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Discussing: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

I joined HASA a couple months ago, and it's been a wonderful, fantastic experience. At the same time, my exciting journey from casual fanfic reader to beginning Ardaverse writer was more fraught with obsession, weirdness and neuroses than even I had originally anticipated. The following is a slightly fictionalized version of the first two weeks on HASA of a young writer whom I happen to know very well. I guess this was mostly for my own amusement (or self-mortification, depending on how ya look at it), but if anyone has had similar (or dissimilar) writerly experiences (esp. w.r.t. the mood swings, self-loathing and compulsive chocolate consumption), let's talk about it! Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young ‘Ficcer Day 1 Yeeah! Joined high-quality fanfic site—yay fanfic! Yay me! Will now go and write wonderful and profound stories about my beloved Middle-earth—in fact, I’ve got one waiting in the wings right now. I just know Tolkien would be proud. Day 3 Here we go, first part of new story is up! Coolcoolcool! I am on such a roll… Day 4 Realized, on further consideration, that my story is undoubtedly the worst story ever written in the history of human civilization—nay, the universe! What am I, drunk on my own bad prose? And where the **** did all these adverbs come from? Have concluded that I will amount to nothing and am not worthy of love. Also, consumed large quantity of chocolate chips. Day 5 Ate more chocolate chips. In desperate attempt to bolster my own self-esteem, went to fanfiction.net and read 13-year-old girls’ Legomances. Came to reassuring conclusion that I am not, in fact, the absolute worst writer in the universe. Maybe just 3rd or 4th worse. Poor Leggy. If I ever saw a girl with silver eyes, I’d run away screaming. Day 6 Babysat 4-year-old child. He did not want to go to bed at 8, and therefore craftily selected a Children’s Dictionary as his “bedtime story.” The plot was a bit sketchy, but the characterization was top-notch. Day 7 Spent some time reflecting upon Faramir’s inherent goodness and nobility. My mother asked me if I knew where all the chocolate chips had gone. I told her I had no idea. Day 8 Wracked with guilt about lying to mother. Ah well—perhaps can channel the angst into my writing. How was I supposed to know she wanted them? She never bakes anything! Day 9 Went to showing of “Fahrenheit 9/11” with guy-friend. Heated shouting-match among viewers broke out in theater immediately after credits began to roll. Had incredible urge to stand up and say “I will take it! I will take the Ring to Mordor!!” before realizing that that would be movie-verse. And I so don’t do movie-verse. Even in a movie theater. Was visited by Faramir in a dream. He admonished me for eating all the chocolate chips, lying to my mother, and not being more active in global politics. I hate Faramir. Day 10 Oh Faramir. I could never stay mad at you for long. Day 11 Spent the morning downloading Sindarin dictionary program and constructing comprehensive timeline of events surrounding Siege of Minas Tirith. Sprinted to phone to call girl-friend in order to reassure myself that I had not, in fact, started talking like the Comic Book Guy on “The Simpsons.” Day 12 Perhaps as residual to Legomance experience, had dream in which, I, a modern-day girl, was dropped into Middle-earth. At first sight of orcs, looked for a hole to hide in. Later, fell to the power of the Ring faster than you can say “Mirkwood.” Sigh. Why do my dreams have to be so realistic? Day 13 Did you know that the Sindarin phrase for “sticky woodpecker” is in fact “tavor-hiw”? Go fanfic! Go me! *** Note: With the exception of the dreams, pretty much all of this actually happened. I would give a lot for a Faramir-dream. Even if he were just chewing me out.

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Day 4 Realized, on further consideration, that my story is undoubtedly the worst story ever written in the history of human civilization—nay, the universe! What am I, drunk on my own bad prose? And where the **** did all these adverbs come from? *grin of recognition* Not really a young writer but I still do that for almost every story I write - and of course sometimes I'm right. ;-) Avon PS: Liked your 'diary'

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

I still do that for almost every story I write Really? Guess I'm in good company then. Cheers, Ali

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

ROTFLOL! I'm entirely the same way, except I go through that whole progression once every three hours or so. Did it just a couple hours ago, in fact. That's why I'm on line right now. ^_~ Day 13 Did you know that the Sindarin phrase for “sticky woodpecker” is in fact “tavor-hiw”? The sad thing is that, yes, I did. But actually, the word for "sticky" that you want, there is híw. Gotta lengthen that i, otherwise it doesn't mean anything at all. By Eru, will someone just knock me out so I can stop doing this and go to sleep!?! Day 429 Still caught by obsession. Stupid obsession. Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

The sad thing is that, yes, I did. But actually, the word for "sticky" that you want, there is híw. Gotta lengthen that i, otherwise it doesn't mean anything at all. And the really sad thing is, I actually used that phrase in a story I wrote. I think I put an accent on the "i" in there, but I should go back and check. (Much too lazy to use Special Characters in the forums) Day 429 Still caught by obsession. Stupid obsession. Yup. Me too! Every day. Ali

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Hi all to all , this was a very nice description of our collective nuttiness :-) I enjoyed it very much though for me joining HASA was a bit more frightening: to get sucked in so much as to forgo real life for fiction. Elanor, who is one of the obsessed

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Ahem. I keep a journal too. *coughs embarassedly* Something on the lines of 'I have now just written the most profound piece of fanfiction that ever walked on the face of Arda...I am so proud of me.' My fanfiction isn't anywhere near that, though. I must confess the line about the Legomances had me rolling about in laughter, even though I'm 13, and yet don't do Legomance.

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

'I have now just written the most profound piece of fanfiction that ever walked on the face of Arda...I am so proud of me.' LOL, well we all have our highs *and* our lows, don't we? I must confess the line about the Legomances had me rolling about in laughter, even though I'm 13, and yet don't do Legomance. Sorry about the generalization. If you were ever to post an honest-to-goodness Legomance, I think I'd probably keel over and die of shock. However, my theory is that for every 13-year-old who writes mature, high-quality fanfic, there are at least a dozen others named Mary Sue. I hold to this theory because the (very possible) alternative is that a lot of the Legomance types are actually much older and therefore should know way better. And that is slightly more disturbing. Cheers, Ali P.S. Happy (Belated) Birthday BTW!! *Knocks head* I know there's a drabble floating around in there *somewhere*....

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

"Day 7 Spent some time reflecting upon Faramir’s inherent goodness and nobility" I've spent probably the equivalent of several days reflecting on his inherent goodness and nobility! And I'm old enough to have lots of other things I should be doing! Loved your diary! I probably would have been writing MarySue stuff if I'd discovered fanfic in my teens; though it would have been with Faramir, not Legolas. I'm sooooo much older and wiser now! LoL. Instead, I seem to be merrily doing 'hurt/comfort' stuff; poor Faramir gets hurt or unhappy every time I write/co-write him. RAKSHA, visualizing herself writing story where Faramir goes to a banquet, sees his friends, sings, and has a great time, perhaps ends up happily drunk and beating Eomer at arm-wrestling

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

And I'm old enough to have lots of other things I should be doing! Nah. RAKSHA, visualizing herself writing story where Faramir goes to a banquet, sees his friends, sings, and has a great time, perhaps ends up happily drunk and beating Eomer at arm-wrestling Ooh, let me know when you do write it! I can just picture a defeated Eomer: "That was a one-time occurrence, Steward-boy, and you'd do best to remember that! Now who wants some more ale?!" Interestingly enough, I can find very little evidence of heavy Faramir-angst in the canon. There were the tense exchanges with Denethor in RotK, of course, and then I recall that there was one line that described Faramir's having had "dark thoughts" or something, while recovering in the Houses of Healing, but that is all I can remember. So while Faramir has every justifiable reason in the world to be one of Middle-earth's most teary-eyed angst-bunnies, it would seem that all the angst we think of him as having is a result of us fans and fanfic writers. I will now go back to reflecting upon Faramir's inherent goodness and nobility. Oh, and how hot he is, too. Ali

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Only a dozen others named 'Mary-Sue'? It was more than that, at the last count. I must confess I spend a lot of time reflecting on the inherent goodness or nobility of Aragorn/ Glorfindel/ Feanor/ Erestor/ Faramir/ Elrond/ insert random character here. Even though my exams are in 5 days and I should be studying. Highs and lows? I'd say so. A minute after writing this bit of *cough* profound *cough* fanfiction, and putting it into review, I almost had palpitations after spotting a spelling mistake in my draft. Then I decided it was the worst ever...except of course for all that Legomance (which I'd never write anyway, as I do NOT like Legolas). - Uineniel

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Only a dozen others named 'Mary-Sue'? It was more than that, at the last count. You're right. A dozen is probably a much too conservative estimate. I must confess I spend a lot of time reflecting on the inherent goodness or nobility of Aragorn/ Glorfindel/ Feanor/ Erestor/ Faramir/ Elrond/ insert random character here. Even though my exams are in 5 days and I should be studying. During our senior year in high school, my friends and I taped pictures of our favorite LotR attractive-people inside the covers of our graphing calculators to give us moral support while taking the calculus final. So, it's possible to use obsessions to our advantage in RL. Whether or not we actually got good grades was another story. I can't remember, but it's not the point anyway. Good luck on those exams, Ali

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Hi Ali, LOL! That was funny. I reflect on him far too often - but he's always angsty and handsome and noble and good and.... heh. I shall stop here. cheers, nrink

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

You certainly don't have to be young to reflect upon him either...... Ann

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Nrink and Ann, well, as far as I'm concerned, anytime's a good time for any of us to reflect on Our Favorite Steward... Breakfasttime, lunchtime, dinnertime, at work, in class, driving, exercising... Hmm... Thanks, Ali

 

 

More notes from the trenches...

It just doesn't stop. Day 100 Spending time in the wilderness at cross-country training camp. Fanfic pro: Physically exerting oneself in the woods with loyal, determined companions (teammates, etc) is very Tolkienesque. Will definitely have to channel feelings of camaraderie, getting covered in dirt, and smelling like smoke into some arbitrary Fellowship story or other. Go me! Fanfic con: On the other hand, I doubt Legolas, Sam, or Boromir was ever forced to do ungodly amount of pushups. Also I think it's a sign of a problem when one starts dreaming about HASA forums at night. What's the Elvish term for "withdrawal"?? Day 102 Me: I have a great idea! Let's run really really fast down this incredibly steep, rocky, muddy hill! Wheee! My Right Ankle: Come on baby... Let's do the Twist! Me: (collapsing on the ground) Aaaugh!!! My Coach: Wow, are your ankles actually that weak? Me: Yes!!! Unfortunately, since there are no attractive Fellowship men to comfort me and/or bind my wounds, I am forced to snuggle up with an ice pack instead. Sigh. Day 103 Spent some time reflecting on Faramir's inherent goodness and nobility. Went on underhanded sneaky stealth-ranger recon mission to rival team's locker room. Okay, well actually I just needed a shower. But whatever. Day 104 The bad news: Injury has put me out of commission for an indefinite period of time. The good news: Now have more time to stare blankly into space, visualizing shirtless Fellowship members doing ungodly amounts of pushups. Go fanfic! Go me!

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Hahahahaha (insert many more HAs)! This is silly. Have you read the Very Secret Diaries by Cassandra Claire? Also very silly. Sorry to hear about your ankle. But I do hope the injury will prevent any further gallavanting around the woods and get you back in front of your computer, writing. Dammit. Fresh air? Sport? Bah! Not at the expense of fanfic! Aeneid

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Physically exerting oneself in the woods with loyal, determined companions (teammates, etc) is very Tolkienesque. Will definitely have to channel feelings of camaraderie, getting covered in dirt, and smelling like smoke into some arbitrary Fellowship story or other. Go me! Too true! I also spent some time this weekend playing Ithilien Rangers in the wilds of southwestern Virginia with my daughter, Adventure Sally. Much worthwhile and enjoyable discussion of hobbit riddles, and the multigenerational appeal of Faramir. The bad news: Injury has put me out of commission for an indefinite period of time. Yoikes! That's what happened to me the first time I went backpacking with Adventure Sally. I didn't believe folks when they said I was too old for such foolishness, but even with the broken bones, I would not have traded that Fellowship time for all the tea in China, or lembas in Lorien, or substitute your favorite goodie here. But I do hope the injury will prevent any further gallavanting around the woods and get you back in front of your computer, writing. I second the motion! Prop up that ankle, fluff those pillows behind you, keep a little bell handy to ring for beer or chocolate, and scribble away! Ann

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Hi Aeneid, Have you read the Very Secret Diaries by Cassandra Claire? Yes, and I adore them. I am greatly in Cassandra's debt, especially with the repeated exclamation of "go me!" Sorry to hear about your ankle. But I do hope the injury will prevent any further gallavanting around the woods and get you back in front of your computer, writing. Dammit. Fresh air? Sport? Bah! Not at the expense of fanfic! Exactly! Everything but fanfic must go out the window! My gallavanting days are over for a while. Unfortunately, now I have to start classes again. Although I am taking a creative writing class, so perhaps I will be able to combine business and pleasure. Pssst... I'll trade you a chapter of "Fallen" for a chapter of "Adraefan"! Ali

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Hi, Ann! I also spent some time this weekend playing Ithilien Rangers in the wilds of southwestern Virginia with my daughter, Adventure Sally. Much worthwhile and enjoyable discussion of hobbit riddles, and the multigenerational appeal of Faramir. Oh, that sounds like way too much fun! Prop up that ankle, fluff those pillows behind you, keep a little bell handy to ring for beer or chocolate, and scribble away! Ooh, good idea! Perhaps my roommate can be trained? Ali

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Ali, Everything but fanfic must go out the window! My gallavanting days are over for a while. Unfortunately, now I have to start classes again. Although I am taking a creative writing class, so perhaps I will be able to combine business and pleasure. Classes, schmlasses. I am gladly ignoring all academic pursuits in order to dedicate myself fully to the land of the Nonsensical and Imaginary. If the Prof can start writing The Hobbit on an old exam paper, then I feel no guilt ignoring Macroeconomics in order to continue writing Adraefan. Pssst... I'll trade you a chapter of "Fallen" for a chapter of "Adraefan"! It's a deal! I actually have the next chapter ready, and I wanted to let it sit for the weekend, so that I could review/tweak it on Monday and post it Monday or Tuesday next week. I am eagerly awaiting Fallen's next installment, and I'll gladly trade some Boromir-Nancing-Around-The-Brown-Lands for some Houses-of-Healing-Fun (or, rather, -Misery). Aeneid

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

It's a deal! I actually have the next chapter ready, and I wanted to let it sit for the weekend, so that I could review/tweak it on Monday and post it Monday or Tuesday next week. Oh man! I hadn't counted on you already having it done! Guess I better get cracking on mine. I'll gladly trade some Boromir-Nancing-Around-The-Brown-Lands... I'd bet even "nancing" is a manly pursuit when Boromir does it. ...for some Houses-of-Healing-Fun (or, rather, -Misery). Oh, come now. It's not all that bad, is it? I have a great comic-relief bit lined up in which the narrator and Elloth get into a cat fight over the privilege of undressing an unconscious, oil-soaked Faramir. Just you wait. Ali

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

...undressing an unconscious, oil-soaked Faramir... And I'm supposed to concentrate on work with that image in my mind? Ann

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Aliana wrote: ...privilege of undressing an unconscious, oil-soaked Faramir. How in the world am I going to be able to take my psych test with that kind of an image in my mind?!?! How, I ask you, how? This is most definitely amusing. My self-narrations while writing fanfic/reflecting on Tolkien work/breathing go something like that. Still snickering, Meril

 

 

Re: More notes from the trenches...

Oh man! I hadn't counted on you already having it done! Guess I better get cracking on mine. Indeed! Get to it! I'm anxious to see some new chapters! I'd bet even "nancing" is a manly pursuit when Boromir does it. Yeah. I just wanted to say "nancing," because I love it in the VSD when somebody's complaining about "that poncey elf who keeps nancing around on the snow." ...undressing an unconscious, oil-soaked Faramir. Am squeeing. And I do believe my head just exploded, as my love/hate Faramir pendulum has just crashed into the 'Love' side. Now, you absolutely MUST post, and QUICKLY too! Aeneid (who has suddenly become very, very interested in the younger brother, for a change...)

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Verily, I scribbled the names I mentioned all over my Bio question paper (that was today). My teachers were rather narked. You're apparently not supposed to write on the question papers, but they let me go after my class teacher burst out laughing and informed them that these were book characters. Phew.

 

 

Re: Notes from the Trenches: The Diary of a Young 'Ficcer

Ann, Meril, Aeneid, Glad you enjoyed that imagery. Heh heh. Noldo, Way to unleash your inner fangirl! Glad your class teacher was understanding. Ali

 

 

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