Featured Showcased Writer of the Month
Doc Klein's Labrat

Writers' showcase revisited

What have you been up to since the last interview?
Actually, my 'real' life hasn't changed a great deal since we last spoke. After inheriting some money which enabled us to reorganise our finances I was able to retire from my job as a Legal Secretary/Court Clerk a few months before I first hooked up to the internet and discovered FoLCdom. So my life runs along a pretty even keel these days. No major disasters, no major achievements...just mooching from day to day. :) The major change in fact was probably losing our German Shepherd, Khan. He was fifteen and a very old man. But the past year has been filled with a bundle of irrepressible fun in the shape of another German Shepherd called Max, who is so far completely incorrigible but a great deal of fun to live with.

Although a FoLC is forever, are you still an active part of the fandom? What holds your interest now?
Ooooooh, now where do I start? As far as I recall - like most rats I have a very poor memory for such things - when I did my last interview FoLCdom was a very small world for me. I was writing fanfic and posting it to Zoom's mbs, but they were a simpler and much less involved version of the thriving and vibrant community we have today. I had a few email friends...but that was about the extent of it.

My participation in FoLCdom has expanded tenfold since then. I discovered the wonders of IRC for one thing. No, wait...back up a bit. That wasn't the catalyst. The catalyst for expansion came when the market in UK ISPs exploded and become much more like the US model. Previously, I'd had to severely limit my internet time (to just 4 or 5 hours a week max) because the costs were so exorbitant. Boy, those were the days. <G> Hard to believe I went through that anguish now. ;) Now I'm on ADSL cable, where I pay a set fee a month and no per minute phone call costs. So the sky is pretty much the limit. I'm on the pc, I'm on the internet.

So...where was I? Oh, yes - I discovered IRC. And in particularly #lanekent. Now I spend most of my evenings chatting to the most gregarious, fun-loving group of people it's been my privilege to meet. I've made many new friends. Expanding outwards from there, I've been drafted...uh...persuded to volunteer and get involved with so many FoLC projects. Beta-reading stories...being a General Editor for the Archive..presenting awards at the Kerths and nKerths...my eddress book has blossomed spectacularly and my mailbox is hardly ever empty. I work behind the scenes helping out the real brains behind the Messageboard Indexes and this Writers' Showcase...it's a good thing I've retired from work really. <G> Culminating, of course, in the ultimate project...Editor-in-Chief of the Fanfic Archive. I'll wait for the next update interview to let you know how that one turned out. ;) It's scary, but exciting too and I'm looking forward to working with so many talented people on this one.

Are you still writing? If so, what is/are your current project/projects?
I don't think I could ever stop writing. In one form or another. I've been writing now - mostly fanfic - for nigh on 30 years. Occasionally the Muse takes an extended vacation, but mostly I plod along much as I always have.

Current projects? Completing the wips currently on my hard drive before I get lynched. Those #lanekent guys are pretty unsympathetic when it comes to excuses as to why you haven't written anything in a particular week. ;) And, hoo boy, can they nag. They're a wonderful inspiration and constant source of encouragement.

Personally, if I manage to get Masques (a reworking of the Wedding Arc which has almost nothing in common with the episodes. ;) Boy, that's what I call a tangent.), Second Degree Burns (the sequel to Burnout) and Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch... (an idea mooted on #lanekent which has taken on life of its own from the simple nfic romp it was suggested to be - it even developed an aplot) out by year end I'll be content. What do you mean it's already almost April? What?!? How did that happen?! /me begins to hyperventilate.

After that...well there's Legacy (my very first Alt fic) and Ripples (a walk on the dark side ;) and angst heavy) and a couple of others here and there to keep me busy until I have some new ideas.

And I'm also working on an extremely enjoyable partnership with one of FoLCdom's most talented new authors, Kaethel...a co-authored fic called Man Trap. Which is probably the most likely candidate for posting this year actually, since Kaethel is much more disciplined about writing than I'll ever be. It's been my first venture into co-authoring a fic for a while and my first in FoLCdom, and it's been a whole lot of fun so far. I'm looking forward to collaborating on other fic in the future.

Do you think your writing style has evolved? How? Why?
Yes, I would say so. I've always viewed writing as a learning process, from the very first, and I'm always finding new ideas and styles to try out. The input from other FoLC authors has often been invaluable. Grammar and punctuation styles have changed along the years, often in miniscule ways, since I was at school (yes, we did have electric light back then, you at the back - although probably just barely.) so I often catch up on these through the interesting debates on the fanfic list and mbs. Being an Archive GE also got me into the habit of taking much more note of grammar rules than I was prone to previously and so it's all been an invaluable learning curve. I don't think you can ever stop learning new things when writing.

My style has refined too over the years. I look back at some of the fic I wrote five or ten years ago and wince over some of the ways I organised things. I never have lost my love of fragments - despite the best efforts of at least one of my beta readers to convert me - but I have curtailed them over the years. <G> I still remain the Founding Member of the Grammer Rebels Club however - dedicated to irritating the heck out of betas by doing things I shouldn't sometimes...just because.

Has your view on the characters and the show changed, and why?
No, I don't think so. Perhaps. But if so it's so subtle that its an unconscious thing that I'm barely aware of. I haven't watched any episodes for a long time, other than in bits and pieces when researching something for a story, so I rely on my own perceptions of the characters that I hold in my head when writing.

The show retains its special place in my heart. Pre-LNC I had moved through a love affair with several TV shows. When one ended, I moved on to another. I have fond memories of all of these, visit them occasionally, but I'm not involved in any fandoms for them these days. Post-LNC...I never really moved on at all.

Other TV shows have found a way into my VCR collection and hold my attention each week...Buffy, Angel, Stargate, Voyager...but none of them have the hold on me that LNC still has, so many years after its demise on our screens. I occasionally trawl the net for fanfic for these series, but I have no desire to become more involved in their fandoms. I am signed up to Buffy and Stargate newsgroups, but only very rarely remember to check out the posts in them. And none of these shows have me counting the hours and minutes until the new episode arrives as LNC did. Sigh...those were the days. I would get dinner done and dusted, shoo my husband Stuart upstairs to play computer games and settle down for the evening. After checking the VCR was ready to roll at least a dozen times, in a cold sweat that something would go wrong and I would fail to capture all those wonderful moments for reviewing several times in the following days. Nope, they don't make them like that any more. Not for me so far anyway.

I guess there's just something about LNC - for me - that was a classic. That rare moment in the world of entertainment when everything gells, every little detail comes right and you have something timeless, that has the power to grip hold of you and never let go.

I hope it never will.

Are your tastes in fanfic, as well as your view of writing in general, different from what they used to be? Why?
No, pretty much as they've always been. I've always been a sucker for what we used to call hurt/comfort and angst. But I enjoy pretty much everything that's out there. It depends on my mood of the moment. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something action-orientated and aplot involved, at other times some waffy, emotional vignette is just the ticket. I discovered nfic - of course ;)...when I discovered FoLCdom. Well, I'd known it existed in the form of Slash fic in the original Trek fandom many moons back, but I'd never read any of it until the wonderful nfic of The Gorn (a sad loss to FoLCdom imo) and Menolly introduced me to something that had no connection with Slash fic at all. I've never been very keen on Next Generation (kiddie not Super Futures, which I do enjoy mostly) fic, or deathfic, but having said that there are some treasured stories in my LNC collection which have become firm favourites despite my personal bias.

Basically, I'll read anything that's out there.

What are your most recent picks of other fanfics in the fandom?
The one thing I have complete disorganisation for these days is finding time in my schedule to read fanfic. Which is utterly ridiculous. I'm hoping the investment of a laptop in time for summer might help me there. Instead of being pinned to the pc, I can hopefully read (and write!) fanfic out in the garden. Or curled up on the sofa or even in bed.

I have read some wonderful stories recently though...too many to get through here. Erin Klingler's Darkest Hour kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Carol Malo's Connections enthralled me. Kaethel's Near Wild Heaven was one of the most lyrically beautiful fanfic I read last year (and, boy, wait till you read her latest wip!). The host of exciting and wonderful new writing talent that emerged recently, such as Shayne, Brenda, JoMarch, and Tracey among so many others, never failed to give me something original to read.

I could go on endlessly. Reading the work of our wonderful authors has been a constant source of joy and wonder.

Open forum for author comments.
I've made so many good friends since last time, who've been there for me when I needed them and whose company is a constant delight. And the dedication of FoLCs like Zoom and KathyB, the Kerth and nKerth committees, those who maintain archive websites like Anne Ciotola and The Nfic Directory and Index Crews and so many others who spend their free time thinking up new ways for the rest of us to get the maximum enjoyment out of FoLCdom and LNC never fails to impress me.

This has to be one of the most vibrant, friendly and dedicated fandoms it's been my privilege and honour to be a part of.

You guys are the best.
LabRat :)