Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998


IAXS project #484
By Barry L. Marshall
Copyright © 1998 held by author
2688 words

What Is Xena Fan Fiction? (01-04)
Necessary Legalities (05-10)
Methods and Techniques of Writing Xena Fan Fiction (11-14)
Xena Fan Fiction Resources (15-25)
Presenting Xena Fan Fiction (26-35)
Xena Fan Fiction Websites (36)
The Future of Xena Fan Fiction (37-40)

Xena Fan Fiction: Methods, Resources, And The Future

What Is Xena Fan Fiction?

Good Grooming is an important adjunct to fan fiction writing.

Gabrielle reads the stories of others as well as writes her own.

[1] Quite simply, Xena fan fictions are short stories, novels, novellas, poems, vignettes, and scripts written by fans of the syndicated TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess. However, this fiction is anything but simple. The amazingly broad spectrum of fiction written in this field includes a wealth of material inspired by the TV characters Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, Callisto, Autolycus, and Joxer, to name a few. Fan fiction (FF) writers also generate new characters to grace the pages of their creations.

[2] Xena fan fiction is often divided into categories, of which the two most popular are alternative (often called "alt" or subtext FF) and general fan fiction. Alternative, or "subtext" fiction, refers to stories with adult romantic themes between Xena and Gabrielle. Sometimes alternative fiction also refers to fiction that is unusual, or disturbing. Here are a few samples of other fan fiction categories:

  1. Uber-Xena (which refers to fiction about the descendants of Xena and Gabrielle, or characters suggesting Xena and Gabrielle in a different time and culture)

  2. Cross-Over (stories which contain characters from the Xena series and other TV series, such as Star Trek and The X-Files)

  3. Episode Stories (Xena fiction based on, or which continue episodes that have already aired)

  4. Parody (humorous Xena fiction and skits)

  5. Children's Stories (designed for younger Xena fans)

[3] This list is by no means exhaustive, and it continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. So far, there are over 1500 Xena fan fiction works on the Internet by over 500 fan fiction writers (referred to as "bards").

[4] There are a number of websites that index and categorize the vast literary works of the Xena bards. The webmasters of these sites spend many long hours to provide an indispensable service. Here are three of the most complete Xena fan fiction index sites:

The Xenaverse Codex
The Ultimate Fan Fiction Directory
Shadowfen's Index

Necessary Legalities

Explain this 'contingency' thing again?

Gabrielle gets bogged down in the fine print in ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF PERFORMING BARDS.

[5] The necessary legalities concerning Xena: Warrior Princess are very important, but in this section I will only touch on the most important issues. An in depth treatise on this subject would be best handled as an article unto itself.

[6] Copyright issues can be more complicated than the strands of life woven by The Fates. Suffice it to say, Renaissance Pictures, and Universal/MCA owns the copyright to Xena: Warrior Princess. As it stands, Universal and Renaissance Pictures have been very gracious to allow Xena fan fiction to be written. So far, they have not taken restrictive action against a writer of Xena FF.

[7] The Xena bards write their fiction with incredible enthusiasm, creativity, and respect. It would be safe to say that hurting the Xena TV show by abusing the copyright is the last thing on their minds. In this respect, criteria for presentation of Xena fan fiction has been established by most of the Xena bards:

  1. Each FF piece should be preceded with a disclaimer stating copyright ownership of Universal and Renaissance.

  2. Each FF piece is not to be sold for profit under any circumstances.

  3. Notification in each disclaimer should alert a reader as to the contents of the FF piece (i.e., the story contains violence, subtext, etc.)

[8] These conditions could be subject to change at any time. So far, Universal and Renaissance Pictures seem comfortable with the current arrangement. After all, Xena fan fiction helps to promote the television show).

[9] Salon21 On-Line magazine has posted a fascinating article about the legalities and ownership of Xena: Warrior Princess. I recommend that all interested persons read the article.

[10] Those people who are interested in writing Xena FF can find a list of standard disclaimers to precede each FF piece.

Methods and Techniques of Writing Xena Fan Fiction

Fighting this thing is bad enough but you should smell its breath!

The first popular Hercules was Steve Reeves.

[11] There are as many methods of writing Xena FF as there are authors. Many Xena FF stories emphasize action, intensive character development, emotions, humor, and romance. Here are a few suggestions for guidelines to follow:

  1. Use the Xena TV show to get a feel for the characters, settings, and current story lines.

  2. When using the characters from the show, do not have them do anything that seems out of character.

  3. The creation of well-developed new characters adds spice and dimension to each FF story.

  4. The characters in your story should learn and grow from their experiences.

  5. Each story should have a well-developed plot (unless the FF piece is a poem, a vignette, or "stream of consciousness" writing).

  6. Examine each story for inconsistencies (i.e., time elements, logic, etc.) and correct anything that is incongruous.

  7. Sentence structure and cadence affect the "flow" of the story. Example: Longer sentences can be used to create a relaxed mood, while shorter sentences can evoke a feeling of excitement.

  8. If you start a Xena FF story, I encourage you to finish it and share it with as many people as you like (see the section on presenting your FF).

  9. If you are not sure how to write Xena fan fiction, read Xena FF and emulate (do not copy -- be original) the authors that you like.

  10. Always edit your story by checking the spelling, punctuation, and grammar before presenting it.

  11. The Resources section of this article contains places to get tips on the technical aspects of writing.

  12. When writing your story, seek feedback from other writers about your story. Xena FF bards and readers can be very helpful in the writing of your story.

[12] A well-respected reviewer of Xena fan fiction by the name of Lunacy has created a site listing the names and e-mail addresses of individuals willing to read and critique stories before these are posted on the Internet, or presented by other means.

[13] The test readers on this site have volunteered to offer suggestions on "beta" stories (Xena FF stories that are currently not finished). Please do not inundate Lunacy with requests to review stories, as she only reviews FF that she chooses from finished stories that have already been archived at Internet sites.

[14] Lunacy has also created another section on her website titled "Resources For Xenite Bards". This is an excellent page with valuable links to sites containing information on Greek history and mythology and essays about various ways to improve writing.

Xena Fan Fiction Resources

[15] This section contains Internet addresses to gather information helpful in the creation of Xena fan fiction. The resources listed here are just a sampling of the many places where this information can be obtained. Whoosh! offers an extensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Xena TV series.

[16] The FAQ list at the Whoosh! site offers information in the following categories:

General information
Episode list and synopses
Cast members and biographies
Listservs, newsgroups, FF
Historical & Mythical context
Hong Kong Films and Xena
Writers and Directors
Issues on Xena
Fun stuff

[17] Xena Online Resources (XOR) offers a section of their website that provides lists of FAQs on other websites. XOR provides links and information about Xena message boards, chat rooms, e-mail lists, and Internet news groups. These areas of the web can be helpful to fan fiction authors. To access these lists, choose a category:

Message Boards/Chat Rooms
E-mail Lists
Internet News Groups
Xena Online Resources (main address)

[18] The Internet has several forums where fan fiction authors can discuss their work, and find needed information:

The Xena Palace
The Bard Cafe
The Coliseum

[19] The Encyclopedia Xenaica offers an extensive alphabetized list of words and phrases found on the show. This reference is indispensable to a fan fiction writer.

[20] Tom Simpson's website contains a list of official character name spellings provided by Steven Sears, who is a writer and co-executive producer for the Xena TV show.

[21] In addition to the character name list on this site, another list contains the historical and mythological connections to several of the character names on the show.

[22] Episodes from the Xena TV show are another invaluable source of information for fan fiction authors. Whoosh! has an extensive episode list with synopses.

[23] On my website, I have a reference section with information useful in writing Xena fan fiction. Some of the topics include Greek cities, ancient weapons, and wilderness survival. Other items to be posted soon include authentic Greek foods, Greek names, and a map of Greece.

[24] Greek myths are an important part of the Xena TV show. The addition of myth and legend to Xena fan fiction creates an authentic setting for the story. Information on Greek mythology can be obtained from the following links:

Encyclopedia Mythica
Bullfinch's Mythology
Myths & Legends

[25] The technical aspects of writing are very important to the presentation of fan fiction. The following links are provided to help authors in the creation of their fiction:

Online Grammar
Dictionary (Links to Roget's Thesaurus, Elements Of Style, and Bartlett's Quotations are all at this site)

Presenting Xena Fan Fiction

I'l like to thank the academy for nominating me...

Gabrielle performs her tales.

[26] After an author has edited and rewritten his or her Xena FF, there are several options for presentation to other fans. The best method of presenting Xena FF is to contact a website that archives Xena fiction. The list of sites that offer this service is quite extensive. For a sample list of websites, see the websites section of this article. For more complete lists of websites that post Xena FF, visit one of the fan fiction indexes at the URLs listed in the What is Fan Fiction? section of this article.

[27] When choosing a site to contact about archiving your story, determine what type of fiction the site will accept (for example, some sites only archive "alt" fiction). E-mail the webmaster of the site to obtain their submission criteria.

[28] Another method of presenting Xena FF is to post it on the Xena NetForum (for the address, see the Resources section of this article). Posting FF on the NetForum is not advisable for long term storage. The NetForum eventually purges files because of the large amount of posts they receive. It is best to post a FF story on the NetForum as a secondary option for increased exposure after the story is already archived at a website.

[29] Xena FF can also be posted on other forums. Three examples include:

The Bard Cafe
The Coliseum
The Xenite Forum

[30] Many stories are posted on e-mail lists (for information about e-mail lists, see the Resources section). Use good judgment in posting stories here, because some moderators do not want FF posted on their lists.

[31] E-mail is the main avenue of submitting Xena FF to most places. For those authors who are not sure how to submit via e-mail, I offer the following instructions:

[32] To submit Xena FF in the body of an e-mail: After saving your story file in your word-processing program, use your mouse cursor to highlight the entire body of text. Once this is done, go to the EDIT menu, and select COPY. Then open your e-mail program and prepare an e-mail with the correct address of the place you wish to send the e-mail to. Make sure your cursor is blinking in the body (or message) portion of the e-mail. Use your mouse pointer to go to the EDIT menu of your e-mail program, and select PASTE. The entire text of your story should appear in the body (or message area) of your e-mail. At this time, send the e-mail.

[33] Sometimes it is not practical to send an e-mail this way because of the length of the story, so I offer another option that is the most widely accepted method for submission:

[34] Submitting Xena FF through e-mail file attachment: Most e-mail programs allow computer files to be attached to the e-mail. To do this, simply select the ATTACHMENT option. You can attach the original word processor file to an e-mail in this manner, however, some webmasters and editors might not be able to read the file because they do not have your word processing program. To avoid this, I highly recommend you send an ASCII text file of your story.

[35] In order for you to send a file of this type, you must convert the original story file into ASCII text by going to the FILE menu of your word processor, and select EXPORT. This will convert your file to ASCII text. The file extension (the last three letters of the file name after the dot) should read .TXT, or .TEX. At this time, you are ready to attach the file to the e-mail using your e-mail program.

Xena Fan Fiction Websites

[36] Here is a short listing of websites that archive Xena fan fiction. For more in depth lists, visit one of the fan fiction indexes listed in the What is Fan Fiction? section of this article.

Tom's Xena Page
Mary D.'s Xena Site
Buumzer's Xena: Warrior Princess Vault
Dancyer's Den
Silk's Xena Page
XXL's Xena Fan Fic Site

The Future of Xena Fan Fiction

[37] Fan fiction on a large scale began in the 1960s and 70s with Star Trek. These fans were hungry for more adventures of their heroes, so they penned their own stories. Since then, the fan fiction phenomenon has grown with other TV series such as The X-Files, and of course, Xena. With the advent of the Internet, the scope of fan fiction has grown dramatically.

[38] Prepare to wear sunglasses, the future of Xena fan fiction looks very bright. Currently, there are over 1500 Xena FF pieces on the Internet written by over 500 bards, and these numbers are growing fast.

[39] Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor are contracted with the show until the year 2000, but even after the show ends, Xena fan fiction is poised to continue their adventures.

[40] What is it that inspires authors to write Xena fan fiction? I will not go into too much detail since this is a subject that also merits a whole article. Suffice it to say, Xena: Warrior Princess inspires authors to write FF because the characters on the show are highly developed, and the audience can easily identify with their human foibles and struggles. This TV show reflects the endless possibilities of the human journey through life. With this in mind, I think it is safe to say authors will continue to write Xena FF for many years to come.


Barry L. Marshall Barry L. Marshall
Barry has acquired a wide variety of experiences in his life including: a stint as a sergeant in the U.S. Army repairing helicopters, a commercial artist, and an Assistant Warehouse Manager of a leading company that sells Point Of Sale and computer equipment. Barry has written five children's books and is currently working on three other writing projects.
Favorite episode: THE ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (17/117)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "Can we cook with your juices?" A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)
Least favorite episode: THE BITTER SUITE (58/312)

Return to Top Return to Index