1.) How about a brief introduction of yourself?
I am known around these parts as T'eyla Minh, and the rest is in the LJ.
2.) Fabulous! And what got you into fanfiction to begin with?
I have always written, for as long as I can remember, and when I started writing fanfiction it was as easy as falling off a bike. It just happened fairly naturally. I had an idea, and I wrote it. I didn't actually realise until many, many years and a couple of fandoms later that other people did it, too, and up until the point I started university and had unlimited internet access, I thought I was just a bit strange... I got into reading it when I realised there was a lot of stuff out there that could entertain me, and the life of the nocturnal fangirl began...
3.) I see, so what kind of fanfiction do you write?
At one point it was episode-length scripts (X-Files; Voyager), then short character pieces (Farscape), before moving on to epic, monster-length chapter fics (Buffy; Phantom; Ugly Betty). It's always shippy, either directly involving the characters or, in the case of single-character studies, mentioning it in passing. Shippiness is where the majority of my fandom energy goes; if nothing else, it's what intially piques my interest and leads onto the deeper, more analytical stuff which is so much fun to do.
4.) Do you tend to write the same pairings/characters? Or are you a fandom whore?
Within fandoms, yes. I will occasionally experiment with other 'periphery' pairings which interest me to a lesser extent, but I can never usually focus very well on them (the only exception to this rule is Sunset Boulevard, because ALL the various character relationships are so interesting and deep). I have a specific set of pairings for each of my fandoms and I don't tend to deviate from them because my writing will not be up to scratch if I do. In short: if I don't care about a pairing, I can't write it. Simple as that.
For the record, the pairings I have most prolifically written about are as follows:
X-Files - Mulder/Scully
Voyager - Janeway/Chakotay; Doc/Seven
Deep Space 9 - Dax/Bashir; occasional Odo/Kira, though that was already resolved by the time I'd started ficcing it...
Jonathan Creek - Jonathan/Maddy
Buffy - Buffy/Spike, in the main.
Sunset Boulevard - Norma/Joe majoritarily; some Betty/Joe interaction and Norma/Max.
Phantom - Erik/Christine. No deviation. Ever. :P
Farscape - John/Aeryn; some Jool/Crais and others
Ugly Betty - Daniel/Betty
(Note: not a list of all my pairings ever; that would take all night, and I would probably still forget some... :P)
5.) What is your most popular fanfic and why do you think people like it so?
In terms of reviews, "Cradle" (Buffy) always wins, but that's also due to the sheer length of it. My Ugly Betty fic ("Rain Will Make the Flowers Grow") also seemed quite popular, but I blame the hiatus for that. ;) My unfinished Phantom fic ("Sweet Intoxication") is also a popular one, or at least it was at the time. Alas, I wrote it before the fandom was invaded by movie fangirls. *sigh* I don't know why people liked "Cradle" so much, but I think it's because I figured out a plot and had plenty of character interaction, rather than just focusing on Buffy and Spike; I made the B/S culmination the penultimate chapter of the fic, with some other flufflness thrown in, and in the meantime I tried to fix the mess Joss had made of Season 6. I think that's why. Unfortunate that I didn't quite manage to finish it before Season 7 started, but I don't think fanfolk really mind. :)
6.) Forget other people, what is the fanfic you've written you're most proud of?
"Cradle". Always. Some of it sucks, some of the characterisation is off, but there are some bits of it which, even now, I re-read and am amazed by how spot-on I got it. Which sounds really... self-centred, I suppose, but it's true. Quite often I forget what I write, come back to it, and wonder when I came up with it. "Cradle" was mostly written in a mad haze of productivity in the midst of Season 1-3 repeats, so I was fairly inundated with inspiration and it shows a lot, I think. I also like "Broken Record", what little there is of it. I'm incredibly proud of my last three fics before I stopped writing for a year, which are "BR", and the two Counterpoints for "Touched" and "Chosen"... they are a little pretentious, but "BR" is the level of writing to which I hope to aspire again.
Oh, I also love "Rhapsody" (Farscape) because the imagery is so rich, and because Naomi drew me fantabulous pictures for it. I wish I'd finished it, but once I'd reached the point I got to, the Muses stopped talking.
And there are some little bits of Sunset fic which I really like: chapters 7 and 8 of the huge chapter-fic, for one, and the opening of the final chapter, and the end of chapter 16. This means nothing to any of you, but those numbers are etched into my brain.
That's enough. I mostly view the rest of my fic with a fairly 'meh' attitude. ;)
7.) Do you find writing easy? Hard? What are the most difficult aspects of writing you struggle with?
At one point it was literally all I ever did. At the moment it's a struggle, because I'm out of practice. I had a manic month or so of productivity and inspiration, but still found words and coherent sentences difficult to form. I need to brush up my inner thesaurus, I think. I struggle mostly with making the voices shut up at the moment, and also endings. I am teH suck at endings. I'm okay with opening sentences but my endings always sound really cliched. Ah well. Just as well I never finish anything. :P
8.) Write a few sentences or so of your favorite pairing or character.
Hrm. *goes to find something* Okay, in reverse chronological order as on my FFN profile, here are some snippets from various fics/pairings...
"I’m so sorry, Betty.”
He opened the door, and was gone.
She stared at the closed door in disbelief, feeling broken and empty. Slamming her eyes shut against the tears that suddenly threatened, she tried to make sense of the situation. Her thoughts of a pleasant Christmas had been thwarted a second time, and Daniel Meade – her boss, her best friend, her thoroughly confusing pest of an Editor in Chief – had just turned her entire universe on its head.
The door remained closed. She had half-expected him to come running back, apologising, explaining, doing something to help her make sense of it… but five minutes passed, and he did not return.
Betty rested her head against the banister rail, and wondered what she would tell her family in the morning. Everything felt heavy; her brain thoroughly mangled. Her eyes closed of their own volition, casting her into a dreamless sleep, and the memory of Daniel’s kiss lingered heavily in the air like an all-consuming fog.
Caught, they remained. Erik was torn between doing what was right and letting her go, or fighting for her with everything within himself. His conscience muttered to him that the right thing would be to let her return to her husband, to release her a second time to the life she so deserved… but his heart screamed at him to hold onto this moment, just a little longer. She had come so far, through the storm and the dark of night, to see him; here they stood once more, on that rickety and dangerous bridge, so near, and yet so far, from that point from which there was no return.
Do the right thing, Erik… you must let her go.
Then, he crossed that bridge, and waited for it to break down in flames.
‘Does it have to mean something?’ she’d asked. It had been an honest question, and her motives had been real and plain enough to her. She’d been confused, frightened of her ever deepening feelings for him, and of what those feelings could mean. She’d needed his insight, wanted him to help her analyse her emotions like he was used to doing; he was the expert, after all, in baring his soul for the world to see, so it stood to reason he could be the one to excavate her own from whatever cavity she’d exiled it to. Unfortunately, he hadn’t realised; correction, she hadn’t made it clear. And so, instead of taking his heart as he laid it out before her, instead of holding it as hers and keeping it safe, she’d only watched it fracture. The fragments scattered across the kitchen, skittering over the surfaces and all over the floor, as he turned and left without bothering to try and collect the salvageable pieces. They fell on her skin, dug into her soul where he’d soothed it once before, and cursed her forever with the memory of how she’d finally destroyed him beyond repair.
He holds her to him like a possession he cannot bear to part with, his arms a barrier to keep her from harm, and her body a shield to protect his own heart. They both know it is entirely within her power to crush it, but the thought no longer surfaces; it is dragged down, and drowned in emotion.
(All the rest of my J/A stuff is horrendously shippy rubbish, this is the best I got. "Rhapsody" is John-centric and doesn't mention Aeryn very much, alas...)
While he was mulling all of this over in the lounge, Norma emerged. He heard the regular clack-clack of her heels before he saw her. She appeared, with her usual majestic air, on the landing, and Joe was momentarily stunned. She was dressed smartly for the occasion, all in black with white fur. In fact, she seemed far less extravagant than usual, but for some reason, Joe had only just noticed how breathtaking she always was. In her presence, he suddenly felt even less worthy than he had before.
His reaction must have been obvious, because she smiled, proud and a little self-conscious, before descending the stairs. Joe set down his glass while she did so, and waited for her to approach. He seemed to be rooted to the spot. She stopped two feet from him, her smile still there, now more amused.
"Joe, dear, close your mouth. Anyone would think you were trying to catch flies."
He snapped his jaws shut and grinned a little sheepishly at her. "I'm sorry. It's just… I guess I never…" He floundered, then conceded defeat, shrugged, and jammed his hands firmly into his pockets. He felt about ten years younger than usual, for some reason. "You look beautiful, Norma." Beneath her blusher, her cheeks darkened a little at the unexpected praise. "You'll knock 'em dead today."
The Doctor sat back in his chair, defeated. Somehow, in a dream, in a crazy, manic fantasy, he had thought this would be easy, that she would simply fall into his arms without a murmur of protest. He was beginning to realise the truth of the situation. He had finally managed to push his infatuation too far and fall in love with her beyond the point of reason, and now he had pushed Seven too far as well. A sudden confession, it seemed, was not the way to tell her. Now she was frightened, and determined not to let him faze her, fobbing his affections off by resorting to her usual, familiar Borg mannerisms.
That's all I can get from FFN; I have others, but I think that's enough. :)
9.) Are there any fanfiction trends/cliches you can't stand or are just sick of?
MARY SUE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! And horrible author-falling-into-the-universe fic which is so rife in both Pirates and Phantom or anything which has a Cute Male Lead these days. GAH. It has to die. All of it.
10.) Are you guilty of any of the fanfiction trends/cliches you now hate? Or any other ones?
Er... Mary Sue, actually. But it bloody well kept me sane, so I don't even care that it's a big cliche and my character is engaged to a Bajoran version of Niles Crane. I was having ISSUES, okay?
Also songfics. I so like songfics, but I've learnt to avoid jarring the narrative with lyrics and now only post them at the end.
11.) What was the first fandom you wrote for? Do you still like/participate in it?
Red Dwarf, apparently, and... I still like it, but not to the obsessive degree that I did when I was 14. Also X-Files, which I also still like, though my attempts at objectivity flew out of the window when I immediately started checking the repeats listings for the shippy episodes. ;)
12.) Name your OTP's or most frequently written pairings/characters and explain what it is about them you love to write.
Oy vey. This is a long meme. Um. Okay. I'll try to stick to ones I've written lots of. Explanations behind the pairings have already been done a few years ago in my shipper post/s and I don't want to start again, so just... go find them. I think it was in January 04/05. Can't remember. Anyway, in brief:
John/Aeryn - the ANGST. Dear GOD, the angst. Given I was going through my own angst at the time of Season 3, a lot of it got poured quite effectively into fanfiction. Probably just as well.
Buffy/Spike - angst, again, coupled with pretty hero + tortured soul. Really, I just wanted to give Buffy a kick up the arse.
Joe/Norma - I still can't explain it. It's just... Joe and Norma. So much complication and angst and vulnerability, and that slightly dangerous dynamic of older woman/younger man. It captured my imagination from the outset and I've never looked back.
Janeway/Chakotay - because it was obvious, quite frankly. And because the first episode I ever saw was "Resolutions", which was probably just a little unfair given my tendency to latch onto ships. ;)
Seven/Doc - oh, god. Just... the fact that they're both so inherently flawed. I don't know. It had such amazing potential and the fact that they ruined it just makes it all the more special to me, I think.
Erik/Christine - I blame Susan Kay. And Michael Crawford. But mostly I just blame my brain.
All of my pairings ever - I like doomed relationships. That's all I can say. Mostly this is because I enjoy fixing them, and I adore angst and inner torment. Doomed = pretty.
13.) What would you call your writing ''style''?
Before, it was pretentious. Now... bland, I guess. Not BAD, per se, but not as good as it was.
14.) Do you read other people's fanfic? If so, what do find yourself reading the most?
Yup. If I find an author I like I will read all of their stuff prolifically and bug them in reviews (eg: no2benry). When I find a new fandom (or even see a film which grabs my attention for more than a day afterwards) I usually go and find fic for it. It's pretty much an automatic reaction. Mostly I read shipperfic, obviously. For my given pairings. Sometimes I get bored and read badfic.
15.) Name something you'd love to write , but have been too afraid or shy to do.
Anything R/M-rated, to be quite honest, especially as I've gotten older (as a small child of 14 when I was writing my first shipperfic for The X-Files, I was too afraid to even write the word 'kiss' and talked around it. Luckily I got over that, or my future fics would have been very difficult to write...) I am a great fan of the fade-to-black in my own writing, but I wish I had the guts to... go into the gory detail. I think I've read so much badly-written R-rated fic that I wouldn't be able to do it without giggling. ;) You know, there's only so many metaphors you can come up with before it gets silly.
16.) Do you have trouble taking criticism? Or worse yet, do you have the dreaded bloated ego?
Er... mostly, yes, which I think is because of the English Literature geek in me. When I've sat there and carefully considered the structure of a sentence or extended metaphor and someone complains about it,that really irks me. I don't necessarily have a bloated ego because I think the majority of writers are inherently very self-critical, but I can sit there and say I'm better than so-and-so when, well, a monkey with a typewriter would be better than so-and-so. You know.
17.) When you write, is there anything that helps? Music? Quiet room?
Quiet room, or background music without lyrics. If there are lyrics, I find myself wanting to listen to the lyrics and my brain can't work against it to form original words... which is odd, considering how much I like songfics, though I get the inspiration for them mostly when NOT in the writing process...
18.) What inspires you?
Music, poetry, the fandom itself, throwaway comments... anything. Sometimes there's just a sentence or an image in my head which comes out of nowhere.
19.) Lastly, how would you sum up your fanfiction experiences & yourself as a writer?
Great fun, and a learning experience. As a writer, I would say... perfectionist, at least when it comes to my original work or something I'm working really hard on. I will tweak and re-tweak til the cows come home and never be fully satisfied with a piece of work. I find fanfiction a very gratifying experience both in terms of feedback (i.e reviews) and the general psyche-satisfaction that comes from 'fixes'. It's why I started, and why I continue.
20.) Tag some friends, because they'll hate you for it.
Er... doec, even though she doesn't update her LJ. She could put it on Facebook if she wants. winter_jasmine and sweeterthing are the only other two I can think of. Possibly hobbit_feets?
I quite enjoyed that. Insanely long, but I do like talking about fanfiction.