Writer's Survey
This particular survey was filled out in 2008, so yes, some of the details are old and may have changed since then. ~~ Kim

What is your first real name?
Shawn

What name do you write under?
Shawn or Shawn30 at fanfiction.net

Why did you choose that name?
Well, after the extreme badness I chose to simply write under my first name. Kinda like Prince, only without a symbol.

What was your first thought upon discovering fan fiction existed?
OH MY GOD TOMMY AND KIM JUST HAD SEX AND I READ IT! Seriously, I was just staring at the screen in disbelief.

When and why did you start writing?
I was late to the computer world and only got my first one just after Star Wars: The Phantom Menace debuted in 1999. I came across stories that went so far beyond the fandoms movies and TV show plot lines that it was like a moth to a flame. Suddenly their worlds opened up like never before.

Did you tell anyone outside the Internet that you were about to start writing? If so, who and what was their reaction?
Only my best friend, Vahn. His reply was, what the hell is fanfic, lol.

What fandoms do you write for?
Power Rangers, Star Wars prequels, and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Describe your writing area in detail?
I have a two-story white desk area with a kick-ass HP 820 Intell VIiv technology Pentium D processor. Comparing this computer to my old one is like comparing Optimus Prime to My Little Pony. I have a photo of my fiancé and my son, a black cordless phone, a GQ magazine with Jessica Beil on the cover, and a stack of folders both work related and filled with fanfic notes and outlines. My area is in the back of my bedroom. Its messy, cluttered, and perfect.

What do you love about writing your fanfic?
Being able to truly open up the characters and the universes to infinite possibilities. Being able to entertain and touch people, while enjoying the thrill of creating something in a world you already love with characters who move you. And I love the idea of doing big, crazy storylines sometimes. And I love the naughty stuff too, lol.

Favorite fast food?
Wendy's Jalapeño Double Cheese Burger

Favorite drink?
Iced Tea

What state or country do you live in?
Illinois

Age, only if you want *smile*
33, lol. Yeah, I'm old now. (This was posted in 2008, so you can do the math from there)

What sort of stories reach you the most and inspire you to write?
Ones that humanize the characters. That pulls them down to Earth closer to us. We all love drama, romance, action and all that. But I love it when despite the strange or amazing circumstances our favorite characters live in, when a writer manages to have them say, feel, experience, or live through something we can all relate too, that's when a story has me no matter the plot.

Name five movies that you are sure fan fiction writers could have easily written a better script?
Dear God where to start!
1. Dumb and Dumber - I could have written that garbage while taking out the trash.
2. Dumb and Dumber 2 - again, what fanfic have you read that had a worse plot, dialog, and settings than this film? Yep, thought so. You gotta dig pretty deep to find one.
3. Little Man - Who in God's name gave the Wayan's brothers nearly twenty million dollars to do a film about a grown midget masquerading as a newborn baby? My head hurts just thinking about that movie. So fanfic writers of the world, new and old, YOU CAN WRITE IN HOLLYWOOD FOR A LIVING. OBVIOUSLY YOU ONLY NEED A BREAK!.
4. Basic Instinct 2 - If it made sense then I must have accidentally ingested crack cause it made no sense to me.
5. Norbit - Again, all any of us need is for one person in Hollywood to read our screenplay. People love to down fanfic writers and all that, but when accomplished writers in Hollywood turn out garbage like Norbit we should all realize all we gotta do is get a chance.
Ask yourself honestly if you were given twenty million dollars and a professional film crew could you write a better movie than White Girls, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Hellraiser 1 - 96, any film starring anyone in any of the Jackass movies, Death Proof, or any of the National Lampoon films.

What's in your CD or MP3 player right now?
Alicia Keys new CD.

If you write erotica/smut and have or will have children someday, how will you deal with your kid if he or she ever discovers you once wrote erotica/smut?
Oh boy..... Man, uhm.... Wow! Look, since Gina and I have both written adult stories we will have plenty to answer for. And I will have it worse than her with the sheer amount of mine out there. I may just have to buy the kid a car. Yep, a new car. Cause once he and or she gets wind of the kinky sex I've written I will never be looked upon the same again, lol.

Have you ever read a fanfic that made you truly laugh out loud?
Oh yeah, some of Brooke's BX stories had some killer lines in them.

Blush?
Nope, can't say that. I don't blush easy.

Describe the funniest outfit you've ever written fanfic in?
Gina bought me a pair of Ball and Chain boxers with wedding rings all over them. That made for a funny sight.

Do you have a pet?
yep, a 16 pound long-haired girl cat name Frisky who is anything but these days. Damn lazy animal. But I love her. (poor kitty passed away)

Link me to what you feel is your best chapter or full story that you have written and are the most proud of?
I'm gonna do 3 I'm most proud of.

"Whisper" Padme/Anakin erotica - I think its the best erotica story I've ever written as it stayed true to the definition throughout.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2992400/1/Whisper

"Comes the Darkness" Chapter 4 - One of the longest chapters I have ever written. It encompassed probably five separate storylines, a powerful sex scene, nearly ten characters, and had some truly dark material going on. It was brutal to write, and I'm very proud of it.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2304235/4/Comes_the_Darkness

"Six Months" - The overall plot is silly in that a guy marries a girl and has to stay secretly married for six months to inherit a couple of million dollars. But its so enjoyable to write, so much fun and zany and sexy at same time. The feedback for it has been great and I just feel the tone of each chapter has hit its mark. I'm very proud of it. Its a feel good story.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2528485/1/6_Months

What do you snack on?
Chocolate raisins.

How long have you been a fan of the fandom you write in?
Since each began on television or in the movies.

Are there any fandoms you would like you write in but just haven't yet?
Lost and Smallville

Do you use a beta reader?
For PR and Star Wars, yes. But for PR only The Glory Days so far.

If you could pay your beta reader, what do you feel would be fair compensation?
Two extra large boxes of Popeye's Cajun Fried Chicken and a two liter of iced tea per week for life.

If someone looked under your bed right now what would they see?
Two Katana blades and a Highlander sword (I collect swords)

What the latest you have ever stayed up writing fanfic?
5:00 AM and I was dead afterwards.

Tell the readers something interesting about yourself no one would probably imagine?
Probably that I'm black, not that it matters.

(Thus Ends Stage One)



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(Stage Two) "HOW DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO, OH CRAZY, CASH-STRAPPED FANFIC WRITER?!!"

From concept, start to finish how long does it take you to write a chapter?
Two days per scene, but that's if I have time to write.

What the longest story you've written so far and why did you take on something like it?
Comes the Darkness is my longest story to date and still unfinished. Instead of going the shipper route totally, I wanted to write a big, epic story with allot of action, darkness, sex appeal, angst, intrigue, and mystery. I wanted something that wouldn't be over the moment Tommy and Kim hooked up. In fact, I didn't want that moment to even be the watermark of the series. I wanted something that eventually involved all the original twelve Rangers, as well as gave them a new, more modern villain to face with things from their past still chasing them. So far its 123 pages long and unfinished.

Do you do research on things like locations, clothing, technology, etc for your stories? If so please list a couple of links that you use? Google search engine is your friend.
I do tons of research for everything from furniture, apartment layouts, clothing, cars, weapons, fighting styles, city locations, history, you name it. I am a detail freak when it comes to trying my very best to not only paint a picture with words, but as accurate one as I can. Here are a couple of helpful places.
http://thesaurus.reference.com/
http://www.starwars.com/databank/
http://www.rangercentral.com/
Google search engine for about everything else

What helps you get past writers block?
Writing in another fandom. I just can't fight inspiration if its not there, so for me if I'm stuck on a scene I can usually just start something on a story in another fandom and because they are all so different my creative juices get flowing again.

What helps you set the mood to write?
Music. I have a entire fanfic writing album that I just play and it always helps.

Do you write down notes and an outline or just write off the top of your head?
Yes. I have folders for each fandom that I write in with complete story outlines and then scene outlines, My memory sucks ass, lol. So I have to write everything down. I have stories like Comes the Darkness and the Ties That Bind where I've outlined the ending to them many, many months in advance.

What is your personal style of planning your story? Do you plot things out well in advance or wait for readers output/reactions first?
Like any other writer I don't write every idea that comes in my head. No one can as well all have a life. But for me I run ideas past good friends like Kim, C, Anne, Lexie, and Gina to name a few. Some ideas rock, others fizzle. But once I've bounced the idea around it begins to take shape, and the people I talk to the most, like Kim for instance, give feedback and suggestions and stuff. It usually starts there.

Do you run plot ideas past friends or your beta reader before you start writing?
See above answer.

What sort of stories do you write?
Mostly shipper centric adult pieces, but I'm going to broaden my portfolio out this year.

Do you enjoy long stories or shorter ones? Why?
Longer mostly as I appreciate how much effort it takes to write them, but anything thats well written irregardless of length is a plus to me.

Who are your favorite characters to write for?
Xander, Kim Hart, Anakin and Padme Skywalker, Buffy, Faith, Tommy, Jason, Katherine, Palpatine, Dawn Summers, Lord Zedd.

In your own words, describe as many of them as you like so that the reader can get an idea of how you personally see them?
Wow, where to begin? I'll do three.

For me I think Kimberly Hart as a adult is a woman going after her place in the world. I think she's opinionated, loyal, confident, but emotionally distant when it comes to relationships. I think she's complicated, and unlike many of the male Rangers not eager to go back to the Ranger life unless its the last resort. I think she's bold, beautiful, and unafraid to face whatever life may throw at her. She's a part of this close knit family who for a time shared something amazing. I think she wishes she were taller, lol. I think she regrets the letter, but not the life the letter allowed her to live. She fiercely independent, but has trouble trusting people, especially men that she could become romantically involved with. Her parents divorce still resonates in subtle ways throughout her life and her dealings with men. She's perfectly imperfect and a blast to write.

Anakin Skywalker is the best and worst of us all. His capacity for kindness and cruelty go hand in hand. His very existence is tied into his love for Padme and his mother. Both women are the deciding factors for whatever life he leads. He is not only powerful, but he knows it. And he knows his power will only grow. He fears everyone around him in one form or another wish to control him. All he truly wants is a life with Padme. But to have that he isn't sure which way to go and whom to trust. He is loyal and deadly. He is a good friend and your worst nightmare. Fear doesn't exist to him. He reaches to test life to its fullest and prove he is the best there is, period. But even with his name, fame, and power if you gave him a hut on Naboo and told him he had to live the rest of his days with Padme and nothing else he would knock you down racing towards the starship to begin that life. He lacks patience, but makes up for it with immense courage. He is the Chosen One and a orphan. A Father, son, and brother. He is also walking the tightrope between love and destruction.

Xander Harris is the glue that holds Buffy and her gang together. He's the everyman, seldom given his due but worth his weight in gold. His sense of humor hides his pain and fear, but that's a quality and not a hindrance. He is as courageous as anyone around him, yet credit alludes him. He survived the Hellmouth with no more than common sense, luck, and iron will. He doesn't fit the hero mold, and yet the mold wouldn't encompass him. He has saved as many lives as the Slayer and has suffered as much or more than anyone else in that universe. I can't help but to root for him even when no one else does. And despite all the crap he's taken he won't abandon those he loves. He's opinionated and can be self-righteous in his own way, but truly loves and is devoted to his family. He'd die for any of them at any time. His wit is legendary.

What do you strive for with each of your stories?
To truly entertain the reader.

What five absolute DON'T's would you warn a new writer about?
1. Don't write stories without outlining where you want the story to go and what happens. This helps give your story structure and you a path to stay on until the end.
2. Don't post a story without showing it to a friend or two for advice, help, ideas, etc. A supportive ear can help you so much when you start out.
3. Don't ignore grammar and spell checking. Ask for help. Usually someone out there will help you.
4. Don't hold stories hostage until you get X-amount of reviews. I HATE THAT!!!! Write for yourself and post when you feel it hits the notes you want it too. Don't worry about how many reviews you get. Just write. Reviews will come in time.
5. Don't be afraid to post. You can sike yourself out sometimes worrying about getting flamed or few reviews or anything like that. You have to flush that from your mind, take a deep breath, and jump. Go for it. So what if your story has only 2 reviews. I have stories at FF with only two reviews. The number doesn't matter. Only that you get your work out there, listen to the feedback, work harder next time, and gain confidence.

What five absolute DO's would you tell them they need?
1. Do try to check for the proper time lines your stories take place in. There's nothing worse than say, a PR story that takes place in 2008 and has Kim with a teenage daughter that's Tommy's and he never knew about her and now she's in high school and both Tommy and Kim are under thirty. WHEN DID KIM HAVE THIS KID, IN EIGHTH GRADE?!!! Check time lines.
2. Do try your best to write an engaging summary. And ask for help as that summary can lure in interest to your story. Its okay if you write to me for help or ideas.
3. Do try to add details as they paint the picture in the readers minds eye. Don't just take for granted that because this is fanfic and everyone knows how everything looks and most of the locations that you can just ignore time of day, weather, surroundings, clothing, sounds, feelings, physical emotions, etc. Try to slowly incorporate more details into your stories. They help the reader see the story being acted out in their mind.
4. Do outline where you want your story to go. Have a plan. Look at it. Show it to a person or two. Ask what makes sense and what doesn't. Take criticism with an eye towards getting better than defensively.
5. Do be yourself. Write your type of stories. Don't emulate anyone else. Don't try to write what's the new fad to get the most reviews. Write your inspiration.

Do you have any helpful links for any aspects of writing you'd like to pass along?
No links. Read. Read. READ! How can you ever hope you write if you don't read? Watch how those who's work you enjoy do it. Become a student of the art form of writing. Read tons. Take notes on how scenes are set up. How set pieces are used. Read!

Best writing advice you ever read or heard?
No one is the master of writing and no one will ever master it. Its impossible to master a craft that's based solely on each individual person's opinion. You will never master this and neither will any writer, professional or fanfic. So take the pressure off. Don't compare yourself to others. Simply be yourself and do you.

What do you feel are your current strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Strengths are details, weakness continue to be grammar on my stories that aren't beta read and I'm a bit to shipper in most of my stories.

How many hours a week do you honestly have to write?
8 to 10

If you write erotica, how would you describe your own personal style?
Very graphic and detailed. I just don't do fade to black. Even when at times I probably should, lol.

Any tips for those who are considering it? Links?
Learn how to write erotica by reading some you feel is good and then visiting a few of these sites for tips. But please don't rush it, don't write it if you are uncomfortable with it or think its the key to a ton of reviews. Bad erotica makes the writer look like a fucking fool. Trust me, it does.

http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/356234
http://www.ehow.com/how_2068346_write-erotica-women.html
http://www.darkerotica.net/EroticThesaurus.html

Details in scenes? What does it mean to you and how deep do you go into them?
Like I've said before, details paint the picture. As a writer my job is to engage you in the emotion and impact of the characters lives, interactions, and surroundings. I have to show you where they are. It means so much to paint that picture. Sound, light, feelings, expressions, mood, just everything. Details adds so much to your writing and just adding more per new story you write will help you more than you know.

In character and out of character? Your definition?
The first person who answered this survey said it best, My fingers hurt, lol.

Why do you write?
Because its fun, entertaining, and I needed to prove that I can to myself and others who believed in me before and after the badness.

(Thus Ends Stage Two)



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(Stage Three) "NO, YOUR HONOR. I DID NOT KILL THAT IDIOT WHO FLAMED ME! I ONLY STABBED HIM WITH MY PEN UNTIL HE BREATHED NO MORE. BUT I DID NOT KILL HIM!"

Will you someday attempt to write something original and get published?
Someday a screenplay, yeah. I probably will try my luck. As for a novel, probably not but who knows.

While I'm sure every single fanfic writer on Earth is appreciative of every bit of feedback that we get, there are times when we work really hard on a particular chapter. Perhaps its longer than most and you just feel that the feedback was positive, but too short. How do you as a writer try to explain to a reader that as appreciative as your are for any sort of feedback, you just wish they would go into a bit more detail about that they liked other than a three to five word sentence?
We work so very hard, those of us who take the time to truly give you a length chapters with details and good dialogue and plot. I guess I would ask the reader to consider how much bad fanfic is out there and if you find a writer who you truly enjoy, how about giving him or her a little more of why you enjoyed their story. Just a little more of your time for all of the hard work they put into the story you enjoyed so much.

How do you deal with being flamed? Has it ever happened?
Yeah, its happened. No fanfic writer goes without a flame. But opinions are a part of life. No big deal to me.

What do you think about fanfiction.net?
Its terrible at times, both technically and the sheer amount of horse shit stories. But it is the biggest fan fiction website on Earth, and if you want to jump into the lions den that's where you start. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere.

What drives you crazy when you read it in a fanfic?
People who don't write summaries, but say its their first story, please be nice, don't flame me. People who write awful erotica. People who beg and plead for reviews instead of letting them com naturally. People who bash characters in every story for no reason at all. Terrible spacing in stories. Mary Sue. Cliche's over and over. Link to a story you love and review it here.
This is a Star Wars :A/P story that I feel is so well written it shouldn't even be on FF. The details, mood, emotions conveyed are incredible. The writing style is simply professional in every way. Its a must read for any AP fan or someone wondering what a accomplished, amazing fanfic writer looks like.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2422623/1/Affettuosamente

Talk to the underage fanfic writer attempting to write NC-17 stories?
DO NOT MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF!!! Seriously, you're to young and it will show. Trust me, people will know you haven't any knowledge about sex. Give it some years, focus on other aspects of writing, and don't embarrass yourself.

What do you think of the particular fanfic fandom community you belong too? The whole of all the writers, I mean.
Well, as with all things, some people truly care and work hard while others simply throw shit at the wall and hope for the best.

Do you think you'll still be writing fanfic in 2 years? Five?
2, maybe. 5, probably not. I'll follow the inspiration.

What's the craziest fanfic request you've ever received?
A twelve person Power Ranger sex orgy fic with no plot, just a huge orgy on the Youth Center floor. And the email that came with this request was four page was long.

Do you save your favorite stories on your hard drive?
Yes

In a crazy world if you had 200 million dollars and creative license to make a movie in the fandom you write in what would be the name of it, what would be the plot, who would star and how would it end?
"Power Rangers: Armageddon Dawn" Yeah, cheesy name but I;'m going for crazy action. Original 12 Rangers are adults. Earth is attacked, TK reunite, massive ILM CGI created Zord fights, and the last scene would be TK holding each other on the battlefield, bloody but alive and in each others arms.

By finishing this long ass question and answer session your name has been entered into a Pakistani lottery worth 100 million dollars. If you win what will be the first thing that you do?
I would buy my Gina her dream house and me a great dane puppy:)

(Thus Ends Stage Three)