OMG. I Wrote Fanfic!

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Every writer has a skeleton in the closet. Bad poetry, failed attempts at short stories, journal entries that should never see the light of day – you know, the stuff that seemed good at the time, but now lies forgotten in a file or a shelf somewhere.

This is the writing that makes you cringe when you see it, but don’t be too quick to chuck in the trash. This is also the writing that had to happen in order to become the writer you are today.

In my case, I have journals filled with page after page of poetry (some good, some not), spirals of horrible short stories (definitely not my thing), and journal entries from a writing group I no longer attend, (prompt based writing is a little distracting for me). I learned something from every piece of writing I’ve ever done. Even the horrible, awful, bad stuff served its purpose in that I learned what not to do!

These physical reminders of my writing past sit on a shelf next to my desk. They remind me of where I’ve been and where I want to go. For that reason, I treasure them even if I pray no one ever reads them!

I thought I had all evidence of my writing past collected neatly in one place, but I was wrong. It turns out I had a little skeleton in my closet  that I totally forgot about and its out there for everyone to see.

The process of revisiting some old writing (See Getting All Nostalgic), lead me to a fansite for The Office called More Than That. It’s a fanfic site that specializes in fanfic for the characters Jim and Pam, but also includes fan created stories for The Office as a whole. The moderator of this site reached out and asked for message board posts I did for the show years ago.

I remember visiting the site often to read fanfic when the show aired, so I already had a username and password. When I signed in and clicked on My Account, I was shocked to see that I had written several pieces of fanfic. I totally and completely forgot that I had indulged in the sappy, fan obsessed practice of writing fanfic.

OMG. *slaps hand on forehead*

I did it all – fluff, angst, and romantic sappiness. Everything an obsessed shipper could ever want for fictional characters. I was afraid to click on the stories. Who knows what I had done or what they were about!

It turns out they aren’t half bad. The writer in me today wants to fix them, but they will remain as is. Part of me can’t believe I wrote fanfic, but the rest understands my muse was trying to tell me something a long time ago. This is where writing fiction became a reality to me. This is where I learned I could do it if I really tried.

At first, I was embarrassed to discover I had been a fanfic writer, but then I realized I had no reason to be. Fanfic is an art form. Many of the writers on More Than That are incredibly talented and I love reading their work. It isn’t easy to create new stories for well-known characters. There’s a fine line between challenging characters with new scenarios, while also maintaining the established canon of the character’s personality.

I may focus my attention on non-fanfic writing these days, but I am well aware that fanfic is one of the reasons I was brave enough to write not one, but two novels. I proudly acknowledge my fanfic skeleton!

Writing is writing, no matter what the genre. Tap those keys or scribble with that pen. Your muse is waiting.

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p.s. Here they are in all their glory:

More Than That: scrantonbranch’s stories

c.b.w. 2016

Getting All Nostalgic

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Nostalgia seems to be the theme of my life this week. Between restoring vintage Barbie dolls and sewing with vintage fabric, an email popped up in my inbox from an old acquaintance. She was a reader of some writing I did a long time ago and wanted to know if she could post it on her website. It sounds simple enough, but the story behind the writing it is somewhat unconventional.

Years ago, I was part of an online fan community for the television show The Office (U.S.). Under the screen name “scrantonbranch” I played on various threads of a message board for episode discussion, trivia, and general geeking out over a show we all loved, (loved is actually not a strong enough word for how we felt about the show – it was soul consuming passion).

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Part of what made The Office so special was the relationship between Jim and Pam. After the jaw dropping events of the Season 2 finale, I became full-blown obsessed with these characters. As an outlet for this obsession, I started writing incredibly detailed analyses of every episode on threads that became known as The Pam Dichotomy and The Jim Paradox.

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Oh, this moment! The fandom collective nearly exploded from excitement.

Throughout Seasons 3 and 4, I analyzed every word, facial tic, and story development of Jim and Pam. My threads gained quite a following and incited some amazing discussion and fan camaraderie. At one point I was getting upwards of 1000 hits a day. The threads were so popular, I found myself surrounded by fans at the 2007 Office Convention, (as an introvert, I was mortified, but also completely and totally blown away).

By the time Season 5 rolled around, Jim and Pam (or JAM) were together and there wasn’t much left to analyze (until Season 9, but the community was long gone by then). I stopped writing the threads by the end of 2008. I still watched the show like rabid fan, but there was no longer a need for the PD and JP (that’s what we called my threads for short).

It was sad to let it go, but at the same time I was ready to move on to something new. I always valued the entire experience because it got me writing again after a really long dry spell. It’s why I’m here on this blog, why I wrote two novels, and why I started writing poetry again. It’s actually pretty amazing how one TV show could inspire so much and have such a lasting impact on someone.

So here we are in 2016. It’s been eight years since I wrote the PD And JP. The Office stopped airing in 2013 (I won’t get into how devastating it was to watch it all end), and the message board community was taken offline. All good things come to an end, right? Life had moved on so far, far away from the PD and JP, I’d all but forgotten about it.

Then, that email showed up. I recognized the screen name immediately as one of my old PD/JP readers. She now runs a fanfic/JAM fansite that was around when the show aired (I was a frequent visitor of the site, too!). In the email, she asked if it was possible to repost the writing I did for the PD and JP as it is no longer available online. I was shocked that anyone even cared about either of my threads after such a long time. Of course, I said yes … as soon as I find the writing.

I’m in the process of trying to find all my old files. I’ve gone through three laptops since I started writing both threads back in 2006, so they could be hidden in a number of places. There is an online archive that did a snapshot of the old message boards, so I’m hoping I can salvage some of the original posts.

I’ve managed to locate about half of my original posts, which is pretty good considering how much time has passed. I never thought to save my posts in an organized fashion because I never thought I’d need them again. Boy, was I wrong!

So why does all this matter? I’ve learned a few really important things:

  • Save your writing! All of it. Save every file and keep it organized
  • What you write is important. Regardless of what it is, it matters. Even if its something that seems stupid (like analyzing a TV show to a ridiculous degree) it pushes you forward in the writing process.
  • Readers are out there and they are loyal. Keep writing for those people and remember how important they are to you as a writer.

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c.b.w. 2016

Favorite Thing Friday: Jedi Kittens

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A fellow blogger on The Everyday Epic shared this and it truly made my day. After getting all giddy about The Force Awakens trailer, what’s not love about lightsaber-wielding kittens?

If you didn’t already know I was a nerd, this ought to clinch it.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Star Wars Trailer

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I know I’m a touch late, but I’ve been gushing over this trailer since it came out. Seeing as Star Wars Day was this week, it’s only fitting that the new Star Wars trailer is my favorite thing this week!

Happy Friday! May the Force be with you!

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Nerd Shirts

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As a lifelong nerd, I’ve amassed a rather impressive collection of nerd shirts. My closet includes everything from Star Wars, Smurfs, Harry Potter, The Office, Sherlock, Spider-man, and more Twilight shirts than any normal person would own, (at last count I had 28).

This ridiculous collection of t-shirts is what allowed me to start the tradition of Nerd Shirt Friday in my classroom. Every Friday I wear one of my nerd shirts and invite my students to do the same. This one simple act allows me to connect to my students in unexpected ways. There’s always that one kid who never says a word until they realize someone loves whatever is on their shirt. It’s an instant conversation starter that opens up a kid who would otherwise prefer to sit alone.

Even though we all show up wearing different shirts, it brings us all together. Everyone is a nerd about something and it’s fun to see what makes everyone smile!  Or laugh, which is especially true when I show up in my Twilight shirts – it’s kinda “out” now, except for the Twihards who refuse to let go.

This week, I’ll be deciding between two new nerds shirts. Fresh from the mail, I received two Arrow related shirts that are sure to open up some fantastic conversations.

First, I got a “sinceriously” t-shirt. Casual Arrow fans probably have no clue what sinceriously is all about, but die hards who follow Stephen Amell (the guy who plays Arrow) on social media are all too aware of the word he accidentally said during an interview. The word took off from there and is now widely used among Arrow fans. This year, Amell announced he set a goal to try and get sinceriously in the Oxford dictionary.

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Another campaign starts on Feb 25, 2015

Purchased as part of a charity campaign launched by Amell, the shirt offers a formal definition for sinceriously in the hopes it will get people to use this fabulous new word while also raising money for two great charities – Stand for the Silent and Paws and Stripes. When it’s all said and done you’ve got to love the perfect fusion of good works and nerdom.

My second new nerd shirt is also related to Arrow. After an exhaustive search I finally found an Arrow shirt that is not lame or ridiculously expensive. It’s a simple arrow design with one of the show’s catch phrases.

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In trademark green, I’ll be proudly displaying my Arrow fandom. This is going to look great with my Arrow Bracelet!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015