To round out Clockworks: Times of the HG Wells, I added Calendar Turning Event #3111, Mirror Masquerade, Paradox, kes7’s Survey Says …, Stocking Stuffers 2013 (Auld Lang Syne only), and Meeting of the Minds. This finishes up context for the time being for that series. For the monthly challenge, which is about the origins of holidays, I posted Legends.
Miva, a Calafan, started off as the criminal, Baden’s, nighttime lover, in Reversal in my Star Trek fanfiction. She was a doctor, although I did not have a handle on the type of doctor she would be. By the time of Together, I needed for Lili to have an obstetrician, so that decided her specialty. Her name, a reference to Steven Culp‘s character on JAG (Clayton Webb), means clay.
I like the actress’s looks but also that she ages (as we all do) yet doesn’t seem to be afraid to show at least a limited version of that in public.
Friendly and gregarious, Miva is a pleasant, positive person to be around. She’s also got a heavy Lafa V accent, which sounds a lot like an Irish brogue.
She and Lili become fast friends and she even stands up for Lili and Doug at their wedding, in A Kind of Blue. By the time of Fortune, she’s looking for a new nighttime lover, and sets her sights on Jonathan Archer. In A Hazy Shade, they’re an old married couple.
Miva is only shown with him at the end of his life, as he dies in a crossfire when Doug, Lili, both versions of Jennifer and both versions of Tripp defeat Polloria, in Reversal. She gives him some depth and, I feel, makes him at least a bit of a sympathetic character, certainly less evil than Polloria.
Miva’s first husband is never seen. She refers to him when she first meets (and hits on) Jonathan, in Fortune. The Calafan view of love and loyalty is somewhat troubling to Jonathan, but he does join her, at least that evening, for a dream. As to what happens, I leave that to the reader’s imagination.
Upon Darywev’s death, Jonathan thinks he should stay away as that would be more respectful, but Miva insists on having him close by. He does move slowly and cautiously, and waits a good year before making his move. During the time of Flight of the Bluebird, he’s still a single man, pursued by the tabloids.
In the Mirror Universe, Miva is the mirror Baden’s nighttime lover, and she is also a doctor. However, during the temporal dislocations in Temper, she becomes enslaved by the Terran Empire, and works as a field hand, picking tomatoes at a farm on Mimas.
Once the prime timeline is restored, it is presumed that the mirror Miva is restored to whatever her earlier life was really like. As a physician, she would probably have a better life than most women. And as a non-human, so long as the Terran Empire remained distant, she could potentially be treated better than most human women with her level of education and wealth.
“Allow me to explain what is going on here, although we all know what is happening. I just feel it might help to get the message across to you both. Your endowment is greater than most human males. Your wife is the same size or smaller than most human females, despite having had one child already. In order to accommodate your dimensions, your wife has had an operation to clear space. Otherwise, your parts do not fit, and you can injure her – which has happened in the past. For both of her pregnancies, I have reversed the operation so that your children could develop properly. You were all right with Jeremiah, and you waited. Why are you unable to wait when it comes to your second child?”
I’d like to showcase her marriage to Jonathan Archer some more, and not just in the very twilight of their lives. She’ll be seen again.
The premise was a ship-wide (and, most likely, Starfleet-wide) celebration of diversity.
This included all sorts of nods to non-mainstream expressions of sexuality. Several films are mentioned, including Personal Best, the film that inspired me to cast Mariel Hemingway as Eriecho. Because of the mentionings of films, Chip shows up. Hoshi also announces the revival of the book club, a feature of the E2 stories.
In order to do something nice for his new beloved, Frank Todd asks Lili to make a special dessert for Dave Constantine. When Lili realizes that Dave likes blueberries, and recalls that the recently-deceased Jay Hayes did, too, it sets off a fit of crying.
Frank performs an act of kindness when he sees how much Dave loves the blueberry pie that Lili has baked. Remembering that Major Hayes was always the last one on the chow line – likely because he had wanted to share some short conversations with her – he vows that, from then on, he’ll always be last in line.
I love this relationship, and I particularly think my treatment of it has improved over the years. Instead of being the slightly campy lovesick guys of There’s Something About Hoshi, the two men are here, instead, more like true partners, even though their relationship is still very new. They will be followed along as I think up new adventures for them, both large and small.
Eriecho needed a benefactor in Star Trek fanfiction, a person who could care for her as a child. Her first caregiver is Saddik, who essentially becomes her adoptive father. Like Eriecho, Saddik is a product of the JJ Abrams NuTrek timeline, where Vulcan is destroyed.
He is a falsely accused prisoner at Canamar, with no hope of release until the destruction of Vulcan spurs the Federation to look for Vulcans anywhere they can be found in the galaxy. This ends up including prisons.
When Saddik is first seen, he’s wondering what to do about Pon Farr, as H’Shema is dead and the only other female at Canamar is Eriecho. It feels odd to him (as it should to the reader), but he’s going to have some very real needs. He doesn’t want to fulfill Pon Farr with her, but he recognizes that he might not have much choice when the time comes. But they are saved from this fate when the two Vulcans are released from prison and brought to one of the many sanctuaries set up for Vulcans by the Federation. The idea is to protect people who have essentially, overnight, become a sentient endangered species.
Saddik takes it all in stride. Things are far better than they had been at Canamar, so he’s not one to complain. All he really wants is to have his own mate and for Eriecho to have one as well. But he won’t complain about the sanctuary. His life has improved in the extreme. He’s not about to upset the apple cart.
This elderly Suliban woman was the only other female in Canamar Prison, and helped to care for Eriecho. The three of them lived as an approximation of a family unit, and H’Shema assisted Saddik during his bouts of Pon Farr. Did they love each other? Eriecho clearly loved H’Shema like a mother. I’m not so sure about how Saddik felt about H’Shema, although he was certainly grateful for her existence, her compassion and her resourcefulness. In Release, he does mourn her a bit, in his own way.
In Recessive, as Eriecho is bonding with Sollastek, Saddik looks around at the various single women at the sanctuary. He’s interested in all of them, but the one who really catches his eye is this much younger Pon Farr comforter who has recently been transferred from another sanctuary. As a fellow misfit, she and Saddik have that in common. As that story ends, the two of them are only beginning to get acquainted.
There aren’t any impediments to Saddik existing in the Mirror Universe (or even in the prime timeline, for that matter).
He would very likely not be a prisoner and would probably live a more or less normal Vulcan life. In fact, he could very well be one of the few of my characters whose lives would be better in the Mirror Universe than in the prime universe.
“She is my daughter.”
For a character who starts off as a bit of a horny Vulcan, he turned into someone who could be Eriecho’s true father. He cares for her and listens to her problems, and helps to shield her from the worst of the disapproving glares and statements of the Vulcan matrons who also live at the sanctuary. He’s had to step up again and again, and he’s been able to do so, even if he’s a little skeptical of his own abilities.
I have been writing (with considerable time off), in some form or another, for the past 4 1/2 decades, no exaggeration. My initial writings were crudely drawn images in old calendar books that would have otherwise been discarded. Inevitably, they were all about more or less the same thing – anthropomorphized dogs going on adventures.
I used to own (many of them are still in my parents’ house) little plastic farm animal toys.
Many of these came from my father’s business trips to Munich, and they were fairly well detailed. When not drawing picture books, I would play act stories for these toys. Usually, it was some sort of journey.
The toys still exist, but the old calendar books are long gone, in some landfill somewhere (they were discarded before recycling was really mainstream).
As a teenaged girl, I had diaries, but all of those are also gone to a landfill. I did not get back to writing anything resembling fiction until my senior year in High School, when I had an AP English teacher who encouraged such things. I took Creative Writing in college, and a Law School boyfriend also encouraged me to write. Then I set it all aside until maybe 2000 when I did some short works and then started writing fan fiction in 2004.
After a few more short works, I set it aside until 2010. Ever since starting up again (with Reversal), I have written something pretty much every day, whether it’s Star Trek: fan fiction, wholly original works, blogging and/or fiction outlining.
Lessons Learned (in no particular order)
Write to keep writing
While I suffer from writer’s block, just like every other writer, I suffer from it less than I probably should, because I make an effort to write nearly every single day. This keeps it all going.
Take and Keep Notes
I have a large timeline for fan fiction, spanning a few millennia. I have other timelines for wholly original fictional universes. These are kept with MS Excel. Timelines are incredibly useful, as you immediately know things like ages, and if character lifetimes overlap.
I keep wikis (more like informal detailed outlines, as I am the sole contributor) for all major series, and separate ones for wholly original fiction. These are for world-building, and they contain everything from character heights to birthdays to naming conventions for various items. It’s all decided once and the references are at my fingertips.
I also keep a list of plot ideas, which also contains possible titles, species ideas, possible character names, etc. (Eriecho was originally going to be Klingon). This ‘parks’ new ideas so that I can concentrate better on the story I am trying to finish.
Don’t Throw Anything Away
Character names from 1986 have shown up in fiction written in 2011, no lie. A quarter-century later, and in a different universe, the names still work.
Your Work Should be Shared
I belong to several writers’ groups online, both for fan fiction and for wholly original work.
There are a lot of people who are terrified of sharing their work with others. These are not people holding back because it’s work they want to try to have published. They just plain aren’t ready to share anything.
And that’s unfortunate, as their work can stagnate with no feedback. Fiction isn’t meant to be hidden away, locked in a drawer somewhere.
While not everyone will love what I have written, I’ve learned to separate critiques into constructive and destructive, and can tell the difference.
There are those who go into reading a fan fiction who are biased against a particular series, or character or character pairing, etc. They might dislike a certain plot point (e. g. not everyone likes time travel), or they just might dislike all fan fiction.
Most of what these folks say is not worth reading, or repeating. Fortunately, I haven’t run into too many of these folks in my travels.
As for those who engage in personal attacks, they should be blocked without a second thought. No one needs to be trashed in order to be effectively critiqued. Ever.
Do Your Research
In one of my first-ever fan fictions (There’s Something About Hoshi), I misspelled MACO as MAKO, and was corrected by a reader. At the time, I was overly sensitive and felt it was petty. I have since come to realize that of course this person was correct, and they were only trying to help me get better.
Pay it Forward by Reading and Reviewing Others’ Work
Sitting back and expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting of reading and reviewing is pretty selfish. Writers, of course, should take care not to steal from each other, or plagiarize. But the building, nurturing, and sustaining of writer communities means that you, the writer, need to also become the reader, and the critic. Always be a constructive critic.
Practice and Edit
Not writing does not make you a better writer. Only writing, and reading, can make you a better writer. So do both.
Don’t Crowdsource Your Ideas
I see this a lot, where potential writers, terrified that they have a bad idea, ask their peers for a judgment about whether something is a ‘good’ idea.
This is bass-ackwards. Instead, writers should be writing. Their ideas are, likely, perfectly fine. Why do I say this? Because most ideas are fine; it’s their execution that demonstrates quality, or the lack thereof. Consider the following story idea.
A suddenly disabled man is late for work one morning. Ignoring his new infirmity, he tries to go to work, as he is the sole supporter of his mostly ungrateful family. When they become, by necessity, more independent, they abuse and neglect him and, unappreciated, he eventually dies. They go on without him.
Don’t know that plot? It’s Franz Kafka’sThe Metamorphosis, easily one of the top 100 (if not 50) works of fiction ever written. Ever!
But that plot summary isn’t too promising, eh? It’s in the execution where Gregor Samsa comes to life.
Your ideas are fine, except for the idea that you need others’ approval before you can start writing. Nonsense! Write anyway.
You’re Better Than You Think
Unless you are out and out plagiarizing someone else’s work, there is probably someone out there who will like your writing. That leads to my next point.
Find Your Ideal Audience
Sites which cater to, say, only Star Trek: Enterprise will not appreciate Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction as well as sites that focus on it. That may seem obvious, but it’s a point that people sometimes seem to miss. If your work isn’t being read, try other sites. You might do better elsewhere.
Fix Your Technical Problems Before Posting
Always look over spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word choice (e. g. make sure you are using the right words, and they mean what you think they do), and grammar. A few stray errors are fine, but try to fix most of it before posting. This is a courtesy to your readers.
Not Everyone Wants to read your entire Saga
Readers’ time is as precious a your own.
Their not wanting to read your entire 10 million word saga is less a reflection on your abilities (or their love of your work), and more on their own busy lives.
Expecting your audience to read your entire saga is a discourtesy; you are not being respectful of their time. Respect their time by mixing in some short stories as most people can find the time to read something less than 10,000 words (even better, less than 5,000).
Compete With your Peers
This ups your game considerably. Put yourself out there, and don’t expect to win. Competitions are also a great way to get more people to read and review your work.
Keep Track of your Stats
You don’t have to be as analytical as I am, but it pays to at least have a handle on what’s popular, and what isn’t. These findings will probably differ from site to site, and having objective data means you’ll have a better idea of whether a story will go over well or poorly at a particular site.
Use Your Time Wisely
We all have lives, so writing time often has to be rationed. Determine what you want and need, and how well various sites satisfy those wants and needs. Do an informal cost-benefit analysis – does a site offer ease of posting? Better critiquing? A bigger audience? A better-matched audience to your work?
Build a Readership
When I learned I was going to be published, I told pretty much everyone in my network. A lot of people said they were excited about potentially seeing my wholly original work in print. This is not only ego-gratifying, it’s also, potentially, a source of reads (and even sales) and reviews for professional work. I’m not saying to become a writing mercenary.
Rather, cultivate and nurture your most loyal fans.
That doesn’t just mean being kind to them (which should be a given), and thanking them (another given); it also means listening to them. Do they want to see more original characters? A new horror story? More time travel? Do they think your last book dragged in the middle? Take them seriously. They are really trying to help you succeed. Let them.
I have come a long way from picture books that I showed to no one, and stories that I left to rot in a trunk and are no more. Fan fiction has improved me as a writer, and has taught me to believe in myself. It has led me to becoming a published author. I owe it a lot.
Back when I was writing a non-Star Trek time travel series, I had an idea for an alien who would be helping the group.
She would be a member of the first species ever to make contact with humans, and her name would be Otra (she didn’t get a last name until later), and she would be the girlfriend of the leader of the group, the rather non-charismatic Levi Cavendish. She was supposed to be a bit out of proportion to humans, in that she’d have longer legs than we normally do. She would also be a light lavender color. About the only thing she really had which transferred over to what became the Witannen (Wit-ah-nin) is that her hair would be replaced with green vines that would move independently of her. She would be unable to control the vines, and they would be in some sort of a symbiotic relationship with her. The species did not have a name, but their first contact had been preceded by an odd form of prepping the Earth for their arrival – they had sent broadcasts for a good year beforehand, including a popular soap opera. Hence when the aliens arrived in that older series, they were more or less known to humans, and were famous.
Then the species was added to my Star Trek fan fiction, and it got even more interesting.
What Happened to the Witannen
When I began writing Together, I wanted a villain who would be more of a business person than an actual evil being. Ferengi had already been seen in canon Enterprise, so I felt that would be a bit much, to have a second encounter with the Ferengi, without that name being known in the Starfleet database.
Hence they were out. I remembered my strange alien, so I performed some modifications on her.
First, the character in Together would not be Otra at all, who I reserved for a time travel series, Times of the HG Wells. But I really liked the idea of having the character be female, so I created Quellata (Kell-uh-tuh) instead. Quellata would be full-blooded, whereas Otra would be half-human, and so she would get a surname.
To differentiate between the full and half,
I decided that full-blooded Witannen would have little vestigial wings. It isn’t until Multiverse II that it becomes clear that Otra just has long lines on her back, where her wings would have been.
The wings would be vestigial, far too small to propel anyone. Hence Quellata would be grounded, and the wings would be more decorative than anything else. This also made it possible for her to wear more or less recognizable clothing.
The proportions were also corrected for human sizes, so that a human actor could conceivably ‘play’ a Witannen. I also dropped the idea of a light lavender complexion, preferring to make them a little less alien in exchange for making them an easier species to picture an actor or actress playing.
A bit brittle, with a superiority complex, Witannen are from the Delta Quadrant. They have good reason to feel good about themselves, as they’ve had Warp Drive for centuries. This makes it easier to look down at Johnny-come-lately species like humans. Quellata refers to her human captives as slime molds, but then again, she’s nasty to everyone.
Their language is divided into formal and conversational, both written and oral. Their writing is unknown, but their speech is a click language, much like Khoisan and Xhosa on Earth. Their species name does not have a plural, e. g. one Witannen, two Witannen. I’m not sure if I’ll give them any plurals.
Like humans and Vulcans, they are monogamous. And like Vulcans, their pregnancies last longer than ours do.
A lot of them have heads for business. Apart from Quellata, Otra’s own mother, Chefra, also works in the commercial realm, as a dealer in star ship parts. Otra herself is more of a philosopher and missions specialist. An opera singer, a male named Paj Terris, is briefly mentioned in the HG Wells stories. The only other Witannen I have written so far is Adeel, a female athlete in the upcoming Barnstorming series.
The other main characteristic of Witannen is their symbiotic chavecoi (chah-vuh-COY), which evolved from being vines to being more like flowers. They can change color with mood, a fact that makes them rather inconvenient. A Witannen would make a lousy spy. The chavecoi also drink some water on occasion, and a character like Otra will sip tea while her chavecoi will dip into a nearby glass of water. The chavecoi are alarmed by caffeine if they accidentally taste tea or coffee, and they can become drunk if they intake alcohol. Their purpose is survival; in the event of a drought, they can photosynthesize in order to keep their host alive. Further, according to Multiverse II, they can be adversely affected by radiation, but they can be cured (as can their host) by stem cell growth accelerator.
I loved creating them, but the best-realized character is Otra, by far. How well-realized will the others ever become? I don’t know, or maybe another character will be created, perhaps another male.
The species will return, particularly as I continue to explore the Otra-Levi dynamic, but I’m not so sure about going beyond that, as of the writing of this blog post.
As a part of the 2013 ficlet flashdance challenge, we were tasked with creating a posting every day of one week, with at least 1,000 words. I decided to tie the whole shebang together with a documentary filmmaker creating a work about the Xindi War.
It’s just after the war has ended, and independent filmmaker Carlos Castillo has an assignment to cover the Xindi War from the perspective of the people who fought it.
Sharp-eyed readers should spot that Carlos is a prime universe counterpart to one of the men killed by Doug Beckett, as is outlined in Fortune.
The prime universe Carlos comes to the NX-01, but he also tracks down crew members like Lili, who are off the ship (as is established in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere). He interviews the following crew members –
The story was well-received. I also loved the pressure creativity aspect of it. This story also has the third-highest number of reviews of any story of mine (only Reversal and Revved Up have clocked more).
I wanted a Star Trek fanfiction character who would be kind of compelled to do certain things, even if she didn’t want to. As a child, Yimar fits the bill, particularly in Bribery and then in Reversal, where she’s forced to accept her father’s lover, Polloria, as a family member, even as she and her brother, Treve, despise Polloria and she frets for the fate of her critically ill mother, the Calafan High Priestess, Yipran.
Yimar, as an adult, is played by Charlize Theron. I haven’t decided who plays her as a child or a teenager.
I love this smart, beautiful, Oscar-winning actress who has been through a lot in her life.
Dutiful and intelligent, Yimar is an obedient child. But the appearance of Polloria is too much for her, and she and Treve quickly figure out the score. Yimar in particular wants to protect their mother, but she’s essentially helpless. After all, she’s just a kid.
When she becomes a teenager, she starts working as a babysitter for first Joss and then Marie Patrice and, eventually, Declan. Her existence and her willingness to work hard make it possible for Lili to return to work as the chef at Reversal. This also makes it possible for Doug to have a career again. Yimar is particularly helpful during the events of Together.
During the alternate timelines in Temper, Yimar takes on the High Priestess role (she doesn’t do this in the prime universe, in the correct timeline), and is also the leader of the Calafan government in exile. When the line is restored, she’s able to resume her regular life.
As an adult in the correct timeline, she marries and has a daughter, Yinora, who is named for Leonora Digiorno. With Yinora in the role of nighttime woman to Neil Digiorno-Madden, Yimar and her family forge a permanent connection to the Beckett-Digiorno-Madden–Reed clan.
During Together, Brian and Yimar bond, as she is stuck caring for Joss and he’s sympathetic to her plight. They are also fairly close in age although she’s only sixteen, and he’s twenty-one. Her frank talk about sex does make him nervous, though.
In the Mirror Universe, Yimar and Josh meet during the events of He Stays a Stranger. As much older people who are both alone, they find each other attractive. The colony entity known as Branch Borodin confirms that they end up together.
In the Mirror Universe, Yimar loses her mother as Polloria’s murderous ways garner some success. But Jennifer Crossman has also named her (Yimar) to be the next High Priestess. Polloria originally believes that she will be able to control Yimar and act as a regent, with Yimar as her puppet.
But the headstrong teenager has other plans.
One of the mirror Yimar’s first acts is to permanently throw open the doors between the two universes. Calafans are able to shuttle back and forth without any further assistance. This serves as a plot point in Temper and allows for a mixing of the two closely-related species that had been denied for centuries.
Later, in the HG Wells stories, it becomes known that Yimar is behind plans to sell Constitution-class starship plans and parts to the Terran Empire’s enemies, as a means of assuring some measures of protection for the Calafan people. As matters are resolved with Empress Hoshi, Yimar’s main concern is, as always, for her people. She’s a good ruler, even as her system is subjugated and overrun, and does her best to keep her people safe and well-fed.
“He’s the cleanest human I’ve ever known.”
I really like this character but I haven’t explored her much as an adult in the prime universe. I’ll have to try to rectify that in the future.
At a much smaller Star Trek site that I really don’t go to anymore, they celebrated once I’d hit a certain number of posts. As a thank you for that, I posted this little party story. It’s only meant to be a bit of fluff.
As a fill in for the canon episode Two Days and Two Nights, the story was written in order to give a little depth to Travis. After all, in the episode, about all that happens is that he is injured while rock climbing on Risa. But he didn’t start off rock climbing. At least, I didn’t want him to.
One thing I was able to do with this small story was to bring in Witannen a lot faster and earlier than before. With no statement of the name of the species (and Travis leaves quickly, plus in Star Trek: Enterprise canon he’s knocked out not too long after that), there’s no real first contact.