9.14.2010

Epiphany - original blasian stories, luxury and fan fiction

I've been a bit off-kilter as of late. Travel stimulates my brain too much and it's been difficult to concentrate. Now that my heads on straight, I need to earn my salary. I can't win, can I? :D

A little more than a month ago, I watched the movie, Unbowed, and I swear to the gods I had an epiphany. Naturally, since a black woman was wanted/desired, pursued and loved the way a goddess should be, I was completely captivated. As such, my first instinct was to immediately pull out a laptop and start writing fan fiction. This would have been a huge mistake.

It wasn't until the credits started rolling that clarity hit me with physical force. As a woman of color, writing fan fiction or fan FIX-tion is absolutely the wrong thing to do for one obvious reason: I don't have that luxury. We (people of color) don't have that luxury. If we don't tell our stories, no one else will. Our elders have significantly fewer days ahead of them than they do behind. When they die, so will our personal histories. No personal history = no identity.


As I've stated before, we matter. We have a culture. We have a history. We have stories. We need to tell them. Coming from a huge family replete with elderly people with long memories, I've heard hundreds of stories about my family's past and how we came to be who we are today. Hearing these stories shaped who I am NOW. I've also been encouraged by EccentricYoruba's China and Africa history lessons. There must be countless LOST stories within that history!

Oral storytelling is written in my DNA. Two peoples, from two different continents, gave me this gift. While it will never translate into flowery poetry (I will never be a prolific writer), the ability to weave/spin a tale is there and every single time I try to FIX a character's life using fan fiction, I'm wasting that precious gift.

Mildred Lewis wrote about her ancestors Cleola and Waka Mani and I can write about mine as well. I can string together the few facts I have and create a work of fiction and unleash it upon the unsuspecting public. I can also write blasian stories based on my own personal experiences.

This year I plan to write a blasian story for NaNoWriMo.

November is arguably the worst month for me to contemplate writing and it will take a small miracle for me to complete it; however, writing this blasian tale is my goal. At this stage, I have two options: to write about a black African woman "stolen" from slavery and a Lakota man (based on my family history) or to write about a hunky and somewhat hairy Japanese/Ainu commercial pilot and a budding cognitive psychologist with more than a few other special skills up her sleeves. One of these stories is much harder to write than the other.

Where does this leave me in terms of fan fiction? I'm not sure. Obviously, I can't swear that I'll never write fan fiction again; however, I hope to never feel compelled to do so. On the other hand, I wish to show my support for my favorite movies, especially those showcasing blasian couples. I need to review how I show this support though. From my perspective, I'd be of a greater service to Mika/Raizo or Cleola/Waka Mani or any other black woman/Asian man coupling if I wrote recaps or essays promoting the movie/couple. Supplementing a story that's already great or trying to FIX a Hollywood tale is a thing of the past.

What are your personal thoughts on the merits of writing fan fiction vs. original stories? Please understand that I have no intention of trying to talk anyone else out of writing fan fiction. If you write it, I'll read it.

28 comments:

  1. i personally prefer original fic over fan fic. still i love reading fan fic but i have difficulties writing it. i'm always worried of writing stories with characters that are not of my own creation.

    i wish you all the best with NaNoWriMo. i'm thinking of joining that movement as well but i have no idea what i'll be writing.

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  2. @eccentricyoruba

    I'm always reluctant to write fan fiction. Not only because I'm usually trying to FIX someone else's mess, but also because it feels like cheating. Furthermore, established characters can't execute my themes effectively and they're always written out of character. Then there's the lazy factor.

    I'm doing NaNoWriMo on two levels: within the original perimeters and privately with friends as they prefer not to sign up. If you decide to go ahead, I will cheer you on happily.

    At this point, I'm nurturing only the two ideas. More than likely, I'll write something completely different in November. There will be some blasian lovin' one way or another.

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  3. "Fan FIX-tion"

    I love it.

    We all know my reasons for digging fanfiction. There's waaaaaaay too much you can learn about people through. Anywho, kick ass in your fic, Hateya.

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  4. i hope you do a blasian love story, hateya; there simply aren't enough to go around! *^_^*

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  5. I think there's something to be said for both fan fic and original fic. I like both, but have only written one type...fan fic. I might try writing orig fic one day, but right now, I don't think I'd do it justice. So for now, writing fan fic works for me. It's good "practice" and I really enjoy it.

    I also like fan fic because it gives me a chance to read more about characters that I really like after the credits roll (whether something is being fixed or not). With fan fic, "The End" doesn't have to be "The End." I guess to me, fiction is fiction whether it's fan or orig. Either way, the author has to come up with an "orignal" story in some form or fashion, so I'll happily take both. :)

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  6. I also forgot to add that without POC (esp. WoC) writing opposing fic, these white girls would be left to write jacked up fan fic without an answer.

    If some of these folks were left to their own devices, Raizo would be a clueless virgin who doesn't know his way around a female body and Mika would have strange alien-textured hair and be consistently surprised that she's attracted to an Asian man because white Ryan is so wonderful and strong. (Ugh.) And of course, Uhura would be half-white.

    It doesn't take much for something to become fanon in a fandom, so to that end, I think POC fan fic writers are cogent and (at least for now) necessary.

    On the orig fic front, I hope that publishing houses aren't shying away from putting out books that have pairings other than BW/WM. Sometimes I wonder if we don't see other pairings because it's not being written or because TPTB are so interested in pushing the WM/BW meme. I certainly have my suspicions...

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  7. I also forgot to add that without POC (esp. WoC) writing opposing fic, these white girls would be left to write jacked up fan fic without an answer.

    True. Readers need balance, and POC should never let ish like that slide.

    Sometimes I wonder if we don't see other pairings because it's not being written or because TPTB are so interested in pushing the WM/BW meme. I certainly have my suspicions...

    Mm-hm. I co-sign and notarize those suspicions.

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  8. @Hateya, now that i think about it, it was due to my attempt at writing a fan fic that i got the energy to write those posts on historical Sino-African relations. i read this Blasian short story set in China and i thought it could have been so much better so i decided to fix it. halfway through writing my fan-fix, i decided the story would be cooler as a historical but didn't have enough info the rest is history i guess.

    @cinnamon, i think what you said about publishing houses shying away from books with BW/AM pairings may be true. not that i've found evidence or anything, it's just a feeling i've got. there are just too many BW/WM books out there that i can't help but wonder what's up.

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  9. @Ankhesen

    We all know my reasons for digging fanfiction. There's waaaaaaay too much you can learn about people through. Anywho, kick ass in your fic, Hateya.

    I'm not going to stop READING it! Just yesterday I ran across a piece where Spock was pretending to be a rapist and Uhura was begging for it. Early on, she learned it was him. That wasn't my problem. Read on. According to Spock and Mercurial Maven, 67% of the human women on this planet fantasize about being raped, too. Damn. I'm in the 23% that doesn't. I'd be irresponsible if I didn't read the shit. How in the hell would I have ever learned that I was abnormal because I didn't want some stranger jumping out at me on the street and forcing his cock and potential child into me?

    http://mercurialmaven.livejournal.com/1226.html

    I'm definitely doing the blasian fic in November. That's a promise I made to myself. The husband says he'll publish whatever I write either in print, an e-book or both. He can afford it.

    @Avastacia said...

    i hope you do a blasian love story, hateya; there simply aren't enough to go around! *^_^*

    Both stories are blasian stories. Which would you prefer first? The black woman/Lakota man set during the slavery era story or the contemporary black woman/Japanese-Ainu man tale? I'm listening. I won't write a word until November 2, 2010 (time difference). Although I'll write whichever characters speak the loudest, I can try to coax them to come out and play. :D

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  10. @cinnamon

    I might try writing orig fic one day, but right now, I don't think I'd do it justice.

    Why do you doubt yourself? It would be your creation, your voice. How do you know you couldn't garner enough world-wide interest to trump this mountain of shit we have thrown down our throats. I have a sneaking suspicion the powers that be are depending on us to second-guess ourselves. I'm not gonna lie. Even when I think a black author sucks rotten eggs, I try to force myself to buy their work just because...

    these white girls would be left to write jacked up fan fic without an answer.

    They don't matter to me; therefore, I don't care what they write, no matter how stupid or stereotypical. If they didn't upset the people I do care about, I wouldn't think about them at all. I refuse to respond to them because I'm an offensive player, not a defensive player. If I'm promoting our agenda, I'm doing so with the intent to preach to the colored choir and remind them, especially my black sisters how much we matter. This is my personality though and I don't begrudge you for trying to balance the terms in the various genres and you'll find that I'll be 100% supportive of all of your endeavors because we're both doing what we can, when we can.

    These blasian novels bother me on many levels because, as I've said before, the emphasis is always on the man and his exotic Asian culture. It's as if the black female protagonist is limited to her braids and darker (though usually slightly darker) skin color. I have found myself desperately searching for our rituals, those things that are worth their weight in gold in our black communities.

    In one of my blasian novels, I'm determined to send my male protagonist's narrow little butt to a sweltering small sweltering Southern town where he can interact with his black woman's family and learn a thing or two.

    Though I hate to confess publicly, but it wasn't until last year that I learned that my husband was sharing information (all good) about my family and our customs and traditions prior to giving his presentations. Somehow these things were always relevant to him and here I was thinking he wasn't paying attention.

    I'm sorry for jumping on a soapbox. I'm just damned frustrated that I wasted so much time... I should have done better in the past. :(

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  11. Forgive me for these multiple long-winded posts.

    @EccentricYoruba
    i read this Blasian short story set in China...halfway through writing my fan-fix, i decided the story would be cooler as a historical but didn't have enough info the rest is history i guess.

    Bravo! This is definitely a case where quasi-writing fan fix has benefited US. Please understand. I'm not fanatically anti-fanfiction/fanfixtion. I'm sure if I hadn't been so enthralled by "Unbowed," I doubt I would have had my current epiphany. The disturbing absence of "blackness" (except in the case of racism/discrimination) in those alleged blasian novels, has really gotten to me, too.

    Your historical posts have truly been inspiring and I hope you will continue sharing them as the knowledge, in whatever form, comes to you.

    Cinnamon said,"Sometimes I wonder if we don't see other pairings because it's not being written or because TPTB are so interested in pushing the WM/BW meme."

    EccentricYoruba said,"there are just too many BW/WM books out there that i can't help but wonder what's up."

    Ladies, technology used to only favor the male powers that be. Now they can benefit us, too. E-books has given us access that we've never had before. We can speak our truths and get our messages out there without their assistance. Although my Kindle is still limited to frivolous books and stories from friends, in time I'm sure to use it for worthwhile purposes.

    More importantly, look at what Ankhesen and her friends have done. They've created their own press and they're publishing their own books.

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  12. @Hateya, thanks so much!

    "The disturbing absence of "blackness" (except in the case of racism/discrimination) in those alleged blasian novels, has really gotten to me, too."

    i feel you on this. in that short story i read the black character was totally removed from her culture. and i understood because in the story she's supposed to be the abandoned daughter of an African-American man who impregnated her Chinese mother before running away. i really wish that the female's character is given as much importance and thought out as the the male's. most books i read are just okay.

    it'd be great if we could have a Blasian writing challenge or something like that.

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  13. @hateya

    how is the story between a black woman/native man a blasian story? just curious... o_O

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  14. I dig both fan-fic and original fic if they are well written. There's a place for all.

    Hateya - I get where you are coming from when you talk about not giving a crap what "they" are writing, only as much as it upsets/impacts POC.

    One of the things that disturbs me is this idea that Black Folk have no culture in this country. The idea that we have no tradtions or belief systems enrages me.

    I would DEF like to see more of our culture represented in IR Romance period. I get really pissed when I see us "rudderless" so to speak. I want to see Black Women written/portrayed as whole human beings no matter what genre I read.

    I look forward to more great stories from all of you.

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  15. @Hateya
    Why do you doubt yourself?

    It's not that I doubt myself, but more that I know my own limitations at this particular point in time (although my inner editor can be a mean bitch sometimes and that probably does play a small part). I do want to write something along these lines some day, but I'm not quite ready yet.

    I refuse to put out crap, and you know me...if I can't do it right, I won't do it at all.

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  16. @EccentricYoruba
    i understood because in the story she's supposed to be the abandoned daughter of an African-American man

    I completely understand in this context. What I don't understand is why an American black female author would use a black female character as a blatant plot device while she simultaneously proves she did research into the Asian male's culture. I don't like the message, even unintended, that we're good enough for an Asian male as long as we're hot and sexy with problems and have no particular background or heritage.

    it'd be great if we could have a Blasian writing challenge or something like that.

    I hope we can reach this point in the coming months and if we write original stories, perhaps we can create an anthology.

    @Avastacia said...
    how is the story between a black woman/native man a blasian story? just curious... o_O

    I was somewhat startled and intrigued by this question. Perhaps you can assist me in answering it if you tell me why you think they aren't. **extremely curious**

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  17. @Lenoxave

    One of the things that disturbs me is this idea that Black Folk have no culture in this country. The idea that we have no tradtions or belief systems enrages me.

    Yes to everything you've written. It annoys me to no end because I know there's more to us than skin color, braids and a slave legacy. We still maintain remnants of our African ancestry, plus the unique culture we created. My family might not share the same rituals as yours; however, the rituals exist and I can't stand it when they aren't incorporated into a story because that suggests that we don't matter even if we're paired with an Asian man. We are not "moorless" people and we are not them dipped in chocolate and if being presented as "regular folks" means we're deprived of our BLACKNESS, then the hell with that.

    @Cinnamon
    It's not that I doubt myself, but more that I know my own limitations at this particular point in time (although my inner editor can be a mean bitch sometimes and that probably does play a small part).

    I completely understand and I don't expect my feelings of time running out to infect others. :D

    I, too, understand my limitations and for this reason, I won't delude myself into believing that I can write the perfect story in November. I'm aiming for the 75,000 words. Not only will it take me months to refine the story, it'll take that long for me to take full responsibility for it as well. Accepting this responsibility will be the greatest challenge, not my inferior writing skills.

    Recently, I spent months reading books about East Africa written by East African authors with the goal of creating a truly African version of Uhura for the STbigbang. The books were amazing and I learned far more than I ever would have learned from a culture book. Armed with that new knowledge, I wrote the story and I was immensely satisfied EXCEPT...

    I'd done that much research to enhance someone else's character. Furthermore, she was only Uhura in name. In my new frame of mind, I found it unacceptable to present the character as such. My bad-ass black female character deserves her own story. As a result, I didn't submit the story to the big bang.

    For the past couple of days I've pondered how to continue writing fan fic and I've decided that I'd only do so within the context of the existing genre. I might write fillers, but nothing beyond what has been shown. I also won't do the research. It appears I've created a limitation. ;)

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  18. @Hateya, an anthology would be awesome

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  19. @hateya

    i always thought that a blasian relationship is supposed to be between a black woman and an asian man. blasian: black/asian. am i wrong?

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  20. @EccentricYoruba
    an anthology would be awesome

    This is how I live my life. I'd rather do something proactive and create something of my own instead of waiting for them to do it for me. Reacting to them is a waste of time. We've got a lot of talented women of color here with stories of our own that deserve to be told. I've dated a total of six Asian men (excluding The Husband because he and I didn't date) and my race/color has never been a factor either here in Asian or in the US. Dating one of them is just like dating any other men with a few small exceptions that you won't read about in a culture book.

    One of the reasons why I recommended that Cinnamon watch Asian dramas as opposed to talking to the men directly (which is always good) is because most people do not recognize those hugely importantly, yet small things, that are ingrained in their DNA. These things separated Chinese from Japanese from Koreans and so forth. The dramas are authentic because they only consider domestic audiences, not international ones.

    Overall, if we decide on an anthology one day, I'll write a story. It might take me six months to write a decent first draft, but I'll get it done.

    @Avastacia
    i always thought that a blasian relationship is supposed to be between a black woman and an asian man. blasian: black/asian. am i wrong?

    No, you're exactly right; therefore, a black woman and a Lakota/Cherokee/Arapaho/Navaho/Creel/Choctaw/Kiowa/Apache, etc./man = blasian relationship.

    It's not your fault that you don't know this. Education!Fail and Hollywood!Fail are our American legacies. Through the use of paternal aunt's mitochondrial DNA, our family traced one branch the family to a nomadic tribe/clan/nation in Mongolia. The 17 year-old giggly teen we met was wearing my third sister's face (only younger).

    "White" people have a penchant for labeling people and the rest of us have a disturbing habit of falling in line contrary to common sense.

    BTW, I'm black. My father is Cherokee/Lakota and even he has an African ancestor from Benin (who arrived on the last slave ship to reach the US).

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  21. @Hateya,

    I like your recommendation of Asian dramas. I usually watch them for entertainment but they are really good cultural learning tools.

    I'd totally be up to participate in an anthology but till the day that is set in steel, I'll be working on improving my writing.

    And on the topic of Native American and African unity, I believe I've found something that may interest you: Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

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  22. @eccentricyoruba

    Thank you for agreeing to become an anthology writer when the time comes. I'm trying to learn how to write fiction. At the beginning of the year, I'll ask everyone to join us and perhaps set a publishing date two years in the future. We'll need editors and artists as well.

    Dramas - I especially like dramas written for the domestic audience as they tend to portray the various cultures more realistically.

    Thank you for the link. I am familiar with Mr. Katz and I already own the book. I truly appreciate you tracking down the information. Mr. Katz's research methods are somewhat suspect; however, I don't believe his conclusions are flawed. Many people fail to realize that a majority of these stories were transmitted orally and seldom existed in print until he wrote them down.

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  23. @Hateya

    I cannot wait for that time. Hopefully I'll have something in mind before then.

    I thought most dramas are written for the domestic audience? Is there anyway to tell the difference between those made for domestic or international audiences?

    You're welcome! I totally came across it by chance actually, on a journal I read there was a very old black and white image of Native Americans and black kids with the caption 'Native American and African unity' so I asked about it and was pointed to Katz and the rest is history, I guess.

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  24. @EccentricYoruba

    I cannot wait for that time. Hopefully I'll have something in mind before then.

    I don't want to rush this or bring it up when I know I can't nurture it. I know how detrimental that can be. I work closely with my colleagues in October and November. This means, I can't slack off the way I am right now at this moment. :D

    Most dramas are written for the domestic audience; however, there are some intended for a wider appeal. If a show is chosen to be shown in another country with LEGAL subtitles, then it was intended for an international audience. Most though carry ILLEGAL subtitles and are not. The biggest difference is in the explanation. A character might explain something in an international release he/she would never explain in a domestic setting because everyone already understands. Does this make sense?

    The number one problem with perceptions of Native Americans is the Hollywood portrayal. Burt Lancaster? OMFG!

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  25. @Hateya

    Yes that does make sense! Adding to what you've said I think that dramas that start out as illegal subs and end up been legalised were also created for the domestic audience. I'll keep an eye out for dramas with what you've said in mind.

    And really Hollywood just ruins everything!

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  26. @EccentricYorubu,

    Yes. This happens fairly often. In fact, it was Yes Asia's thievery that finally put the nail in the coffin of our fan subbing team (I still provide Japanese CCs to some). Although they made some cosmetic changes, they didn't touch the poignant parts and I know my work as well as that of my former partner's. The entertainment companies threaten on a regular basis, but in truth, they are grateful because they benefit from our labors of love.

    Hollywood = poo poo (I'm trying to watch my language.)

    It just struck me that my former partner is Korean-American with Korean-Japanese parents. He's a cutie. He's also obsessed with Ueto Aya. :D

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  27. @Hateya

    Wow you were on a fan subbing team! Cool stuff. Lol at your epiphany regarding your former partner XD

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  28. @EccentricYoruba

    Brain!Fail. I have epiphanies; other people have common sense. :D We didn't sub popular dramas; however, individually we could sub and typeset a single episode in six hours. We never got around to determining what we could do if we combined forces directly. He, the son of a simultaneous translator, was a master of Japanese puns. His mother rocked!

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