Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

Twenty-Seven Grilled Bards And One Reviewer: Rare, Medium And Supertoasty

7. Della Street

("Della Street" in care of Pink Rabbit Productions)
Interview August 19, 1998

[242] *Warning: these stories contain adult sexual themes and/or violence. Do not visit these sites unless you are an adult.

  1. Assassins [alt]
  2. Bargain Hunting [alt]
  3. Best Laid Plans [alt]
  4. Chicken and the Egg [alt]
  5. Companions [alt]
  6. Crossing Over [alt]
  7. Damage Control [alt]
  8. Debts [alt]
  9. Finds [alt]
  10. Grape [alt]
  11. Happily Ever After [alt]
  12. Her Gabrielle [alt]
  13. Inside Job [alt]
  14. Lysistrata Revisited [alt]
  15. Mistaken Identity [alt]
  16. Resistance [alt]
  17. Revelations [alt]
  18. Sacred Ground [alt]
  19. Sacrifice [alt]
  20. Scientific Method [alt]
  21. Towards The Sunset [alt]
  22. Trouble [alt]
Question #01:
[243] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

Della Street:
[244] My motivation is probably that of most fan fiction writers: pure self-indulgence. We all occasionally think, "Wouldn't it be fun if this happened?" on a TV show. With fan fiction, we just go a step farther and try to flesh it out on paper. I've really enjoyed the challenge of trying to write dialogue and consistent characters, even if they are someone else's. ;-)

Question #02:
[245] Has your motivation changed over time?

Della Street:
[246] No, I've remained consistently shallow. :-) I don't intentionally set out to write stories; ideas just pop into my head, and I go with them. That's why some of my stories come in close succession, with long gaps between others. I can't imagine the stress of writing to meet peer pressure; that wouldn't be much fun for me. That's one reason I would never post a story sequentially; aside from the fact that I often go back and tinker with earlier sections later on, I wouldn't want to be nervous about getting it done. I've got several unfinished stories on my hard drive that just weren't meant to be.

Question #03:
[247] Have you written other fiction? If so, was it before or after becoming a Xena fan? What genre are your other works? Generally, was/is the response from readers of these stories similar or different than the response to your Xena fan fiction?

Della Street:
[248] XWP was the first fiction I ever wrote, other than legal briefs. :-) I am taking a shot at a Voyager short story, but technobabble is a lot harder than legalese. It makes me appreciate a less-complicated formula, like, say, Xena, Gab, and a horse.

Question #04:
[249] Do you - or have you ever - like(d) reading Romantic fiction prior to Xena fan fiction?

Della Street:
[250] I discovered Naiad [Press] during my last year of college, and gave up food and clothing to buy masses of those great romance novels. I enjoyed them, but due to time constraints with my current job, I don't get much chance to read fiction other than XWP and some Voyager fan fiction. Now that I have received and given feedback on stories, I have found that I read other fiction more critically, thinking, "That's an effective use of words" or "That line doesn't work well in the first person". It can be a little distracting, but it can also make me appreciate good writing more.

Question #05:
[251] In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show? Why or why not? (i.e., It's action; adventure; drama; melodrama; fantasy...)

Della Street:
[252] I told myself I wouldn't use this interview as a forum to knock the third season, but it's necessary a bit to answer this question. I found the first two seasons wonderfully romantic, clever, and inspirational. I hadn't ever been impacted by a TV show like that, not to the point of wanting to read -- let alone write -- fan fiction, spending the mortgage on memorabilia, going to conventions, etc. The third season shifted the characterization (in my view) from romantic to melodramatic, but the overarching concept of two women destined to be with each other against all odds is... sigh.

Question #06:
[253] Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?

Della Street:
[254] I think they're all romance, because the primary focus of every story I write is the loving relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. I try to have plots (sort of) and other characters as needed, but they always remain secondary to exploration of the relationship, because that's what interests me the most.

Question #07:
[255] Are any of your stories as much of a reflection of what it's like to be lesbian in modern times as it is about pre-Mycenean ( uber-Xena time if applicable here) times?

Della Street:
[256] Nah. I'm Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm when it comes to writing XWP fan fiction, which means avoiding a lot of the problems that might be faced in real life. For example, in my Xenaverse, no one seriously questions the appropriateness of two women having an intimate relationship. Xena and Gabrielle are disgustingly in love with each other, and have no interest in anyone else even before they've acknowledged it. (Yes, that's right--if Xena were marooned for a year on a desert island with twenty restless Hestian virgins, she wouldn't even notice them.) Realistic? Doesn't matter to me. I write and read fan fic stories as a form of escapism, so I mold the characters and their world to make myself happy.

Question #08:
[257] About "Crossing Over", Lunacy writes

Della's characterization of Xena as a tough warrior of few words with a decidedly sharp mind and a profound weakness in the heart for her little bard is one of my favorites in fanfic. I also love the gentle heroism with which she has always portrayed Gabrielle."
[258] It is a wonderful romantic adventure story that you wrote quite a while before sharing it on the net. What made you decide to finally share it?

Della Street:
[259] That one and a couple of other stories had been languishing on my hard drive for a long time, and I decided to send them out to some friends during a re-rerun lull. (Beggars can't be choosers, I figured.) I was a little concerned because the characters in these older stories seemed more light or innocent or something than they do now, but I got a number of comments about it being fun to see our pre-Angst grrls again. I thought others might appreciate a brief return to the sentiment of the first and second seasons, so I put them up on my new host with the disclaimers, and was pleased with the response.

Question #09:
[260] Many of your stories are playfully, sometimes devilishly humorous. Is this due to your own comedic sense alone or does the Xenaverse community 'egg you on', so to speak?

Della Street:
[261] Thanks for calling it a "comedic sense"; I'm sure other phrases also came to mind. The humor is me. When I'm writing dialogue, I basically think "What would I say next?", and it flows pretty quickly. Writing serious stuff is much more difficult for me. If I tried to write something like "The Well of Sighs," it would be like the cast of Gilligan's Island performing Shakespeare. (And yes, I remember the episode where they did that--I rest my case.)

Question #10:
[262] "Resistance" is an outstanding novel about Xena the Conqueror. Here's a Della Street quotation that introduces the story:

This story involves a slightly different view of the Xena and Gabrielle characters from the H:TLJ episode 'Armageddon Now, Part II.' It was inspired solely by a spoiler for that episode written by Michelle (Mickisix), for which I'm very appreciative.
[263] Have you ever seen the "Armageddon Now" episodes?

Della Street:
[264] I saw Part II, but it was Michelle's spoiler about a week earlier that really piqued my interest. I read it and immediately thought, "Wow . . . Xena as a dictator and Gabrielle as a resistance fighter . . . what a great concept." Fortunately, by the time I saw the episode, I'd written a lot of the story, because I'm not sure their brief interaction in the episode itself would have sparked my imagination. I decided to put my Pollyanna spin on it (in other words, ignore what actually happened in the EP), and finish the story. I am truly appreciative, btw--from a fan fic perspective, this spoiler/episode was the only thing that inspired me all season.

Question #11:
[265] "Toward The Sunset" is one of the first -- perhaps the first -- uber-Xena stories. It has captivated many readers. Growing up reading westerns by Zane Grey, I fell for this particular story pretty hard. What inspired you to write about the descendents of Xena and Gabrielle using a romantic western genre?

Della Street:
[266] I was driving home from work one night, and the Gene Pitney song "Liberty Valance" came on the radio. As I sang along loudly (..."the love of a girl can make a man stay home when he should go..."), another one of those "hmm..." things happened, and an image of Gabrielle and Xena in that setting popped up. THE XENA SCROLLS had aired about a month earlier, and I thought, "If they could reincarnate as Janice and Mel, why couldn't they reappear as a good ol' schoolmarm and outlaw?" I didn't really plan to send the story out, since it was so far afield (at the time) from XWP fan fiction, but then Misschf and Aisa sent around the beginning of a story called "Get Your Kicks", in which Xena and Gab were placed in a modern-day era. I saw that and thought 'what the heck', so I sent the western out to some acquaintances with a warning that it wasn't really a X/G or Janice/Mel story, but... Since then, the timelines and scenarios that people have put Xena and Gab into have been just fascinating. There's endless potential.

Question #12:
[267] There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?

Della Street:
[268] Hmm. Good question. I guess it would be: A story about descendants or reincarnations of Xena and Gabrielle in which there is some link, in addition to similar physical appearance, to their forebears. I actually don't think of Janice & Mel stories as "uber," because they are characters who have actually appeared on the show, but I guess they would fall within my definition. Hmm.

Question #13:
[269] To date, which of your stories have received the most reader response?

Della Street:
[270] It's a little hard to say. Due to a glitch, most responses to my first 13 stories were lost without reaching me (one of the inherent risks of posting without a direct e-mail addy.) I'd say I've received the most response to "Bargain Hunting," "Toward the Sunset," and "Resistance," which also happen to be among my own favorites. I'm sure I echo the sentiments of all fan fic writers when I say how much I appreciate feedback, both praise and constructive criticism. I rewrote some significant sections of "Resistance" after receiving substantive comments from some preliminary readers, which made it much better, I think. Thanks.

Question #14:
[271] The title of my article, Romancing The Fan: The Genre of Romance and Xena Fan Fiction, at least in part suggests that we fan fiction authors, inspired by XWP, write for more than ourselves alone. We are drawn to Xena's power and her envelopment/acceptance/love for us (vicariously experienced) is empowering. We expand on the theme and share our idealized visions of love or emotional bonding with the hope of forming a type of relationship with readers. Life is all about relationships and we - like actors who would woo their audience - we seek not only artistic expression but acceptance as well. There is no monetary profit in this endeavor. Our profit is of a spiritual nature during the writing of it and whenever a reader communicates to us their thoughts and feelings about our expressed visions. If it's positive, our efforts to woo were successful and we are spiritually energized. If we get little response or too many negatives, we will give up or amend our courting in some way. Do you have any thoughts about this? Are you still awake?

Della Street:
[272] To be honest, I don't have quite that broad-minded a vision. I just write to enjoy myself. If I like a story when it's done, I'm happy, even if it doesn't ring others' bells. For example, my own sentimental favorite is a story -- "Damage Control" -- that probably is unmemorable to anyone else. I'm fond of it, though, because I was disturbed about "Return of Callisto" when it first aired and I started the story immediately after watching the ep. I finished it in about two days, and then sat back and thought, "OK, it's all better now."

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Lunacy | Baermer | Bat Morda | B.L. Miller | Bongo Bear | C.N. Winters | Della Street | DJWP | Ella Quince | Hobbes | Jenbob | Joanna | Katrina | L Graham | L.N. James | Lyssa | Marie E. Costa | Missy Good | PB | Paul Seely | Puckster | Quest | sHaYcH | S.L. Bowers | Tim Wellman | J.C. Wilder | Wishes | WordWarior

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