Thursday, February 4, 2010

Twidays: Kemmett's Panty Lines

Okay, so I'm sure you all have seen the recent pictures of Mr. Lutz in his skivvies floating around the interwebs. You have seen them, right? Okay, well, if you haven't go here and take a gander. It's worth it. I'll wait....

See, I told you! Okay, so staring at Kemmett got me to thinking about a little bet that Spank and I had for New Moon - we bet how many lines Emmett would have in the movie. I said that he would have seven. I was WRONG. He had three. My penance is that I am not allowed to make fun of a certain Twilight character's hair until Eclipse is released. (Only 145 more days!) Anyway, Spank and I have discussed going double-or-nothing for Eclipse. If I win, she does not get to mention her theory on Gaymett, but if I lose, then no hair-bashing until Breaking Dawn...which might be released before the next century if we're lucky.

I just recently re-read Eclipse and I'm thinking of going with seven again. It sounds good. I have not read the script for Eclipse because that would be cheating. And I don't have a copy of the script anyway. I mean, what script? *looks over my shoulder*

So, what do you all think? Seven? Too high? Too low? And don't tell Spank that you're helping me! *snickers*

Also, because I couldn't help myself, I made a little video to celebrate Kellan's big (BIG) reveal this week. Enjoy!

A big thank you to kellanlutzonline and @zoomage's myspace album for many of the images in this video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crackfic doesn't have anything to do with plumbers. Usually.

For the most part we've done a lot of talking about published authors, but every once in a while I wanted to discuss something close to my heart: fan-fiction. Some of you may be aware that I wrote a Twilight one-shot for MsKathy's Twifans For Haiti author compilation. It's a Star Trek/Twilight crossover, a parody of quite a few things, and can best be categorized as "crackfic." (Psst... If you donated and have the compilation, it's called "Fully Functional" and is on page 855.) 

When I tried to explain the premise to the uninitiated (aka Rain) I was fairly uniformly met with this: "Crack-what?" So, today I thought I'd explain to you (and Rain) what a crackfic is, and more importantly, why crackfic matters. (Bear with me here.)

The thing about fan fiction is that we (writers and readers) take it really seriously. I mean, we're often placing poor Bella in these terrible gut-wrenching situations. She has had to go through the heartbreak of Edward's departure thousands of times thanks to thousands of different keyboards. Edward has watched her die, almost die, chosen to leave, chosen to stay, died himself, been horribly abused, and/or been left behind for Jasper/Emmett/Alice over and over again. Sometimes, in the midst of all the drama, you just need a laugh. And that is where crackfic comes in.

According to Wikipedia's list of fan fiction terms (see, it makes it seem all official):

Crack fic:

Named after the drug to imply that it can only be the product of a deranged mind, crack fic is identified by its random, nonsensical contents. The plotline might be twisted into a knot, the fic might be a thick parody, or the fic might feature an unlikely or rare pairing ("crack pairing"). Generally these are humor pieces.

Crackfic is essentially the Saturday Night Live of fan fiction, but often funnier. (Unless we're talking classic SNL, in which case crackfic can only hope to be half as amusing as Gilda Radner.) Like SNL, what makes it good is that it is not only funny but also smart. Crackfic is not an excuse for bad writing and dialogue, it's a platform to poke a little fun, and when done right it's golden.

Some of my favorite fics have fallen into the crackfic category:
Psychotic Super Powered Vampirism, by Pastiche Pen, for example. It's told through varying viewpoints, some of them fairly off-the-wall, but is a very original and witty commentary on Bella's reaction to Edward's abandonment.

In Diary of a Mad Flask Ciao_Bella lets us in on some backstory for her fic, Living Backwards, by giving voice to Bella's trusty flask, Joan. A talking flask is definitely crack, but Joan is priceless and totally worth the suspension of belief.

And then there is Well This Sucks: Life According to Seth by Krum Kake. The only reason why I include this is because any story told from Seth Clearwater's "man journal" has to be at least crack-influenced. It's truly hysterical, though, and you're missing out if you don't at least give it a chance.

Of course, not all "crackfic" is fan fiction. Personally, I can't help but feel that Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is crackfic of the original variety. Hitchhiking aliens, intergalactic bulldozers, and a towel? But it all comes together so perfectly that I've read and reread it more times than I can count. It still makes me laugh and may be my favorite book. Then there's Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Only their twisted minds could write a book about the coming of the Antichrist and have me snorting aloud as I read it.

Okay, so it's funny. But why is it important? That's simple:
Laughter gives us distance.  It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.  ~Bob Newhart
If we couldn't poke fun at the things we love (Twilight, our country, our life, our kids, etc) then we get bogged down in it. How do you learn and grow without that distance, as Bob Newhart said? Sure, we all adore Twilight. But we also all probably laughed so hard we almost peed at this video clip:

So, go out and laugh today. Read a little crackfic.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Reading Rain-bow: Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

This week's Reading Rain-bow book is Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block. It was recommended by @cassieclare on twitter. Okay, really she just asked someone if they had read it, but if the writer of the Mortal Instruments series tweets about a book, I'm interested. Cassandra Clare is also quoted on the book's cover, which made me even more curious about this little book: "An opulent, surreal world of strange beauty, sudden horror, and lush romance."

The first thing I loved about Pretty Dead is the actual book. I know this sounds strange, but I love the feel of a book in my hands, and this one is, in fact, little. It has a demure quality to it, even with the overly seductive cover art.

What I loved about actually reading this book is that it takes a step away from the current trend to glamorize the life of a vampire. It is a much darker book than any other YA vamp book I've read. (I even went back to check and see if I was, in fact, reading a book from the YA genre.)

The book's protaganist, Charlotte, has been a vampire for almost a century, but instead of it being "every girl's dream," she is haunted by loneliness and a longing for what was lost when her humanity was taken from her. One of my favorite passages occurs when she is newly turned (in 1925). William, her "maker" asks if she is all right, and she thinks, "But I feel so different now. I feel strangely light in a lovely way, but also empty. Too empty, perhaps." It is this quality of "emptiness" which prompts Charlotte, many years later, to escape William and turn back towards humanity in search of herself.

The story is beautifully told, with vivid descriptions of the time periods witnessed by Charlotte and William. I love the way the author uses fashion within these descriptions. We always know what Charlotte is wearing and the time is marked by her choices in apparel. It is done amazingly well, with references to her, "kid-gloved hand," in 1925 and her, "floppy suede hats," in 1972. In addition to the fashion, time is marked by dramatic events in human history. From the perspective of both Charlotte, a newly made vampire, and William, a centuries old vampire, these events take on an entirely different meaning. The passage of time is likely my favorite thing in this book.

The other quality I found fascinating was Charlotte's detachment from her self after she was turned. As a human she was extremely creative and was dreamed of becoming an artist. As a vampire, she loses that part of herself which defined her. And not only that, but she no longer feels things with the same emphasis as when she was human. She remembers events, and may remember that they made her sad, but the sadness is only a memory, not a tangible grief. This of course raises the question, Is it worth it? Is it worth losing the essence of your self to have immortality and all the things that come along with that? Namely, the most amazing clothing and shoe collection ever amassed. What is that worth, in the end, especially if there will be no end?

I definitely recommend reading Pretty Dead. It's a quick read, but it will leave an impression. The end was completely satisfying in that I was not wanting for more in any way, and I thought about it for days after reading. It truly is a lovely little book.