When Did This Happen? Melanie Whithaus


I’ve noticed that I tend to write a lot about the future when it comes t o these blog posts. What I’m going to do with my life in ten years from now, or even what I’m doing in one year from now. Or even what I plan on doing tomorrow. But the one thing that I never thought would happen within a year from now, or especially in a week from Saturday, is my own book signing.

When Robin first mentioned the idea of me having my own book signing, I didn’t understand. I thought she meant that I was running another book signing, like the launch of PAWS, but no. It wasn’t until the second time she mentioned it that I realized she was talking about my own book. She laughed at my face of complete and utter shock, let alone confusion. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would get a book signing for a “silly” chapbook. I don’t even have my own ISBN, and here I am preparing for my own book signing. I have so many friends and family who are asking me for copies of these handmade books. It’s quite liberating. I never thought this simple idea of throwing a chapbook together would lead to this.

I first created a chapbook in my Small Press Publishing class. Our final project was to make a chapbook. Without that class, I never thought making this book would be possible. After my first internship working with SEMO’s small press and taking various classes, I knew I was ready to make my own book, but of course with no inclination that it would lead to this.

Many of the poems in the book are ones that I wrote back in high school. At the time, I was overwhelmed with inspiration. I wrote nearly every day and I never felt the need to go back and edit. I was told that I was a decent writer throughout the years, and the poems in “Enigma” are many of the best I wrote during that time period of my life. There are two published pieces in “Enigma”, the poems “Bluebirds” and “Undertaker”. Both were published with Scapegoat Review back in December of 2012, and ironically unlike the rest of the book, they were written after high school. “Bluebirds” is about an abusive family and the effects it has on each member, while “Undertaker” is about love consuming a person much like death can. “Undertaker” was originally a prose poem I wrote for class. I remember my friend reading it out loud and thinking to myself: “Wow, I write some strange things.” The overall themes of “Enigma” are sex, love, and death, and how the three are connected to one another. According to me, they all influence each other equally and I think that my poems can do the rest of the explaining.

But before I sign off, I just wanted to give a big thanks to Robin for giving me this opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed working with her this summer and this internship has given me some of the best experiences to look forward to in my own publishing career.

My book signing of “Enigma” will be on August 3rd at 1:00PM at All on the Same Page Bookstore in Creve Coeur, MO. Hope to see you there!

Fan Fiction: Writing for Fun – Melanie Whithaus

In my previous post, I mentioned my love for fan fiction. I figure I could go into a little more detail about it for those of you who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of fan fiction is “is a broadly-defined fan labor term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator (“Fan Fiction”).” So basically, as I quote myself here from my last post, “you write a story about your favorite novel, movie, celebrity (the list goes on forever) living in a world that you’ve created. Now, it can be the same ‘universe’ that the original story is written in, but the new plot is yours.” There’s such thing as “alternate universe” which is outside the original canon.

For all we know, fan fiction could have been written for ages before it was documented. As a child, Charlotte Bronte was one well-known fan fiction writer, and during the 20th century many parody stories about Alice in Wonderland were written. But it wasn’t until 1965 when the term “fan fiction” was coined. Many sci-fi stories were written, and then, in 1998, fanfiction.net came to life (a personal favorite site of mine) . (“Fan Fiction”)

Just like any media, there are genres of fan fiction. “’Crack,’ a story with a deliberately bizarre premise, such as a nonsensical crossover; ‘angst;’ and ‘fluff,’ ‘schmoop,’ or ‘WAFF (Warm and Fuzzy Feeling)’ for a “feel good” story” (“Fan Fiction”) are a handful of examples. Personally, I like to read and write fluff because I get the most WAFF out of them. Romance stories are the most common because there are so many characters from any fandom that can be paired together. There is even such a thing as “crossover,” which is when two fandoms (that can be completely different from one another) are put in the same universe.

I could go on for hours about all the details of fan fiction, but I want to tell you a little about my own experience with writing in that genre. I started writing fan fiction when I was in the seventh grade. My friend introduced me to Harry Potter fan fiction and I instantly was in love. I spent hours reading fan-written stories, but I never had the faith in myself to write my own. As I grew older, I stopped reading fan fiction and focused on published works and writing my own pieces. But come my senior year of high school, I fell in love with another “fandom” (fandom, fan domain, is a term for a community of followers for a specific piece of published work), and my love for fan fiction immediately returned. Now I don’t mean to brag or anything, but according to my reviewers, I now have one of the best stories written in my fandom!

I enjoy writing fan fiction because not only is it fun, but I feel that it’s easy to write and makes for good practice. It helps to get the basics of writing down without having to worry about character development or setting up a world. The focus is on the writing and the fun of writing. Taking something that you found was wonderful and putting your own spin on it. That’s what fan fiction is all about: writing for fun, as it should be.


Works Cited “Fan Fiction.” Wikipedia. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_fiction&gt;.