cars on it eventually.


  1. ^ Witness: Baixue88. Posted February 5, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019