Sunday, March 22, 2009

AngstGoddess003 "Wide Awake" Interview Part One

Twilight Fan Fiction Author Bakes up a "Wide Awake" Story

Face it, we Twilight lovers love Twilight fanfiction. And why do we love it so much? Because, we NEVER want the stories of Edward and Bella and the rest of our Twilight family to end. So who are these people who, literally, freely give their time to feed our need for more of the Twilight Saga? In the first of several interviews with Twilight fan fiction authors, AngstGoddess003 reveals the person behind the story that is keeping readers "Wide Awake".

"Wide Awake" by AngstGoddess003 (AG003)

AngstGoddess003 has recently been catapulted in to the news because of issues on a popular fan fiction site over two chapters of her story "Wide Awake". To anyone reading the story, however, "Wide Awake" was news-worthy long before any problems arose over Chapters 36 and 43. With so many Twilight-based Fan Fiction stories out there on the internet, 68,410 at the time of my writing this, there are bound to be a few good ones, and this one, "Wide Awake", is a good one. I was lucky enough to correspond with AG003 recently and ask her a few questions:

PM: What does your name signify -- how did you choose it?

AG003: Obviously, I adore angst greatly. I had made the name long before I'd ever planned to write or post anything at all, and I certainly never expected to be noticed by anyone other than the authors I loyally reviewed. Otherwise, I might have chosen something a little more modest than "Goddess". I get a lot of crap for the name, because it makes me look painfully arrogant and conceited. Really though, at the time I'd created it, it was more related to my ability to seek out good angst fics. I'd considered myself to be a sort of connoisseur of the genre, and "Goddess" doesn't look arrogant when only four people know you exist. Instead, it just looks a little pathetic, which I was okay with. The 003 is something I add to all of my monikers. Three is my lucky number.

PM: How did you come to discover Twilight?

AG003: I discovered Twilight by just surfing the web and hearing the hype. I was bored and looking for something new to read, so I bought it. At the time I'd discovered Twilight, BD had already been published, so I was really late in the game, and wanted to read it before the movie came out. I was so impatient to read the remainder of the series, I ended up buying the e-books. Twilight is the only book I physically own because of this fact.

How did the stories affect me? Well, I think at first I was just intrigued, but by the time I found FF, it was much more. I liked the community aspect. I also liked the multi-faceted layers of the fandom, and the ability to read awesome stories for free wasn't so bad either. LOL.

PM: I understand you didn't like BD. Do you want to talk about it?

AG003: My disappointment in BD is like a friggin... 20k word dissection for me, so I'll attempt to keep my criticism pointed to this: Lack of sacrifice. It was such a large and pivotal theme that Bella being changed involved this epic sacrifice from her.
It was meant to show her devotion to her choice. She had to give up children, any relationship with her family, her friends and Jacob, and it was all meant to be a sacrifice for eternity with Edward. Instead, she got the whole package which made the central theme surrounding the issue obsolete, and I just didn't agree with it.

PM: What was your thought process that lead to you starting to type that first word of Wide Awake?

AG003: I was really just bored, and pestered with the premise that kept playing in my mind. At the time, my work was slow, and I began feeling less inspired to make my graphic art, and more inspired to write (for some unfathomable reason). I've always been a creative-natured person, so when I get inspired, I try not to let it slip away. In the real world, I rely on these sudden moments of inspiration to make me money in my career, so it's really just habit for me to grab the muse by the balls and go with it.

PM: How did you come up with the initial idea? Did you have a dream?

AG003: I wish I could place an exact "Eureka!" moment, but I really can't. It was really just a blend of my most favored characterizations in AH fics. I liked Assward, but I didn't like him being an ass for no better reason than that of simple arrogance.
So I began brewing up my own and giving him a past in my head to justify his behavior so that I could sympathize with his actions. Then he involved into TroubledPastward constant annoyance and detachment, and then darkward to justify his indifference, and then Solitaryward to justify his distance from the people around him. I gave each of these things a detailed reason, I.E. His mother giving him up, the nightmares, the fire, etc.

Bella was next. I liked the idea of her being as complex and troubled as Edward, but I detested the idea of her being raped and emo-cutter-centric. Not to say it couldn't be done well of course. I just had no confidence that I could. I wanted her to have strength in her weaknesses, and I wanted her to have something in common with Edward, so that when they bonded, it would make sense to the reader. That's what the 'sleep' detail really offered me: A tool to give them common ground where they would otherwise not be close in any way.

Once I had the characters in my head, and the pasts to justify their characterization, little scenes began to flourish. Really, the first scene to come to me was Chapter 8, Triple Toffee Twilights, where Bella sleeps with Edward for the first time. Once that scene became cemented in my memory, I backtracked to get them to that point. The next large scene that bloomed was their first kiss, and I followed that same path. Honestly, WA is essentially, pivotal and picturesque scenes in my mind, and the events in-between that made them happen and progress to that point. I see it pretty clearly in my psyche, and most readers can probably discern which scenes were thought out thoroughly like this, because they are the most vivid. I.E. The first gazebo scene, the gym scene, The New Year's kiss, Chapter 43 altercation, the grope scene, etc.

Along the way, I gave them quirks to make them not all 'doom and gloom', like Bella's cookies and hoodie, and Edward's dirty fucking mouth and sketching.

PM: Is there a symbolic meaning to the cookie thing? It's such fun idea, but how did it come about that you named each chapter after a cookie and wove that thread throughout the story?

AG003: The habitual action itself has a very symbolic place in the story, which is something that I'll actually be exploring in an upcoming chapter. The idea for the cookies to be that particular manifestation of the habit was really rather random. I needed her to have this consistent idiosyncrasy, and I chose cookies without much thought. Part of it (the idea of the cookie names being chapter names) was inspired by the movie "Waitress", which as many people know, the character makes pies and gives them creative and unique names. I just thought it was sweet and quirky, but I also wanted to use it as a tool for Edward and the other characters to obtain a brief insight into Bella's emotions. Furthermore, it became a tool of interlocking the characters. It's such a personal and expressive act of Bella's, and for her to grant another character the gift of a daily bag - and allowing them to view the cookie name, which is a glimpse into her mind - she's accepting them into her life. Slowly, each character got worked into her cookie custom, and as the story progressed and they each received their bags, it gave them all something in common, and linked them as a supportive circle around her character.

PM: So you are going along writing a story that everyone in the Twilight FF world is following. Did you know how big it was getting?

AG003: No freaking clue. When the reviews began climbing, I just figured that it was my frequent daily updates. At best, I reasoned that I had miraculously managed to gain an infinitesimal niche in the audience, which I was elated about. I was so confined to my own WA world that I never surfed any sites or forums or anything. I didn't even discover the LJ "MyGirlsUnicorn" community until weeks after it had been created and someone sent me a message. I was in the dark completely. The first thing I noticed was the thread over at Twilighted, and I got so excited that I'm pretty sure I made an ass out of myself over there. But then I met so many awesome and sweet people. They really are a great community of truly talented and supportive individuals. Twilighted was how I first met Gail and most of my other chat pals. I'm truly blessed by the fandom.


PM: Do you have any idea many people have read it?

AG003: I could use various sources of judgment, like the fanfiction.net visitor count, my LJ friend list, etc. But I would probably never know an exact number. For the month of February, according to FanFiction.net, Wide Awake received a total of 418,808 Hits and 121,240 Visitors. I have no idea how to interpret that into readers though. The reader count has never mattered to me however, and it isn't often that I even look at my stats page.

**Thanks for reading Part One of our AngstGoddess003 interview. Part Two will be posted tomorrow. Here are a couple of questions from Part Two: Can you tell me what it was like when you first noticed there was something wrong on fanfiction.net? Do you know how many more chapters you will be writing? Happy ending or not saying yet?

**Part Two has been posted view it HERE. Part Three is posted HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!

That was truly enlightening. i am a latecomer to Wide Awake. i had it bookmarked for weeks, before i actually began to read it (i think approx 32 chapters had been posted). WA really is deliciously complex. thank you for doing this interview with AG003. i am looking forward to the remaining parts.

i followed the link over here from the post in WA forum at twilighted. you've got a cool blog. gawd knows i could use some group therapy for cullen boy syndrome...hehe. i'll be back.

Melba87