Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Defense of Fan Fiction

My niece doesn't actually write fan fiction . . . yet.
 As a proudly nerdy girl, I'm into a lot of things that aren't generally considered cool. I collect comic books, read obsessively, and would rather stay home writing half the time than go to the bar with my friends. (Don't worry, I generally go and socialize anyway.) 

I'm also really into fan fiction. Don't cringe! It's not that bad. Don't you think you're overreacting a little bit? No? Well, let me explain why you're wrong.

Now, I realize that the term "fan fiction" can make even the nerdiest of people suppress a shudder. I've taken flack for being an FF (abbreviation for fan fiction) author from some of my closest friends. It's not entirely unwarranted, I can admit that much. I can attest to the fact that I've read my fair share of cringe-worthy, terribly written stories. There have been times that I've logged into Fanfiction.net only to sift through an hours worth of bland, unintelligent stories that leave me discouraged. 

But please, don't base your opinions of FF solely on those stories. While there are some pretty crappy stories out there, there are also some pretty amazing ones too. There are quite a few writers out there who have quite a talent for what they do. It's not all about people inserting themselves into fandoms so they can play out their fantasies of dating the hero. Some of us actually write the characters well, creating interesting stories that pull you in and leaving you wanting more when the story ends.

Fan fiction can also be a wonderful way of honing one's writing skills. When I first joined Fanfiction.net, I was sixteen years old. Description was my weakest ability when it came to writing and one of the first stories I wrote had so many plot holes in it that I eventually took it off and have since been rewriting it. (I'm referring to a work I titled, "Eyes of Purple" which was in the Chronicles of Narnia section. It's currently on hiatus, but I will get back to it eventually -- I promise!)

Since then my writing skill has improved immensely and I'm prouder of my recent stories (written in the Newsies section) than I have been of almost anything I've ever written before. As an aspiring author, I've learned so much about description, character development, and writing in general through experience than I have through any other avenue I've come across. I have so many stories to tell, rattling around in my brain, and it's great to have a way to express them.

I still write my own stuff on the side (even if my current story, "How the World Turns" seems to be taking over my life at this point). I don't plan on writing on FF for the rest of my life. I'd like to publish some books entirely my own in the future. But in the meantime, I love that I get to write to my heart's content and there are people who enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

So my point here is this: Don't write of fan fiction as one of those things that only creepy fangirls and horny fanboys read and write. There are some fantastic fan fiction writers out there who will probably be writing novels of their own in just a few short years. Don't count them out. They're pretty amazing. 

When, one day, I have published books of my own -- I hope there are kids out there writing fan fiction for it. There is always so much to be explored in each "universe" an author creates. There are always more adventures for the main characters to take. Don't limit yourself to just that one story, because there could be another out there that you like just as much or even more than the original. 

P.S.I guess this post isn't complete without me unashamedly pimping out my FanFiction profile, even though it's in the sidebar.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just Being Me

So the story of my hair in recent weeks has been a rather obnoxious one. Just a month ago, my hair was black with a streak of purple in it and though I loved the colors on me, I wanted a change. Yes, I wanted all of my hair to be purple.

At the River Seine with my brother and sister

Being the smart kid I am, I decided I would go to the hair salon and ask them to make it as blonde as they could get it. I didn't want to tell them I was going to dye it purple when I got home because I thought the hair stylist would try to talk me out of it and I just wanted to do it my way.

The process was hell. I spent six hours in that salon getting my hair stripped and stripped again. 6 hours! That's a ridiculous amount of time to be stuck in a hair salon with a French stylist who laughs every time he looks at your hair and tells you, "No more black. Never again," as if I had chosen my previous hair color for the sheer purpose of making his job harder. Believe me, buddy, I wasn't enjoying myself any more than you were.

After those 6 excruciatingly long hours of torture, I walked away with coppery brown hair. Since I had been stupid enough not to tell him I wanted it purple (or better yet, bring the purple dye with me for him to put over the bleached hair for me), he had to put a color over it before sending me home. The lightest he could go without frying my hair worse was that ugly shade of brown that, though it did match my eyes, irritated the crap out of me for the next two and a half weeks while I waited for it to heal up enough for me to bleach it again.

Definitely not my favorite hair color. :/
After some intense conditioning, I decided my hair was ready and I bleached it yesterday morning with some product I bought at the grocery store the day before. It worked relatively well. Though I'll definitely have to learn to spread it more evenly next time. (That's what you get when you don't even have a color brush to work with.) I let it air dry afterward, not keen on damaging it further with blow-drying, even if it would make the dyeing process move faster.

Yikes! 
A few hours later, I pulled on the dyeing gloves once again, pulled out my purple hair color and went at it! I was terrified I would miss a few spots and, true to form, I did. But overall, it came out as nicely as I had hoped.

Think I got enough dye on my face?
So I'm now sporting purple hair, which I've been dreaming about doing for quite a while now. One of my best friends is always saying, "Everyone should dye their hair their favorite color at least once in their life." Well, my hair is now my favorite color and I have to say, I'm really loving it!

It's a tad brighter than this, but it'll get even lighter the more I wash it. :)
(Also, ignore the frizziness)
I'll have to go super easy on it for the next few days, but I can't tell you how excited I am that I finally had the nerve to dye my hair a "crazy" color. I love it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

On Snow & Criminal Justice

I went out to dinner with my brother and some friends tonight. There's a restaurant about twenty minutes away from where I live by Metro called "Breakfast in America" and one of my friends haunts it like the ghoul in the Weasley's attic. He knows every waiter/waitress and they all know him. It's a little scary, actually.

Anyway, it started snowing on our way out, first a little bit and then it was coming down pretty hard. It had  us all so enthralled that we legitimately were almost hit by a bus because we weren't paying attention to what we were doing.

Silvia was hopping up and down, so excited about the snow. I was less than enthusiastic.

I often claim that I hate snow, but I suppose that's not entirely true. I love the idea of snow. It's just so picturesque as it floats down from the sky. And walking through Paris at night, looking at the snow flurry lit by lampposts and light streaming from the store windows, you can't help but remark at how beautiful it is. It's like you stepped into a romantic movie and the love of your life is about to come sprinting around the  corner.

At the same time, though, this is coming from the girl who absolutely can't stand being cold. I'm not as bad as some people I know. I enjoy sliding around on the ice as much as the next person. And who can resist the appeal of nailing someone with a good-sized snowball to the face? Still, this is about the time of year that I'd much rather spend all hours of the day bundled up on the couch with a good book and a large mug of coffee.

I guess I'm doomed to to a love/hate relationship with snow. It will always be beautiful, but it comes at the price of my being more than a little uncomfortable.


In other news, I'm really enjoying my Introduction to Criminal Justice class. I have a strong feeling it's going to be what my Sociology course was last semester -- aka. my favorite class. I'm taking three classes this semester: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to the Humanities, and Composition & Rhetoric II. They're all going rather well and I'm enjoying each, but there's something about Criminal Justice that is inherently interesting to me.

Like who knew that "it is impossible to determine with accuracy the amount of crime [or delinquency] in any given jurisdiction at any particular time"? Or that, "A child under 7 years of age is considered a legal infant or of legal nonage. Thus, if a 6-year-old child picks up a shotgun and shoots his or her parent, the child is unlikely to be charged with a crime,"? It's all rather fascinating.

I suppose I just really enjoy understanding how the law works and how criminal justice is handled in America. I'm sure it will come in handy one day in my writing too. Who knows?

There wasn't really a point to this post, I guess. These are just two things I was pondering today and I thought it was about time I wrote on this blog again. So please excuse my rambling. My brain just works this way, I suppose.