Because Gina and Gabrielle Nolan were alone, and the seven stages of grief were finished, I decided I wanted their lives to go on in a somewhat unexpected manner. As a result, Kittriss and Freela were born. Freela was a linchpin character in the story line. Without her, Gabby and Gina never hear a crying child, and Gina and Kit never meet. So Freela is important to the series.
Freela is played by actress Saoirse Ronan. And this talented Irish-American actress is a two-time Academy Award nominee, as of the writing of this blog post. Much like is the case with Kittriss, I wanted Freela to not be the big, dominating warrior-type Klingon.
When we first meet Freela, she is an artistically talented first grader who commemorates her mother’s death in the Dominion War with an eerily accurate painting. And this eventually leads her (presumably) to drafting and then eventually to study engineering. So this talented and sensitive Klingon will not become a warrior; instead, she will become a builder and a designer.
However, she also expresses some anti-Breen prejudice, even as she fully accepts Gina and Gabby as new members of her family.
Freela has no known relationships.
A Mirror version of Freela is impossible, as the Dominion War does not seem to have happened on the other side of the pond.
“You know, capital buildings and bridges, but also public monuments. There’s, um, there’s a monument to the honored dead from the Breen Attack on Earth. It’s being built on Keto-Enol. We’ve been studying it; it’s a steel and glass structure made to look like thousands of birds flying up into the sky.
The bottom is tall and wide enough for a class to fit underneath. Under it, the names of the honored dead are to be etched, and they can be highlighted either randomly or as the observer wants to see. So, if you wanted to only read human names, you could, or the victims who were in Paris or the like. And the whole thing is to be made of debris from San Francisco and Beijing and even from ships that crashed that day, that sort of thing. Mother’s name will be etched underneath, as will that of Michael Nolan, Gabby’s Dad.”
Although she demonstrates some anti-Breen prejudice in Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, Freela is essentially a decent person. Furthermore, she is the only sister Gabby really has. And the two women love each other as much as biological sisters often do.
For a prompt about working together, I decided to revisit Gina Nolan‘s universe and wrap things up a bit. The best way, it felt, was to try to bring the story more or less full circle.
It’s about twenty years since the Breen attack on Earth. Gina and Gabby have more or less moved on. Gina has even remarried, to the Klingon, Kittriss. Life’s going pretty well, and Gabrielle is in a special school for the performing arts. Freela, her Klingon stepsister, is starting college (she’s going into engineering).
Then a Breen family moves into the neighborhood, and Gina is one of the many people yelling, “Breen, go home!”
I don’t know if the solution was too pat. I didn’t want for there to be easy answers, but I don’t know. I’m a bit ambivalent about this story. I feel that the characterizations are good and the plot line is a decent one. But I do wonder if the story arc and its payoff are truly believable, and I welcome feedback (as I do for all of the things I write).
With the destruction of Vulcan, Vulcans are sought in all sorts of remote places.
In response to a prompt requiring that we write in the new timeline (also called nuTrek of the JJ Abrams universe), I decided to write about how the creation of a sentient endangered species would be handled.
The story opens with a pair of Vulcan convicts being called into a commandant’s office at Canamar Prison, a canon institution.
They are about to be freed, and they scarcely know why. All that Commandant Kerig will tell them is that Vulcans are endangered, and the home world has been destroyed. This unsettles Saddik, the elder of the two.
But not so Eriecho, who barely knows anything about Vulcans, or what it means to be one. As the story continues, her back story is revealed, that she was born on a prison transport, and this is the only life she has ever known. Furthermore, the only mother has ever known was a deceased Suliban woman, H’Shema.
The action follows Eriecho and Saddik off Canamar and to their new home, a sanctuary on Mars. Colonel Jack Shaw is in charge, and he’s thrilled. Partly it’s because it was his idea to try to find Vulcans in prisons. But it’s also because the rebuilding of the population involves surrogate mothers and as much genetic diversity as can be achieved with the limited remnants of a once-thriving species. Taking note of the Law of Supply and Demand, Shaw has something that others want. Hence he (and the administrators of the other sanctuaries, on places like Andoria) engages in a barely legal practice – gamete trading.
This book has been everywhere, or at least it sure seems that way. I particularly like it as warrior shorthand, that the people who are reading it are looking to go into battle. But the battle might just be The Battle of the Sexes.
This story is loaded with quotations from two separate books, this one and The Prince by Machiavelli. Empress Hoshi’s moves are calculated, everything from killing off Ian and Phlox, to overpowering T’Pol while at her weakest, to turning the loyalties of Emperor Phillip‘s men, including Andrew, José, and Brian. The book is presented as more or less a user’s manual for overthrowing a regime and installing one’s own brand of tyranny.
Advice from My Universes to Yours
In Advice, the book is mentioned briefly in passing when trying to convince a socially awkward person that perhaps they could read romantic fiction in order to understand people better. The book is mentioned and, of course, rejected immediately.
The Three of Us
In The Three of Us, Jay is shown reading and rereading this book, and he’s even reading it when Lili visits him in his quarters for the first time.
During In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Malcolm refers to this book, and tells Hoshi that it was a bequest from Jay. Malcolm further notes that he had vowed, at that time, to get to know the people under his command, but he fell down on the job with Kelsey and never did.
This little book gets around as much as Jane Eyre! It’ll be back.
As my Emergence Star Trek fan fiction stories were going to be ‘published’ on Issuu, I didn’t like the fact that I really didn’t have an ending to the series. While this story doesn’t really end the series, it does bring it to a somewhat satisfactory point. But I will definitely write more in this series, as I just enjoy it so much.
For Captain Malcolm Reed and his new ship, the DC-1505 USS Bluebird, they’ve left space dock and gone to Andoria. But now it’s time for their first true mission. And that’s to observe the elections on Daranaea. Complicating matters is the fact that the two leading candidates seem to be polar opposites. Boestus, the conservative standard-bearer, would keep the Daranaeans traditional. Vidam, the son of the legendary Dratha, is the liberal candidate. But his earlier attempt, to introduce a bill to give Prime Wives the right to vote in Daranaean elections, was laughed out of the Beta Council chamber.
Meanwhile, his half-sister, Seppa (she’s on the cover of the book) is traveling with her husband, Brantus, and their family. But Seppa is a third caste female. Eventually, she’ll be euthanized, a fact that doesn’t sit well with Reed, or with Jonathan Archer, who has maintained a correspondence with the young woman and is rather fond of her.
At the same time, Dr. Trinning, half-brother to both Seppa and Vidam, is fighting to cure Thylacine Paramyxovirus. His test subjects are third caste females, a fate that’s not much better than mandatory euthanization after menopause.
This warp-capable culture is in a strategic area, near Klingon space. Will they be allowed into the Federation? Do they even want to join it?
I was pleased to be able to continue the Daranaeans’ story and try to give it some happiness, and to follow Seppa, Vidam, and the others. Boestus even gets to return later, in Bread. I also liked that not everything is a triumph. Some things work out, but there’s still a lot more to do. And that’s reality.
Then something turned in my head, and I came up with this odd character, a kind of Klingon Valley Girl.
I like Amanda Seyfried for Rayna, particularly without heavy makeup.
But the truth is, Rayna could be played by a lot of young actresses. Certainly Kaley Cuoco or Holly Marie Combs would have been fine in their earlier days.
Gawky and out of place, Rayna is as unsure of herself as many teenaged girls are. The difference is that Rayna, being half-Klingon, can do some serious damage if she becomes angered. Failing in school, she is taken out by her concerned parents and is moved from Connecticut to the Archer Academy on Oberon, where troubled hybrid teens can go as a kind of last stop before Juvenile Hall.
But Rayna is also smart, and her poor grades are more a reflection on her not fitting in than on any lack of ability. Once she gets to the Archer Academy, she begins to blossom, particularly in English. But she still can’t quite get the hang of advanced Math. But that’s okay; she’s about to get a tutor.
I haven’t decided whether this will actually go anywhere, but I like the idea of Rayna having a fellow in class who she can relate to, or at least strive for. Because not only does she want to fit in; she also wants to get the guy and, at the same time, defeat her arch-rival, Tellifa.
There are really no impediments to Rayna existing in the Mirror Universe.
I like to think she’d be more graceful, and maybe even beautiful.
But she’d still be crafty.
“If I had more Klingon in me, I guess I’d be more intimidating, but most of the time I’m just a creampuff with cranial ridges. I swear I have never told anybody that before. Group is useless, but I feel I can at least mention it here.”
I love this character but I really haven’t done enough with her. After Freak School, she was mainly forgotten, which is a shame. I’ll have to find something to do with her one of these days.
I began the new round robin story on Ad Astra by posting Multiverse Mini. Like pretty much all of the round robins on the site, the storyline moves slowly and it might never be completed. I also contributed to The All-Stars. In response to a prompt about a worst nightmare, I wrote a story about Kevin Madden-Beckett, About Nine Months.
My numbers continued to climb. There are currently 18 works with 50 or more reviews. Four of those have 100 or more reviews. There are over 100 stories with at least 1,000 reads. See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.
I continued contributing to the wholly original story, The Polymer Beat, which is the first sequel to The Obolonk Murders. I worked on Time Out, which is the third story in the Barnstorming series.
I spent some time requesting a photomanipulation for my Klingons of Long Island character, Lukara of Hewlett, from the STPMA. That is all just a bit of silliness for the G and T Show.
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.
In Hold Your Dominion, a somewhat earlier Star Trek fanfiction piece, Gina and Gabrielle Nolan experience immeasurable loss when Gina’s husband, Michael, loses his life in a senseless Breen attack before Gabrielle is even born.
But life goes on, and eventually it’s five years since the attack. Gabby and Gina go to Gabby’s school, where there is a presentation of artwork commemorating the attack. Gabrielle’s artwork is a little disturbing, but there is a much better piece done by a little Klingon girl, Freela, who has lost her mother. When Gina finds a Klingon man who seems to be looking for something or someone, he turns out to be Kittris, Freela’s father. Gina immediately starts calling him Kit.
The actor is affable and intelligent and seems a better mate for Gina than a lot of the more standard Klingons would be. He seems to be a guy with a sense of humor and timing and grace, and not just a grappler with brawn.
Kit is a butcher by trade, but he does his best to assure that the animals he has to slaughter don’t suffer. When he and Gina first talk, he’s tentative (he doesn’t speak English very well yet). They make conversation as well as they can, and Gina can see how Kit interacts with Freela. He doesn’t belittle her when she’s afraid, with some notion of insisting that a little girl somehow behave like a Klingon warrior. Instead, he’s kind and patient.
After they have married, he takes in Gabrielle and treats her as if she were his second daughter. He insists that the two Nolans be a part of any family events or activities (including the wedding of Lannis’s younger sister, Lukara), and Freela and Gabrielle even share a bedroom. When the girls are older, and Gabby has to act opposite a Breen, Kit is supportive, and checks to make sure that Gabby is being treated all right, even by a former enemy.
Just like Michael Nolan, Lannis is killed in the Breen attack. However, Lannis was no civilian. Instead, she was a bombardier on a two-person Daranaean ship, and was shot down during a fire fight over San Francisco. When Kittris and Gina first meet, he intimates to her that he did not always get along with his first wife’s family, but he was dependent upon them to help with Freela, who was an infant at the time of her mother’s death.
With Gina, Kit finds a willing and equal partner in life. They blend their families in such a way that I often refer to them as the Klingon Brady Bunch. The union is respectful and as equal as it can be.
In Smash Your Dominion, the meeting in the Mirror Universe between the Mirror versions of Kit and Gina goes far differently as Gina, a Captain’s Woman, has to get her rambunctious daughter out of trouble before the Captain Keller (who is not Gabby’s father) finds out.
In exchange for a little something fun, Kit keeps quiet about Gabrielle getting into a small scrape. But Kit knows that it’s a bad idea to get involved with a Captain’s Woman. Unless one is a captain, of course.
“We realize that you must rehearse. But, well, everything about that boy disturbs me.”
I haven’t really thought about what else to do with this family, at least, not for a while. The situation may present itself, but right now Kit is on hold with the remainder of his blended clan.
When I was first writing Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction, and following the five senses, I got to sight last.
Instead of writing just about sight, I decided to create a multi-chapter story and more or less go for broke.
I also disliked how little screen time Travis got, so I decided to give him a little love with a story all his own.
In the middle of the night, Travis is pulled out of his bed and dumped … somewhere. But he’s not alone.
There are people from a few canon species – Andorians, Vulcans, Xindi sloth, Orions and Klingons. There are two of each, one male and one female. He doesn’t know the human woman he’s paired with; she is a far older woman, she speaks Russian and she is a librarian at the Lunar Colony Library.
And then they start to be prodded into working out a series of problems. For better or worse, they learn that they have to work together.
The story is … okay. It’s not great. I have updated it a bit (Lili makes a quick appearance), although I really should have done more. The plotting is slow in parts, and it can drag and be rather talky. There are original characters, and I’m glad that I felt confident enough in my world-creating abilities to add them, but some are wooden and others are more three-dimensional but still not too well-defined. Not too bad for a mystery tale, but I have learned that it is better to give more information about characters, in order to give the reader something to hold onto while reading.
It could be better, and probably a lot better. But it taught me a lot about story creation and pacing, and so I am grateful for its existence.