Literature, Reading

How to Get Started If You Want to Try Writing Fan Fiction

I have read plenty of great fan fiction in my life, and I have written some pieces myself, just because I loved some TV shows so much that I wanted the characters to live more through my writing. A lot of people love writing fan fiction. It is a creative endeavor that even has helped a few become consecrated writers. I am not one to reach for the stars, but I do think that writing fan fiction is a fun activity that will help you deal with the blue feelings after the last episode of the last season of your favorite TV show or anime aired, with no hopes of coming back. Here are my thoughts on how to start if you want to try your hand at writing fan fiction.

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Canon and not-canon

Whatever happens in a TV show, a movie or an anime, as written by the original creators, is called the canon. It may sound grand, and it may be so, because it is what made you fall in love with the characters and the story line in the first place. Do you have an idea about what you wanted the characters to do at a certain point? Maybe you like to go a bit on the dark side, and have Frodo never return the ring, or make Spiderman kind of a baddie. The best part is that you can do everything you want in your fan fiction. Just don’t scream at the screen when others will comment badly on what you have just written.

 

In-character versus out-of-character

You can verge off from the canon at any point, but keep in mind a simple thing that will make your fan fiction successful. Try keeping the characters “in-character”. I know I mentioned a few strange things just before, but as long as you manage to convince your readers that the characters could do that thing or that thing because something that had happened and it is not mentioned in the canon, you have no reason to hesitate.

There are fan fiction writers out there who guard themselves against the proverbial rotten egg throwing – virtually speaking – by mentioning ahead that the characters will be a little out of character. Nonetheless, strive to make them believable and your fan fiction will be read.

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A compelling story line

What I talked about are mostly technicalities, but I believe them to be the most important ones, so I now I will go right for the bread and butter of any good enough to read fan fiction: a compelling story line. Think of it in advance; what you want the characters to do, where and when and how. Write this outline on paper and think your fan fiction piece in advance. I personally hate it when fan fiction writers come with a great idea, they write one chapter and then they leave it to gather dust. I know most readers literally hate this kind of writers, so don’t be one of them. Be the one that people will love to read and you will be rewarded with some really great comments.

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Literature, Reading

The best books I’ve read this year

Though I am a passionate reader, making time to read a great book these days has proven to be a challenge for me. It is hard to make time to find an intriguing story and even more difficult to find some quiet corner in which to read it. Luckily, I still manage to steal some patches of time in which I can pamper myself with a good novel.

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Quite recently, I have stumbled upon Paula McLain’s book, Circling the Sun. It is actually a biographical novel recounting the life of Beryl Markham, the first female aviator that managed to cross the Atlantic from East to West (Abingdon, England to New York) in 1936. It is with this event that the book begins, although the story narrates her life from her childhood until adult years. What got me interested in this title is that Beryl Markham’s life is intimately tied to that of another woman who lived in Kenya in the beginning of the 20th century, Karen Blixen. Blixen herself is well-known for her book Out of Africa that was made into the famous Hollywood movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

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From the pages of the book, we find out that not only the two women were intimate friends, but they also loved the same man, the eternal wanderer – Dennis Finch Hatton. However, the novel is much more than a biographical attempt, it is a wonderful story that lets you into the intimate life of Beryl, her thoughts, her attempt to adapt to society after having spent her child years and adolescence amongst the Kipsigis tribe and into the wilderness and her struggle to overcome the void that her mother left when she abandoned her when she was only 4 years old. The pages of the novel are filled with fantastic descriptions of the Kenyan land, the society that was just beginning to form in the colony and the relations established between its inhabitants. Paula McLain manages to keep you hooked with not only a great story, but with her talent to bring her characters alive and transport you in a fascinating period.

If you read the author’s note on the story and on the reasons for which she decided to dig into the existence of this exceptional, yet unknown woman, you will find that Beryl herself wrote an autobiography entitled West With the Wind that passed unnoticed at that time, but that Hemingway qualified as an exceptional piece of writing. Therefore, this is on my book list for this year, as I would like to see things through her eyes, but also go back in those times and places through her narrative once more.

As I was fascinated with her writing style, I think that after reading Beryl Markham’s book, I will purchase Paula McLain’s debut novel, The Paris wife, centered on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. I can’t wait to see what Parisian landscapes and fantastic characters this amazing author has in store for me.

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Treats

More desserts for kids

Hello everyone, just wanted to share some new ideas on great desserts.

My mother always cooks the most fabulous desserts for my kids’ birthday. I have twins: a boy and a girl, so my mother has to prepare something extra special for the both of them in the same day, which is a pleasure – she says. Personally I would never be capable of so much creativity, as she finds a new cake to bake every year, though she also repeats some of my kids’ favorite recipes, such as cake pops, which they adore beyond words, especially if topped with coconut flakes.

void 3Not all kids have similar tastes, but I’d like to give you one example of what my mom cooks for my kids at times and that they particularly like. The cranberry oat bars is a dessert that needs only few ingredients, it is tasty and it reminds me of my childhood, because my mom used to bake them for me as well. For these you need, of course, cranberries, finely grated lemon zest (approximately 2 teaspoons), 2 cups rolled oats,  orange marmalade, ½ cup of sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup light brown sugar, baking powder, salt and 10 tablespoons unsalted butter.

void 4Mix the cranberries, sugar, marmalade and zest in a pan, add 2 tablespoons water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly while crushing the berries. You can add fresh or frozen berries, but I prefer them fresh. You cook the mixture for a maximum of 8 to 10 minutes, while stirring continuously so that it doesn’t scorch. Once finished, put it in another recipient and let it cool, then put it in the fridge for minimum 2 hours.

In the meantime, in another bowl, mix together flour, the rolled oats, brown sugar, butter (in small pieces) and lemon until they are perfectly blended. In a pan, spread half of the oats mixture. Spread the cranberries mixture evenly on its surface and top it with the other half of the oats composition.

To bake it, you need a baking pan, lined with baking foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Preheat the oven before inserting the pan at 350 degrees and then let it bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges acquire a light brown nuance. Take it out and wait for it to cool completely. Then cut it in small pieces and serve it.

As I said, this one is an old recipe that she made for me when I was a kid as well, though I loved more the unhealthy ice cream I bought on the street, a thing with which she disagreed and she scolded me for each and every time. Luckily, my kids have different tastes. I hope yours will enjoy it as much as they do!

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Treats

A nice treat for your kids

Hello, dears! Remember how, when you were little, you always loved the candy and treats your grandma used to prepare just for you? Well, as I told you before, I like to welcome my grandchildren with homemade goodies for the joy of their young little hearts. I usually try confectionery that is familiar to them and that has a cool, inviting look, but lately I have been thinking about my own childhood and the things I loved to treat myself to back then. It’s strange how the simple things can hold such a grip on someone’s memories, isn’t it?

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I really loved cotton candy when I was small, and I remember my own grandparents always showing up on our doorstep with huge, fluffy, white or pink cocoons on a stick when it was time to celebrate something or someone. Now, my grandchildren must have eaten cotton candy at some point, because when I first told them I had bought a cotton candy machine, they weren’t all that surprised. But once they came to my house and I showed them how it works, they are just floored with the machinery and the delicious result.

 

I’m pretty excited myself since this is just so easy to use. All you have to do is assemble the machine, which is extremely simple, for it doesn’t have many parts, and then off you go buying sugar or hard candy in whichever flavor you want. You can even try different combinations of flavors. After you’ve heated the machine – by letting it run for about five minutes – you turn it off, and insert the candy in the middle. Turn it on again and start spinning the stick or tubes as soon as you see the little strings of cotton appearing. You also have to move the stick around the bowl as you spin it, in order to make sure you get all of the cotton. I can usually tell from the sound when the candy is about to run out.

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What’s really great about it is that you can stick to small individual portions or you can make one big serving. Also, I have a lot of fun mixing different colored layers or using the cotton candy for more complex desserts. If you’ve never had the chance to try it before, it goes wonderfully with ice cream and topping, and the kids really love it.

 

It is very simple to clean using a damp cloth or even by washing the parts, and because it has such a small and delicate construction, you can store it easily. I am very happy I came up with the idea of buying this thing, and I’m looking forward to trying out the next fun combination when my grandkids come by next time. Of course, you could also try making cotton candy without a machine by using these tips.

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Treats

How to make great pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? I mean really, it’s quite impossible to not adore them because they can be filled with basically anything (edible, of course) and they are ready fast. I could basically eat pancakes all day long, if I wasn’t aware that my body needs other foods too. However, I still make time to cook them 2 or 3 times a week. Generally, you can choose between the classic crepe, that is unleavened and the American pancake for which you need a leavening agent such as baking powder to obtain a fluffy and tasty round-shaped cake. Anyhow, the two words are used interchangeably nowadays. The word crepe comes from French and makes reference to the surface of the pancake that looks a bit like a piece of lace.

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What is so great about crepes is that anybody can make them. The batter is easily prepared and generally includes wheat flour, butter, milk, sugar and eggs. Once the batter is ready, you can choose between the various recipes you find online. One of my all-time favorite recipes is maple syrup pancakes. These are easy to make. You prepare the batter with all-purpose flour, milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder (but that depends on the quantity of the other ingredients, just check the verso of the package for the recommended quantities), 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and more maple syrup to coat the pancakes once they’re ready.

crepe maker1In a bowl, you mix all the ingredients until they form a whole, then you fry them and add as much maple syrup as you want on top of them when they’re ready. This is a simple and tasty recipe, ideal for family breakfasts. If you’re not a morning person, you can prepare the batter in the evening, put it in the fridge and leave it there overnight. Everything you need to do in the morning is stir it a bit before you start preparing the pancakes. However, I don’t prepare crepes in a classic pan or griddle, but I use a crepe maker. You have surely seen one. It has a large cooking platform on which you spread the crepe, then you flip it to fry it on both sides, after which the crepe is ready to be served. I first laid my eyes on one at a fair where you could buy freshly made crepes and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I had to buy one for myself.

Using a crepe maker helps you eliminate many problems that you would have to deal with if you were using another cooking utensil to make pancakes. Firstly, they are fitted with nonstick surfaces, which are essential if you want your crepes not to have holes in them and also help with cleaning the machine once you’re done, because there are no leftovers to scrap off it. Secondly, a crepe maker lets you know when its surface is at the optimal temperature to spread the batter on it, which is essential to obtain the perfect crepe, that will not only taste wonderful, but will also have the right consistency.

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Treats

The Best Desserts My Grandkids Love

Since I have been cooking for my four grandchildren, my recipe book really suffered some great transformations. Now I am very knowledgeable of all kinds of sweet things kids enjoy these days and I especially find cake pops fun to make. Because they are four and I am just one, and I must make sure to cater to all their preferences, I never go with a single style of cake pop. I know who likes which kind of cake pop, so I am prepared with all the ingredients when I hear they come visiting. I want to share with you some easy cake pop recipes you can make at home, too.

I know that everyone knows some basic cake pop recipe. So I will not bore you to the death with details on how to make the mix and so on, especially since you can use ready made solutions, marshmallows, chocolate chips and so on. What I want to share with you are some ideas that will really make cake pops appeal even more to kids.

Spring ready cake pops

Candy corn is a great ingredient for decorating cake pops when you want to go for something season themed. I use pastel colors when I choose candy corn, and I use my imagination for decorating the sweets I will be serving the kids and my relatives. I must say that even adults love them.

Game themed cake pops

Since kids love playing videogames, I thought about offering them something that is as close to home as possible. My older grandson is passionate about a game called Minecraft where players use blocks to build various things. I had to watch some YouTube videos to learn what was all about, and then an idea struck: to make cake pops in the shape of the building blocks they use in the game.

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I used a silicone mold with squares to make the basic shape for the cake pops. I poured the mixture into the mold and baked it as usual. The decorating part was a bit more challenging, but I am proud to say that I did quite a good job. I prefer to dip the cake pops in chocolate but you can try other recipes, too. I decorated the cake pops with some creeper faces I saw in the YouTube videos. Who knew cake pops and retro games could go hand in hand? There are many other cake pop recipes I make for my kids, and the biggest thing is that they really enjoy them!

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About the project

The new me

 

Hi to you all! I hope you are having a great time in your lives, and that you are willing to try something new! As an avid reader, I am constantly searching for new information. I am like a sponge in search of new knowledge! I know that a lot of people are just like me, and that is why I want to bring my own contribution to the so many wonderful things you can find online right now.

I used to write fan fiction back in the day, but now that I am the happy grandma of four lovely kids, I have steered my attention into a different direction. My aim is to share with you, wonderful readers, the many great recipes I have in my stash. I haven’t given too much thought to the things I knew about cooking until recently, but since I have started to treat my grandkids with all kinds of delicious pies and cookies, I noticed that I really know a thing or two about recipes for kids.

This is not everything I know, mind you. I also know many cool recipes that work great for family reunions. Family get-togethers can be strenuous. That I know. But we can all make things better by making these family reunions a true opportunity for getting together once more. And believe me, nothing binds people better than a flavorful home cooked meal that is exactly to everyone’s liking. You may well know how pretentious kids can be, and even some adults. If I am managing to satisfy the tastes of four kids and an entire extended family, then I think you can do, too.

home cookingCome visit my blog where I will share all the great recipes I know. I have a mind to compile all of them into a book – all those years of writing fan fiction should have taught me some things about how to write compelling content – and then offer it to my readers.

Until these dreams come to fruition, I personally have the pleasure of inviting you to join me in this culinary adventure and try my recipes. You will find here something for every taste, and do not worry; all my recipes are completely doable and they are as delicious as they are easy to make. After all, trying to keep everyone well fed is a matter of how fast a cook one can be, and this is among the things I hope you will learn while visiting my blog.

 

You can also find me on kitchenettejen.com where I write about the best 2 slice toasters and other kitchen utensils.

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About the project

My past projects

 

 

Welcome to Voided-Space!

This is basically a directory to all of my sites that I either run or co-run with others. Among them you will find my fanart portfolio, and a few fanfiction sites.

 

My Fanart Portfolio
U-Mockers was founded on August 28, 2006. This is where I post all of my fanart and anything related to that. It is this site that sprung the idea of getting my own Domain.

 

My Fanlisting Collective
Site is Temorarily CLOSED. I was having some personal issues, and computer issues so I had to stop doing fanlistings for a while. I hope to get back into them again soon as I really enjoyed them, but I dunno if I will have a collective…time will tell.

 

A Fanfiction Verse
I Co-Run this site with both Alex and Travis, very good friends of mine. It is a site dedicated to our own little Verse that is a spin-off of the Buffy and Angel verse. There you will find our Virtual Series’ Raven, Sorceress of Crimson Falls, and Broken Destiny, along with some other great mini-series

 

A Veronica Mars Continuation
I Co-Run this site with Heather. It is our own continuation of Veronica Mars. We were pissed when the show ended without any closure and since there is still so much more story to tell, we decided to take it under our wings. I am in the process right now of bringing it over to Voided-Space.

 

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