Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998


Writing Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction:
The Pressure To Perform And Conform




Writer's Block: Between a ROC and a Hard Place



Cold feet?  But the rest is pretty warm wouldn't you say?


Some people obviously have all the luck.


[38] This article almost suffered from the dreaded plight of the fanfic writer: Writer's block. As appealing as the idea of being between a ROC and a hard place might be, it is no fun when it comes down to writing a fanfic story. It might be argued that this is the most crippling of pressures faced by the amateur fanfic writer. It is, no doubt, one of the most frustrating.

[39] Writer's block can occur for a million different reasons and moving past it can require just as many different remedies. That is what makes writer's block difficult to address in terms of solutions. There is no easy answer to the question of how to get over this impediment quickly. No matter the level of experience the fanfic writer may have, the onset of writer's block is just as annoying for those who enjoy writing Xena fanfic.

[40] Writer's block might be categorized in a couple of different ways, depending on the broader cause of the obstacle in the writing process. Being blocked by lack of a story idea may be the easier kind to overcome. Usually, this occurs before starting a new story and is the result of not knowing exactly what one wants to say in a story or what direction/plot one wants to explore. Coming up with a good idea is unpredictable in terms of when/how. The less one thinks about coming up with an idea, the potential is there for the idea to suddenly pop up out of nowhere and provide the writer with great material. Putting pressure on oneself to come up with a good idea is usually one sure way to stifle creativity and block an idea. Letting the story come to the surface when it is ready may be one way to deal with this type of writer's block.

[41] Being blocked by lack of internal inspiration/motivation may be harder to overcome. This occurs when a writer no longer 'feels' the flow of a story or feels the desire to keep writing. Instead, writing feels like a chore rather than a creative, fun process. This may be a result of writer burnout because the bard has written many stories or long stories and feels drained (rue the day should come if Missy Good ever experiences this!). Writing is a personal process that is influenced by what is going on in real life with the writer. Things happen that make it difficult to concentrate on writing and/or make writing fanfic less important or interesting. If a writer wants to continue writing Xena fanfic but is temporarily feeling burned out, a break in writing is usually the best course of action.

[42] Again, this is much like putting one's bardic mind on the back burner to simmer and taking a holiday from writing. This break may allow the writer to rejuvenate and then become excited about writing again. It may also be a time where the writer re-evaluates what they want to write and say with their stories and the resultant product may be a new, exciting direction for the writer.

[43] Finally, being blocked because one feels the pressure to perform is another issue that may plague those who post in parts and those writing sequels. As already discussed, writing something because the audience demands it tends to lead to anxiety, which in turn may block the creative process. Knowing that readers are expecting something from a particular bard is enough to make the writer feel like they have to match that expectation perfectly. Living up to other people's expectations in terms of writing fanfic is usually accomplished better by the writer feeling their own inspiration rather than writing something that is forced.

[44] When the writer is relaxed and forgets the pressure to write, it may be much more likely that a better story will be written and enjoyed by both the writer and the audience. Many times, overcoming this pressure is aided by isolating oneself from others in order to let the story come unimpeded and possibly checking into creative nutbread recipes.

[45] Thus, writer's block, while nefarious and evil, can be overcome. There are many reference books on writing that may be beneficial if one wants to look to the professional literary world for help. Any quick survey of a local bookstore in the creative writing section could yield reference material on this subject. In the end, writing fanfic is a much more leisurely activity in which the writer's attitude toward writing has a great impact on writer's block. Keeping things in perspective is often the best way to approach this endeavor and enjoying it for the sheer fun of writing about those UberCool characters of Xena and Gabrielle is key.


Feedback: Use it or Lose it



All right, but this is the LAST Bacchae story tonight...


Gabrielle, the consummate bard, gets feedback even in the bedroom.


[46] Feedback is the food of the Gods for a fanfic writer. Hearing from readers that a story is well received is one of the few tangible rewards of writing fanfic. Indeed, writing Xena fanfic is an interactive process such that the reader can easily contact a writer after reading a story to give immediate feedback about what they thought/felt about the story. This kind of interaction is necessary for the continuation of fanfic in that it encourages a writer and establishes a relationship between reader and writer.

[47] Feedback allows a writer to interpret how a story is received by an audience. Without it, a writer may come to the conclusion that their story either (a) was not read, (b) was read and dismissed, or (c) does not warrant the writer to continue writing. While any of those options can be true (and realistic), receiving no feedback generally is a discouraging proposition. For the most part, writers tend to want feedback on their stories if for nothing else than to know someone somewhere read the darn thing.

[48] Debate often rages on email lists and among writer groups and readers whether or not criticism or negative feedback should be given. Because those writing fanfic generally are comprised of amateur writers rather than professionals, the thick skin necessary to withstand negative feedback may or may not be present. Unlike the real world where rejection of one's fiction story is more of a rule than an exception, fanfic usually is much more likely to be judged by different standards. Indeed, fanfic generally enjoys mostly positive reactions.

[49] However, with the expansion of fanfic and the thousands of stories currently available, readers who provide feedback are offered more choices to discriminate from and to judge the quality of the work. Fanfic is beginning to resemble a natural selection of sorts whereby only the strong survive (and are rewarded with feedback). While the scope of this article precludes further debate on the future of fanfic, it is worthy to note that feedback and reader interest has become much more focused.

[50] For the most part, feedback offers very few suggestions in terms of how to write the story (see Beta Readers below). Few writers enjoy in-depth critiques of their work from readers. Depending on the writer, this kind of feedback may or may not be solicited and/or incorporated. Currently, there are no established customs with regard to what kind of feedback a reader should give or what kind of feedback a writer desires. Ironically, not knowing what to say to a writer often prevents a reader from ever giving feedback. It is a safe bet to assume that a writer would appreciate anything a reader had to say about a story, whether that is one sentences saying 'Loved the story' or a three-page detailed summary of what/why they loved the story. It is all good. Unless it is stated explicitly in the disclaimer section of a story, the kind of feedback (and response to it by a writer) is usually open to wide interpretation.

[51] Because writing Xena fanfic is written by and for fans, there are no hard and fast rules about feedback. Instead, it is much more of an etiquette issue that has grown out of the enjoyment of this medium. With the immediacy of contact between individuals on the Internet, rewarding fanfic writers with feedback helps ensure the continuation of effort by a writer. Indeed, a writer who receives feedback finds it immensely gratifying to know that the audience has read a story and has connected with it at some level enough to tell the writer. Writing for oneself is certainly important, but knowing that others also share and enjoy the vision presented is additionally rewarding.


Beta Readers: To Edit or Not, That is the Question



In a time before word processors, she would've eaten a bug for a rubber eraser.


The life of a bard is one constant edit.


[52] Beta readers, or those individuals who read a story prior to its release on the Web to offer constructive criticism to a writer, is a relatively new phenomenon. In the early days of fanfic, sharing a story with a group of friends before posting it was more likely to be done without an explicit editing purpose. Now, having one or more beta readers is more common.

[53] The assumption behind having beta readers is that, unlike the general audience at large, these readers will provide more in-depth critiques of a writer's work. Indeed, the purpose of beta readers is to offer a supportive set of eyes to catch plot-holes, missing elements, grammatical/spelling errors, and the like. Choosing beta readers is an important decision in that a writer may potentially hear things about their story that they would rather not hear. Because beta readers are more 'objective', they may be more likely to point out weaknesses in a story that the writer has not seen. Establishing a working relationship that is comfortable for both the reader and the writer is most conducive to this kind of editing feedback.

[54] Beta readers offer a writer a variety of options for how to tell the writer's own story. It is the writer's choice whether or not to accept those editing suggestions. Much like feedback from other readers who might suggest changes or new directions, beta readers can operate much like a book editor by pointing out problems and other critical issues. However, a writer ultimately can decide if the story is enhanced or not by the beta readers' suggestions. Depending upon the relationship between the writer and the beta readers, feeling compelled to change a story based on their feedback is an individual choice.

[55] Whether the writer feels pressured to incorporate changes is more a matter how the bard chooses to utilize beta readers. In the end, most writers judge feedback suggestions in terms of how it fits with their vision of the story and either accept or reject the suggestions based on that evaluation. Beta readers can be a useful tool, particularly for newer bards, to gauge whether a story 'reads' as the writer envisioned it and to catch inconsistencies and errors.


Conformance

[56] Feeling the pressure to conform to established fanfic conventions or standards and traditions is often an unspoken occurrence among writers. Because there are no set guidelines or parameters that are spelled out anywhere in the Xenaverse (save for a list of correct spellings of names/places on the show found at the Xenaverse Codex), it is difficult to identify universal Xena fanfic standards. In fact, because fanfic is such a wide-open creative endeavor, there are essentially no universal 'givens' with regard to character and story. However, it is safe to say that there are often a set of unspoken fanfic conventions that most readers and writers accept (e.g., Xena will most likely never become a real Hestian virgin, or having Gabrielle kill Xena for good is usually beyond the accepted bounds of the character).

[57] The interesting thing about Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic is that, despite the pressure to make the characters and stories 'fit' a particular view, many writers have chosen to take their stories in surprising directions and fascinating uncharted territories. Being able to 'buck the system' as it were and write stories that shock or challenge a reader is a real feat. Reaction from fanfic readers is likely to be either very positive or very negative when a fanfic standard is broken. However, for growth to occur in a particular domain such as fanfiction, new ideas and new perspectives are necessary. Both conforming to the pressures of current Xena fanfic convention and rejecting those standards characterize the state of this fan phenomenon.


Characterizations and UberTransformations: A Warrior and Bard by Any Other Name



That's right, my ancient Greek does sound southern, but this here's a telegram NOT a scroll!


Janice and Mel - can't live with them, can't live without them!


[58] One of the tasks a fanfic writer faces is creating characterizations that sound 'true' to those introduced in the television series. That is, most fanfic writers attempt to capture the basic elements of Xena and Gabrielle's characters and portray them in similar ways as that seen on the series. The blueprint of who Xena and Gabrielle are comes from the writers and creators of Xena: Warrior Princess and fan fiction is a recreation of those characterizations. Most people recognize 'essential' characteristics of Xena and Gabrielle and fanfic writers incorporate them into their fanfic stories (e.g., Xena is a dangerous, stoic, no-nonsense kick-*ss ex-warlord; Gabrielle is a complex, strong, emotional, capable bard and Amazon Queen). When a writer strays from the traditional characterizations of these two main protagonists, readers are likely to respond negatively because it does not match their conception of the characters based on the show.

[59] For example, Callisto-centered fanfic sometimes deliberately chooses not to follow the characterization shown on the series and may portray Callisto as a redemptive reformer a la Xena. This is an example where growth in fanfic and characterization surpasses the television series and may make fanfic a much more appealing or interesting alternative to what 'really' happens on the series. In addition, given the unrest felt by some fans over the third season, characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle may be written that disregard the events in an episode or series of episodes. It is not uncommon for fanfic writers to simply overlook something from the series while writing a story (e.g. Perdicus, Joxer, subtext, etc).

[60] Often, the characters of Xena and Gabrielle (and others) become richer and more complex in fanfic than that shown on the episodes such that it makes it difficult for fanfic readers and writers to accept certain views presented in the series. An interesting sub-phenomenon in fanfic has developed whereby there is a general clear distinction between 'Fanfic Xena/Gabrielle' and 'Series Xena/Gabrielle'. It is not uncommon to hear on the various email lists or elsewhere statements such as 'Yeah, but Fanfic Xena would never drag Gabrielle like that! ' or 'Fanfic Gabrielle wouldn't let her *ss get kicked by Tara in FORGIVEN (60/314) like that!' The problem (or at least mental gymnastics needed to be performed) for fans of the show and fanfic readers is to reconcile the characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle between the two mediums.

[61] Some argue that the series provides the 'absolute' characterization and that fanfic can be a poor misrepresentation unless the characters remain 'true' to the series. Others argue that fans are more attracted to the fanfic characterizations because it better matches their desire to view the characters in particular ways. Clearly, given the variety and selection of fanfic available, all views can be represented without one claiming superiority. To each her/his own is an excellent way to approach this particular debate.

[62] With UberTransformations, the writer is more or less freed of standards set by the characterization of Xena and Gabrielle set forth by the series or other fanfic. For example, Janice and Mel, two of the more popular UberCharacters, have essentially 'switched' roles with Janice being more like Xena and Mel being more like Gabrielle, though the characteristics do not match 1 to 1. This tends to make Janice and Mel stories unique in that most other UberXena stories maintain the 'power' balance between the characters and the traditional 'gender' role designations (i.e., UberXena is the strong, powerful character and UberGabrielle is the supportive, sensitive character).

[63] With many UberXena stories, the characters usually retain some basic resemblance to Xena and Gabrielle so that the reader is able to visualize the characters and recognize them. However, UberXena stories also provide a sense of creative freedom to mix and match Xena and Gabrielle's essential identities with those of the newly introduced characters. As long as the writer creates compelling characters who somehow share something in common with Xena and Gabrielle, most UberXena stories capture the essence and appeal of the characters that have come to represent archetypes that transcend timeline and television series.

[64] Thus, conforming to the characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle can be a tricky proposition given that there are many views of what the 'true' nature of these individuals are. More likely than not, a writer or reader will be able to unconsciously judge for themselves when a story has captured the characterization that rings true to their own sense of Xena and Gabrielle. Whether the dialogue does nOt match what the characters 'would' say or whether their actions do not seem to make sense given what is already known about them, creating and appreciating what is good (and what is not so great) characterization is an important part of the fanfic process. For each writer and reader, it may be more of a gut-level feeling or instinct that the characters either work or do not. As a writer, finding that out is generally a matter of trial and error, which is the de rigeur method of figuring out how to write a fanfic story.


Fanfic Conventions: Breaking the 'Lunacy Factor'



Shriek!  Do you have any idea just how many rocks have fallen on my head?


Callisto wanted to break the Lunacy factor.


[65] In reference to the above section, conforming to certain fanfic conventions often entails more than keeping the characters in line with certain amorphous standards. Fanfic conventions can also take the form of specific settings, plots, behaviors, and characters. Again, none of these conventions are written in stone to guide writers. Instead, most are the result of previous fanfic stories establishing certain elements that then reoccur in other writer's stories until those common conventions become familiar and standard to fanfic readers.

[66] Fanfic conventions offer a certain stability within the fanfic writing world. For example, most readers may expect a story to follow a certain formula and incorporate images or ideas that are familiar within the genre. These kinds of standards (e.g., Xena can sense when Gabrielle is in trouble, Xena and Gabrielle always have an inn handy to rent a room, the Amazons like to party all the time) allow for a sense of cohesiveness between the many fanfic stories available. In order to identify fanfic conventions, it is necessary to step back and review fanfic as a whole and to find common trends or themes unique to fanfic. Because most writers are themselves fanfic readers, it is not unreasonable to assume that other fanfic stories have an influence (conscious or unconscious) on the writer. It is a writer's choice whether to follow these established standards or not, though the pressure to adhere to the familiar is certainly undeniable.

[67] The infamous 'Lunacy Factor' may be one of the best known fanfic conventions. Coined after Xenaverse fanfic reviewer Lunacy, it refers to the general notion (mainly in alternative fanfic) that pairing Xena or Gabrielle up with any other suitor, male or female, is not as preferred as maintaining a primary and exclusive relationship between the two characters. While mostly associated with alt. fanfic (see below), a writer who breaks the Lunacy Factor does not suffer any irreparable damages but many readers tend to prefer stories that focus on the exclusive relationship between the two protagonists. A writer who would prefer to explore relationship issues between Xena or Gabrielle with some other character may feel the pressure not to write such a story because of the potential negative feedback associated with portraying a different view.

[68] For example, bards who would like to write stories featuring a romantic relationship between Gabrielle and Joxer often face the toughest adversity in the Xenaverse fanfic realm. Not only do these type of stories break the Lunacy Factor, they also go against subtextual sensibilities. Unlike other fanfic stories that explore different heterosexual romantic possibilities (i.e., Xena and Hercules/Marcus/Borias; Gabrielle and Perdicus, etc), Gabrielle/Joxer pairings tend to elicit more negativity because of the controversial nature of the Joxer character. In effect, these fanfic writers are being chastised for writing against established fanfic conventions. Much like the early days of fanfic when alternative stories containing explicit subtext were first being posted to the net and garnering negative feedback, Gabrielle/Joxer stories are currently encountering a similar reaction. However, not unlike a free market economy, if a type of fanfic story appeals to enough people, it will prevail. Because of the diversity of views of Xena: Warrior Princess and the characters, there is room for many different types of fanfic.

[69] The challenge of this issue is whether a writer will succumb to the pressure to write only certain stories or whether the growth and diversity of fanfic will push the boundaries of fanfic convention to make more views acknowledged. Acknowledging the validity of a writer having a different perspective on the characters of Xena and Gabrielle allows for new and interesting directions in fanfic. The problem associated with fanfic conventions is that they may stifle creativity by making a writer feel like they have to write a certain type of story. While fanfic conventions give the readers a comfortable familiar warm fuzzy feeling, the danger comes when fanfic no longer challenges readers with difficult subject matter or new ways of viewing the characters because of the pressure to conform to certain standards. Growth in fanfic may best be accomplished by being able to find a healthy balance between incorporating the fanfic conventions established and subverting those traditions.


General vs Alt Fiction: Are They or Aren't They?



Unleaded and sweet, without that biting-Bacchae passion.


Well???!!!????


[70] Perhaps the biggest distinction in Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic is that which differentiates a story on the basis of subtextual interpretations. To review, alternative fanfic generally depicts a loving, romantic and emotional (sometimes sexual, sometimes not) relationship between Xena and Gabrielle whereas general fanfic focuses on a more platonic friendship-oriented relationship between the two characters. In addition, alt. fanfic often encompasses many stories where sexually explicit material is presented, whether that is between Xena and Gabrielle or other combinations.

[71] Very rarely do general fiction stories describe explicit heterosexual relationships between characters (e.g., Xena and Hercules; Gabrielle and Perdicus). For the most part, while general fanfic stories may make mention of different romantic relationships between the two characters and other male partners, the norm in general fanfic appears to be to focus on action/adventure and other drama that is non-sexual in nature.

[72] As mentioned, alt. fanfic has become synonymous with a subtext-based interpretation of the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. However, not all alt. fanfic necessarily contains explicit depictions of a physical relationship (see Gloss vs Graphic below). Many alt. fanfic stories, much like the series itself, are subtle in their presentation of the commitment and love between Xena and Gabrielle. The danger in assuming that all alt. fanfic presents a sexually explicit relationship comes when that particular dimension is seen as all that subtext encompasses. In truth, subtext and alt. fanfic is more than just sex between the two characters. The scope of this article precludes a debate on this issue, but when examining fanfic, an important thing to keep in mind is that alt. fanfic can offer the same action/adventure/drama and other genres that general fanfic does.

[73] In terms of deciding to write a general or an alt. fanfic story, there seems to be less pressure to conform to one or the other. Most writers have already chosen to view the series and characters in a particular way. Because there is a market and an audience for both general and alt. fanfic that is wide and supportive, a bard has the freedom to write either type of story. Web sites devoted to fanfic are equally distributed between those supporting exclusively general and exclusively alternative fanfic. There are also a great many sites that host both general and alt. fanfic. Unlike the early days when alt. fanfic sites and stories were underrepresented, the Xenaverse has now become much more inclusive of many different fan views.


Gloss vs Graphic: The Good, The Bud, and The Homicidal



The best warrior and the best warlord?


Xena has no trouble with the concept of homicide


[74] Some of the more controversial elements of Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic are graphic depictions of extreme violence and of sexually explicit material. Perhaps unexpected by the creators of the television series, fanfic has evolved in ways that mirror non-fan fiction. Essentially, fans have chosen to take the characters in directions that go beyond the bounds of the series. The popularity of fan fiction, both general and alternative, that presents graphic material shows that it appeals to many fans.

[75] While the television series is no slouch when it comes to violence, fan fiction can often present more extreme violence and subject matter in the course of a story in graphic detail. Many fanfic stories on the net approach issues of murder, torture, sexual abuse and rape, and other such dramatic violent material. Some writers have chosen to describe these acts in detail. Given the backdrop and characters of Xena, it is not surprising that fanfic stories explore the drama associated with violence and its consequences.

[76] Writing graphic violence entails little pressure to conform to any particular standards. Depending upon the story a writer chooses to tell, inclusion of graphic violence is more dependent upon its role in a fanfic story than on any constraints imposed by outside fanfic requirements. While extreme violence is not necessarily the norm in XWP fanfic, the choice to graphically describe that material is solely that of the fanfic writer.

[77] Sexually explicit material is often found in Xena fanfic. Whether the material is located in general or alternative stories, the choice to write such depictions again resides with the individual writer. While more common in alt. fanfic stories, sexual descriptions vary from gloss to graphic. Writing gloss usually entails hinting at sexual activity or describing it in terms that gloss over the details of the sexual relation. Writing graphic material usually consists of describing sexual relations in more explicit detail. Everything in between gloss and graphic can be found in XWP fanfic.

[78] Alt. fanfic stories, given their subtextual interpretation of the intimate relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, often contain sexually explicit material. While not necessary for an alt. fanfic story, sexual descriptions tend to be included and range from gloss to graphic material. Bards who write alt. fanfic usually make a conscious choice of how to describe intimate relations between Xena and Gabrielle. Because there is an audience for both glossy and graphic stories, most writers find their fanfic well received regardless of the choice they make. Subtext fans tend to find it refreshing to see their interpretation of the characters written about in alt. fanfic.

[79] Despite there being an audience for both gloss and graphic fanfic stories, there are two potential types of pressure with regard to sexually explicit descriptions. Many subtext fans find graphic depictions of the sexual relationship between Xena and Gabrielle to enhance an alt. fanfic story because it provides a 'resolution' or 'consummation' of the relationship between two characters in love. The pressure to write this kind of material may come from feeling that readers, given the tradition of sexually explicit alt. fanfic stories, expect to be given a depiction of this event(s). If anything, the general sense among subtext fanfic readers may be the preference for graphic material, although this is not universal nor does it negate the enjoyment of a more gloss-based approach to alt. fanfic. Thus, the writer may feel compelled to write graphic material in order to please the audience.

[80] Another type of pressure is to not write sexually explicit graphic material because of the reaction of the audience. However, this pressure comes from individuals who read a story, and despite fanfic disclaimers that tell a reader about the content of a particular story, find the sexually explicit material contained in the story offensive. In addition, because subtext and alt. fanfic has become synonymous with a lesbian relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, readers who hold beliefs against this type of relationship may chastize (and/or flame) a bard who chooses to write such material.

[81] Email feedback that flames or insults a writer is usually a form of pressure that may discourage a bard from exercising their freedom to write stories of their choosing. To be realistic, homophobic and flame email is a risk that all alt. fanfic writers take when submitting their stories to the Web at large. It is up to the individual writer to decide if that risk is worth changing how they choose to express themselves. Because virtually every single fanfic story on the Internet contains a disclaimer and warning about material that may potentially bother some readers, it is ultimately the responsibility of the reader to censor their own reading habits rather than attempting to censor writers.

[82] Writing graphic stories, whether describing extreme violence or sexually explicit material, is a part of the Xenaverse fanfic phenomenon. Not unlike the real world where this kind of material can be found in any bookstore or library, XWP fanfic tends to mirror this diversity as well. Because of the variety in stories available, there are many different types of fanfic to select from and to write. Deciding on the type of story and the elements contained therein is a wholly personal choice for each fanfic writer to make. While it is true that there may be pressure to write a certain way or include particular items in a story, the power and freedom to create a story is wide open for fanfic writers. The beauty of Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic is that independence and that there is an audience for every story written.


Conclusion



Hey, are we heading Towards the Sunset or Toward the Sunset?


Our ladies walk off into the sunset


[83] Writers of Xena fanfic often find themselves subject to the traditions and modus operandi of the fanfic world. As the phenomenon continues to flourish and expand, the values of the fanfic readers and writers dictate in what direction this endeavor progresses. Because it is a fan-based activity, there are essentially no limits to how fanfic develops and grows. Certainly, a writer may feel pressure to write the next great Xena fanfic story or to conform to the norms that have already been established. However, when a writer finds their voice and gets lost in the creative writing process, those kinds of considerations tend to fall to the side of the road. What becomes more important to a writer is telling the story they see in their own minds in the way that best captures their feelings and vision. This is what makes writing (and reading) Xena fanfic the fun and rewarding pastime it has become to thousands of fans.

[84] The world of Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic has expanded as the fan base of the show becomes more diverse. The result of this potpourri of fanfic is that many writers and readers are exposed to the diversity in not only views of the show and its characters, but also to the diversity of the human condition. Writers often incorporate their own views of the world into their fanfic stories and being able to communicate those varied beliefs to a wide audience helps to validate and present different perspectives. It is a testament to the power of Xena to bring together fans who may not agree on anything other than the fact that the characters of this televison series are so compelling as to inspire countless individuals to devote their time and interest in the Xenaverse. Besides, if it were not for fanfic, we would never know the real reason Gabrielle has that white fuzzy thing on her staff and how Xena so expertly demonstrates her many, many skills in all sorts of creative and intricate ways.



Biography

L.N. James L.N. James
L.N. James is the pseudonym for a soon-to-be 30 year-old Midwestern gal currently (and reluctantly) living on the East Coast. An academic research scientist by training and profession, she and her yellow dog share a peaceful life full of drama, intrigue, and suspense. While fancying herself a connoisseur of microbrews, politics, and all things Gabrielle, she'd much rather read/write/chat about fanfic than mow her grass. Her Rigid Xena and Posable Gabrielle dolls reside comfortably together in their cabin home on a shelf above her bed. Her current heroes include Janeane Garafalo, Fran Lebowitz, and Paula Poundstone. And she cooks too!
Favorite episode: THE PRODIGAL (18/18), THE QUEST (37/213), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), THE DEBT I & II (52-53/306-307), ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313)
Favorite line: Xena: "Everyone's gotta be full of something", THE DEBT II (53/307); Gabrielle: "What's not to love?!", FINS, FEMMES, & GEMS (64/318)
First episode seen: MORTAL BELOVED (16/116)
Least favorite episode: CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104), ULYSSES (43/219), FORGIVEN (60/314)


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