Fanfiction Spotlight---Potentially Asked Questions (PAQ)


1. What the heck is the "Fanfiction Spotlight"?

The "Fanfiction Spotlight" is an idea we came up with, not so long ago, to address something we perceived as a basic problem in the world of fanfiction: the lack of attention that well-crafted fanfiction stories receive from readers. Why this happens, no one knows; there are lots of theories about it (just jump on the AMLA sometime during a fanfiction debate). But after sitting around and talking about it for a long time, we finally decided to put our opinions into practice. So here's the result.

Our bottom-line intention is to have fun with this, and to keep it fun. We want to encourage fanfiction writers to develop and progress, not discourage anyone. Understandably there may be some controversy about parts of this feature; it comes with the territory. As long as it's still fun and encouraging, we'll continue to do it.

2. Who the heck are you?

"We" are Katchan and Nora Jemison. Both of us gained our start in fanfiction by writing for a shounen series, Toriyama Akira's "Dragonball." Katchan then branched off into writing for Togashi Yoshihiro's "Yuu Yuu Hakusho," for which she wrote her first yaoi and shounen ai fanfiction stories (Kurama and Hiei, naturally). Nora was slower to jump on the yaoi bandwagon, but then discovered Marron and Gateau in Akahori Satoru and Omishi Rei's "Bakuretsu Hunter."

Nora's shoujo/yaoi/shounen ai favorites include: practically anything by Kazuma Kodaka ("Kizuna," "Kusatta Kyoushi no Houteishiki," "Sebiro no Housekeeper"); video game yaoi (namely stuff based on Squaresoft series such as "Chrono Trigger" and "Final Fantasy"); Yoshinaga Fumi's "Ichigenme wa Yaruki no Minpou"; "furry yaoi," such as Yoshiki Aya's various yomikiri; and practically anything with realistic angst.

Katchan's shoujo/yaoi/shounen ai favorites include: Mizushiro Setona's "Dousei-Ai"; Ogura Miki's work, including "Itokodoushi"; Michihara Katsumi's "Joker" series; Takamure Tamotsu's "Umi ni Nita Sora no Iro"; Naruto Maki's "Seikimatsu Darling"; Saito Chiho and BePaPas' "Kakumei Shoujo Utena"; and just about anything that's more humourous than angsty, and anything with guys whose hips are wide enough to contain vital organs.

Neither of us is a published writer. We're not magazine editors. We didn't even major in English in college. So what authority do we have to review fanfiction and run a feature section like this one? See below.

3. What authority do you have to review fanfiction and run a feature section like this one?

Absolutely none. Please take note: the reviews in the Fanfiction Spotlight are our opinions, only.

Think of us as movie or literary critics. Professional reviewers aren't infallible or all-knowing. Most of them don't even direct, or act, or write. They're just people who are paid to express their opinions and justify them in public. Most people wouldn't decide whether to go to a movie based solely on the opinion of a single reviewer; they'd rely on advertisements, the opinions of friends, and their own judgment, in addition to the review. Right?

Susan won't pay us a dime, but the concept is the same. Unlike professional reviewers, we know our field because we're involved in it as writers ourselves. We're also two people who like reading well-crafted fanfiction, and who are gutsy (or stupid) enough to make our opinions public.

To sign the "Make Susan Pay Nora and Katchan" petition we're circulating, write to us.

4. What criteria do you use for deciding which fanfics are reviewed?

Two things: gut feeling, and the rules of good writing that one learns in any college-level writing class or composition text.

We review what we like, plain and simple. What we like are stories that have few grammatical or spelling errors, which show a better than average grasp of the skills of storytelling, and which grab and hold our attention. While we're naturally biased toward fanfics written based on the series we like, it's fanfiction in general, rather than simply fanfics based on familiar series, that we like. A well-written fanfiction can often attract readers to an unknown series. So we will definitely be reviewing fanfics\ based on unfamiliar series and non-favorites.

5. What's your procedure?

a. Somebody picks a fanfic to review. That's right. Anyone can review a fanfiction, here in the Fanfic Spotlight. Just because we started it doesn't mean other people can't play in our sandbox. If you've found a fanfiction that you particularly like, and you want to review it, just drop us a line and chat with us about it. We will edit only for spelling, grammar, and the like---not for content.

b. That person writes to the author for permission to review it.

c. If the author says yes, that person writes a review.

d. When the review is written, a copy is sent to the author before it's posted on the site.

e. Once we've edited the review, it gets sent to Susan for posting.

That's it! Thanks for browsing the Spotlight, and happy fanfiction reading!