Not An Addict: One Nerdy Woman’s Secret Journey into the Realm of FanFiction

Around 391 BC, Plato postulated the first law of affinity – likes tend towards likes.  Basically, things that are similar are drawn towards one another.  So when you’re a nerd, that doesn’t exactly bode well for your image.  Thank goodness nerd-dom is becoming cool (thank you Big Bang Theory, despite how terrible you are)…or at least maybe not as uncool as it was.  Because I’m running my snowball ass down a mountain full of fresh powder, and it’s starting to become an avalanche.

Only if it’s Code Red Mountain Dew…

It’s bad enough that I started out a nerd at an early age – I attended the enrichment education class during elementary school.  In high school, I was not only on the United Nations debating team, but also “Reach for the Top”…you know…like Jeopardy for teenagers.  I’m a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy stories.  Not to mention that one of the jobs that put me through university was as a computer lab advisor – basically a computer nerd that helped out the non-nerds with their technical difficulties.  My stint as a teaching assistant proved that one’s own enthusiasm for the subject of geography can be the equivalent of wearing those coke bottle glasses and a pocket protector.  A number of years ago, Ian convinced me to try role-playing games.  Yeah…like Dungeons and Dragons style role-playing games.  I’ve most recently played them on the PS3 and tabletop.  You’ve heard the rumours of my obsession with Dragon Age:  Origins and now Dragon Age II.  The thought of an alien invasion of Earth tickles me pink.  And Ian and I have already prepared our zombie apocalypse defense plan – now adapted for Nunavut.

So what could possibly be left for me?

Isn’t it obvious?  Being a fangirl is progressively the next logical step.  And so it began.  The downward spiral into the world of fanfiction.

I swear.  I tried to avoid it for the longest time.  I really thought it was a sad excuse for people who really didn’t have anything interesting to write about.  That fanfiction authors were rabid pre-teen girls obsessed with anime hairstyles and no ability to spell or grammar check.  I cringe thinking at how talentless these people must obviously be if they need to rely on other people’s characters to tell a story.  And I admit, there are definitely those types of individuals lurking on the fanfiction sites out there.  You can usually tell them by their inability to put more than two full words together into a sentence.  Unfortunately their ability to tell a story is limited by their extensive vocabulary of txt-spk.  However, the sheer number of authors out there with amazing stories to tell, and extensive character development is amazing.

This fan art piece by Aimo, an incredibly talented sketch artist, pretty much sums it all up. Click on this…go to see her work! Seriously!

So what made me turn to fanfiction, you ask?  I’m not entirely too sure.  I know it was related to my time playing Dragon Age:  Origins – which, by the way, is a fantastic rpg full of violence, sex and an incredible story.  I think I was struggling with a particularly difficult character decision…or perhaps a boss that I was having trouble defeating.  I had probably done some online searching for a walkthrough or some advice from those who had already passed that point in the game, and came across a story or two.  I know I read a couple of really great pieces by some authors about a year or so ago, but then lost interest.

Enter Dragon Age II.  The sequel to the game that had already stolen a year of my life was released, and I wasn’t about to not play it.  And so I did.  And boy, oh boy…if I thought the first game was tragic…the sequel dwarfed it.  There are many ways you can play the game…changing your appearance, sex, character class, which groups you side with or work for, characters you choose to keep with you or leave behind, romances you choose to involve yourself in.  At its most tragic, you can lose every family member you have through the course of the game; you can fall in love with a possessed man who will commit an act of terrorism and force you to choose to spare him and make him leave, make him fight by your side…or make him a martyr.  Not to mention that decision has to be made split second.  What if I make the wrong choice?  Yes, I know it’s a game…but this is a game that reels you in emotionally.  It’s not a game that gives you a happy ending.  At all.  So what could I do?  Where could I fill in the gaps in the story that I didn’t want to end?  Where could I find my answers???

Why…I could turn to fanfiction!  Of course!  And turn there I did.

I read and read and read.  The good…the bad…the…WTF?!?  As much as I could.  And it still wasn’t enough.  I needed to do more.  I needed to let out what was inside of me ripping at the backs of my eyeballs.  I needed to write my own fanfiction.  Because apparently being a nerd isn’t quite enough for me.  I need to step into the realm of ubernerd.  Awesome.

You too can determine your nerdicity with a Venn diagram. Because knowing it’s a Venn diagram really improves your nerd status… (Source:

So there.  You now have an answer for why I haven’t been keeping up with my blog.  I’ve been writing my ass off…trying to justify choices I was making in a freaking video game!  Dear lord…I’m addicted.  It’s liberating…makes me feel less guilty for setting a terrorist free (or for killing him on a second playthrough)…yikes.  But you know what the best thing about it is?  I get like ten to twenty times more visits than this blog does.  Amazing!  And people have been enjoying my work.  Validation…what can I say?  Very rewarding…  Yeah, so half of them are half my age…whatever.  At least they don’t like Twilight…

But I partially blame Ian.  A while back, he mentioned to me that he thought I should run a game…and that the Dragon Age universe would be the perfect place to do that.  I sort of liked the idea…and if you’ve been keeping up with Ian’s blog, you’ll know that we are now the proud owners of the Dragon Age Desktop Role Playing Game.  Yup.  Nerd.

So what am I going to do about all of this?  I’m thinking of starting FFA…you know…FanFictionolics Anonymous…

It’s important for me to want to help others suffering for our condition.  So I’ve come up with the all important twelve steps to recovery.

  1. Admit that you are powerless over the allure of being a fangirl/boy.  You cannot control it.  It is a disease.  Your life will be unmanageable.  Or at the very least, your legs might get a little too warm from having the laptop on them for so many hours.
  2. Believe in a higher power greater than yourself that can restore your sanity.  Your chosen fandom can set you free!
  3. Decide to turn your will and life over to the care of your beta reader.
  4. Make a fearless moral inventory of the stories you choose to read, write and recommend to others.
  5. Admit to yourself and others the nature of your addiction. ← As you can see, I’m on this step.
  6. Be ready to remove all defects of the characters you choose to read and write about.
  7. Humbly ask of your reviewers to help remove your shortcomings and spelling mistakes.
  8. Make a list of all the authors you have flamed, and become willing to make amends with all of them.
  9. Make amends to authors directly, except when said amends will probably result in further flaming.
  10. Continue to take personal inventory – especially when concerning smut fics – and promptly admit any errors in continuity.
  11. Seek through meditation and further exploration of stories, the fanfiction universe you have chosen to reside in, praying only for knowledge of canon and the power to write more than just angst.
  12. Have a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, and just come to the realization that there are worse addictions to have in life.  This one is just fine.

On second thought…these twelve steps are just going to perpetuate my addiction.  Oh well…at least the shameful secret’s out now…


My Out of Style is Coming Back

Two posts in two days!  What’s the occasion?, you ask.  Well now, I was nominated for the Stylish Blogger Award.  So I’m celebrating with some verbal diarrhea!  I was nominated by Ian at The $#!& I Think About.  Yeah, I’m married to him…you think I’m going to let a little nepotism stop me from receiving an award??  That’s just not my style…

Speaking of style, most people who know me in my offline life recognize me as “the least possible stylish person on the face of the planet”…which is better than being “the least possible stylish person beneath the surface of the planet”.  I just like to call it my own style.  And that style is either ahead of the curve, or pitifully behind.  Maybe a little of both…

Even my blogging style is erratic at best.  I’m a go with the flow kind of person.  Not necessarily wishy-washy in opinion…but certainly not as stubborn and rigid as some people may think I am (though there are things I don’t bend on – I HATE mushrooms!).

I think that before I go too far into stuff that isn’t related to this award, I’ll get down to the guidelines for receiving it.  Winners of The Stylish Blogger Award must list five of their favourite things, and then pass the award along to five worthy bloggers.  Easy as pie.

Which isn’t easy, by the way.  Do you know how complicated making pie can be?  Especially if you don’t have the required 9-inch pie plate that every recipe calls for?  Ugh.  Oh, and pi isn’t exactly easy either…try memorizing that sucker past about 10 numbers.  I still need to look it up.

Since Ian didn’t use up one of his slots with mentioning our relationship as a favourite thing, but acknowledged it beforehand…I’ll do the same.  Love you honey!  Wow…that just sounded awkward.  We don’t exactly do the pet name thing…lemme try that again.  Love you my little undead zombie monkey…there!  So much less awkward, right?  On to my other favourites…

  1. Massive Attack – They’re the band that I named my blog for, and have been one of my favourites, if not the favourite band of the past decade and a half.  I finally had the good fortune (aka money, transportation, timing, knowledge of the event prior to the event) of seeing them live last May with Ian.  They put on a phenomenal show and I hope to be able to see them at least once more before they stop touring.  If you watch House, they are responsible for the theme song.  They’ve released a bunch of albums and loads of singles.  Come to think of it, I don’t know why I’ve never dedicated a post to them before and posted my pictures!

    3D & Daddy G of Massive Attack in Toronto, May 9/10

  2. Comedy – Be it stand up, sit down, or any other number of ways that it is delivered, I can’t get enough of humour.  I adore stand up comics like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Russell Peters, Margaret Cho, Demetri Martin, Nikki Payne, Dave Chappelle, Bill Maher, Russell Brand, Daniel Tosh…I love stand up!  I would love to spend the afternoon with one of my newest “must watch” individuals, Karl Pilkington.  I’ve apparently been living under a rock for a number of years as I’ve just recently discovered him, but I can’t get over how much this guy makes me laugh.  Seriously…check out The Ricky Gervais Show or An Idiot Abroad…you’ll love it!

    Bet you didn't think I could find a picture of Karl Pilkington AND a couple of globes...

  3. Geography – I am officially a nerd for geography.  I took a liking to the possibilities I was presented with in high school, and decided to major in it at university.  It’s less about colouring the countries all pretty like and more about the interconnectedness of the world around us.  Geography is everything!  Social, cultural, historical, economic, physical…I couldn’t resist studying something that would let me look at the development of glacial landforms in one class, the spread of disease in another, how city development is influenced by transportation hub development which is influenced by topography in a third, and how to put all of those items together in a map in a fourth class.  Alex, I bet you can name a prof for all of those courses too!  I can’t believe I’m working in my field too…it’s fantastic!
  4. Dragon Age – I am in love with this game.  Not since Marble Madness and Tetris have I been so obsessed with any one game.  I’m currently salivating as I wait for the delivery of the sequel to Dragon Age:  Origins.  It’s a role-playing game with massive replay appeal…where decisions you make early in the game affect your ending…and it’s just really pretty.

    Fighting one of the dragons...cuz, it's dragon age...oooh look...pretty, sparkly magic! Source: Bioware

  5. The North – this place has made me fall in love with winter.  If it can do that for winter, spring, summer and autumn should be spectacular.  There’s a lot of things that might make a person not like it up here, but for me, it’s an amazing place and has quickly become one of my favourite things.

    We haven't been able to photograph these yet, but when we see them, this is what they look like...

Now, enough about me…you should really be checking out these Stylish Bloggers!

  1. Holly at Holly-the-Strange – Holly is taking a brief hiatus from blogging, but when she returns, she’ll find this award waiting for her.  This is definitely to celebrate her anti-style!
  2. Christy at Mamarazzi Pages – Christy is a wonderful photographer and often blogs about her stylin’ family!
  3. Kittie at Culinary Eccentricity – Kittie blogs quite a bit about some very stylish food!
  4. Bryoneyh at [Postage Stamp Required] – Bryoneyh blogs about her adventures through post-graduate life as a single woman…with style!
  5. Lorna at Gin & Lemonade – Lorna is a reader, writer and fellow crazy cat lady, so if that doesn’t exude style, I don’t know what does!