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December 13th, 2009

The Twilight 25

The first Twilight 25 (thetwilight25 ), hosted by queenofgrey, concluded on 12/1. Thirty-four of the participating authors completed all twenty-five prompts. Several of them (including me!) finished up in the last few hours before the deadline.

If you ask legna989 or LaViePastiche, they'll confirm that I was panicking pretty badly in the last few days -- I was convinced I wasn't going to finish. I went into the final weekend with nineteen of the twenty-five complete, and almost no ideas for the final six. Legna gave me some ideas, as did LVP, and I was able to use those -- and some variations -- to come up with five of the final six.

The last one, ironically "Stagnant," gave me the worst time. By the end, I think I had seven versions of the damn thing. I don't love what I ended up posting, but it could have been worse.

I had a lot of fun doing the whole thing. I ended up with four one-shots and twenty-one drabbles.

The one-shots:
  • Jealousy -- a Peter/Jasper/Bella that is sort of a prequel to the collab one-shot What We've Got, which I wrote with LVP. Yes, "Jealousy" features a threesome :)
  • Retribution -- a Jasper/Bella -- Jasper is a cop; Bella is a mafia mistress.
  • Crusade -- a short Emmett POV outtake from Fire in the Vein.
  • Walls -- a short, weird thing in which I experimented with the narrator.

The drabbles are largely Jasper-related. I think I ended up with three that aren't: Awkward - Bella; Juvenile - the whole group; Wood - EmRo. Three of them are FitV: Soft - Bella; Platonic - Alice; Raindrops - Jasper. Also, Sky is a Maria FitV-AU piece (this was based on a nightmare that Legna had).

Let's see... I also did a SoaPM-AU piece (Sour), which morphed into the one-shot The Book of Peter.

And the last thing worthy of note is Heart, which is a teaser for the collab that LVP and I just finished writing (it's a Support Stacie piece for JAustenlover. We'll be sending it to her within the next few days; we hope to begin posting it to FFn the first or second week of January).

I also betaed some or all of the Twi25 entries for accio_bourbon ,americnxidiot , and blue_bathrobe. They all wrote lovely things that you should definitely check out.

Sign up is currently ongoing for the next round, which starts January 1, 2010. I'm undecided about whether or not I'll participate... can I really manage another 25 Jasper drabbles? Legna, however, is already signed up, and LVP is considering, so... we shall see.

Also ongoing is voting for the first round. You can find more information about that here. I recommend getting your voting started ASAP because there are a lot of entries to go through. Voting concludes January 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM EST.

To Auction, To Auction...

So, it started during the April 2009 Support Stacie auction when I donated some money to the cause, along with a handful of other ladies, and jandco and wtvoc graced us with a "Tanq and Tonic" outtake. THE "Tanq and Tonic" outtake that I wanted to see: an alternate Jasper / Bella ending.

After that, I was hooked.

For September's Support Stacie, I bid on and won blue_bathrobe . The result of that was Wings -- another Jasper / Bella. (The pattern is forming... do you see it?) Blue is typically a canon-pairings author. "Tropic of Virgo" is Edward / Bella; "Delta of Mercury" is "Emmett / Rosalie"; and Tropic of Gemini is Jasper / Alice. But I knew that she'd be able to do justice to Jasper / Bella, so that was my prompt for her. "Jasper / Bella with an HEA." She did wonderfully.

And then came the Fandom Gives Back auction, which took place the week that New Moon was released. Over all, we raised -- as a fandom -- over $85,000 for Alex's Lemonade Stand, which is an organization that fights childhood cancers.

During that auction, I picked up one-shots from ahizelm, einfach mich, hmonster4, socact, SweetDulicnea, and thiscolony.

It was suggested that maybe I have a problem with auction buying... but, it's for a good cause and it generates awesome new fic from fantastic writers -- I see no problem in that :)

So far, hmonster and thiscolony have finished, and ahizelm is almost done.

ThisColony wrote an AU outtake for her story Salacious Behavior and Earnest Speaking (one of my very favorites even though it's a tough one for the hardcore J/B gals like me): Out of the Doldrums

hmonster wrote an AU (as in vampires) Jasper/Bella, which is a bit outside of what she has historically written (E/B AH and some EmRo). But lately she's been stretching her wings a bit (she wrote a Canon Kate/Garrett one-shot for another FGB piece), and I was pretty sure that she would be able to do justice to Jasper/Bella, even if she'd never written it before. And she certainly did. Even if you're typically only an E/B gal, The Power to Be is worth checking out.

Blue, hmonster, and ThisColony have really spoiled me and set high bars for quality Jasper/Bella one-shots.

Okay, and even though these weren't from auctions, these are additional one-shots / outtakes for which I am at least partially responsible:
  • First Assignment by Legna989. My lovely Legna wrote me the best birthday present of all time. Not only is it wonderful, but it was her very first fic, which makes it even more wonderful and impressive.
  • In a Moonage Daydream by americnxidiot. ONLY THE FIRST CHAPTER, PLEASE. :)
  • Edward's Mom by InstantKarmaGirl. This is Esmasper. Or Jasme. Whichever you prefer. Yes, yes, it's weird. But it's soooooo good because IKG is an amazing writer. Every time I mention it, LaViePastiche threatens to disown me, but I don't care -- I love it too much.
  • Chapters 9 and 10 of Shameless Developments by SweetDulcinea. At the begging of LVP and I, Dulci wrote a little PBJ (Peter / Bella / Jasper) threesome action as an AU outtake for her story. It's lovely. And hot.
And I think that's it. I feel like I might be forgetting one... but hopefully I'm not. I will either come back and update this post once more of the one-shots are done, or I'll put up new posts. We shall see :)

TLYDF

TLYDF

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to be an administrator for the blog The Lazy, Yet Discerning Ficster.

TLYDF is a blog that focuses on Twific. It features recommendations, author interviews, and explorations of various characters from the books, among other things. I've long been a fan of the blog, and am beyond thrilled to be joining the staff. It will be a pleasure to work with angstgoddess003, moonwitche, pastiche_pen, and hmonster4 (who is also a new admin).

Here's the introductory post Pastiche did. H and I were a little goofy :)

Come see what the blog is all about :)

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My stuff on TLYDF

While I'm here, and while I'm babbling about TLYDF, here a few things I've done:

A recommendation for mopstyle's A Priori: Guest Fic Rec: ElleCC Sets Her Priorities
A ficdive with madicake: FicDive: Shiny, Pearly, Trashy Jasper
A Reader's Series article during which americnxidiot and I say nice things about one another: Reader's Series: ElleCC

Also... Emmett from "Fire in the Vein" makes an appearance here: GuestEssay: Hmonster Gobbles Up Some Emmett Love
And Angela, also from FitV, shows up here: CharacterExploration: Angela - The Best Friend You Could Ever Ask For

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A few months ago, LaViePastiche (madicake) and I hosted the "For the Love of Jasper" contest. It started as an idea casually thrown out on Twitter and morphed into something far bigger than we had anticipated.

Over the course of a five-week submissions period, we received 147 entries. We ended up validating 120 of those - all of which were available to be voted upon in the Open Voting round, which ran for three weeks. Of the 120 stories, sixteen were selected by our judges to move to a "Judges Selection Round." Two winners were selected from both the OV and JS rounds.

For more information about the winners, including blurbs about the four main winners plus a couple of handfuls of honorabe mentions, and fancy banners for all, you can visit the blog we set up to archive everything: www.fortheloveofjasper.com

As we neared the end of voting, LVP and I talked about posting little articles on our blogs in which we'd discuss our feelings about the contest and some of the stories that stood out for us, aside from the ones that had previously drawn judges' or public attention. But then, right after the contest ended, we got pretty busy writing a multi-chapter collab and neither of us has posted anything about the contest. I figured I'd at least put up this post and hopefully spur myself on to write what I had planned. There were so many wonderful fics that came out of FLJ (including several that have already been made into multi-chapter stories) -- if I could, I would bore everyone by mentioning every single one of them. But as it is, there are three that I sort of set aside to mention..

I'll keep some mystery for a subsequent post, but here are the three "categories" of the stories I plan to write a little about:

Favorite Odd Pairing -- The contest was filled with odd, wonderful pairings! There are two that I loved in particular, but one of them I am giving to the next category...
Favorite Slash -- This is one of my favorite stories of the contest, not just my favorite slash or favorite odd pairing.
Favorite Sobfest -- We realized too late that if we didn't want to read 130 terribly sad stories, we should have done an Emmett contest. The standard Jasper characterization is SAD. We read sooooo many very sad stories. This one here, which I'll probably re-read and sob through again before I post about it, almost killed me.

All right, so... now I just have to write those posts :)

Vonnegut's Eight Rules for Fiction Writing

I wish all writers were not only familiar with these rules, but followed them, because they're wonderful. Hell, I wish that even I could follow them.

From Vonnegut's Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction...
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

To me, number four is the most important of all of these. It's not the easiest to follow, but if you go through a story and cut out everything that doesn't further the action or the characterizations, you'll end up with a much better (albeit shorter) story, in most cases.

Number five is my favorite after that. Get right into the action. Mix your exposition in with dialogue -- show it, don't tell it. Don't give us five pages about Bella's history -- build it into the story in a meaningful way. The readers will appreciate it and they'll become hooked on the story more quickly.

Number seven is a tough one in our fandom. I think a lot of authors lose sight of this along the way... negative (and even positive) reviews can really influence how an author views her work. After a while, you just want to please everyone, and you don't want to lose readers. When I wrote FitV, I wrote it for two people: myself and my ficwife/beta. I figured that as long as the two of us were happy with what happened (and she had to remind me of this more than once), then some others would be, too, even if not everyone liked it. If you start trying to please your audience, they will notice.

Three cheers for Kurt :)

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