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The Fanfic Writers' Craft

@pebblysand & @copper_dust
20 episodes   Last Updated: Mar 17, 23
The Fanfic Writers’ Craft is a podcast that discusses all things fanfiction with a focus on the art and science of writing for the enjoyment of fan communities. Every two weeks, Jo and Lani (otherwise known in fandom as @pebblysand and @copper_dust) sit down for a fun, multi-fandom, fanfic-related chat and delve into particular topics such as: the particularities of writing and reading fanfiction, monetisation, how to build a fanfiction plot, etc. Hope you enjoy! You can find us and contact us at: https://thefanficwriterscraft.tumblr.com/


In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) and Lani (@copper-dust) talk about writing dark stuff. Topics that involve wars, deaths, assaults, and all those very nice things that often give rise to trigger-warnings. They discuss why writers are drawn to tackling these issues, the cathartic experience of writing and/or reading through trauma, and the boundaries they may set for themselves when they write their stories. They also touch on trigger-warnings themselves (when and how to use them), and on the ethics of writing in the darker corners of storytelling. While they do not discuss anything that is explicit, this episode obviously contains discussions of certain sensitive subjects so if you do not wish to listen to this episode, please don’t hesitate to pass. This week, we mention:  Fics: castles by pebblysand, Merry Men by copper_dust, Lilac Falls by copper_dust, a louisville slugger to both headlights by pebblysand, Check the Spindle by copper_dust  Books: Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes  Your recommendations for this week are: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver Gold by viscariafields Incendiary by Chris Cleave You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) interviews @btelling, also known as Nargles15 on Ao3, author of the brilliant Harry Potter AU fanfic, The Squib. They talk about being in the online fanfiction trenches of the late 2000s, and @btelling’s love for writing what she calls “dystopian hellscapes”. They discuss the appeal of writing about the post-war Harry Potter world, and the reasons they are both drawn to exploring dark themes. @Btelling details her experience pursuing an MFA and talks about the art of building tension and suspense in her works. Lastly, she and Jo discuss the frustrations of writing for free in a world ruled by capitalism and the merits of coming back to writing after a burn-out and long hiatus. This week, we mention:  Fandoms: Harry Potter Fics: The Squib by @btelling, Knowing Where to Look by @ala_baguette, the Armistice Series by annerb, Manacled by senlinyu, castles by @pebblysand, the roar series by @pebblysand AO3 Wrapped Stats The Consumerist Dystopia of Harry Potter by verilybitchie (video essay) Thoughts on Hermione and Courage by @pebblysand S1E6 Writing in English As A Second Language With @venom0usbarbie  The Stand by Stephen King Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney Your recommendations for this week are: The Last of Us  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica This Way Up   You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Blayne (@btelling): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3 Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Lani (@copper-dust) interviews author and multimedia artist @rosalui. They talk about Rosa’s work in a huge number of fandoms featuring anything from fake newspaper articles to academic pastiches. Rosa talks about the appeal of non-conventional storytelling and the draw of writing pieces because you can’t find them anywhere else. This is a short episode, but a very sweet one, which we hope you enjoy!This week, we mention:  Fandoms: Naruto, Mo Dao Zu Shi, Harry Potter, Avengers, Captain America The Daily Show with Jon Stewart  Wattleford, Bumbleby. 'Potterwatch: Underground Radio and the Voice of a Revolution.' Hogsmeade: Widdershins, 2006. by RosaLui The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty MediAvengers by nottonyharrison Steve Rogers Might Wear Tights, But He’s Not Your Pin-up Girl by RosaLui and whatalchemy tin soldiers by idrilka Bird Lovers, Backyard by Thalia Field Macarthur Park by Richard Harris Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter Check The Spindle by @copper-dust Your recommendations for this week are:No recommendations this week but Jo would like to push The Every again, which she just finished and insists is incredible.You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Rosalui (@rosalui): tumblr; AO3; livejournal Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) and Lani (@copper-dust) talk about outgrowing fandoms. More specifically, about a Tumblr post by the writer @annerbhp regarding her vision of what it means to “outgrow” (or not) a fic or a fandom, and the relationship we might have had with it. Lani and Jo discuss what makes them obsessed with a particular piece of media enough to write about it, but also what makes them fall out of love with certain source materials. They chat about the differences between writing fanfic and interacting with the wider fandom, and give advice as to what to do when your fandom friends develop different obsessions from you. This week, we mention:  Spare by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex The Good Wife (TV series) Rent (Musical) Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace   Silk (TV series) House (TV series) children by pebblysand & castles by @pebblysand Merry Men by @copper-dust Your recommendations for this week are: Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion Black Ships by Jo Graham Sunset In Your Veins by viscariafields The Circle & The Every by Dave Eggers You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) and her wonderful guest, @celestemagnoliathewriter talk about smut. A fic genre in and of itself, generally encompassing what is known to the rest of the world as erotica, smut is an integral part of fanfiction writing and culture online. They discuss the purpose of writing smut, the different kinds of smut and the appeal it can have for some of us who don’t necessarily relate to mainstream pornography. They also discuss the ethics of writing consent, the difference between writing sex and smut, and the level of detail required to write good smutty scenes. Obviously, this episode contains explicit chats, so beware. Also, please note that Celeste and Jo generally write smut in the context of straight relationships, which is what we mostly discuss here. If you are a writer of LGBTQ+ relationships and would like to come on the podcast, please feel free to hit our ask box on tumblr or contact me through DMs. We would love to have those conversations as well!This week, we mention:  my dad wrote a porno (podcast)Your recommendations for this week are: Normal People by Sally Rooney “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Smut Fic” by QuinnAnderson Smut Thesaurus on Tumblr A quick guide on what makes something mature/explicit (the envelope post) Reddit - if you type in “smut” to the search bar in the fanfiction subreddit, you can find a whole lot of opinions and examples of smut. Just today (7 Jan) there was a post about what folks would like to see more of in smut. Every few days there’s a smut related post. Read through them and see what you like and don’t like - and don’t take it personally when others disagree with what you like. Fanfic and smut is about curating your own experience, whether reading or writing, and you do you.  Lewd Vocabulary  You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Celeste (@Celestemagnoliathewriter): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) and Lani (@copper-dust) do a 2022 fanfiction wrap-up. They look back on the year they’ve just had, talk about their feelings about fanfiction and fandom in general, and answer some of your questions about their personal favourites. Lani tells us about the impact the pandemic had on her writing and Jo gets fairly emotional answering one of the questions we received. We also talk about our plans for 2023, both with fanfic and the podcast, and give you all a few, end-of-year recommendations to take away. From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank all of you for listening and engaging with this crazy project of ours, and we look forward to what the new year has in stock. Particularly, we would also like to extend our thanks to the amazing writers and creators we’ve been lucky enough to have on this first season: @venom0usbarbie, @tessiete, @crazybutgood, @newsom and @ala_baguette Just a quick word of warning, in this episode, I read out one of the comments I got this year, which mentions the topic of sexual assault. If you want to skip that, it’s around the 39 minute mark, and lasts about 6 minutes. This week, we mention:  castles, vicious as roman rule, the fault in faulty manufacturing and the wolf’s just puppy (and the door's double-locked) by @pebblysand  Storge, The Seam Between, Check the Spindle and Merry Men by @copper_dust Dancing With The Lion by Jeanne Reames (@jeannereames) Jo’s tumblr post about controversial writing, the reasons behind chapter 8, and the ask.  HP favourites: seven simple machines by fluorescentgrey (@yeats-infection) and thirty-five owls by letterblade Non-HP favourites: Rous'd His Drowsy Blood by lanyon (The Iliad), A Matter of Apples by  Apollo_Xandos and Clean Dresses, Brass Tits, and the Importance of a Good Hatpin by voodoochild (@shes-a-voodoo-child) (podfic by originally) (Peaky Blinders) castles playlist Your recommendations for this week are: Trying to set a low and achievable daily wordcount goal  Patronising your local library Having a good holiday season You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, as suggested by a Tumblr anon, Jo (@pebblysand) and Lani (@copper-dust) talk about humour in fanfiction and, more specifically, how to write comedy without being cringey? Not just for crack fics, but also how to write something that’s supposed to be funny and that also has a plot. They dive into the question of what a crack fic even is, as well as the cultural specificities that are inherent to comedy, and make it one of the hardest genres to write. They also talk about the merits of cringe, and go on a pretty long tangent about tumblr’s latest obsession: Goncharov (1973). This week, we mention:  American Vandal a Netflix mockumentary that mimics the genre of true crime documentaries Goncharov (1973), Tumblr’s fake Martin Scorcese film Seinfeld, a show which Jo (writing this post), has never seen and doesn’t really know what to say about, apart from the fact that Lani made a lot of references to it in the pod, so there.  Curb Your Enthusiasm, mentioned in our discussion of whether comedy can sometimes go too far.  Mr Bean, for physical comedy (Jo approximates that her mother has probably watched that Christmas turkey episode 124 times) The Office (US), for American comedy (also, before anyone asks, yes, Jo has watched the UK version. Yes, she liked it better. But, she has issues with Ricky Gervais, not all of which are Ricky Gervais’ fault) Fleabag, for cringe comedy  Death at a Funeral and Derry Girls on making light of heavy subjects Your recommendations for this week are: ViscariaFields (@hexcore-juggler) whose amazing fanfic Lani recommended for the Iliad fandom My Dad Wrote a Porno, the funniest podcast Jo has ever heard (and advice on how not to write smut) You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Jo (@pebblysand) sits down for a chat with a lovely guest and fantastic writer, @ala_baguette. They talk about writing very similar fics in the same Harry Potter niche, both covering a similar time period, similar themes, and which seem to have similar audiences. They discuss @ala_baguette’s love for OCs and "Gen" fanfiction, as well as her determination to break the fanfic “stigma” in real life. Lastly, they also touch on the topic of self-promotion, the importance of comments and engagement for fanfic writers, and @ala_baguette's experience, going through a ten-year writing hiatus. This week, we mention:  castles and ROAR by @pebblysand  Knowing Where to Look, Left Behind and A Lonely Path by @ala_baguette Our previous episodes on OCs and Point of View @ala_baguette also mentions Jo’s fic “written in future tense” - vicious as roman rule Your recommendations for this week are: Neil Gaiman’s masterclass The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Ala_baguette: tumblr ; AO3 Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, in honour of Remembrance Day, Lani (@copper-dust) and Jo (@pebblysand) have a chat about war. Specifically, they discuss how to research war, write war, and explore the aftermath of war in fanfiction. They talk about what they find interesting about it, what drives them to write about it, and how they use these armed conflict situations to paint a picture of the broader world we live in. Please note that this episode does contain discussions of war-related violence - nothing graphic but still, if that’s not your thing, feel free to pass. This week, we mention:  Merry Men, Check the Spindle and Storge by @copper-dust castles and slipped by @pebblysand Jo’s post about a broader definition of war Fluorescentgrey’s historical AUs This scene from Peaky Blinders Jo’s post about right and wrong in Castles Your recommendations for this week are: The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker because it's great example of historical fiction based on WW1 Achilles in Vietnam by Jonathan Shay because it offers an interesting take on the war in Vietnam and trauma Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card because it's an fascinating example of a sci-fi/fantasy war Peaky Blinders by Stephen Knight and the BBC because maybe then Jo will finally shut up about this show  You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr  Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3
In this episode, Lani (@copper-dust) and Jo (@pebblysand) talk about writing routines and habits. They chat about when they write, for how long, what tools they use and what they wish they could change about their writing “bad” habits. They discuss the feasibility of writing day, whether or not they find it easier to work on multiple projects at the same time, and the struggles that sometimes exist trying to balance our social life, the 9-to-5 grind, and writing.This week, we mention:  Merry Men and Check the Spindle by @copper-dust  the fault in faulty manufacturing, ce ne sont que des cailloux & castles by @pebblysand  Your recommendations for this week are: Haven by Emma Donoghue Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel - also the TV series is a great example of a superb adaptation You can find us online at: The Fanfic Writer’s Craft: tumblr ; spotify Lani (@copper-dust): tumblr ; AO3 Jo (@pebblysand): tumblr ; AO3