Thursday, July 26, 2012

Twilight and Jane Eyre

Even though I've been wrapped up in teaching my fan fiction class and writing Pinned but Fluttering, I have had a few story ideas floating around.

I've written parts of some, and others remain stuck on a Post-It in my writing journal. 

But my first non-Twilight fan fic idea came to me the other night. Lately I've been reading some pretty darn angsty fan fics with Edward in some rather sad and anxiety-provoking situations (like The Blessing and the Curse by The Black Arrow, The Diva Diaries by KivaRaven, An Angry Man by katinki, etc.), I thought about his literary predecessors, including another angst-ridden Edward: Edward Fairfax Rochester. 

So I'm seriously considering expanding my Twilight fan fiction repertoire with a one-shot of Edward Rochester awaking to find Jane gone on the day after their almost-wedding. 

I can almost place a Robert Pattinson, aged by 15 years, in the role of this Edward, one equally haunted by his past sins and tied to a dark mystery in which he drags a young, innocent girl into because of the depth of his love. Only Edward Cullen leaves his Bella while Jane leaves Rochester...but both for what they believe is the "right" reason.

Jane and Bella, and their stories, definitely parallel each other. Both raised in unusual circumstances, Jane an orphan and Bella parenting her own parents, Jane and Bella are rather strong-minded in some ways, yet their teenaged romanticism colors their world greatly. They're young, innocent, trusting girls who are drawn to dark, angsty men who conceal dangerous secrets and checquered pasts. After a climatic event in the story line, a separation ensues during which both women discover another possible love interest, Jane with St. John Rivers and Bella with Jacob Black. Both women's lives are in danger because of this relationship as Jane could easily die on the missionary fields of India where St. John intends for her to join him while Bella learns to love a werewolf. 

Supernatural forces (Jane hearing Rochester call for her, and Bella learning of Alice's vision of Edward's suicide attempt with the Volturi) bring the couples back together, Jane to a blinded and contrite Rochester, Bella to a contrite and apologetic Edward. Choices must be made regarding which love interest the women will choose, and of course they choose their angsty guys, marry them, and live happily ever after, children and all. 

And the two Edwards are so similar. They both possess sinful pasts that they are reluctant to share with their innocent teenaged loves, and both have a deep-seated self-hatred based on those pasts and on their perceived danger to their women. Once restored to their loves, both are appropriate contrite although Rochester has truly changed during the separation from Jane while Edward Cullen changed more before the separation. 

Both men are loners to an extent, have past romantic interests in Blanche Ingram and Tanya in Denali, neither truly worthy of the angsty guys, who inspire jealousy in their teenaged loves. Both men are altered greatly by the introduction of these pure, idealistic women who look past the ugliness in the men's lives (Rochester's physical ugliness and the ugliness of who Edward is as a vampire) and love them not only despite the men's flaws but perhaps because of them.  

As many parallels exist between Jane Eyre and the Twilight Saga, it seems a natural place to go, fan fiction-wise, to write from Rochester's POV when he discovers Jane gone, the pearls and other valuables left behind, and "right to prevail." Angst will heavily color Edward Rochester's thoughts as he realizes that Jane, friendless in their world, has left with nothing. 

So let's see if I can clear the time to write this one-shot soon, shall we? And yes, I hope to keep writing the Twilight stories I've started or jotted down the basic plot ideas in my notebook. So keep your eyes peeled....

On another quick note, on Wattpad Pinned but Fluttering passed 700,000 reads this week, and Evening Star passed 650,000 reads; in addition, my vote count for all of my works on Wattpad has passed 8000! So thank you to my wonderful readers--you are the reason I write and keep writing!!

With love and thanks,
~Cassandra :)  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fan Fiction Class and Flash Fiction

Well, I'm a week and a half into the Fan Fiction class I'm teaching online at Brave Writer. I have ten students (all females), about half of whom are experienced fan fiction readers and/or writers. 

During our first week, we explored what fan fiction is, defined some terms, reviewed story elements and literary analysis, and discussed what the students wanted to get out of the class. I also dug up ten one shots from various fandoms, and they had to choose and analyze three of them. I chose stories from Harry Potter and Twilight, of course, plus Teen Wolf, The Avengers (two from here). I also included some more "classic" fandoms for the more conservative home schooled kids such as Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and Sherlock Holmes. I asked students for rec's of course, and I also put up a post where they can rec some of their favorite completed stories.

The challenge in teaching this class, of course, is in balancing the two very different worlds of fan fiction and home schooling. Many, if not most, home schooled students are Christians, and while Brave Writer is a non-sectarian business, we still need to be sensitive to our clients. Yet we also have non-Christian students as well. The student age range is 12-17, so we have to be careful of what we post. 

Along with the owner's input, we wrote Guidelines for Posting Fiction that we hope will aid parents in protecting their younger kids yet will also allow for whatever expression of creativity students wish to explore. The Guidelines explain the Fiction Ratings categories (those used on of K, K+, T, M, and MA, plus the MPAA ratings used for movies (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17), then request that only K-T and G-PG-13 stories (written by students or as rec's) be posted in the classroom, with T, PG, and PG-13 stories being uploaded at attachments with a warning so that young readers don't accidentally read something they shouldn't. 

Stories rated M/MA or R/NC-17 will be e-mailed to me, and I'll offer feedback via e-mail. 

One student (age 15!) e-mailed me to ask about posting slash story recs; I had to tell her that it wasn't appropriate for our classroom with such young students, but that she could e-mail me the link and I would be happy to discuss the story with her. Teaching fan fiction definitely produces a challenging balancing act. 

Today students are submitting their first stories: flash fan fiction. Their assignment: write a fan fiction story of 300-1000 words, and we'll all read and comment on them. I'm thinking that I'll do the assignment, too, and thus provide Jacob with a voice before we find out what happens to him. 

This week we're also discussing the elements that the students reported struggling with the most: plotting, character development, effective dialogue, and judicious descriptions. In addition, I've also posted on writer's block and finishing a long WIP. 

They'll be starting their two longer stories soon; they may write two one-shots or two chapters for a new story, or two chapters for a current WIP. I think it'll be fun, and I'm looking forward to reading their stories submitted today. :) 

So that's what's been going on with me. I'll be writing the second half of the wolf/vamp battle from either Carlisle's or Edward's POV (possibly both) for Sunday, but I may sneak in that flash fiction from Jacob's POV before then. 

Happy Reading!
~Cassandra  :)    

Monday, July 9, 2012

Teaching a Fan Fiction Class This Summer!

Starting today, July 9, I am teaching the first Fan Fiction Class at Brave Writer! I have taught online courses on this site for over ten years, and I've designed and written several classes, this one among them. I am thrilled to have ten students so far which is pretty nice for a first-time offering of a class. This class is designed for students ages 12-18 and we'll be examining how fan fiction stories work and then apply those principles to the writing of one-shots or chapters of a new or continuing story. 

I still have some spaces left, if anyone is interested. Brave Writer caters to home schooling families, but some families use Brave Writer to supplement their kids' private or public school offerings. This four-week class is worth .25 high school credits for home schooled students. 

Here is the link to this class if you'd like more information: Brave Writer Fan Fiction Class

And here is the basic outline of the class:

Tentative Class Schedule: 

Week One: Discussion of definition of fan fiction and which authors have requested their works to not be the subject of this genre. Examination of fan fiction story examples. Free writing exercise to determine topic/work of fan fiction to be written.

Week Two: Character study exercise to aid in developing already established characters. Plot exercise/assignment to study the elements of plot in preparation for plotting the story. Discussion and writing of a plot outline for the story.

Week Three: Writing of first draft of fan fiction story.
Week Four: Peer evaluation of first drafts of fan fiction stories. Revision and editing of first drafts. Posting (and possible online publication, with parental permission) of final fan fiction stories.

Since we have so many experienced fan fiction writers in the class so far, we may be tweaking this schedule and deal more with writing and offering feedback on multiple chapters. We'll see how it goes. 

If you are interested yourself or have or know of a child who is interested in taking the class, please click on the link above and register immediately as today is the first day!

In other news, I should be posting the next chapter of Pinned but Fluttering in the next day or so; it will be my longest PbF chapter to date and is an outtake of the battle in Chapter 38 from Carlisle's POV. I will be writing another outtake to continue where Carlisle's leaves off, either from Carlisle's or Edward's POV, most likely the latter. 

So I shall "see" you soon! 

Cassandra :)