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Last night I was in the throes of insomnia, reading up on the Metafandom backlog for October, when I happened to check my e-mail and saw a new message from the fine folks at NaNoWriMo. 'Why, a pep talk!' Said I. 'And it is from Mercedes Lackey, how lovely and reminiscent of my childhood.' Being behind on my word count (I still am. I’ve been writing more for this blog today than for my novel) I decided to take a look, to see if it would give me the needed encouragement to continue.

It did much more than that. You know what Mercedes Lackey recommends? She says if you have things like characters and settings, but you’re having plot issues, you should check out Save the Cat!, a book by Blake Snyder. However, if you have plot but not the other things? Write fanfiction.

Thank you, Mercedes Lackey, for saying that.

But why bother to thank her? Lots of authors have reasonably positive attitudes towards fanfiction. A few, like Ms. Lackey, even admit to writing it from time to time.

Here is what struck me: NaNoWriMo does not have a specific tie to fandom, to a fanfiction reading-or-writing crowd, or to any other group that would automatically accept fanfic as a legitimate goal. Essentially she said "Fanfiction is a worthy project!" to 185,000 people without knowing that her audience would be receptive. And yes, it was kind of loaded and she definitely has some opinions about fanfic that aren’t going to be shared universally by fandom, but I am okay with that. I really am just glad that she said it, because it supports the principles of NaNoWriMo, like that 50k words are 50k words no matter how you get there, and that writing can be the end in itself. She said this, and in saying this, she took a tiny step towards normalizing this element of fandom.

And now that I’ve written about 300 words that don’t count… I’m back to working on that novel.

ETA: Here, read her e-mailed pep talk for yourself! (11/5/2010)

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