Whoosh! Issue 46 - July 2000


A Very "Good" Thing for Fan Fiction




Willy-Willy Bluster

Joxer's future offspring appeared in THE XENA SCROLLS

Every CEO should have one!


[32] Missy's interest in and success in writing stories about Xena and Gabrielle led to her branching out into what would become not only a fan fiction phenomenon but a true Internet success story. In September 1998, with the release of her first full Uber novel, Tropical Storm, readers were treated to their first glimpses of Xena and Gabrielle's best known modern-day incarnations, Dar Roberts and Kerry Stuart. It was love at first read.

[33] Set in modern-day Miami, the story centered on the lives of two strangers whose destinies bring them together amidst the turmoil of a hostile corporate takeover. Wealthy, brilliant, and deadly, Dar Roberts is one of the most efficient corporate raiders in the Information Technologies business. To her bosses she is a formidable weapon to be used in the never-ending struggle for power, control, and profit. To the people employed by the companies she assimilates, the executive is a predator, cold and merciless. It is a reputation she is living up to as she prepares to decimate the work force of a recent acquisition.

[34] In charge of that work force is Kerry Stuart, a smart, young manager whose life had been going well until the recent turn of events. With dogged determination, Kerry has escaped the pressures of family to make her own way in the world. She established a career and rose quickly within a small company, only to now face the prospect of those efforts being for naught as a disconcertingly beautiful blue-eyed shark strolls into her office.

[35] In Missy's skilled hands, these two characters and the world they live in come to life, making their modern experiences, their developing relationship, and the challenges they face every bit as engaging as those of their Ancient Greek counterparts. A native South Floridian working in the Information Technologies business, Missy did with this story what successful writers almost always do - she wrote about what she knew. In so doing, she succeeded in imbuing the novel with a terrific sense of atmosphere, giving her readers a compelling inside look into the high- tech corporate world, and introducing in the process two unforgettable characters that would soon take on a life of their own.

[36] Dar and Kerry would be instrumental in leading Missy and XWP Uber fan fiction outside the confines of the online fandom and into the commercial arena. These two modern characters, inspired more by Missy's own version of Xena and Gabrielle than that depicted in the TV series, soon started to attract readers who had never even watched XWP. Through the next six offerings of her Uber series, Missy would develop plots and characters rooted very much in the present. Yet, she distances Dar and Kerry and their story from the TV series that inspired them and always maintains the sense of uniqueness and timelessness to the relationship that continues to appeal to Xenites and now non- Xenites alike.

[37] In early 1999, Tropical Storm became the first Uber-Xena novel released commercially, immediately becoming a best-seller on Amazon.com. It sparked an unprecedented trend as more and more stories with their origins in the uber-Xena genre started going to print publication, capturing a new audience and capturing the attention of other commercial interests as well. Ladyhawke Digital Entertainment Network is currently working to bring Tropical Storm to a visual format through the Internet, cable, and video, while King Productions has purchased the movie rights to another Uber-Xena story, The Chosen One by Verda. Most notably, earlier this year Xena fandom learned that Renaissance Pictures had commissioned Missy to write a Xena script for Season Six and not long after submitting that first script she was asked to write a second episode, a clear acknowledgement of her talents and popularity and of the emergence of fan fiction as a notable form of entertainment and a source of writing talent on the Net.


Testimonials

[38] The success of Missy's writing rests on a number of factors. She has, from her initial forays into fan fiction, been among the most consistent writers both in terms of quality and productivity. Most of her stories have been released on the Net in serialized format, and where other bards would sometimes take weeks or months between updates, Missy usually provided several new chapters per week.

[39] Missy presents a very idealistic and thoroughly charming view of the world and her characters that deeply appeals to many readers. Xenite Brian Zino comments,

Her writing is technically ideal in my view, smooth and clear -- I'm never reminded that there's a writer 'behind the green curtain', and thus am always able to immerse myself completely in her stories. The biggest draw for me, however, is the unabashed, unapologetic sentimentality -- a very satisfying depiction of love that I've found almost nowhere else in Western pop culture. I'm a fan of Japanese comics and animation, and find that their culture has a great appetite for what we Westerners would term 'mushiness' or 'soppiness', even in stories aimed at males, and I like that. But here in the West, our romance is watered-down or turned into a tease, and when stories do focus on love and romance, they're so buried under layers of posturing, pretense, and game-playing that I'm always left deeply unsatisfied. Missy dispenses with the games and pretense and gives me a straight shot of love and genuine emotion that I find thoroughly addictive.

[40] Because of the serialized format in which she writes, Missy will often cater to requests by her readers. It is not unusual in the many Missy Good mailing lists now available to see her readers discussing something they would like to see in a current story, only to have Missy promptly include the request in an upcoming chapter of the story. It has made for an inter-activity that is fun for her readers and always challenging for Missy. It is one of the things as well that has probably helped to prepare her for the TV writing she is now doing, sharpening her skills with the type of quick, on-demand scenes, and scene changes that writing for a TV series demands.

[41] More than any other factor, it is probably Missy's characterizations that have earned her the ever- growing readership her novels continue to enjoy. Her leads are incredibly vivid characters with detailed backgrounds and compelling, complex personalities, often idealized fictional creations but never simple ones. Her Xena and Gabrielle, her Dar and Kerry struggle both with external and internal challenges, some of which they conquer, some of which they learn to live with. They have regrets, they make mistakes, and they deal both with adversity and happiness. They are romantic figures, but they are also very human ones.

[42] Missy also excels at creating original supporting characters:

They have all developed into favorites with Missy's readers.

[43] With the Journey Of Soulmates Series, Missy has also managed to expand on several of the TV show's characterizations, fleshing out peripheral characters like Ephiny, Eponin, Solari, Cyrene, and Toris, among others, turning them into much more multi-dimensional characters, each with a substantial impact on the lives of Xena and Gabrielle.

[44] Missy stands out in the fandom as a bard with a highly diverse readership. Spend any time on a Missy Good mailing list or attend one of the Merpup get-togethers at Xena cons, and you will come across an unlikely crowd. Teenagers and retirees. People of all sexual orientations. Long-time fandom aficionados and readers who are not even involved in XWP fandom but got a Missy story from a friend and quickly got hooked.

[45] Particularly notable is her following among male Xenites. In a fan fiction that celebrates strong women and often tends to relegate males to stereotypical roles as dumb or lecherous brutes, Missy's fiction stands out for its much more human portrayal of males. Reader Skip Ward writes,

One of my few real gripes with a lot of bards is the way they often depict their male characters. I get tired of the cliches of the Male Chauvinist Pig, or the testosterone drunk bully, or the totally incompetent idiot. I never feel put off my Missy's male characters. Some are good guys, some are bad guys, but most are just normal people trying to get through their lives. Some of Missy's people are men and some are women, but all are people first. An example is the father of Missy's Gabrielle. When we first met him, I hated the SOB. But then Missy made me understand why he was the way he was. And then she let him grow up and change. And when he died, I felt sorrow at his death.

[46] Finally, Missy also stands out for writing what she herself has often described as PG-13 fan fiction. From its inception, fan fiction has tended to be rather explicit. This is a tradition Xena fan fiction has fully embraced with both the alternative and general fan fiction often being quite explicit. Missy's stories from the very beginning marked a departure from that. Although deeply romantic tales featuring very passionate physical relationships between the leads, Missy's stories have always tended to emphasize emotions over actions. The more intimate scenes in her earlier stories came across as very subtle. As she grew as a writer, these have gained a sophistication in her more recent novels that have made the scenes just as compelling as those in more explicit stories, without ever diluting the emotional impact which has always been the major draw of Missy's storytelling.

[47] Fan fiction has been around for a long time. In "Luke Skywalker Is Gay? Fan fiction is America's literature of obsession" David Plotz notes that when "Arthur Conan Doyle stopped publishing Sherlock Holmes stories, his readers wrote their own". As a fandom phenomenon, fan fiction first became popular with the fans of the original Star Trek series in the 1960's. At the time, fans would share these stories through printed "fanzines" they would exchange or sell at fan gatherings or through the mail.

[48] The Internet brought a whole new dimension to fan fiction. XWP is arguably one of the series which has generated the most and best written fan fiction in the electronic age, and one of the series as well which has benefitted the most from the fan's ongoing interest in these fan-generated stories. Having contributed tremendously both to the quality and popularity of fan fiction, Missy Good is now helping to legitimize it in new ways. She has proven that fan fiction can attract impressive readerships, can help to strengthen a fandom, can spawn new ones, can attract and develop some impressive writing talent, and can even be a source of creativity on which to base commercial projects outside the original fandom.

[49] Reluctant at first to consider herself a "real" writer because fan fiction was just a fun hobby for her, Missy can no longer escape the fact that she has at least on a part-time basis joined the professional ranks. With Tropical Storm in print, its sequels soon to be published, a Tropical Storm series in development and another original sci-fi series in the works, this gifted storyteller has become a true modern-day Internet success story. With her contributions to XWP fan fiction, to Xena fandom, and now to the TV series itself, she continues to keep fans solidly immersed in the fandom and the online experience.


Notes

Note 01:
One episode is currently named LEGACY, and was filmed in June 2000 and is expected to air sometime in late October or early November 2000. The second is tentatively titled COMING HOME.
Return to article


Bibliography

Related Web Links

Merwolf's Cave
Missy Good's own web site featuring all her stories to date and the latest updates to unfinished tales.

Lunacy's Fan Fiction Reviews - Missy Good
Reviews of stories by Missy Good. Links to artwork, foreign language translations, and awards are included.

Merpups' Den
One of the first pages created by Missy's Merpups. Tons of links to other Missy sites.

Merwolf's Stories Read By WordWarrior
Makes available Missy's stories in audio book format.

The Missy Good Appreciation Page Features links to a number of other Missy-related sites, lists stories, and satires of those stories, and links to reviews. It makes art available, collects materials and links related to the individual stories, and offers character listings and definitions.

Mushy Merwolf Moments Archive
Indexes and archives Missy's famous MMMs, sentimental excerpts from her many stories.

The Adventures Of Dori Of Amphipolis
An online comic strip created by Brazilian artist Lucia about Missy's much-loved addition to the Xena/Gab family, Dori.

Ladyhawke Productions Presents Tropical Storm
Web site offering the latest news on the efforts to bring Tropical Storm to visual media through the Internet, cable, and video.

Dakverse - The Dar And Kerry Stuart Fan Page
Fan site dedicated to all things Dar and Kerry. Features art, character biographies, the stories themselves, and links to other sites.

Missy Good Mailing Lists

Merwolfpack
Oldest and biggest Missy list with over 1500 subscribers. Members discuss anything related to Missy's stories or projects and also discuss XWP the TV series, and XWP fan fiction in general.

Mertalk
This list offers a forum for fans of Missy to chat about her projects and to socialize.

Ladyhawke-TS-Update
This list keeps subscribers informed about the latest developments involving Tropical Storm the series and offers a forum for subscribers to interact with the people involved in the project.

Missy Good Bibliography

Dar And Kerry Series:

  1. Tropical Storm (http://www.merwolf.com/tropical1.html)
  2. Tropical Storm (commercial version) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0963823159/lunacysfanfictio)
  3. Present Under the Tree (A) (http://www.merwolf.com/Christmas.html)
  4. Ringing in the Year (http://www.merwolf.com/ringing.html)
  5. Hurricane Watch (http://www.merwolf.com/hurricane1.html)
  6. Eye of the Storm (http://www.merwolf.com/eye1.htm)
  7. Home from the Sea (http://www.justicehouse.com/halloween/homefromthesea.shtml)
  8. Tropical High (http://www.merwolf.com/high1.html)

A Journey Of Soulmates Series:

  1. Warrior By Any Other Name (A) (http://www.merwolf.com/warrior1.htm)
  2. At a Distance (http://www.merwolf.com/ata1.htm)
  3. Home Is Where the Heart Is (http://www.merwolf.com/home1.htm)
  4. Bound (http://www.merwolf.com/Bound1.htm)
  5. Winter's Ending (http://www.merwolf.com/winter1.htm)
  6. Longest Night (The) (http://www.merwolf.com/longest1.htm)
  7. Reflections from the Past (http://www.merwolf.com/past1.htm)
  8. Leap of Faith (http://www.merwolf.com/leap1.htm)
  9. Promises Kept (http://www.merwolf.com/promise1.htm)
  10. Festival (http://www.merwolf.com/Festival1.html)
  11. Circle of Life (http://www.merwolf.com/circlenew1.html)
  12. Dark Comes the Morning (http://www.merwolf.com/morning1.htm)



Biography

Lunacy Lunacy
In real life I'm a librarian and Internet trainer. I got hooked on XWP when the Warrior Princess first appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. I first ventured into the Xenaverse in late 1995, joining the NetForum where I was soon exposed to XWP fan fiction. It was love at first read! I've been a faithful reader and bard groupie ever since. In 1996 I started doing fan fiction reviews in order to keep Xenites on the NetForum current on new fiction. Today the Lunacy site on the Web features over 1200 different pages, hundreds of reviews, several different indexes and resources for bards and readers. I've had some "issues" with XWP, the TV series, since season three, but I remain a passionate consumer of XWP fan fiction. My other interests at the moment include the TV series BUFFY, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and Terry Moore's comic book series STRANGERS IN PARADISE.
Favorite episode: REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202)
Favorite line: Xena: "Gabrielle, you are a gift to me" A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209)
First episode seen: Warrior Princess (H09/109)
Least favorite episode: These past couple of seasons - so many choices...so little time...


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