An Apology to the Native American Community

I wanted to write this apology as I was not aware Natives felt so strongly about the mention of Native Americans in Magic in North America, especially as theirs is not the culture I come from.

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to all the comments from readers and especially Natives. including Dr. Adrienne Keene and Debbie Reese.  Thank you to Magadelena for replying to my question.

Some of the comments I received were aggressive and vitriolic, while others were calm and insightful.  Since hearing Native voices on my blog and watching some YouTube videos my view on this matter has changed.

JK Rowling is clearly in the wrong for using Native American culture as part of her fantasy franchise and I was wrong for agreeing with her use of Native American lore.  You are right that she should not commercialize your history.
I myself have been vilified for wrongs done to me, which is one of the reasons I started an independent blog, to state my views peacefully and find an audience for the work that is dear to my heart.  I am someone who has worked for years to preserve cultures in my own community, and I can tell this is as important to you as my culture is to me.  I cannot bear to read the words I wrote last March.  I have taken down my original post.

I would love for people to hear more friendly Native voices, especially as there are people out there who never hear from Natives as they’re not represented in the media.   I don’t want people to continue to ignore the concerns of Native Americans, as they are an already marginalized community.  Toward that end, I’ve been retweeting Native voices in my Twitter feed and contacted Natives to collaborate on sharing their stories and would be happy to work with Natives to adapt them for my blog, if they are willing.

I have not seen Fantastic Beasts the movie, nor do I plan to buy tickets.

The whole world of blogging is new to me and I hope you will forgive my ignorance in writing a defense of JK Rowling’s use of Native Americans in her History of Magic in North America writings.  I love the Harry Potter Books but in this case, I think she has misused the franchise.

Can Fan Fiction Writers Ever Be Serious Novelists? | Mariam Books

black-lantern-brotherhood-22

A Buffy fan fiction story written by me

“Can Fan Fiction Writers Ever Be Serious Novelists?”

The answer is both yes and no.

  • No, if that’s the only thing they ever write.
  • Yes, if they train themselves to write original works.

For a more detailed response, keep reading.

Since 2000 the fandom that has made fan fiction popular is Harry Potter Fan fiction.  There are over 700,000 original works on FanFiction.NET.  But there are thousands of other fandoms as well, such as Star Wars, Twilight, Supernatural, Pokemon, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Gilmore Girls, and Doctor Who.

If you don’t already know, fan fiction is a story written by a fan featuring the same characters or world of the original book, film, or TV series.

Fan fiction has lived in the notebooks of budding writers, in the minds of readers, and on the dark recesses of the internet since the beginning of stories — and of course, the beginning of the internet.  Since then, some fan fiction writers have become best selling novelists, and most recently have come to the attention of the general public, such as E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.  In books (Fifty  Shades) as well as film/TV: CBS’s lawsuit against Axanar, a Star Trek fan film I discovered while reviewing the Trek Fan Film: Horizon (review under the link).

Lots of people write fan fiction, and even if you’ve never written it, you likely have a story somewhere in your head (often called head canon in the fandom) about your favorite book, film, or TV characters.

First off, I’d like to clarify that I DO NOT CONDONE THE STEALING OF OTHER WRITERS’ WORKS AND CLAIMING THE WORLD OR ITS CHARACTERS AS YOUR OWN.  THIS IS CALLED PLAGIARISM.  Also, when you write and sell this work, it is considered copyright infringement and is enforceable by law to claim another writer’s work as your own, even if you have changed a few people, places, and things.  The world remains the same and, therefore, it is not yours, it is borrowed — this is plagiarism.  However writing free fan fiction or for a school assignment (if your teacher allows, in that, I find instruction for budding young writers.

I also do not agree with authors such as Robin Hobb who blasted fan fiction and its writers (she did, however, made a clarification statement which I found here. I’ve included the link so you can read at your leisure, if you like). I think fan Fiction is an excellent way to explore one’s own creativity.  If a person writing fan fiction is doing it purely for fun, not getting paid for it, I think this is appropriate and for that writer, perhaps, a necessary part of their growth as creative person.  Art is inspired by other art, new stories by old stories.

Before you go searching for good fan fiction to read or write, let’s be clear: the majority of fan fiction on the internet is not good.  It is not well written, has grammatical and spelling mistakes rampant, and also, some is just plain smut.  I don’t find sex in fan fiction, or fiction in general to be taboo, as long as it is appropriate for the story line of the characters and is rated appropriately.  Otherwise, I am not too interested in reading your fan fiction.   Further, I think readers should know whether there will be explicit situations in the story, and as should their parents so together they can decide what is appropriate for their child to read.

As far as my fictions go, I used to write both original fiction and fan fiction in high school as well as quite a few song fics and stories about dragons. I was one of those writers who wrote PG-13 stories as they contained no graphic sexual scenes.  Even if the characters were in a physical relationship the readers learned through their dialogue how their “liasons” improved or ruined their relationship.  That’s what was important to me as a writer.

My fan fiction was also not very popular.  However, I committed to myself that whatever I wrote, whether it was original or fan fiction, I wanted to write something good, and if that meant that it wasn’t a romance novel, then that’s what I wrote.  That doesn’t mean that I think people who write “smut” are “bad” people.  I also don’t think they’re inferior writers, unless of course, they write nothing else and never grow.  Good writers are always improving their craft and exploring new uncharted oceans of words, new genres, and new territories.

I don’t read a lot of fan fiction because good fan fiction is hard to find, but if I’m writing it, I think it’s only appropriate for me to read what other writers  have written before me so as not to produce the same writing over and over again, boring my readers, and frankly, myself. Writing needs to keep me excited, and for me, that means writing something that has never been done before, even if I borrow my favorite author’s characters for a short while.  I think, in part, that dedication to write new stories makes me a serious writer.

As a teenager, writing fan fiction taught me how to plot my story, improved my spelling and grammar, and got me to finish my first novel.  However, for a writer, the best place to shine, I think, is in writing original fiction. If it takes 5 or 15 years of writing free fan fiction to get there, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  No writer will forgo the hard work it takes for her art to live.

In conclusion, people will continue to write fanfiction until the end of times, in fact, we’ll probably be writing fan fiction beyond the grave.   Fanfiction writers are a different species (I think they’re part wizard-part elf).  Right now, with all the news about Star Trek: Discovery, and in anticipation of the new show, I am looking for every scrap of information out there on the time period and characters  of the new TV show so I can know more about the story.  I’m on the edge of my seat! It’s been delayed twice already, from January, to May, to indefinitely, and I want to write some fanfiction of my own so I can begin the story!! But I think I’ll leave it to the brilliant brains of the Star Trek writers, as throughout The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager they never failed to disappoint.  And I believe they will give us something great – well, I have high hopes, at least.

So, I have more thoughts on fanfiction, including its origins, its writers, current controversies, and the  future of fan fiction, so hold steady until I post part II.  If you have any thoughts on what I’ve mentioned above please feel free to leave me your thoughts below.  Thanks for reading!

— End of Part I —

For further reading, I enjoyed:

Why I’m Not Going to Read Your Fanfictionhttp://www.overthinkingit.com/2008/09/22/why-im-not-going-to-read-your-fanfic/

13 Things Fan Fiction Writers are Very Tired of Explaininghttp://www.bustle.com/articles/71438-13-things-fan-fiction-writers-are-very-tired-of-explaining

The Art of Creativity – Part 2: Where Do You Get Your Ideas From? | M&M Mariam

The Art of Creativity Part 2: Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

tswift album cover

Artists are creative people, but even Michelangelo and Rembrandt, even Taylor Swift had what is called writer’s block, or, rather, its painter-equivalent. We assume artist have endless ideas to create new works, but truth is, even artists have their dry periods.

I’ve been writing stories since I could type on a typewriter, and wrote my first fantasy story when I was 8. After 30 years of life, I remember times in my life where I didn’t write a page for years — sadly that happened quite recently in the past. I wrote a 66,000-word novel in my teens, and suddenly the 8 years following college, I barely wrote a page of fiction. I wrote blogs, essays, and work documents, but I didn’t pick up a pen to write a fictional story, which is odd because I think the novel is more my forte than any other piece of creative work. I enjoy reading and writing novels. However, unlike books, there’s nothing linear about where I get my ideas from. It’s a mess of spirals and tangents. Over my lifetime as a writer I drew ideas from lots of places, including the following.

The People Around Me:

  • friends and family
  • neighbors
  • classmates whose company I enjoyed
  • bus-mates I hated (more like bus bullies)
  • cousins, aunts, and uncles

The People I Used to Watch:

  • cartoon characters
  • songs by pop stars, boybands, R&B artist, alternative, and punk bands
  • TV show characters (You can see my list of movies and TV shows I’ve had the opportunity to watch and rate on IMDB here.)

The Sights I Saw:

independence day its like a larger image

  • movie scenes
  • city landscapes – real or fiction

Those are just some of the places I get ideas, but more than those I think ideas for me teem from my own experiences:

ohio state university

  • experiences reading a book
  • experiences in different schools I’ve attended (in different states, and colleges)
  • experiences in different community events
  • traveling experiences
  • stories other people have been generous enough to share with me

Whenever I got stuck, and tried something new, a few days, or weeks after, I would discover new ideas to write about, for example:

thisismereading

  • One of my stories ideas came from my walking into a hotel casino
  • Another driving 35 miles for a concert when I was in high school
  • Still another from reading the Harry Potter series from cover to cover 3 times
  • walking down the French district of New Orleans
  • attending a Jewish Yom Kippur event at my university
  • Playing Zelda: Orcarnia of Time on Nintendo 64 while eating Ritz crackers
  • viewing dragon artwork by members on DeviantArt.com
baby red dragon southern gfx dot com

SouthernGFX.com

All in all, I think ideas come most of all, from DOING things. They say, “write what you know.” I feel like the best way to know something is to do it.

I know it’s a been a while since I started this series.  I hope you’ve been enjoying it so far. The last part is coming up soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more on creativity. If you’re a creative person, or want to be more creative, please let me know if this has been helpful to you. Also, let me know places where you get ideas, you don’t have to be specific as I know artists are protective of their ideas, but I know it would help out the other artists and writers reading this to hear about your ways to getting new ideas without giving away anything specific to your works of art.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading. Take care, and be artistic!

Top 5 Fictional Cities | Top 5 Wednesday

Today I will share with you my Top 5 Favorite cities!

Click for Español

#5

Narnia, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

the chronicles of narnia

Narina is so magical! I love how you can reach it through opening a cupboard inside an ordinary house. It takes you to a wonderful forest, snowy land, and introduces you to new magical creatures!

#4

District #12, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

the hunger games cover 1

District #12, home of Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, is a favorite fictional place of mine, because they showed great strength and courage to overthrow the tyrannical and oppressive, Capitol, when no one else would. They are heroes.

#3

San Francisco, Earth on the Federation of Planets, Star Trek

star trek the next generation and deep space nine

San Francisco was the headquarters of Starfleet and location of Starfleet Academy in the TV series and movies Star Trek. In one Deep Space 9 Episode, the Golden Gate bridge and Eiffel tower, too, was somehow in the background of HQ. It seems like a place brimming with activity, important diplomatic negotiations and assignments. What an exciting fictional San Francisco to be in!

#2

Sunnydale, California, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffy season 6 cover

Buffy and her friends, Willow and Xander fought vampires and demons while they were not in school at Sunnydale High. It is a fictional school in the made-up town of Sunnydale, CA. and it happens to be standing on a hellmouth! They are some of my favorite fictional characters and one of the most scary and exciting places to be!

#1

Hogsmeade, Hogwarts

bloomsbury harry potter cover

My favorite fictional city is Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter books. There you get meet witches, wizards, drink butterbeer at Madam Rosmerta’s, buy chocolate frogs, and chomp down on every flavor beans!

That’s it for my Top 5 Wednesday for this week. I hope you enjoyed! Check this post out other languages:

Español

Urdu

One Lovely Blog Award! =)

I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by the wonderful Christine from Eat Books for Breakfast, and I got so caught up with all the activities of November that this award got lost in the mix.

one lovely blog award

The rules for this nomination are:

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you. (If you don’t want to follow me, it’s okay. I’m just trying to spread some love to other bloggers!)

For this award I’m going to honor newer blogs as I think it’s really brave of readers, who are sometimes shy and quiet, to get out of their shells, and give us the lovely gift of sharing their books with us =) I’ll begin with7 facts about myself and below you can find the list of blogs I nominated.

7 facts about me:

  • I have a missing tooth from a dentist visit at the age of 12 — he pulled out one tooth to many!
  • My grandmother had a third daughter who died in infancy, and had blue eyes (rare for South Asians like myself!)
  • When I was a kid, my mom liked to dress me and my sister in white frilly dresses
  • my first favorite Sci-Fi writer was Isaac Asimov
  • I’m a Star Trek and Harry Potter fan
  • Somewhere in Asia there is a train station named after my great-grandfather
  • My favorite books as a first grader were the Clifford the Big Red dog series

I nominate:

  1. Lily @ Reading by Torchlight – http://readingbytorchlight.com/ (Young Adult Books)
  2. Charles @ Charles Reads – http://www.charlesreads.net/ (Young Adult Books)
  3. Shay @ Ars Shatomica – http://shatomica.com (books and libraries)
  4. Kara @ Ink and Paper – http://karaskinner.wordpress.com/ – (paranormal, young adult, classics)
  5. Charity @ On My Kindle – http://www.onmykindle.net/ (fiction books on Kindle)
  6. Bookshelf Reflections – http://bookshelfreflections.com/ (young adult and new adult)
  7. Proxy @ Books by Proxy – http://booksbyproxy.wordpress.com/ (sci-fi, historical and crime fiction)
  8. The Reader and the Book – http://thereaderandthebookreviews.wordpress.com/ (classics, and children’s books)
  9. Kati @ Kati’s Bookaholic Ramblings – http://katibookaholicrambligreview.blogspot.com/ (urban fantasy, and paranormal)
  10. Jillian Pikora – http://jillianpikora.com/ (journalism, lifestyle, Egypt travel log)
  11. Jessica @ Book Cult – http://book-cult.blogspot.co.uk/ (fiction and crime)
  12. Lauren @ Book Worms and Night Owls – http://www.bookwormsandnightowls.blogspot.co.uk/ (books and lifestyle)
  13. Alexis @ A Tree Grows in Bookland – http://sjbouquet.blogspot.com/ (young adult books)
  14. A Thrill a Week – http://athrillaweek.com/ (thrillers and sci-fi)
  15. Rachelle @ Rachelle Reads – http://www.rachellereads.com/ (young adult and fiction)

Last, but not least, I want to thank Christina for the nomination!

Enjoy these blogs and your nomination =) Keep your eyes peeled for a new blog theme coming up this week!  Take care and have a great rest of the weekend.

Favorite Books for Required Reading – Top 5 Wednesday

Good afternoon! I haven’t done a Top 5 Wednesday for a while, so I thought it was time for another! Today’s topic is tropes I hate.  I’ll be frank and tell you I don’t like this topic.  I feel mostly all tropes are interesting and useful.  They either remind us about something good about ourselves or something bad. Either way authors bring light to topics when they use tropes.  Today I’ll be blogging about last week’s topic: Required Reading – favorite books I was required to read for school.

I didn’t read every single book assigned to me in school, and some I didn’t like, but a number of them made it to my favorites list!

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey

dragonsiver cover by anne

My 10th grade English teacher introduced our class to the world of Pern when she assigned us to read Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffery – the story of a girl who leaves her home to travel to a weyr (settlement with musicians, craftsmen, and dragonriders) to study at the most famous and prestigious music school on her planet – Harper Hall. I was mesmerized with the world of Pern where early scientists bioengineered the native fire lizards to become full-grown dragons — dragons to whom are assigned human riders and protect the world of Pern from the destructive storm of Thread – a life eating organism falling from the sky.  I even wrote a short story based on this book.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

romeo and juliet cocer

I read and performed Romeo and Juliet in my 8th grade English honors class. It was the first Shakespearean play I’ve read in its entirely, and thereafter I fell in love with his works.  Reading and performing R&J probably had something to do with why I ended up studying English literature in college!

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

number the stars book cover

I loved Ralph and the Motorcycle, and James and Giant Peach, but I loved serious stories in school too. We read Number the Stars in 5th grade. It was difficult to get through as it was about World World II, but it was such a heartwarming story as it was told by a little girl named Anne Marie, who protected her Jewish friend during the Holocaust. It definitely belongs on my top 5 list!

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz

cabin faced west

There was something about stories set in the peaceful grassy prairies of America that appealed to me, books like Heidi, Rabbit Hill and The Cabin Faced West. I went to school in urban Cleveland a few years, then moved across the state of Ohio to another small city.  All my childhood I dreamed of living in a country house with the prairies groundhogs and rabbits and flowering trees as my late afternoon companions. I got my dream the summer of ’96 when I lived a summer in the Virginia countryside. The Cabin Faced West remained a favorite of mine for a long time.

The Odyssey by Homer

the odyssey book cover

I took classical literature my 9th grade year in high school and we read The Odyssey – I enjoyed traveling with the Greek hero Odysseus back home to Ithaca, and meeting new Greeks such as the god Poseidon, Athena, the witch Circe, the sirens, and the monster, the Cyclops. I enjoyed my teacher explaining the multitude of Greek references. It’s by far my favorite of all required reading.

So those are the books that ended up on my list! Are there any books you were required to read for English class or any class in school that made it to your favorites list? Leave me a comment down below, I would love to discover if you and I have the same favorites =) Keep thinking of ways to be creative in the internet age and it may end up in my next post.  I hope you enjoyed my post!  Meanwhile, take care =)

EDITED:

8/20 – added and linked you to my short story on Dragonsinger

The Art of Creativity: Part 1

The artist who create Princess Zelda for the Hyrule video games brought together just the right amount of beauty, grace, and strength with his drawing pencil.

The artist who created Princess Zelda for the Hyrule video games brought together just the right amount of beauty, grace, and strength when drawing this princess.

Hi all! Hope you’re doing great =) It’s been some time since I posted, but I’ve got something new and exciting to share with you today.

Over the month of July, I’ve been putting a lot of thought to what makes us creative —especially in the internet age. I’ve been playing a lot of Sim City in my free time, adding new buildings to make my city look pretty and rural, fast and futuristic, or sky-reaching and urban. I’ve noticed that the pressure to create something brand new is greater today in the Youtube/Blog age (post 2002) more than ever. Everyday home-grown artists put up photography, fan art, original drawings, films, stories, novels, and more on their social media like Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Deviant Art the whole world can see the exact minute it’s posted. What works to spark inspiration to the creative mind to create new things today?

This month a creative writing organization is hosting their annual 30 days of writing write-a-thon, something I would like to participate in, but can’t, due to my schedule this month. However I did want to talk about creativity on my blog and wanted to invite you in on the discussion.

Personally, I get ideas from books, television, movies, films, video games, scenery, books and films in different languages, architecture, music, memes, GIFS, and quotes — almost anywhere! I keep a notebook, rather notebooks, where I jot down ideas when I get them, to use later in my stories or novels. Sometimes I re-write a scene from a favorite TV Show to get ideas for my own artwork, I even play video games to get story ideas.

What about you? If you are a writer or creative person, where do you get ideas for your art to make it new? Does it matter if it’s new? Or just that it is unique because it comes from you? What makes your art creative?

I would love to hear your thoughts, and perhaps start a discussion down below — this will then serve the base of my upcoming posts! So I’ll be waiting to hear from you and hopefully you’ll see more posts on creativity ongoing this month! Meanwhile, have a great Wednesday.