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IN THIS ISSUE pg.10

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THE MEET CUTE

THE THIRST AID KIT REVIEW

A look at the traditionally fluffy first meeting between the main characters in a story and all the ways it can set you (and them) up for success. 

Our guest contributor, and podcast expert, deathvalleyqueen, gives us all the info on the Thirst Aid Kit podcast.

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THE RECOMMENDATION LIST

THE GIFT GUIDE

Another installment of the Lemon recommendation list, this time full of our favorite fluffy stories.

It's almost Valentine's Day, so we thought we'd throw together a list of what we'd buy our favorite characters for the fluffiest holiday of the year.

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PROMPT-A-PALOOZA

FATED TO BE MATED

We have 28 sweet, cute, and fluffy pictures to entice your muse.

An in-depth discussion on all the possible variations of the infamous soulmate trope, and ways to incorporate pieces of your favorites into your own writing.

pg.28 THE FANDOM DICTIONARY In this new segment, we provide definitions for the fandom and fanfiction references you see in this issue, as well as some more obscure ones.

pg.53 IN DEFENSE OF... SELF-INSERTS In this month's edition, robinwritesallthethings defends the need of authors to put themselves in their own stories.


editor's note At the risk of sounding corny, I honestly can't

Lemon is determined to make 2019 the

believe it's already February. January flew

best year fanfiction has ever seen.

by in a frenzy of paperwork, deadlines, and announcements. Well, at least for Lemon.

But how do you get in on the action if you can't make it? There's a couple of ways. The

In 2019, we have so much planned. It makes

biggest, of course, being that you join Team

my head spin most days. There will be

Lemon. We accept writers, bloggers, and

conventions and movie premieres and so, so,

artists at any stage of their career. All our

so many articles. We'll be issuing awards for

current positions are shown on our website

our favorite celebrities and hanging out with

and updated daily.

you: our readers! Honestly, I can't wait. It's a lot, but I can already tell it'll be more than

And since I'm already talking about staff I'm

worth all the sleep I'm about to lose.

going to gush a little. Okay, a lot. It's February, after all. I get to do that.

Our list of conventions being attended by Lemon staff members will be released

Team Lemon has grown quicker than I ever

sometime this month on our website. In the

thought possible. They are each some of the

next issues, in fact, you'll find our first ever

most amazing, kind, hilarious, and thoughtful

convention passwords. It'll be hidden

people I've ever met anywhere. They are all

somewhere among the fanart, articles, and

willing and eager to grow and learn. I can't

lists.

believe I'm so lucky and I'm only as excited as I am to see what Lemon does this year

But what does it mean to find one? Well, if

because of all of you.

you know the password and see us at your nearest convention (and you're one of the

Thank you for being awesome.

firsts), you'll be rewarded with some Lemon goodies. Each convention password will be different, and can be found in the issue from the previous month. We'll also be taking pictures, playing games,

galaxycollector

and even giving a free photo op to one lucky

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

reader at each one too. Like I said, so much coming up and so worth it.


lemon EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / GALAXYCOLLECTOR DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL OPERATIONS / ROBINWRITESALLTHETHINGS CONTENT DIRECTOR / THATFANFICSTUFF ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / AUTHOR-MIMI-FRANCIS SENIOR COPY EDITOR / ROBINWRITESALLTHETHINGS JUNIOR COPY EDITOR / STAR STAFF WRITERS / 84REEDSY, AUTHOR-MIMI-FRANCIS, GALAXYCOLLECTOR, LILITHENALTUM, ROBINWRITESALLTHETHINGS, STAR, THATFANFICSTUFF, THEFUDGE

ARTWORK BY / MONSIR-ARTS

contact us

on the cover

tumblr: lemon-mag instagram: the.lemon.magazine twitter: magazinelemon pillowfort: lemon-mag itunes: the rule 34 podcast hello@lemon-magazine.org jobsatlemon@gmail.com

cover art by Laundy


SPOILER ALERT Lemon covers fandom and writing. That means there may be spoilers about not only the universe or theme of each issue, but other fandoms as well.

Please read at your own risk.


THE FLUFF ISSUE

P. 6

WHAT'S FLUFF GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Well, it’s February, and not much else happens in

Nothing really bad ever happens to them, and all

February except for Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air,

of the problems they do end up having are

and with love comes fluff, so it seems appropriate to

gloriously mundane and always defeated by the

drop our first annual fluff issue here, doesn’t it?

ardent love they feel for each other. There's a

Honestly, who doesn’t love fluff? Okay, fine, I know

reason I call this story my happy place. Every time

one person, but she’s weird (love you, babe!). No

I sit down to write it, I find myself wondering what

matter how much we enjoy the drama that shapes our

I'm doing, because on the surface, it feels like

favorite characters, it is also undeniable that we love

nothing is happening. This is why fluff is so hard to

to see them happy. And, since canon so often doesn’t

write. We're so used to ridiculously intense

give us that happiness, at least not permanently,

situations in our media. In a TV show's season

fanfiction is the perfect place to make up for it. We’re

finale, at least one person has to die and

celebrating fluff in all its glory and reminding both

everyone else has to be in peril, or we just don't

fanfiction writers and readers that there’s nothing

buy it anymore. Planes have to crash, buses have

wrong with cuddly happiness. Fluff is often

to explode, people have to get kidnapped, the

underappreciated in fandoms because it's not as

world has to be at stake. But fluff doesn't

exciting as angst and not as titillating as smut, but

encompass any of those extreme situations.

that doesn't mean it has a lesser place in the writing

Instead, fluff relies on making the ordinary

hierarchy, or that it's easy to write.

extraordinary, which is incredibly hard to do. Seriously. If you have a hard time writing fluff,

Once upon a time, I wrote a story where the

you're not broken. You're just a writer.

characters met, fell in love instantly, and then started their perfect family. There was basically no conflict,

Don't get me wrong. Angst is hard to write too. So

and there still isn't. As the little collection of one-shots

is smut. Each of them takes their own special

I have for them grows, it just gets fluffier and fluffier.

touch, just like fluff does. Fluff is all about taking


P. 7

WHAT'S FLUFF GO TO DO WITH IT?

the idea of a person making their significant

We get the mentality that fluff is an easy

other breakfast in bed and producing something

throwaway. It’s persisted for so long that it’s hard

that people get hooked into reading. It's hard to

to get away from. Fluff is known as the soft genre,

do precisely because it's such an everyday

the easy genre. In fact, if you look it up on

occurrence. It's also far more likely that when you

Google, the definition is literally, “entertainment

write fluff, you're referencing events a lot of

or writing perceived as trivial or superficial”. In

people have experienced. Not everyone's been in

these pages, you’ll find articles about the

a derailing train, but everyone's had to pick

infamous meet cute, whether a happy ending

someone's socks off of the floor, so they're going

needs to be earned through chapters and

to be that much more critical of your depiction of

chapters of angst to be enjoyed, and a

the event.

breakdown of why we love crackships and rarepairs, along with a ton of love letters to all of

Just like any other genre, fluff serves its function.

our faves, among many other things. Everything

Sometimes you want to cry, so you'll watch

contained within these pages is a testament to

something sad. Sometimes you want to laugh, so

why fluff is not frivolous or simple. It’s part of our

you'll watch something funny. Sometimes, you just

fanfiction lives, and it deserves just as much credit

want to feel cuddled, so you'll indulge in some

as everything else.

fluff. It has its place, just like everything else. While you may not always be in the mood for it,

So there's nothing wrong with writing or reading

and that’s fine, it’s there when you need to either

fluff. Whether all of the time or some of the time,

write or read it, and that’s why it’s important.

it's okay. And, if fluff isn't your thing, you can just move on and find something else more suited to

Ultimately, fanfiction is about seeing your faves in

your own tastes. There's plenty of fics in the sea.

situations you might not get to see them in

So leave the negative commentary behind and

canonically. Sometimes that means putting them

just let fluff be. I'll be over here snuggling with it if

through the wringer. Sometimes that means the

you want to join me.  

reverse. Taking a character who experiences a lot of trauma and giving them some fluff feels like poetic justice. Taking a villain who seems irredeemable and giving them a different path is interesting. It doesn't have to be blood and guts and tears all the time. Unicorns and puppies and rainbows are fun too.


author spotlight

plumfondler lumfondler is the authority in all things Sebastian Stan fics, and for good reason. She’s built a following strictly out of amazing writing and hard work. One look at her stories and you’ll see why many would agree that the fanfic community would be a less inclusive and all around darker place without her in it. Thankfully, she took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us, and to say we’re fangirling is an understatement.

P

So like I said, you’re a favorite here at Lemon and you’re easily the most popular Sebastian Stan content creator on Tumblr (hey, don’t look at me like that. I don’t make the rules!) Where do you find the inspiration for each one of your drabbles and stories? What! Most popular!? Psssshhhh come on now. I find inspiration in real life, or just my fantasies when real life is being stupid and not happening the way I want it to. There are a lot of things in

my stories that are based on real experiences, though. I’m sure this won’t surprise you to hear, but Co-star is my all-time favorite Sebastian Stan story. Where’d you get the idea for Vanessa? And *SPOILER ALERT* did you always plan on them hooking up? Vanessa is probably who I want to be? There’s a tiny bit of myself in her, and some of my friends. She’s the kind of person I’d like to think I’d be if I were an actor; not used to fame, not sure what she’s doing, just doing her best. I did always plan on that, yes. When I first had the idea for this story, like, over ten years ago, I was just fantasizing about what it would be like to be in a movie with someone, and doing a sex scene that got super intense and lead to catching feelings. When did you decide to finally write Stan fic? Was it a gradual process? Or did you just wake up one day and say you were going to do it?

I had a blog where I wrote Shannon Leto fan fiction that was pretty successful for what it was. Then I started looking for Stanfic because I was infatuated with the man, and found some amazing people that inspired me and gave me some advice to just go for it. Do you have story or character playlists? I do not! I can’t listen to music and write, my brain can’t handle it for some reason. Sometimes I listen to electronic music without lyrics. Sometimes. When you’re not writing, what’s your day look like? I have a Monday-Friday job that is the worst, so that takes a lot out of me. I really wish I could spend my days writing, because it’s getting harder and harder to find the time/energy/inspiration to write. Weekends I try to write as much as I can, when I’m not doing other art things. I have my own business where I make things (jewelry, sculpture, art) and sell them


PLUMFONDLER  |  FEBRUARY 2019

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at cons, and I do a few a year, so I’m always trying to prepare and make things for my next con. Have you, or do you, write for other fandoms? As previously mentioned, Shannon Leto. I first started writing fan fiction in high school; *NSYNC and O-Town. Oh god I wrote so much smut in high school. I would also role play with friends with *NSYNC members? Man that was a weird time. I know a lot of people believed the written word would be safe from the adult content ban on Tumblr, but have you noticed anything incorrectly flagged? Or anything with written, but no visual smut? What’s your take on the whole thing? Uh, yes, I’ve actually been loudly complaining about it on my blog for weeks. Chapter 12 of Co-Star has been “in review” for weeks. It’s really angering me, and I’m getting closer and closer to making my own site for creators of things without censorship. What’s your absolute favorite scene, drabble, one-shot, etc. that you’ve ever written? Oh man! This is difficult! I think either my Bucky snapchat drabble, or Lance series Integrity (which I definitely need to finish). What’s your favorite trope to read? I AM SUCH TRASH FOR FRIENDS TO LOVERS. I can’t express that enough. And finally, if you had to guess, what (or who) do you think your Patronus would be? I know it’s a fox! (Pottermore tried to tell me it’s a lynx, but… nah) fun fact: I have four Harry Potter tattoos. One of which that says Expecto Patronum.

THIS OR THAT? WEIRD OR NORMAL? WEIRD  BUCKY OR JEFFERSON? BUCKY  YOUNGER OR OLDER? OLDER HEELS OR FLATS? FLATS DRABBLE OR CHAPTERS? CHAPTERS CURLY OR STRAIGHT? STRAIGHT.


THE MEET CUTE BY AUTHOR-MIMI-FRANCIS Boy meets girl, boy falls on his face in front of girl, spills his coffee on her brand new, super expensive shoes, boy apologizes profusely, girl accepts apology, laughing off the potentially major infraction because the boy is adorable and potentially single. Boy literally takes the shoes from her feet, vowing to replace them, despite the girl’s protests to the contrary. Boy and girl then flirt, they get coffee together, they exchange numbers, and they separate, confident they will see each other again. Meet cute accomplished. Now, you might be asking, what exactly is a meet cute? It is a scene in which two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time. It is common in television and movies, in particular romantic comedies, and it is also present in many books, as well as fanfiction. The meet cute is so much more than a meeting between the author’s two main characters; it might be the single most important part of your story. If the couple in your story meet in a cute and memorable way, that moment will linger in the reader’s mind. It will compel them to see what other wonderful, amazing—and yes, cute —things will happen between this potential couple. Setting up that first meeting and building on it will propel the story forward and keep it interesting and entertaining. But, hey, not everybody meets in some cute, adorable, “isn’t this couple perfect together?” way, right? Right. Sometimes, the meet cute isn’t so, well, cute. The couple in question might initially hate each other, they might immediately be put at odds, they might be on opposite sides of an issue, or they could have huge obstacles standing in the way of their eternal happiness. Great, so there goes the cute part of the meet cute. Now what? What the author really should focus on for any meet cute to work is making it memorable. As a writer, you want your reader invested in that relationship the second it makes an appearance and the possibility of it being a thing is planted in their head. Make it jump off the page and make the reader say “I need them together”. Use the events of that memorable first meeting to push the story forward. The ruined shoes require the boy and girl to see each other again, the shy librarian finds the book that pretty girl was looking for when she knocked over the giant stack of books and created a ruckus, or the Russian spy bumps into his attractive interrogator at a museum benefit in another city. The author can use what was already set up during the meet cute to bring the potential couple together again. Love can blossom naturally.

THE FLUFF ISSUE Meet cutes don’t work in every story and meet cutes aren’t necessary in every story. But sometimes, if there is time, if the story allows it, and you want to write it, a meet cute can be a great way to bring your characters together for the first time and set up a world of possibilities.


Fanfiction has been around longer than you think. Ever heard of Dante and The Divine Comedy? Yeah, he wrote a whole story about himself hanging out with Virgil and taking a tour of Hell. And that was in 1320. It’s pretty wild. Honestly, we at Lemon are sure

THE FLUFF ISSUE | FEBRUARY 2019

FANFIC ARCHAEOLOGY fanfiction existed long before that too. It wasn’t always easy to find fanfiction, though. Back in the day, some of us wrote our fanfiction in notebooks and passed them back and forth to friends between classes. We used to build our own websites dedicated just to our stories or fandoms because there were no archives like FanFiction.Net and AO3. We used any way we could think of to spread our imagination. Thankfully, the Internet has made sharing fanfiction much easier than it used to be. Lemon’s team of fanfiction archaeologists are diving into the depths of fandoms past each month to bring you some of the hidden gems that still exist out there. We hope you enjoy them!

Since this is a multi-fandom issue, we decided to think back on our collective fandom life and find a fanfiction for the first show we all really, really loved and begged to stay up to watch. That show was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. None of us actually wrote any fanfiction about it, but we still remember it fondly. The fic below has a perfect fluffy concept for our theme this month and will likely be enjoyable even if you’ve never been in this fandom.

A RING ON HIS FINGER BY WENDYMR Synopsis: A tabloid publishes a photograph showing a wedding ring on Superman's finger - Help! Pairing: Clark Kent/Superman x Lois Lane Fandom: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Platform: FanFiction.Net Rating: K+  11


author spotlight

zombiecheetah he MCU is lucky to have a writer in zombiecheetah. With just a few paragraphs, she’s able to pack a definite punch. Most of her work revolves around the fandom’s favorite bad boy, Loki, but she can be seen dabbling in the Star Wars fandom as well. Whatever kinds of fics she chooses to write, they are always incredibly well-written, beautiful, and nuanced.

T

I have to say that it’s an absolute pleasure to get to sit and chat with you! You are one of my personal favorite authors and I think one of the more daring in the fandom. Thank you for giving us a few minutes of your time. Thank you so much! Thor: Ragnarok was how I found you as an author, but many of your fics revolve around earlier canon, diverging from the source material in Thor and Avengers to write the incredible Where Loyalties Lie series. What inspired you to sit down and think “these

movies could have gone this way instead of that” and then write an entire series around that idea? After Thor: Ragnarok came out, I kept thinking about all the unanswered questions I had about Asgard, and how Loki’s journey could have gone differently if he had a better support system. That’s when I decided to combine those two ideas into what is now Where Loyalties Lie. For those who don’t know, the series begins hundreds of years before the events of the first Thor movie and is a retelling of the MCU stories but with an added Sigyn! Your story completely fleshed out and developed the often neglected and overlooked Sigyn, a character unseen in the MCU and sometimes disabused in the comics. What attracted you to her character and how did you develop her backstory? Sigyn in many ways represents the happiness the MCU seems determined to deny Loki. And doesn’t every Loki fan just want to see the

poor guy happy? But when I read the comics that featured Sigyn, I was immediately disappointed by how sexist the writing was for her. A lot of the fanfiction I read was better, but I kept noticing misogynistic traits in Sigyn’s character that I found personally annoying. Now, of course, anyone can write whatever they want and I’m not saying that people should never write less than perfect “unproblematic” interpretations of characters. But I was hungry for a story where Sigyn and Loki’s relationship was more grounded and more give and take. That’s when I started diving into Sigyn’s character and ended up developing her into something more than Loki’s giggling subservient fangirl. What are your favorite tropes to use? Why do you think these tropes work so well in your stories? My characters often will be good at one skill but then be really bad at another skill where the knowledge, in


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theory, should transfer over. For example, despite the fact that Loki is a master alchemist with a deep understanding on various theories to creating concoctions, when he is forced to cook for himself for the first time, he almost sets the kitchen on fire. Not only do I just think this kind of physical comedy is hilarious, but it also helps me develop conflicts around these flaws. If given the opportunity, would you ever consider collaborating with another author on any fics? Who would it be and why? I know so many wonderful authors and if they asked, I absolutely would be on board. But my own writing process is a bit chaotic that I would not wish on anyone. Research in writing fics is often part of expanding a character’s storyline from the canon source material. What is the weirdest thing you’ve learned while researching for any of your stories? Fandral the Dashing has a comic that establishes him as the historical Robin Hood who had a human wife whom he stayed with until she died of old age. It’s a great backstory that adds a lot of depth to a comic relief character. Who is your biggest writing cheerleader? Do you share any of your fics with people in your day-to-day life or do you limit your work to being online only? My husband reads over my final drafts and helps me with certain plot points. Shoutout to loxxxlay and gaslightgallows to whom I also turn to when I am stuck on a plot point. Do you have any story ideas you want to work on in the future or plan to write soon? Yes. Too many. I have been working on this Marvel/DC crossover fic for way too long that I would love to publish soon. And finally, are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? I am on Tumblr and Pillowfort as zombiecheetah! Please say hi sometime!

THIS OR THAT? DANCING OR SINGING? SINGING  ANGST OR FLUFF? ANGST AU OR CANON-VERSE? AU PIZZA OR PASTA? PIZZA BOLD PRINTS OR SOLIDS? SOLIDS  THOR: RAGANAROK OR BLACK PANTHER? RAGNAROK


THE FLUFFY WRITING PLAYLIST Brought to you by The Lemon Magazine

01 I

Like

Me

Better

Can't

See

Straight

Lauv

Jamie Lawson

02

06

Stand

By

You

Shut

Up

and

Dance

Rachel Platten

WALK THE MOON

03

07

Life

How

05

of

the

Don't

Party

Ya

Shawn Mendes

Brett Eldredge

04

08

Long

Will

I

Love

Ellie Goulding

You

Perfect

Ed Sheeran


dear aaron,  Oh, babe. Come sit by me. You look like you need a hug. I know it’s hard. Every person you’ve fallen in love with has died on you. Literally not one time has it been your fault, either. No, don’t look at me like that. Eric wasn’t your fault. He wanted to be there. He wanted to help, and he did his job. Granted, it didn’t end the way any of us (you especially!) would have liked, but he was happy. He was happy with you, and how could he not be? You’re kinda awesome. Yeah, Rick Grimes is a huge part of your universe. Hell, he’s a big part of everyone’s universe, but with his absence I was given time to think, and that’s when I noticed something. You are the only reason Negan was defeated. You’re the only reason our group ever found Alexandria. You’re the reason they discovered community and something other than survival was possible. They learned to trust again because of you. Sure, you knew our group at their worst, but getting them to trust anyone will always be your biggest accomplishment, as far as I’m concerned. And because of that trust, they defeated Negan and The Saviors. All that started with you and a jar of disgusting applesauce. Now, I’m not saying Rick wasn’t important. He definitely was. His leadership is what ultimately put the life you now all live into motion, but without you finding and seeing their potential, none of this would even exist. I mean, I think we can all admit, had the naiveté that was rampant under Deanna’s reign continued, it would have gotten everyone killed sooner rather than later. Seriously, no one even stood watch. It probably doesn’t seem like much consolation since you can’t save those that are the closest to you, but there are others left, and now they’ll rely on your guidance more than ever. You can’t let them down and you can’t give up, though you’ll certainly feel entitled. Besides, there’s almost no one left to be that voice of reason. You have to fill shoes you never imagined you’d have to fill. I get it. It just sucks. But you can’t put down the mantle, even if you didn’t ask for it. As you search for strength in the coming days, weeks, and months, try to realize that, even though he’s gone, Jesus would expect you to be there for your friends and not grieve him for too long. There are things to decide and elections to hold. Stay busy. You’ll be fine. And if you’re not sometimes, there are people you can go to. You can be not okay together. While celebrating Valentine’s Day is probably the last thing on your mind, try to remember Gracie. She needs her Daddy as she processes more loss and heartbreak, and you’re the only one who can make it better. So, make her a special dinner and sit around and talk about whatever it is that kids like these days. The distraction will be nice for both of you.

Love, A Fellow Single Parent


THE OTP PLAYLIST Brought to you by The Lemon Magazine

05

01 Lovin'

I

Sleep

Emeli Sandé

02

06

All

of

Me

Speechless

John Legend

Dan + Shay

03

07

Collide

A

Where

You

Minnie Riperton

Say

(Acoustic)

You

Won't

Let

Howie Day

James Arthur

04

08

Thousand

Years,

Part

Christina Perri (ft. Steve Kazee)

2

Something

'Bout

Sir Rosevelt

Go

You


author spotlight

gaslightgallows aslightgallows isn’t just a fic writer, she is a force of nature in any fandom she dips her toes into. From writing epic MCU Lokicentric sagas to emotionally rich and beautifully crafted Crimson Peak fic, this is an author who can do it all and still find the time to interact with her readers as if speaking to an old friend. It’s a definite privilege to read her work.

G

First, I want to say thank you so much for sitting down with us! It’s a pleasure to talk to such a prolific and popular author as yourself! I’m pretty sure you have me confused with someone else, but I’m thrilled to be mistaken for them and talking with you today. I am a huge fan of all your work, but especially what you've done in the MCU. For a fandom that boasts an incredible and vast array of fic ideas, plots, and storylines, how do you keep your works original and fresh while also being relatable and heartfelt?

Original? I have no idea. When I’m writing it all feels so stale and tired. Honestly, I try not to worry too much about being original. It’s much too vast of a term. Actively trying to do something with fiction that no one’s ever done before, it’s like trying to count sand on a beach; you can’t do it. So I try to let that impulse go, and just write a good story. If I’m writing a piece of fic for myself, or for someone else, I focus more on what I want to read, or what I know the recipient likes. Sometimes that actually means going over well-trodden ground and using tired tropes. But because I’m writing for myself, or for another specific person, I’m tailoring a fic to a very narrow and targeted audience. It’s for one person’s pleasure. And because what people find satisfying varies so widely, I think that gets perceived as being something new and different. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with you a bit about The Convalescent Way, the first part of your The King in Exile series. One of the things I’ve always been in awe of is

how you are able to make each of these characters feel so true to life while exploring new territory that doesn’t exist in canon. How do you develop storylines and character arcs for Loki, Thor, Brunhilde, Sif, and the others without getting out of character, or without completely abandoning the source material? For me, stories have to come from the characters. There are writers who come up with a plot first, and then find their characters within that plot; I’m not one of those writers. I have to get to know the characters before I can determine what kinds of storylines and arcs will fit them the best and be the most believable and the most satisfying. The Asgardians are interesting because, while the movie incarnations of the characters don’t have a lot of established backstory, the comic versions do, and the mythological versions (for the characters who exist in mythology) do, so there’s a lot of material there for me to pull from. And the movies offer a lot of small character


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traits and qualities that the limited time in a film doesn’t allow any exploration of, like Brunnhilde’s drinking, and Sif’s complicated feelings for Thor, and Loki’s… well, Loki. How do you find time to write? What’s your process like? Or is there one? Any little bits of time are good. I’ll write on my phone while I’m in the bathroom, if I have to. My preference is to be someplace where I can’t see a clock, and where I can’t see the light outside changing, so I can lose track of time and lose myself in the story. I wrote the first 10,000 words of The Convalescent Way and a few short pieces like that, one long weekend by myself in a hotel room in Philadelphia. As far as a process goes, I don’t think I really have one. Sometimes I’ll just sit down and start typing, or scribbling ideas into a notebook. Other times I have to turn off the internet and any background noise and really force myself to concentrate. The only thing I know I do is, when I’m having trouble focusing, I stop and pick a sentence and try to hear it, in my mind, in the character’s voice, and that gives me the jump-start that I need. Which of your fics were the most enjoyable to write? This is an interesting question because all the fics that are jumping to mind are the ones that were a complete pain in the ass.. Or that were angry post-Infinity War spitefics. I enjoy writing all my fics (except the PIA ones). None of them have really been more or less fun, that I can recall. I genuinely loved writing The Convalescent Way. That fic was an adventure from beginning to end. And I have a deep abiding fondness for a pre-series Babylon 5 fic called In the Light of Two Moons that my longsuffering editor/writing partner wrote (and left unfinished, our bad) some years back. And I take great anticipatory pleasure in thinking about the fics I want to write… and then not actually, y’know, writing them. And finally, I know you love for readers to interact with you online! What are your social media handles so that we can come say hi? I’m gaslightgallows on AO3, Tumblr, Pillowfort and Dreamwidth.

THIS OR THAT? HOT DOGS OR CORN DOGS? HOT DOGS  VEST OR HAT? VEST  ICE CREAM OR SNOW CONES? ICE CREAM SMUT OR WHUMP? SMUT PASTELS OR JEWEL TONES? JEWEL TONES  LOKI OR THOMAS SHARPE? IF I ANSWER THAT, ONE OF THEM’S GOING TO BE INSULTED, AND I SIMPLY CAN’T RISK THAT


THE FLUFF ISSUE

THE REC LIST

Dean Winchester x Reader Bucky Barnes x Reader Bones x Reader Natasha Romanoff x Reader Thomas Shelby & Sister!Reader Spencer Reid x Reader FP Jones x Jim Hopper x Reader Sebastian Stan x OC 10th Doctor x Reader Billy Russo x Reader Klaus Mikaelson x Reader Multiple Marvel Characters


THE FLUFF ISSUE

Title: Friendly Advice

Title: Co-Star

Main Pairing: Dean Winchester x Reader

Main Pairing: Sebastian Stan x OC

Fandom: Supernatural

Fandom: RPF

Author: rizlowwritessortof

Author: plumfondler

Title: She's So High

Title: In the Absence of Snow

Main Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader

Main Pairing: 10th Doctor x Reader

Fandom: Marvel

Fandom: Doctor Who

Author: eyesfixedonthesun22

Author: thebeethathums

Title: Fine, I'll Kiss You, Doctor

Title: Lucky Me

Main Pairing: Bones x Reader

Main Pairing: Dean Winchester x Reader

Fandom: Star Trek

Fandom: Supernatural

Author: wickedsingularity

Author: sis-tafics

Title: They're Lesbians, Scott

Title: The Convalescent Way

Main Pairing: Natasha Romanoff x Reader

Main Pairing: Multiple Marvel Characters

Fandom: MCU

Fandom: MCU

Author: generallynerdy

Author: gaslightgallows

Title: Brave Enough

Title: My Queen

Main Characters: Thomas Shelby & Sister!Reader

Main Characters: Klaus Mikaelson x Reader

Fandom: Peaky Blinders

Fandom: The Originals

Author: cas-kingdom

Author: golddaggers

Title: Chinese Takeout

Title: Snakes in the Garden

Main Pairing: Spencer Reid x Reader

Main Pairing: Multiple Marvel Characters

Fandom: Criminal Minds

Fandom: MCU

Author: inkstainedfanfics

Author: zombiecheetah

Title: Having a Threesome with FP and Hopper

Title: Impossible Year

Main Pairing: FP Jones x Jim Hopper x Reader

Main Pairing: Billy Russo x Reader

Fandom: Stranger Things & Riverdale

Fandom: The Punisher

Author: thranduilsperkybutt

Author: banditthewriter


10 tropes for romantic writing BY AUTHOR-MIMI-FRANCIS Maybe it’s the hearts everywhere, the cheesy commercials advertising everything from balloons to lingerie, or the scent of chocolate permeating the air, but February is the perfect time to write about love. Fortunately for fanfiction writers, a lot of different tropes are made for fluffy, romantic writing. Friends to lovers, fake dating, slow burn, and bed sharing are only a few of the tropes you can use in your flufftastic writing. 01 Fake Relationship. This is exactly what it sounds like. Two characters pretend to be in a relationship in order to fool family, friends, or maybe that enemy from high school, college, or work.  02 Bed Sharing. By far one of the most popular tropes you’ll see, bed sharing involves two (or more) characters being forced to share a bed. This almost always leads to intimacy between the couple, often after one of them wakes up wrapped in the other’s arms.  03 Mutual Pining. Two characters who are completely in love with each other, but for whatever reason, neither of them does anything about it. Instead, they suffer in silence, desperately in love, until finally, they come together in some wonderful, fluffy, all-the-feelings kind of way.  04 Slow Burn. This particular trope pairs well with mutual pining and is another trope that does well in longer fanfiction pieces. Slow burn refers to the characters slowly and naturally falling in love over a lengthy period of time.  05 Friends to Lovers. Another commonly used trope, friends to lovers involves characters who are friends eventually discovering that those feelings go much deeper than friendship. 

06 Forbidden Love. When someone says forbidden love, the first thing to come to mind might be Romeo and Juliet. Forbidden love can take many forms, appearing in A/B/O stories, gangster AUs, and college AUs, just to name a few. 07 Secret Romance. Secret romance  pairs well with some of the other tropes already mentioned. It is particularly effective when the characters are juxtaposed as the “good guy” and the “bad guy”. 08 Huddling for Warmth. Who doesn’t love to see their OTP or two beloved characters being forced to huddle together to stay warm while fighting for their lives in the freezing cold?  09 Hurt/Comfort. It involves one character being physically or emotionally wounded and another character caring for them. It is another trope that can lead to fluffy, romantic, intimate moments between the couple and an exploration of their mutual feelings. 10 Unrequited Love. Being in love with someone who basically doesn’t know you exist and will never reciprocate that love is depressing, to say the least. But, the unrequited love trope can be turned on its head when it leads to newfound love with someone different and worthier of your love. 


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author spotlight

golddaggers olddaggers has a masterlist anyone would be proud to call their own, boasting a number of chapter fics, drabbles, and imagines. Each time, she exceeds expectations in the best and most beautiful way. Whether they’re long or short, you can guarantee you’ll go on a journey each and every time. Somehow, she managed to squeeze us into her busy schedule, and we won’t lie, we’re squealing!

G

I was really excited to see you wrote a couple of pieces featuring Mitch Rapp. I loved Dylan’s portrayal of that character. Did you find it hard to write for Mitch Rapp versus writing for Stiles Stilinski?

deliver what your readers want? Not to sound selfish or anything, but I feel like writing has to be, first, about what you like as a writer. Of course I think about what people would like to read, what would make them thrilled to click or open my story, still I have to feel comfortable about what I am writing in the first place, if it goes along with what I think and with my own ideas. So I guess it has to be a little bit of both. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

It was a little more complicated, because I always thought I was getting Mitch a little softer than he actually is. With Stiles, I don’t know, I figure it’s easier, not just because I like him so much, but actually because I identify a lot with him.

This one is tough. I would definitely give up on procrastination and always waiting until tomorrow and tomorrow to start effectively writing. I realise it's not necessarily a bad thing, but still, I feel like it would make exercise writing more and, thus, making me a better writer.

Do you try to be more original or do you try to

What’s your favorite underappreciated drabble or one-

shot that you’ve written? I wrote one called “Beautiful Goodbye”, as in the Maroon 5 song. It's short and, since it's a bit sad, I don't think people enjoyed it that much. I still like it. Do you have any strange writing habits (like you have to sit in a certain place or wear something specific)? I don't find it specific, but I normally listen to music while writing. Just to get a bit inspired. It’s obvious you enjoy writing Stiles Stilinski, but are there any other characters you like to write almost as much as Stiles? Yes! I haven’t written much about him lately, but I just love writing about Sirius Black. When I first started writing, it was mainly Harry Potter and, by far, he was my favourite. Is there a particular story you’ve written that is especially important to you or close to your heart?


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Most of them are. There is one that comes to me now called “Choose” which made me very emotional whilst writing. It was based on the poem by Rupi Kaur. Are there any authors (fanfiction or other) that inspire you with their writing? I am definitely inspired by Nicholas Sparks. His novels are amazing! So passionate and, well, heartbreaking. And, undoubtedly, JK Rowling. She got the party started for me, after all, since my first writings were Harry Potter related. Of course there are others, in Tumblr and other websites, but I fear the answer would be terribly long. Plus those two contributed and inspired me a lot! What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received and are you willing to share that advice with others? Sounds silly, but, one time, I asked a fellow writer how she writes so well and so long chapters. I had this idea that, in order to be good, it had to be long. Anyway. She answered: I just write. In the sense of: get involved with the story. Let your imagination flow into words. It's cheesy, but it's not a lie. If you could rewrite any of your one-shots or drabbles, which one would it be? Oh. Probably them all. Anytime I'm re-reading stuff I wrote, I find tiny mistakes or things I wanted to be there, especially old stuff written by me. Sometimes I catch myself reading it and I think: “why anyone would like this?” Bottom line is: there isn't one specific that comes to mind. I suppose I'm that picky.

THIS OR THAT? STILES STILINSKI OR MITCH RAPP? STILES STILINSKI  ONLINE SHOPPING OR SHOPPING IN A STORE? SHOPPING IN A STORE PASSENGER OR DRIVER? DRIVER PHONE OR COMPUTER? PHONE PEN OR PENCIL? PENCIL  PANCAKE OR WAFFLE? PANCAKE


the fandom and fanfiction dictionary BROUGHT

TO

YOU

BY

THE

LEMON

MAGAZINE


BroTP A combination of the word bromance and OTP, meaning to ship two people together in a nonsexual way. This term is not restricted to gender and can refer to friendships that are not between two male characters. See also: OTP.  Curtain Fic A fanfiction story, drabble, one-shot, or imagine that uses a domestic chore or situation, such as picking out curtains, as its main plot point.  ER Established Relationship, meaning that two characters were in a relationship prior to the beginning of the story. It is not necessary that these two characters be the focus, but most will be. This description does not guarantee a happy ending for either.  Feels Short for feelings. It is typically used to describe something that is severely emotional or an overabundance of feelings of any kind that one cannot properly describe in verbal communication.  Fluff  A genre of fanfiction that is often described as the absence of angst, usually resulting in a happy ending for one or all characters. Generally centers around widely accepted tropes that are romantic in nature. 

Lemon An outdated term which refers to a fanwork that depicts sexually explicit acts or situations. Derived from the 1984 hentai anime titled, "Cream Lemon". See also: Lime. Lime An outdated term which refers to a fanwork that features foreplay, but not the sexually explicit content featured in lemons. See also: Lemon. OTP One True Pairing, meaning the combination of two characters an author, artist, reader, or viewer perceives to be perfect for one another in a way no other can be. See also: NoTP and BroTP.  NoTP  Not One True Pairing, often used as an antonym for OTP. It is a combination of characters that an author, artist, reader, or viewer perceives to be the least compatible ship. This term is often the vehicle for the most divisive arguments in fandom. See also: OTP and BroTP. Self-Insert  Used as a way for an author or artist to insert themselves into their fanwork. It should not be confused with reader-insert, in which the author writes their character so vague that the reader could feasibly see themselves mirrored in the pages, no matter the situation or topic. 

HEA Happily Ever After, meaning that the two main characters overcome all obstacles and end up in a relationship. All stories that are romantic in nature are said to have these, but some do not.

Slow Burn A fanfiction trope used to slowly build a relationship, either romantic or sexual, in an organic and natural way.

HHJJ Happy Happy Joy Joy, which often references the complete absence of angst, smut, or anything other than fluff. It is most used interchangeably with Happily Ever Afters. See also: HEA.

Trope A recurring motif, generally used in stories containing large amounts of fluff. This term is used in conjunction with cliché most commonly, but the two words have very different meanings.


HAPPY ENDINGS NOT GUARANTEED BY 84REEDSY

Fiction in its base form is literature describing imaginary events and people. It’s a generally unregulated playground of possibilities and prospects, only limited by the author’s own imagination. By extension, fanfiction also exists within this realm, the only caveat being that some of the imaginary events and people have already been created for us, laying the groundwork for artistic expansion. Fanfiction exists for a variety of reasons. Fans are often dissatisfied with the trajectory of canon and feel the need to express how different decisions or actions would have altered the outcome. Some aren’t necessarily dissatisfied, but want to further develop characters or plots that the original creator left behind. In a sense, they are filling in their own curiosity gaps. It’s also very common for fans to insert themselves into these imaginary settings. This could be for a number of reasons as well: escapism, self-discovery, even vanity. But for readers and writers there is clearly an overwhelmingly common theme of the happy ending. This is even more common in fiction where canon was disappointing or upsetting. The reader and the writer want to right a wrong. They want there to exist a tangent in which the characters they’ve grown to appreciate receive their retribution or their comeuppance. Though fiction is purely imaginary, reality is often represented. In reality, everyone is aware that things don’t always go as planned (conflict) and that outcomes are not always predictable (resolution). In fiction, this unpredictable resolution is known as the upset.


In an upsetting ending, we often see the failures of our protagonist culminate. Readers often feel blindsided by these endings. For example, in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, we are faced with a major fan favorite character death in a wildly popular series. How was this plot received? Even in the early 1980s, well before the Internet was broadly available, leaks were still prevalent. When rumors surfaced of Spock’s imminent demise, the passionate fans’ reactions were quite profound. From taking out magazine ads to even harassing the actor that portrayed Spock, Leonard Nimoy, fans voiced their disapproval well before the movie was even released. This response was undoubtedly something the studio wanted. They evoked a strong response that put the name of their film in front of even more people months before it hit the screens. Ultimately the movie was released unaltered and fans suffered through the agonizing end. Writers have two primary jobs: to create a story and entice readers to consume that story. This is true of mainstream fiction as well as fanfiction. Giving the reader what they want is what helps fanfiction writers assemble their own following. There exists a dichotomy, though, between being true to the organic nature of a story and pleasing that following. Writers may fear that having an upsetting ending may alienate some readers and ultimately estrange their following. In stories that I’ve written, the few that ended unhappily or vaguely received comments that asked me to change the ending or extend the story to keep the ending from being distressing. While pleasing endings may give some readers a sense of resolution or finality, it wouldn’t have fit into the theme or art of those particular pieces. Writing is an art form and authors must stay true to that art. That’s what gives fiction its credibility. It's important that written art also maintains its artistic integrity. Some authors have created a niche where they are known for unconventional endings, but even with those works not being necessarily unhappy, they also  aren't unexpected either. The reader has an early inclination that the ending won't fit a typical string of events. 

THE FLUFF ISSUE | PG. 31


As readers, we should be prepared that any piece we read could end in any given way and understand that we can still enjoy it even if it doesn't leave us feeling warm fuzzies. We should understand that this author's exploration of this subject matter naturally took them to a place where events didn't unfold happily. Perhaps the author already knew the ending and formed the story with it in mind. Happy endings definitely have their place in fanfiction. Having a happy ending doesn't in any way discount the artistry or credibility of a work. Guarantees are few in fanfiction. Occasionally, the author will provide a warning or insinuation that a story diverts from canon, letting readers know that their work may not fill in typical expectations. This is where fanfiction can earn its originality. We are familiar with the characters, but now have a greater wealth of fictional possibility. Regardless of the ending, this possibility is what should elicit interest for writers and readers alike. Understanding that creativity takes authors into unexpected territory is what should and does bring everyone back for more, thirsting for new and fresh content. This alone is sort of its own happy ending, knowing that as long as fans exist, fanfiction and fan content will continue to exist alongside them.Â


A THIRST QUENCHER

A

T H I R S T

A I D

K I T

P O D C A S T

R E V I E W

BY DEATHVALLEYQUEEN

I love podcasts. They have quickly become one

While the bulk of the podcast discusses the

of my favorite ways to pass the time and keep

various Thirst Objects in all their glory, what

my mind busy. I listen to about twenty on a

sets this podcast apart from others is that each

regular basis, and I could find great podcasts for just about any topic in my large pool of interests. All except something that spoke to my thirsty girl soul. That was until about six months ago, when I spotted Thirst Aid Kit nestled away deep within the humor section of Spotify. I was instantly intrigued by the name alone. So, I scrolled down to an episode that seemed to suit my interests and hit play. It took maybe ten minutes of listening before they had another loyal “Thirst Bucket”, which is what they call their fans, and I got a new favorite podcast. Each episode features one or several celebrities as its topic. These men are referred

episode has a segment called Fanfic Wars. Fanfic Wars pits the hosts against each other to write the best drabble about one of the Thirst Objects featured in that episode. Not only are Bim and Nichole hilarious, they are also fantastic writers. Some of their drabbles are fluffy, some smutty, but this feature is what keeps me coming back, because I just want to hear more of their amazing fanfics! This podcast is so much more than just a fangirling fest. It also talks about some real issues, like representation. This podcast is hosted by two women of color, which provides a unique perspective on fandom by itself. These ladies also take this a step further by making sure baes of all colors are featured, which I

to as “Thirst Objects”. From Tom Hiddleston

think is much needed in the world of fandom.

to Dev Patel, there is a Thirst Object to suit just

They discuss everything with a level of great

about any taste out there. My introduction to

respect, in spite of the nature of the podcast,

this dynamic pair of Bim and Nichole was via

and that is so refreshing in fandom.

the very amusingly titled episode “Tom Hiddleston, The Earnest Scarecrow,” which had me both remembering why I adored him for many years and laughing so hard I nearly broke a glass while doing my dishes. I then started to work my way through the rest of their glorious archive of thirst. I learned that these women were connoisseurs of lust in the best possible way. The fact that there are often numerous references to 1990s pop culture is a wonderful added bonus. With episode titles like “The Great British Bae Off,” “To Beard Or Not To Beard,” and “The World’s Preeminent Movie Kisser,” you can expect your thirst of all kinds to be sufficiently quenched. 

The ladies of Thirst Aid Kit just wrapped up with their third season in December 2018. Their fourth season is set to come out sometime in 2019, though at the time of this article no release dates have been set. Have no fear. If you think you may be a “Thirst Bucket” in the making, there are plenty of older episodes to keep your thirst quenched until the next season comes out! To keep up with all the latest Thirst Aid Kit news, make sure to check out their Tumblr and Twitter! Thirst Aid Kit is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.


dear john wick,  You are the bad guy that I love to root for. The perfect anti-hero. You kill a lot of people (I mean a lot of people. like, so many) but they’re all bad guys. They are all criminals that deserve retribution in one way or another. You loved your wife and you loved your dog, and I am totally on board for that. I’ll even cheer for you when you destroy the people that killed your beloved pet. But, John, what happened to you between the first and the second movie? I understand that a lot of what occurred was completely out of your control, but I think you’re smarter than what you’re showing us. First of all, let’s talk about your car. It’s a great car. I understand you wanting it back. I even understand you going after it and taking it when they wouldn’t give it to you. What I don’t understand is why you would use that car in a fight. You had to know that they weren’t just going to let you drive out the door, that they would do everything in their power to stop you. There was a building full of cars there. Why not take one of the others, let them shoot that one up while you ran them over, then switch to your car before you headed home? For as much as that car means to you, you certainly didn’t take very good care of it. And then there’s the whole issue of Santino D’Antonio. He manipulated and twisted things to get what he wanted with no intention of you surviving. In order for you to live, he needed to die. I can agree with that. What I can’t agree with is you taking him out on neutral ground, which you knew would remove any protections you had. You are an assassin, one of the best, in fact, and it didn’t occur to you to just snipe him? Seriously, you could hide anywhere and take him out. The minute he stepped out of the hotel he could have been dead. You haven’t lived this long by being careless. You’ve got one last chance to fix this, John. As you begin the next movie, you’re going to be on the run. You’ll be doing everything you can to stay alive. To that end, I’d like to offer the following suggestions. First, do not drive your own car. As much as I love that car, it’s rather noticeable. Get something a little more incognito, like a Camry. Second, accept help. You always try to keep everyone else out of your business, worried that you’ll get them hurt or killed. Let them make that decision for themselves and just let them help you out. And third, I beg of you, use that pretty head. You’re a smart man. Please act like it and you just might stay alive.

Sincerely, thatfanficstuff ICON BY DREW ELLIS FOR THE NOUN PROJECT


author spotlight

thranduilsperkybutt hranduilsperkybutt, besides having an excellent Tumblr name, runs a multi-fandom imagines blog. Seriously, there are so many. I’m always amazed at what I can find on her blog that I didn’t even know I was looking for. She tries to post daily, which is totally incredible, and one of the things I love about her imagines is that they’re short, so they’re great to read between classes or just as a quick break from whatever you’re working on. Her requests are closed at the moment, but write down and save any you have for when they open up again, because the results will most definitely be awesome.

T

Why did you decide to start an imagines blog? You call it your outlet in your bio, and we’re always excited to hear more about that at Lemon. We think everybody needs that! Well, about eight years ago I was very active on DeviantArt with writing, until I suddenly wasn’t. I had no motivation to write. It

was worse than just a usual block, and I completely gave up on the account I had there, instead focusing on my main tumblr (megmeg-chan). I didn’t have the urge to write again until nearly four years later, when I created thranduilsperkybutt. I started writing imagines, in particular, because some of the imagines I would read didn’t include a ficlet, or drabble, and just had the prompts. It didn’t feel like enough. I wanted more. I wanted to write those prompts and flesh them out. When I got started on it, I guess you could say it was a little addictive! Imagines are so great, in my opinion, because I can usually bust them out pretty quick. I can write them whenever I have free time, which is really important since I’m in college. You write for an amazing number of fandoms. Why so many, and how do you keep them all straight? The simple answer is, I have absolutely no self-control! If I get an urge to write about something that I like even a

little, I do it. I add it to my fandom’s list, even if it may not be the most popular fandom on my blog. Now I actually get requests for certain fandoms to be added, so I have a list of recommended content I need to watch before I can add their fandoms. Safe to say, there will be more fandoms in the future! As for how I keep it straight, organization is really key for me. I try to keep up with a tagging system, and add characters/fandoms to my masterlists regularly. Staying on top of it is most important. What’s your writing process like? How long does it take you to write an imagine, on average? I’m not one of those writers who has to be in absolute solitude to write. Actually, I need to be around people when I write. I have to have that background noise. I love writing in restaurants or coffee shops. The environment is just inspiring to me. When I’m at home, I have to turn on the TV or play some music. If


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there’s silence, I just get lost in it. Silence distracts me, so noise, a drink, and my laptop is all I need! When I’m writing an imagine, I don’t take a break in the middle of it, so it typically doesn’t take all too long once I get an idea for it. If I get inspired immediately, I can bust out an imagine in 5-10 minutes. That doesn’t always happen, though, since some prompts are less inspiring to me than others. There is a graphical component to your blog, which really makes it pop when one of your imagines flies across a dash. Why did you decide to present your imagines this way? Admittedly, I love pastels, so presenting the imagine prompt on a pastel pink background was the first thing that came to mind. Really, I just wanted to make it look interesting; pretty. Something I would be drawn to look at for more than two seconds as I scrolled down my own dash. The main feature, in my opinion, are the gifs. The great gif makers of the world are so important to me. Even one of their gifs can give me full inspiration for a story. I try my best to find the original sources to the gifs, but sometimes that’s not always possible with reverse Google image search. Your blog says that you’re in school. Do you have ambitions to write professionally, or is writing more of a hobby for you? Do you see yourself always writing, no matter what? Yes, I’m currently in nursing school. I can’t say I won’t ever try my hand at professional writing, but I definitely have a lot to learn before I think I would be ready to take that step. For most of my life, writing has been such an important outlet for my ideas and feelings, so I definitely see myself continuing to write. Right now, it’s just a hobby, but who’s to say that professional writing isn’t in the cards for me, somewhere down the line? What other platforms are you on? Why did you decide to post there as well as Tumblr? Currently, I have an Ao3 (eratothemuse) in addition to my tumblr. I would like to have a Pillowfort account, but I’m on the waiting list until they open registrations again. The move to Ao3 is mostly due to the NSFW ban on tumblr. Before that, I only planned on posting my longer fics there, but now I’m trying to move everything, if only for peace of mind.

THIS OR THAT? CHARACTERS OR RPF? CHARACTERS DARK OR MILK CHOCOLATE? MILK CHOCOLATE HANDWRITTEN OR TYPED? TYPED HANNIBAL OR SHERLOCK? SHERLOCK MORNING OR NIGHT? NIGHT ROMANTIC OR SMUTTY? ROMANTIC


GIFT GUIDE PRESENTED BY THE LEMON MAGAZINE

MALCOLM "MAL" REYNOLDS A pretty floral bonnet because it's the shiniest thing in the whole 'verse.

BUFFY SUMMERS A gift certificate for a spa day because she deserves a break from all the vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night.

DONNA HANSCOM A box of powdered donuts to remind her that she's gorgeous no matter what she wants to eat.


A

V A L E N T I N E ' S

G I F T

G U I D E

PAUL "JESUS" ROVIA

HAPPY LOWMAN

A pack of hair ties because the world deserves more of him with the man bun.

Another tattoo because we're sure he must have room for one more name in a heart somewhere.

GARCIA FLYNN Another turtleneck because he can never have enough maroon in his wardrobe.

JAKE JENSEN A dog because cats are not to be trusted.

KLAUS AND ELIJAH MIKAELSON

SHERLOCK HOLMES

A do-over because they deserve a better ending.

A purple shirt because it's a gift to us all.

LORNE MALVO

JASON CROUSE

A pair of devil horns because he embodies ancestral evil and he needs the accessories to go with it.

F O R

A L L

An Adler Planetarium Annual Membership because he loves space and then we can take him to Adler After Dark.

Y O U R

F A V E S


THE FLUFF ISSUE

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CHALLENGE ME ETIQUETTE FOR FANFIC CHALLENGES BY THATFANFICSTUFF

Challenges are found all throughout the fanfiction community. Whether you are hosting or participating, there are some guidelines to follow that will make the experience better for everyone. The tips below are written specifically for Tumblr, but can be adapted for most any platform. First, and most importantly, should you wish to join a challenge, you need to read the directions. The rules for the challenge should list things like type of content you can make, characters and fandoms you can write for, any requirements for the content, such as word count, and due date. Read through these things carefully and make sure that you can comply with what is being asked of you before you sign up. If you are hosting, it is just as important that your directions are clear and concise. The reader should have no questions after they read your rules. In addition to the things listed above, you should also list how your participants should let you know of their submission. Should they tag you, use a special phrase in the tags, add it to a doc you set up, or even all three? Hosting a challenge can be a lot of fun, but don’t make things harder for yourself than they need to be. Second, whether you are hosting or participating, communication and courtesy are key. For a participant, that means letting the host know if something comes up and you have to drop out or need an extension. For the host, that means responding politely to inquiries and letting your participants know that it may take you longer to read or view their entries than you intended. Life happens to all of us. We’ve all been in a spot where things didn’t go as planned, so remember that and be courteous to each other.

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This next tip is for participants. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Put forth your best effort, but if what you create doesn’t match up with what you envisioned when you signed up, that’s okay. I signed up for a challenge and knew immediately what my fic was going to be like. I had visions of epic greatness. The final fic ended up less than 500 words, which is not me at all. But I loved it. It conveyed the emotion I intended, and that’s what matters. Most importantly for hosts, acknowledge the work the participants have put into your challenge. This might be reblogging, making a masterlist with all the works, or even just commenting and thanking them for participating. Nothing is more disheartening for a creator than to have work they made for another person completely ignored. There are a couple of other things that will make challenges easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Organization is your friend: keep track of your due dates and prompts so you aren’t surprised the day before something is due. Don’t overdo it: if you create fifty prompts for your challenge, that’s fifty works you have to review. And I know there are a lot of great challenges out there, but signing up for all of them isn’t fair to you or the hosts. Especially if they’re all due at about the same time. Challenges can be so much fun. As a host, it’s like having lots of people write stories or create fanart just for you. Sure, they get to pick the characters or fandom, but you get to set the limits. You can make certain all the options appeal to you. And for participants, it is a great way to expand beyond your comfort zone. Use someone else’s idea or character pairing and run with it. Usually, the ideas I get for challenges are things I never would have come up with on my own. So, find or host a challenge, push your creativity beyond your usual boundaries, and, most importantly, have fun doing it.


FANDOM COOKING BELLA AND EDWARD’S FIRST DATE MUSHROOM RAVIOLI This recipe was developed and tested by @robinwritesallthethings. There's nothing more romantic than making dinner for your significant other on Valentine's Day, right? When thinking of an iconic fandom first date dish, I immediately thought of Bella and Edward's impromptu Italian night out in Twilight. Though Edward, of course, was on a special diet, Bella ordered mushroom ravioli. There's no recipe for that ravioli, though, so I had to make it on my own!

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This serves two for a light meal. [Ingredients] 1 Tbsp olive oil ¼ head radicchio 2 roma tomatoes 10 cranks sea salt (divided) 10 cranks black pepper 9 oz fresh mushroom ravioli 4 fresh basil leaves ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

important thing to note here is that fresh pasta cooks very quickly. Mine took less than two minutes, even though the package said it would take about five. Watch it carefully so you don't overcook it. Ravioli that falls apart isn't very impressive! 6. When the ravioli is done, drain it, then arrange an equal amount of ravioli on each plate. My package had fourteen ravioli, so each plate got seven, which I thought was a good number for a light meal. Spoon a little of the vegetable mixture from the skillet on top of each ravioli. It's pretty much a bruschetta topping for the pasta.

[Instructions] 1. Put a small pot of water on to boil. Add the olive oil to a skillet on low heat. 2. While the oil heats up, chop ¼ of a head of radicchio. Radicchio is very, very bitter. It's a great counterpoint to the other sweet ingredients in this recipe, but if you use too much of it, it will overpower the entire dish. 3. While the radicchio cooks, dice two roma tomatoes. For this recipe, I like to use just the outside flesh of the tomato and not the insides so that the topping for the ravioli isn't too wet. 4. After the radicchio has cooked down a bit, add the tomatoes. At this point, salt your pasta water with five cranks of sea salt. I always have salt and pepper grinders on hand, hence my measurements. Put the other five cranks of sea salt on the radicchio and tomato mixture, along with ten cranks of black pepper. Continue to cook it down on low heat. 5. Once your water is boiling, drop the ravioli into it. Buying fresh ravioli is a great treat for a holiday. It is a bit more expensive than your average packaged pasta, but it's worth it. The ones that I bought were filled with cheese, mushrooms, and roasted garlic, which is why I put no extra garlic in this recipe. You don't want extreme garlic breath on your big date night! If you prefer, you could also make your own ravioli from scratch as an extra special touch. I'd love to attempt making my own pasta one day, but I'm not quite that talented in the kitchen yet, I'll be honest! The most

7. Chiffonade the basil. You want to do this at the last minute, because fresh herbs start to lose their flavor once they're cut. Sprinkle some on top of each ravioli. Finally, top each ravioli with a little bit of shredded parmesan cheese. 8. And enjoy your romantic dinner for two! It's pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. Oh, and my SO, who hates mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil, loved this dish. Must be that romantic magic in the air, huh? Happy Valentine's Day!


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FATED TO BE MATED written by thatfanficstuff

THE FLUFF ISSUE

LEMON

AUs, or alternate universes, have become increasingly popular in fanfiction. AUs generally go beyond just a divergence from canon and place the characters in entirely new environments and situations. One popular version is the soulmate AU. There are almost as many variations of this type of fic as there are people writing it. So why are soulmate AUs so popular? Personally, I think it has something to do with that romantic notion that there is someone in the world for each of us—that we’re a half looking for a whole. And if that other half happens to be a sexy superhero, a hunter in the family business, or even an alien on a


spaceship, all the better. While there are entirely too many types of soulmate AUs to ever possibly discuss them all, they do fall under several broader categories. It’s not a tattoo, it’s a soulmark: First words to each other. Names. Halffinished tattoos that complete themselves upon meeting or touching your soulmate. These are all popular versions of this type of soulmate AU. Regardless of the numerous kinds of tattoos our soulmates may bear, the important thing is that it is a permanent mark, a brand, so to speak, that says these two people belong together. It not only identifies them as a pair to the rest of the world, but to each other as well. Of scars, burns, and other things: This type of soulmate AU has characters sharing bruises or scars or, in some cases, healing each other’s scars and bruises. Sometimes that first touch leaves a burn on the other’s skin. Other times it leaves a colored marking or a black palm print. Once again though, the important thing is that it shows that there is a deeper connection between the two. A connection that is beyond their control. This type of AU can cause some confusion with our mates. After all, how many times a day do you accidentally bump into someone on the street? Who knows when that mark on your shoulder showed up. It would certainly bring a whole other level to the missed connections page. A physical connection: There are

several versions of soulmate fics where the characters have some aspect of their appearance that matches their mate. Perhaps a strand of hair that is the color of their soulmate’s. Or they have one eye that matches what their soulmate’s eye color is. Stranger yet, sometimes their eye color is the color of their soulmate’s hair. Whatever the case, once again, it is a physical representation of the bond between the two. Imagine the crazy eye colors someone might end up with if their soulmate was always dying their hair. It’s all in your head: You know that voice in your head? What if it was the voice of your soulmate? Sometimes it’s because they’re actually talking to you. In other fics, it’s because your conscience sounds like them. What if you shared memories, lived through events you weren’t present for? Or maybe you brush by a stranger on the street and suddenly their entire life flashes through your brain. This time the characters share a private connection that no one else need know about, which makes it more intimate on one level, but on another, it could be extremely intrusive as well. Not to mention annoying. I mean, you better hope you share taste in music if that song in your head is the one your soulmate keeps humming. Another kind of mate: Most popular in fics concerned with supernatural creatures or A/B/O (alpha/beta/omega) dynamics, sometimes mating is more of a biological imperative. Something in one of


our characters (usually male) just tells them that the person in front of them is their mate. Typically, this involves scent of some sort. I mean, who wouldn’t want someone that smells like all of their favorite things? I choose you: Chosen mates are my favorite. That pairing that comes because the people meet and fall hopelessly in love as opposed to the universe shoving them together. This type of soulmate AU generally involves werewolves or vampires and a claiming bite. These mates never have to worry that they are only together because of their soulmate status. Now for something completely different: The other important thing to remember is that just because the characters are soulmates doesn’t mean they have to end up together. Perhaps they’ve already fallen in love with someone else and don’t want to leave their partner. They may even be married with children. Perhaps the soulmate pairing is platonic and they realize it’s more of a best friend thing. Or maybe life has altered them since they both received the mark. Maybe their souls no longer belong together. I’ve barely brushed the surface of soulmate AUs here. Any concept you can think up has probably had a fic written about it. And if not, maybe you should write it. Everyone has a reason why they

love or hate these kinds of fics. For me, this AU is a favorite because the thought that there is someone out there specifically for each of us is appealing to me. Digging into the emotions that would be involved is fascinating. Even the thought that someone might stand up to the universe and refuse their chosen mate is intriguing. Imagine being the mate that wasn’t wanted. What sort of grief would that carry with it? So, the next time you read—or write—a soulmate AU, think about how the characters are connected and entwined together. Do they go with the flow or shout out against fate? Look at the core of these people, of their lives, and all the emotion that brings with it. That is the true heart of the soulmate AU. Whether it be full of love or broken into a million pieces, you can go there with them.


dear mal reynolds,  “‘Tis better to have loved and lost, / Than never to have loved at all.” I used to think that this phrase was reserved for those fortunate enough to experience eros, a sexual or passionate love, the type that makes up most modern-day romance. In Greek mythology, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, as did Romeo with Juliet, Marc Antony with Cleopatra, Dante with Beatrice. I’ve come to realize that isn’t the case. The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is a shared belief of doing good. One person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons: that he is useful; that he is pleasant; and, above all, that he is good, rational, and virtuous. Any relationship that is founded on these characterizations are associated not only with mutual benefit, but also with companionship, dependability, and trust. And Mal, my darling Mal, despite your acts of thievery and bouts of shamelessness, you are a good man. Aristotle himself said so. You have given everything—blood, sweat, and tears included—and expected nothing in return. I know you felt you were never deserving of it, but I am here to tell you that you are entitled to love. To be loved, to feel loved. Every ounce of philia love that your crew have given, was theirs, and theirs alone to give. They are good people, Mal; they do not give what isn’t warranted. They have fought by your side, and stuck with you through celebration and despair. Trust me when I say they would not have done so if you were a tyrant and a bully. Sure, you may have put on a mask every now and again, pulled up that armor, and done your best to push people away, but we saw right through it. You don’t agree with me, and that’s okay. Like Jayne and Kaylee, River and Simon, Sheppard and Inara, Wash and Zoë, I am not going anywhere. You are my Captain, and I swear, by my pretty floral bonnet, I will love you from this 'verse to the next.

Love, A Fellow Browncoat

ICON BY USEICONIC.COM FOR THE NOUN PROJECT


THE FLUFF ISSUE

the marvelously crafted THE BEAUTY OF CRACKSHIPS AND RAREPAIRS BY THEFUDGE

There’s nothing like that instant rush you get when you see your rarepair interacting. You hear it all the time in your small group of fellow shippers: “they were in the same room this episode” or “they breathed the same air” and “they walked past each other”! That can be enough to hold you for weeks, even months. A cursory glance between two people across a hallway can launch a thousand fanfics, a whole playlist of fanvids, and a glorious wealth of fanart. It would almost disappoint you if those characters ever stopped being casual acquaintances or even strangers, because there is a really addictive element to watching them mind their own business while you weave a complex narrative thread around them. It’s a lot more fun to let them be distant satellites while you dream about their unfulfilled romantic potential. Sometimes the characters don’t even have to belong in the same universe for you to spin your tale. With rarepairs and crackships, it’s the unlikeliness or even impossibility of their coming together that gets you going. But first, some clarification: rarepairs, as the name suggests, are pairings for which there is little available content. The two characters in question are shipped by a limited number of people, which means that there are few opportunities to produce fanwork and maybe there’s also little incentive because your audience is small. Rarepairs may be the result of crackshipping. For example, your pairing is rare because the two characters have little reason to interact or even be in the same universe. However, rarepairs may also happen because a piece of media is too obscure. Let’s say you’re a fan of a little-known detective series from the 1940s and you ship the married couple who solves crimes together. Your ship is “canon,” but it could be defined as a rarepair simply because it’s just you and maybe four other people on the Internet celebrating it. That being said, rarepairs often rub elbows with crackships because of the specificity of taste; both these pairings are the reflection of a minority that would like to see two disparate characters LEMON

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meet halfway. Sometimes the characters might be background figures in a larger story, and sometimes they might be the heroes of that story. In both cases, the fan has to take a leap forward and go beyond the established conventions of the piece of media they are consuming. The leap is bigger the “weirder” and more “out there” the pairing gets. This sounds like nothing new. After all, shipping characters that do not belong together in a prescribed way has been a fundamental part of fandom since its inception; fandom is transformative, fandom takes leaps of creativity to show the potential of storytelling. But what I think sometimes gets lost in translation about rarepairs and crackships is that they are not just transformative, but rather they compel us to think about the very notion of transformativity. They are a little bit meta, is what I’m trying to say. An outlandish pairing that maybe does not even share the same coherent, fictional universe – let’s take the MCU’s version of Thor Odinson and pair him up with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice – forces you to reckon with the limitations of fiction and fictionality. It makes you question and challenge concepts such as verisimilitude (or believability), intertextuality, narrative unreliability, and cohesion. In order for Thor and Mr. Darcy to believably share a connection, you must allow for some narrative threads to converge, while also totally violating others. You must accept some ground rules for the meeting of these people, but you must not be limited by them. You could opt for time travel or jumping through multi-verses; after all, such concepts are canonical within the MCU. But you could just as easily imagine a coffee shop AU where Thor is the happy-go-lucky barista with a man bun and Mr. Darcy is the fastidious IT consultant who works across the street and hates it when people don’t know how to pronounce macchiato properly. Some people like to put more effort into making their crackship believable; for instance, some shippers would have Thor time travel to Regency England for some purpose related to the Avengers’ mission. Let us remember he is a god who has been alive for longer than most countries have existed, and perhaps we wouldn’t even need time travel to make his stay at Pemberley possible. The Norse god was alive during King George IV’s reign, presumably. But making sure your crackship makes sense is not always the goal. Sometimes, rarepairs and crackships are celebrated for their ability to happen anywhere, anytime, under any kind of circumstances. That is why such pairings are so liberating, after all, because they dwell in the liminal space between arbitrariness and personal preference, where what matters is the passion

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you have for that particular twosome (or threesome, we’re not judging). So say you’re really passionate about Mr. Darcy and Thor. You will find a way to make it happen and, in the process, you will contend with several choices as a creator. Rarepairs and crackships offer you infinite freedom, but they also make you very aware of that freedom and what you can do with it. Indeed, whether you are a fanfiction writer, artist, video maker, or dedicated shipper, there comes a point where you have to grapple with the logistics of storytelling: how do you get from point A to point B? In what context do you want Mr. Darcy and Thor to have their first conversation? You are invited to deconstruct the very artistry of your trade. This kind of offbeat process turns you into a more independent creator, because with preestablished ships or even some noncanonical ships you don’t have to bother with so many ins and outs. If you’re a Dramione (Draco/Hermione) shipper, for instance, you don’t have to start from scratch. Even if your pairing is technically noncanonical, there is a wealth of history between these two characters who have met and talked and been around each other. There is also a wealth of fanon history that colors your perception of them, whether you like it or not. But maybe this example is a bit too on the nose. Take something like Sirius/Hermione, which some would consider a rarepair. They’ve still got more ground to go on than more radical rarepairs and crackships. They have met, they have had conversations, they are fighting on the same side, and they tolerate and like each other. Even the pesky age difference can be worked around. But the further afield you venture, the harder it gets. What if you want to explore the dynamic between Hermione Granger and Bathilda Bagshot (the author of A History of Magic and a very tragic old lady)? You’re still working in the Harry Potter universe, but the terrain is far less smooth. Such pairings could be accused of being “random” or “just for the fun of it,” but even if you treat them as a joke, these ships may take you to some uncomfortable places, where the role of fiction and fictionality are stretched beyond normal bounds. And that’s exciting. Think of it this way. You did not create the characters of Hermione Granger or Bathilda Bagshot. You are not their fictional god. But you are invading their fictional world and displacing their god. This is not to say you are violating J.K. Rowling’s ownership in any way, but you are reframing her fictional world to contain an “impossible” vision and, by doing so, you basically demonstrate that her fictional world is capable of containing your impossible scenario.

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This means that the Harry Potter universe (and, really, all fictional universes) has the capacity for more, even for elements that seem counterintuitive and out of place. In fact, the most terrifying thing about rarepairs and crackships is that they show us that nothing is truly impossible, that everything belongs, that we can craft a story out of crumbs. We have all the tools necessary. That’s a lot of power to wield and with great power comes‌ you know the drill. The dark side of rarepairs and crackships is that you can do anything. In theory, nothing can stop you. In practice, some things should (common decency, the penal code, etc.). But even so, that freedom is scary. This is why some people are very uncomfortable and even reactionary when it comes to certain outlandish pairings, because there is always the danger of veering into questionable territory. Still, with all that in mind, it is very much worth celebrating the courage of shipping against all odds, of committing to the road less taken, of letting your creativity be your guide. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, the saying goes, and there is a lot to be gained as fans, consumers, and creators by engaging with narratives outside the realm of possibility. We are drawn to the impossible, the unfulfilled, the untold, and what better way to do it than by shipping Thor and Mr. Darcy?

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IN DEFENSE OF SELF-INSERTS

BY ROBINWRITESALLTHETHINGS Self-inserts are kind of my thing. Okay, let's be honest. They're kind of a lot of writers' thing. But sometimes they get a bad rap. I'm here to set the record straight. A self-insert is when an author uses themselves as a character in a story. They're written just like you would write any OC. It's you writing you surrounded by your favorite characters and doing things with them (whether dirty or otherwise) that you can only dream about. My self-insert OC has hunted with John Winchester, swung Lucille with Negan's careful instruction, and matched wits with Petyr Baelish to prove that she'd be an asset to his plans for Westeros. And that's only the tip of the 

iceberg. Personally, I think this is how fandom starts for everyone. We imagine ourselves in our favorite stories, especially when we don't necessarily see ourselves in them. For example, I loved the Indiana Jones movies when I was a kid, but I never felt pretty enough or badass enough to identify with any of the female characters. So I invented my own. Abernathy Jones was Indy's young daughter. Yes, she had a different name because I've always hated mine, but otherwise, she was me. And, of course, as she learned from her dear old dad, she became the badass I wanted to be, but just couldn't pretend I was when I watched the movies.


For me, fanfiction became an extension of these first fandom experiences, and I think the same is true for all of us. Fandom is, by definition, self-indulgent, yet those who write self-inserts are often seen as too indulgent for fandom. Yeah, I've never quite gotten that one either. Fandom is, yes, partially about appreciating what already exists, but it's also about getting what we want anyway when canon doesn't give it to us. It's just as self-indulgent to imagine that your favorite character didn't die, or that the ship you love is canon, or that your favorite show ended just the way you wanted it to. So what could possibly be wrong with imagining what you would be like at Hogwarts (don't look at me like that, because I know you all did it) or what it would be like if your favorite character fell in love with you? The answer is nothing, by the way. Nothing at all. Another common criticism leveled against self-inserts is that they're too easy to write because you're just writing yourself. I get where the impression comes from. It's hard to write a character someone else created, so why wouldn't it be true that it's easy to write yourself? Personally, though, I think it's actually harder to write yourself, especially when you publicly acknowledge that that's exactly what you're doing. It's basically laying all of your baggage out on the table for everyone to see. The stakes can be pretty high when you're sharing those kinds of emotions and insecurities with others. Not to mention outing all of your sexual fantasies and preferences. Guilty as charged, especially on that one.

Also consider that every author uses what they know. Even if the character they write isn't a self-insert, they'll still rely on their own experiences and feelings when writing their stories, because even if a character isn't them, every story an author writes is still incredibly personal. They care so much that they can't help thinking about how they would react and what they would think in every situation, and that naturally gets reflected in their characters. Still, you might not like self-inserts. But ask yourself this question the next time you come across one. If the OC didn't have the same name as the author, or wasn't an acknowledged self-insert, would you be okay with that story? Because if the answer to that question is yes, you're letting your own prejudices get in your way, and you might want to give self-inserts another try. And if your answer is still no, that's fine. But instead of whining or harassing an author because you don't like their self-insert, just move on and read something else instead. Your negative commentary is not needed.


dear jason crouse,  To say that I love you is honestly an understatement. You are my favorite character of all time, and I have spent more time wishing you were real than I care to admit. That kiss you gave Alicia after you walked around the counter? That's the most perfect kiss I've ever seen. It's the kiss I dream about. But, speaking of Alicia, I'm just going to say it bluntly. I love her. I really do. But Jason, she's just not good enough for you. You deserve someone who appreciates everything about you and doesn't want you to fit into her mold. Someone who doesn't make fun of your sweet gestures behind your back. Someone who isn't torn about wanting to be with you. Because you know what, Jason? You're amazing just the way you are. Don't get it twisted. I love the cavalier attitude that only barely conceals someone who really cares about other people. I love how you stand your ground when people are trying to push you around. You're a nerd about space and I think it's awesome; you can buy me property on Mars anytime. And I love that you want to explore the world. I would follow you anywhere. My point is that you shouldn't have to change those things about yourself to make someone else happy. They're what make you you, and you are worth fighting for. Look, I know that I can't have you. I will be forever sad that you only exist briefly in a fictional universe. I'll keep you alive in my head and in my writing. But, before you disappear entirely into the memory of a fandom that once was, I really need you to tell me something. I'm usually pretty good at figuring stuff out, but I just can't find a good explanation for this. So call me. Just once. And tell me why you punched Judge Hess. A dude does not say what he said about you without some serious baggage. For the record, I don't believe for a second that you did anything unreasonable. But I've had my own experiences with crazy people who like to drag others through the mud, so I think we have some common ground here, and my bursting fangirl heart needs to know. Never forget that you're perfect just the way you are. I will always remember you.

Love, Robin


REBUTTAL THE DESTRUCTION OF SHANE WALSH BY THATFANFICSTUFF Shane Walsh. The fandom seems to love him or hate him with little in between. We all appear to agree that he’s an asshole, but is he a loveable asshole? Can he be forgiven for his behavior and choices? Even as much as I love watching Jon Bernthal in pretty much anything, I have to say no. Rick Grimes is still in a coma when the worst happens and the world as we know it comes to an end. Shane, his partner and friend, steps up to take care of Rick’s family. He saves them, takes them away, and generally just plays hero. This sounds great, admirable even, until you look a little deeper. Shane left Rick for dead in the hospital. In fact, he told Rick’s family that he was dead. So he blocks the door with a hospital bed, big deal. Rick survived despite Shane’s actions, not because of them. On the same note, the timeline for the events in The Walking Dead suggests that less than a month passes before Rick wakes up. One month in which Shane has already started sleeping with Rick’s wife and pretending they’re a happy family. Even if he truly believed Rick to be dead at this point, he certainly didn’t waste any time. When Rick arrives at the camp with the others, Shane should be thrilled, not upset he’s losing what he now considers his. It just hasn’t been long enough for him to be tied to Lori that tight unless he had a thing for her before his partner was shot. It is fairly evident throughout the first two seasons that Shane has always felt overshadowed by his buddy Rick. To be honest, he should. The reason Rick takes over leadership of the group as easily as he does isn’t because of his sparkling personality. It’s because Rick steps up. He never asks anyone else to do something he’s not willing to do himself. He puts himself at risk for others. They know from the beginning that they can count on Rick to do the right thing. As much as it pains me to say it, Shane is a coward. Otis’ death went beyond just leaving someone behind that couldn’t keep up. He shot the man in the knee to make certain he wouldn’t make it. He needed to give the zombies something to eat other than himself. Would Rick have done this? Absolutely not. He would have done everything in his power to make sure both of them made it out with the supplies they needed. Do I think Shane eventually snaps? Absolutely. But I think it’s his own fear and cowardice that push him to that point. Well, that and Lori. Almost every decision Shane makes is driven by fear. Fear of dying. Fear of being seen as weak. Fear of not measuring up. Shane is brought down by the mire of his own bad decisions. Shane Walsh is a dynamic character brilliantly played by Jon Bernthal. Personally, I kept hoping for a redemption arc. That he would do something that made it okay to root for him, but it never came. That doesn’t mean you can’t write one of your own. Canon? What’s that?


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