Writer's Showcase
created by
Annie Lansbury

Dear Readers,

Welcome, I am glad you have chosen to drop by and read this week's interview. I hope you enjoy it and you will come back week after week. Also, you will find links to past featured writers at the end of this interview. Just click on the writer's name and you will be taken to their interview.

This week's Featured Writer comes to us from the country of Scotland. She is a well known Nfic writer who has already built a legion of readers in the short amount of time she has been writing L&C fanfics. This remarkable writer has an unbelievable understanding of the characters and their motivations, but she adds enough action to keep the stories interesting. As one of her devoted readers has said ...."her Nfics are hot enough to curl your toes... she's just plain great!"

Now without further ado, I am proud and honored to present this week's Writer, in the Writer's Showcase ...

Featured Writer of the Week

Personal Information

Author name
Doc. Klein's LabRat. LabRat for short. Or LB or even Labby, depending on who you're talking to. The capitalized 'R' is purely pretentious, but hey it looks good on screen.

E-mail address labrat@dircon.co.uk.

Don't have one as such. At least not one I did all the hard work on. But a very nice FoLC called Annette Ciotola has recently set up an archive site, affiliated with other sites for some great nfic authors where I now store my completed stories. And she did it without my begging her to either. Thanks Annette!

The URL is http//www.nfanfic.net/

It's just won Annette the LNC Fantasyland Pages award for Site of the Week and deservedly so. It's chock full of wonderful tidbits on LNC.

Lowland Scotland. Note, not Highland. So, please, don't ask me about kilts or haggis if you want a logical response. A little town called Cumbernauld. (What's it called? CUMBERNAULD!! Was a recent, imaginative ad. campaign. You can see what we're up against. Sheesh). It was a progressive social project in the early sixties - one of six - which was set up to lure families out of the cities and into a rural location. It's main claim to fame is that it was the shoot location for Bill Forsyth's movie GREGORY'S GIRL.

Listservs, AOL or web affiliations? None that I know of. Except see above. I'm a bit new to this net business though - so forgive me if I'm affiliated to something but just don't know it. I've signed up to the LOISCLA and LOISCLA-GENERAL lists, if that counts. I just love having my mailbox fill up with debate and discussion, being a lazy tyke. Much better than having to go hunt it down! <g>

Lois and Clark or Superman Status

How long have you been watching L&C?
Well, for a long time, I didn't know what I was missing. Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot. What can I say? I can't even use the excuse that I was young and foolish. Time and again, I bypassed that fluttering red cape on my screen, Saturday tea-times, with a derisive snort and a 'Oh, grief, not that kiddies superhero thing again!' My best friend, Lyndsay, watched it with her two teenage sons. She wasn't a FoLC by any means, but she did like it. I was pretty scathing about her choice of viewing habits, I can tell you, from the lofty heights of my superior knowledge of what constituted good SF. I'd been watching SF since I was in high school. I knew what was good and what wasn't. And that superhero thingy definitely came into the wasn't category.

Then, our cable channel, SKY, began to rerun the show daily at six pm and,somehow, while surfing through the channels, I fell into the latter half of THE PHOENIX. I can't say what kept my finger off the remote button. My first sight of Dean probably! But, he wouldn't have kept me watching to the end all on his own. Five minutes to the end maybe......but that's another story. Anyway, I watched. Course, I wasn't going to admit that I'd been wrong. But it didn't take long before I went from watching the show each evening 'because there's nothing else on' to taping the episode of the evening 'just in case someone calls and I miss something vital in the plot and, hey, I can tape over it later, right?' to diving off of the bus at precisely 5.57pm each evening, haring up the road to home, throwing bags and coat in a haphazard heap on the first bit of floor I found, kicking the dogs out of my way, slamming the tape into the VCR and whoa betide anyone who interrupted me for the next hour. Yup, I was hooked.

Lyndsay, of course, is very smug these days. Very, very smug. In fact it's a running joke between us that if I say a show is completely useless then one of us should tape it to save me having to beg, borrow, steal and beat up old ladies to get my hands on the episodes I've missed when I realize I adore it. Which should usually be in about two years time, going by past experience.

How long have you been a fan of Superman?
Sadly to say, I was never a fan of Superman. I can recall reading a couple of Wonder Woman comics when I was a kid, but generally the comic genre never attracted me. I did love the Chris Reeves/Margot Kidder movies and thought they were definitive portrayals - until I encountered L&C. Since falling head over heels for L&C I have picked up a couple of Superman comic compilations and have found them interesting in the main. But it's very much the relationship between Clark and Lois with Superman as a diversion or a catalyst to problems which they must overcome which attracts me to LNC, rather than the superhero myth alone. If LNC had been just another Adventures of Superman clone, then it wouldn't have sustained my interest for very long. It was the dilemma of how Clark tries to cope with having a private life that is in conflict with his desire to use his superpowers to help the world that interested me. I guess I'm a Shipper FoLC - to coin a phrase! <g> And a sucker for a good romance.

How long have you been writing?
I think I was writing before I left the womb. It seems, looking into the distant past, that I was always hoarding scraps of paper with some scrawl or another on it. I battered at an old Petite typewriter for years before graduating to an adult version and then onto PCs and finally the ultimate writers' tool - the net. I guess I began to take it seriously when I was sixteen though. That puts me at over 20 years of writing by this point. At first it was general stuff. I flirted with poetry for a time, but it was too restricting. I love to wallow, wade in the detail. Then, I (belatedly yet again and years after everyone else had discovered it as a good thing - do you detect a pattern here?) found a compilation of Star Trek fanfic (Sondra Marshak's and Myrna Culbreath's New Voyages) in my bookstore and fell in love with both the show and the concept. I had had no idea that fans actually took what was on screen and explored the hidden facets the restrictions of TV missed. This was an epiphany. I started writing my own Trek fanfic, even had some published in the zines. Gradually, through the years, as I've moved on from show to show, I've taken my love of asking 'what if' with me. I think I always will. There's so much to explore.

How long have you been writing L&C fanfic?
Since last May. I can't say what sparked me off. The usual, I guess. I'd just watched AKA SUPERMAN and I wanted to try my hand at writing as close as I could to a L&C episode. I usually get to that point before too long with a show which I fall in love with. I gave up on it halfway, resurrected it a couple of times, but wasn't anywhere near finished it when I had a second epiphany and found myself writing nfic instead. The epic, CAPED FEAR, was transformed into nfic too and currently runs at around 350pp, with all but the final 50pp or so posted online. I only started posting my fanfic early this year though. I think around March.

What types of Fanfic have you written?
Well, as I say - I was overtaken by nfic. This was actually very strange, because I'd never considered writing anything but PG fanfic before. In fact, I'd had something of an angst block on writing anything else! I'd often bemoaned the fact that I seemed genetically incapable of getting my characters to move below the left shoulder whenever they found themselves in a clinch. And heaven forbid that they should try gravitating to a portion of delicate anatomy. That was enough to bring me out in a hot flush and make me come over all funny. Nope, in my fanfic, trains always roared through tunnels and waves crashed delicately on beaches whenever things got hot and steamy. Then, I discovered L&C nfic that other authors had written and fell in love. Somehow, Lois and Clark seemed especially easy to write for that way. Not long after, I challenged myself to see if I could do something similar when a fanfic idea that was only ever going to work as nfic popped into my head almost in its entirety. The result was my first posted nfic, INSIDE SCOOP. And I just haven't stopped since.

Most recent story posted? Where?
The most recent was my ninth nfic vignette, HEARTS & SHOWERS - a tagon to BRUTAL YOUTH in which Lois and Clark explore their new townhouse - and a lot else besides. And part two of the epic. All of my nfic is posted first to Zoom's Nfic MB and then to Debby Stark's mailing list. With the addition of Anne's generous work on the new site, it will be archived there too in future.

Favorite story you have written? Why?
Oh gosh, tough one. I like all of them - I have to, I'm the author. No choice there. I tend to like the one I'm working on at the moment and then move on from there. It's always the current story, because that's where the challenge lies. Of the nfic I've posted......again, tough. I liked BEACH BUNNIES because it was waffy. And WET & WILD because Clark got to be macho and tease Lois......and then she got to get her own back. ;-)

Current project/projects?
Finishing off the conclusion of CAPED FEAR (hopefully by the end of the year) and working my way through the dozen or so vignettes which are still on my current projects disk. Currently, top of the list of those is HOOK, LINE & SINKER - Clark and Lois have a fun time fishing while on a picnic and rediscovering some of Clark's roots in Smallville. And once the nfic version of CF is done and dusted, I'll be converting it into a PG version too.

Personal picks of other Fanfics you have read?
Oh, wow, even harder. I'm one of those people who can never tell you their favorite movie or book because I change my mind daily. Fanfic is worse because there's so much of it out there and it's all wonderful. I love Sheila Harper's stories, Demi's HEAVEN'S PRISONERS and Chris Mulder's MEET ME IN KANSAS CITY, among so many others. Menolly's nfic, especially her DAYZ series has a special place in my heart because it was the first nfic I discovered and I fell in love and because it set me on the path to writing my own. The Gorn's three stories are big favorites too, especially ONE AND ONLY, which has made me LOL and given me a lump in my throat every single time I've read it. The beautiful explorations of Clark and Alt. Clark's early Pre-Metropolis life of Margaret Brignell are well thumbed over in my fanfic files. And Debby Stark is slowly killing me with anticipation as I await each new section of her wonderful DAWNING series.

Interview Questions

What attracted you to writing Fanfic and what about it do you enjoy?
Pushing the boundaries. Filling in the blanks. Going where the producers and the screenwriters don't go and exploring the possibilities they've created on screen. Anything and everything is possible in fanfic. Budget costs can't tame the imagination and networks can't tell you no. <g>

What about L&C and the characters do you like the most?
I dismissed L&C initially because the invincible superhero never interested me much. What attracts me to Clark is his vulnerability. He's the strongest man in the world and yet, as Lois ably pointed out, he has problems and insecurities just like the rest of us. In fact, what intrigues me is that his powers are often a burden rather than a delight. A show has always had to have three main aspects to make me fall in love with it. A set of characters who care deeply about each other - but don't always know it, although they gradually learn. Humor. And a burgeoning love story between two people who are made for each other, but just haven't figured it out. Now, if I'd realized L&C held all of those ingredients and mixed them so well, I'd have been watching from the pilot. Teri Hatcher's Lois Lane was just a delight to behold and so complex she just begged to be explored on the page as well as on the screen.

How do you interpret them in your work?
Well, I used to try my darnedest to produce something as close to what was on screen as I could get with all my other favorite shows. And then take it to that added extra dimension. Add in all the little moments that you would never see on screen because the budget wouldn't allow or just simply because there wasn't the time to explore the characters in that depth. I've still tried to do that with CAPED FEAR - although the plot rapidly got so complicated that I had to start thinking of it as a three story arc rather than an episode! But, nfic, is a whole barrel of fish all on its own and there, I just try to let Clark and Lois enjoy the physical and emotional side of their relationship with some tender, waffy moments, some humor......oh yeah, and some hot sex thrown in!

How did you begin writing in general?
Ooops, bad planning. Seem to have answered this one earlier.

What is your opinion about the following types of L&C fanfics?
I enjoy fanfics which include a little bit of everything - just like the show on screen. Action is good, but it has to be tempered with other aspects such as humor and the relationship between Clark and Lois for me. I like long fanfic though and like wallowing in good A-plots.

I adore hurt/comfort stories. Always have.

Depends on the sub-category! I like humor to be present in any story I read. How can you truly appreciate the seriousness of the drama without the humorous moments to highlight it? One bounces off of the other. But I'm not keen on......hmmmmmm, finding a description here is hard. In jokes, I guess. Silly humor (and I don't mean that in a derogative sense, just an attempt to separate it out) where the characters are pushed out of character deliberately to make the joke. I prefer my humor to maintain the boundaries of the show. There are exceptions to this rule, of course!

Round Robin?
I appreciate how difficult these are to write, having indulged in RR's myself in the past. Not with L&C. But they're not really favorites. If I am going to read a Round Robin, I prefer it to run seamlessly when you read it, so that you don't see the join, and that is incredibly difficult to do when so many different writings styles are involved. Again though, I've read some great L&C RR's which I've enjoyed.

What can I say? Since I seem to be on a kick of writing it exclusively at the moment, I have to say it's my favorite of all the L&C genres right now. I do plan to write PG fanfic again in the future, but right now my heart's in the bedroom. And the gutter now and then. ;-)

Has everything been done in your opinion and if not, what is left?
Grief, no! As a famous Vulcan once said, (and I undoubtedly paraphrase) 'There are always possibilities'. There may be a finite number of themes, but there are always stories to explore and new angles. Each author brings something of their own heart and soul to a story. No two will produce the same fanfic, even if you gave them the same plot, characters and props to use. And, like I said earlier, in fanfic there are no boundaries to the imagination. You can fly where your heart takes you and as high as there is sky.

What do you think makes the best story?
Again, a mixture of all of the themes contained in the show. Humor, passion, emotional issues, angst, action, adventure, drama and a timeless love story that touches us all. My only criteria is that our heroes have to ride off safely into the sunset on the final page. I don't mind WHAMS in fact hurt/comfort fanfic demands them. But I don't like Deathfic. It depresses me for days. Again though, there are a couple which have been so beautifully written that they transcend the maudlin and become the exception.

Where is the best place for a reader to locate your work?
Anne's recently set up site mentioned earlier has all my nfic to date archived on its pages. And you'll find them on Zoom's Nfic MB. Where, incidentally, you'll find a whole host of other wonderful nfic by other authors whose stories have kept me from LCWS and sane this past year!

Open Forum For Author Comments
Well, thanks to Annie, for including me in her Showcase. A wonderful idea. I've found the insights into my favorite authors fascinating week by week. Keep up the good work, Annie.

Isn't the net a wonderful thing? I've explored this elsewhere recently - the awesome difference posting fanfic online has made to my life as a fanfic author. It's like fairytale magic. I've been used to working with ink and paper zine all of my writing 'life'. A laborious and frustrating process. There was no feedback, no opportunity to question the authors whose stories you read. We were in the main shadowy figures, working in isolation and anonymous. I never fail to be stunned by the fact that I can finish battering out a story in the small hours of the morning, post it to the world an instant later and find a message from Brazil in my mailbox the next morning with comments. And, likewise, no more reading a fanfic and wondering why the author did this, or why a character said that. It has opened up a whole new world for me that I never tire of and given me access to question so many talented people and let them know how much I enjoy and value their hard work. Long may you continue to give us beautiful L&C moments.

Take care.

LabRat -)