I stood outside the restaurant with trepidation. In just a few short minutes, I would meet up with two of the most well-known comic book fan authors--Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb and Chris "Laersyn" Moore.
Between the two of them, they have killed the X-Men, created the largest archive warehouse, spawned an entire subworld of the internet and redefined how characters are written. Naturally, I was afraid of coming off as a drooling fangirl.
But the two people I ended up meeting outside the McDonald's at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mese, CA were the nicest, the funniest and the most ordinary people you would ever meet. You wouldn't even look at them twice walking down the street.
That is, unless they were in Renaissance costume.

Kelly and Chris at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire Q: How did both of you get into writing fan fiction?
Laersyn: <points> It's all her fault.
Kielle: I was actually writing fanfic in kindergarten. It was "Lassie" fanfic. I'm not kidding you; I was into Lassie and her puppies, and I named all the puppies… it was really embarrassing. I was also trying to get people in my class to be in the plays I wrote, which were really bad. In high school, I started with Dragonriders fanfic [from the works of Anne McCaffrey]. I don't even want to get into that....
The point is, [when I started writing] I didn't even know what fanfic was, they were just stories I wrote. I got online and a friend said, "Hey, you write stories, you should go check out this [alt.comics.fan-fiction] thing. I posted some stories, and people like them and you could go from there. [Laersyn] had to listen to me talk about it all the time...
Laersyn: For two years straight.
Kielle: I tried not to because I knew it would annoy him.
Laersyn: It was actually interesting. There was a lot of stuff about [fanfic] which was interesting. I started to become involved in this world though her… We were sitting around talking about the Marauders, and she basically blackmailed me into writing [Devil's Due]. It only took me a couple of days. It turned out to be twice as long as I expected it to be. As I started writing the death scenes, I went, "You know, this isn't interesting to me, because anyone could do this." I needed to make them people first, so I went back and wrote the whole beginning first.
You see, Kelly and [our friend] Kitarra know me and they know that the more human I make these characters, the more awful it's going to be. They're reading the beginning scenes and they're going, <makes shocked face> "Oh no, what is he going to do?" I think when they saw me bring Jubilee into the story, they went, "Don't dare! Don't you dare!"
Kielle: I remember as we read the end of it, he was asking, "Do you think I could make that even worse? Do you think that hurt more?"
Laersyn: I wrote it mostly on the fly. I really wasn't trying to make it dark and evil-because at that time I was writing things that were far, far worse. I was getting these e-mails from people going, "<falsetto voice> Ooh, this is so terrible." I was like, "Huh? Oh, really? <innocent voice>"
Really, the only point was to do the exact opposite of what Marvel says... that the heroes don't always win. If I'd written it as more of a realistic story, I'd have them have a Pyrric victory. I mean they would have gotten out, but I just wrote it to prove to people that these heroes are basically mortal.
Q: If you think about it [what you did in Devil's Due is] the perfect way to kill all of them.
Kielle: We thought long and hard about that.
Q: When you wrote it, did you know who was going to live, and who was not going to live?
Laersyn: I knew all the X-Men were going to die, from the outset. As far as the Marauders, I knew I was going to kill off Scrambler because everybody kills off Scrambler. I think I took out Riptide as sort of a whim. I actually had this sort of list with all my characters [and it was like] <crossing off name> "That one's done." <crossing off another name> "That one's done" <crossing off two more names>.
Kielle: Between "Devil's Due" and "No Way Up" we have started Marauders fanfiction. I see stories all the time about the Marauders that use some of the characteristics that I made up. People think that's canon, that we got that from the comics.
Laersyn: The thing is ["Devil's Due"] actually came about as a result of a discussion much like this. A friend of mine had taken the Marauders and put them in a role-playing game, in a [Dungeons & Dragons] like setting. Instead of making them these goofballs, he made them this military team, and they just wiped us out. They annihilated half of us without a thought because they had a plan, they had the strategy down. Before the first few rounds of combat were over, most of us were down. We didn't even know what hit us.
So I was talking to them [Kelly and Kitarra] about that situation, and that's when we started thinking, "You know, the Marauders… have got these powers that are so huge. That they get worked like this is kinda ridiculous."
Q: You gotta wonder if the Marauders are that horrible, why does Sinister keep re-cloning them?
Laersyn: <nods agreement> Another thing we were thinking about... Prism is the ultimate "joke Marauder." The thing of it is, if he actually is solid glass, he can't be fragile. It's like if he took a step he would break… he's got to be sturdy in his own right. So he's not nearly as weak as people like to think he is.
I'd been out of comics since I was fifteen. I was sort of into the mutant comics for a while, but after "Inferno" I left. That was quite enough for me. The story that inspired the beginning of "Devil's Due" was this comic that Kelly lent me (this was the only place I was getting my source information, she was lending me comics), this wonderful comic about the X-Men-at home. It was Bobby and Hank chasing each other around the house.
Q: Which one?
Kielle: It was right after "Onslaught."
Laersyn: It was the Christmas issue right after "Onslaught", and it really showed these characters as real people, people that have known each other forever and they've been through all this stuff together. When Marvel can sit down and actually take the time to do that, they come up with really kick-ass stories.
Kielle: My first X-Men fanfic? Oh, I don't want to go into that. To be fair, I'd just started reading the X-Men, and Kitarra had been reading for a while… I was teaching her how to write, basically. She wrote a story with her character and the X-Men which was pretty bad. I thought I could do better, you know? I never finished it, there are only a few pages; it was pretty "Mary Sue." [I wrote it] just to prove that I could do it. That was the first one. The first real one? That was "The Date"-Guido and She-Hulk. My boyfriend at the time [before Greg Newcomb], we were both into She-Hulk and X-Factor and we thought they would be perfect together.
Avatars, drawn by Tapestry Q: How long have you known each other?
Laersyn: Just shortly after [Kielle] met Greg, so about five or six years.
Kielle: He was actually my husband's friend. I met him through my husband.
Laersyn: Yeah, she inherited me.
Q: Have you ever collaborated on a fanfic before?
Laersyn: Collaborated on a fanfic?
Kielle: "Devil's Due"--I helped with the ideas.
Laersyn: Most of the ugliness in "Devil's Due" was hers. I wrote the cute bits. She came up with all the evil things.
Kielle: I didn't.... He picked [my brain] during carpool, so the whole ride home he's asking me for horrible deaths. So I came up with some horrible deaths. I can write horror, I just don't do it very often.
Q: How long ago did you get into fan fiction, and how long after that did you start CFAN [Comic Fan Authors Network]?
Kielle: Five years ago, I think, when I was still dating Greg, and CFAN happened not long after. Six months, I think.
Q: Why?
Kielle: Well, at the time, there was only one archive… there was a.c.f-f and Hawk's archive, where everything was archived. That went down. At the time, a couple of authors had a mailing list going, and everyone on the mailing list was panicking because there was no where to store stories. I didn't know HTML then and every one else who did said, "Hey, why don't we start mini archives?" I volunteered, [and] said, "I could learn HTML, I'll learn it real quick and link the pages together." It just kinda went from there.
Q: You have a lot of other pages, too. The Mary Sue Society, Blood in the Gutter, the TCP [The Common People] Warehouse, which you've taken over from Laersyn. How do you find the time to do maintain all of that?
Kielle: I never see my husband <laugh>. Even before I got into it, I spent a lot of time with computers. But now instead of writing, I do a lot of surfing online, a couple of hours a night. Most people watch TV; I go on the computer.
Laersyn: She's very, very good; she's very, very fast. I'll be sitting there, plodding through my webpage <imitates the hung-and-peck method of typing> and she'll just push me out of the way and <flurry of motion> I'll go, "How'd you do that?"
Q: Laersyn, you've already announced that you've quit writing fanfic for a while. Kielle, what's the last fic you were working on? The last thing I remember you writing was that "Wannabe" story...?
Kielle: I liked that, it was funny. Ginger Spice as an X-Man <giggle>. I've been so busy, I haven't been able to finish anything. I've had writer's block for about two years. I've been doing mostly shorter stories, nothing like "No Way Up." That was when I was unemployed.
Misfire! by Dex Q: How long did it take you to do the whole story for "No Way Up" from start to finish?
Kielle: About three months? <looks to Laersyn for confirmation> About three months. I'd never done anything like that before, and I don't think I'll do anything like that again. I surprised myself. That was an exception, that was different. I was unemployed, I had lots of time.
Q: "Subreality Hopscotch." What started that? Just from that one story, there's an entire new world.
Kielle: Well, it dates back to high school again, actually, it dates back to Kitarra. <laugh> It's all her fault. We [created] a universe together, lots of characters. She tended to abuse her characters, and as a joke, I wrote a little story about all her characters getting together and complain[ing] about her.
Q: Sort of like a revenge fic.
Kielle: Yeah, and that idea stuck with me. Later, I was working on CFAN and I was doing the "stories by character" page. I just finished Wolverine, and I just got this crazy idea, what if Wolverine knew he was [in] a story? What would he think about being in all these stories? I wrote it as a joke, what if Wolverine remembered [being in] all these stories, and didn't like it? I did that, and it sort of went from there. Someone else came up with the idea of having him stopping off in a bar; they didn't name it though. I checked it. I was already thinking about an idea like that and I thought, "I'd better write fast before he [Bones] did it." So I named it [the Subreality Café] and I wrote a story… the round robins started on a regular round robin board on FicWorld. A lot of people started writing Subreality Café Round Robins; there were so many of them that the regulars got pissed and [kicked them out].
Q: There are just so many things you're in charge of.
Kielle: I tend to take things over.
Laersyn: She'll say, "I've got this great idea for a website. It's easy to maintain!" Those are the words of doom.
Kielle: The Court of Miracles. That's a nightmare to maintain. I wish I'd never started that one.
Q: What is the Court of Miracles all about?
Kielle: It's an archive of… what's the best way to put it? It's an archive of artwork about fanfics. There's a lot of archives for fan art, they way I rationalize it [is] everyone knows what Wolverine looks like, but there's usually characters in fanfic. I thought it was more interesting than just seeing another picture of Rogue, [I get] to see a picture of a scene from a fanfic I read. I thought it would be a small project and it wasn't. Nowadays, I avoid updating it like the plague. It's doing all the thumbnails.
Q: I've noticed that all of your fansites are well developed artistically. Did you take any art classes or any design classes? Is it just stuff you like?
Kielle: I'm a perfectionist. When I got into this stuff, I didn't know how to do HTML and I knew a little bit about Photoshop because I'd worked in the graphic arts department [where?] when I was a writer. I had to relearn because I hadn't used it in a couple of years. Like I said, when I get into something, I get into it. I get obsessive for a while. Now and then I get obsessive about things for no reason.
A couple months ago, I decided that I wanted to read about "The Real Ghostbusters" so I spent a couple weeks just reading every "Real Ghostbusters" fanfic I could find. After a few weeks it's just like BANG! that's enough of that. For no reason... I just decided to one day.
CFAN's lasted a lot longer... I don't want to sound egotistical like people depend on me but… I feel like [there is] kind of an obligation.
Q: Do you feel any sort of burden for being the CFAN admin, the Mary Sue admin...?
Kielle: Well... sometimes. But I enjoy it, too. I like being busy. I wish I had a co-archivist, but like I said, I'm such a perfectionist I haven't found anyone yet that I could trust. I know that sounds egomaniacal…
Laersyn: She did try it once. At one point, she subdivided CFAN into parts and asked people to help her. She had one person try it and they didn't do it very well, so she just gave up.
Kielle: I'd rather have it done well. Because it's all coordinated… you don't see how when I update, I change so many pages at the same time. There are so many things that interlink and interlock. I don't think I could share it with any one else unless they lived with me. Greg isn't interested. <laugh>
Q: How does your husband feel about all the things that you're involved with?
Kielle: He's not into fanfics. He's not mean about it, I mean, he's happy I enjoy it and he listens to me talk about it, so he's not nasty. But he kinda thinks it's a waste of time.
Q: Describe Greg for me. How did you meet?
Kielle: We're both writers; we met on a newspaper. He was the executive editor and I was the managing editor and between the two of us, we pretty much did the whole paper. We got to know each other really well, and things went from there. Actually, we did some role-playing games and we worked out together. We became really good friends, and then he popped the question at Disneyland.
You can't say no to someone at Disneyland. He was thinking about proposing, we weren't ready [and I told him], "Don't you even" because I knew I'd have to say no. So he did it at Disneyland. He knew I couldn't say no, he's so sneaky.
He's funny, a little abrasive. He's a good guy, he's a good husband, he's a good friend. We have a real good relationship.
Our house looks like a bachelor's pad. We have Star Wars toys, posters… we don't look like a married couple. I write my fanfic, he plays PlayStation games. It's pretty contented.
I really love the guy. He can be a pain in the ass sometimes, you can quote me on that.
Q: One thing I remember about most of your work is you have a lot of humor in it. What fuels your humor? What are its influences?
Kielle: I like to make people laugh, but I'm not very good at it in real life because I'm so shy. My husband's funnier than I am. I have a really weird and bizarre sense of humor. I'm influenced by "Mystery Science Theater 3000" a lot, the non-sequiturs, the pop references. I like very human characters. My Rogue would get peanut butter stuck on the roof of her mouth. You know, normal things that are funny. I really don't consider myself funny, but somehow I manage to write funny fanfics.
Chibi-Kielle in her avatar clothes Q: How did you ever have the endurance to do the MSTie for "X"?
Kielle and Laersyn laugh.
Kielle: Oh, the masochism! It took about a year before I released it. I didn't think it would be that big. I hadn't written a MSTie before that and I didn't realize how much work it is, how every single line needs a joke.
I didn't do it all at once. I would go through, throw jokes in, leave it alone for a couple days, come back, throw more jokes in…. Eventually, it got full of jokes, I finished it off, begged my husband for some host segments because he's better at it than I am...
Laersyn: Whined at her friends for months on end...
Kielle: What do you mean?
Laersyn: <putting his hands on his head> Oh, it's so horrible!
Kielle: You haven't seen the second one yet.
Q: I read the preview they have on The Great Comic Book MSTie site.
Kielle: It's gonna be good-if I can ever get the host segments out of Greg. It's been actually almost ready for two years now. I'm supposed to release it soon.
[The first one] was hard, but I did it in small chunks. I never expected to release it. If I was under a deadline, it would have been hard. I was just doing it for fun. I didn't plan for it [to be] online. But then I got harassed [into doing it].
Actually, to be fair, I've spoken to Andrew Vincent [author of X and X2] since then and he's a real cool guy.
Q: Was he upset with you about that?
Kielle: I think he was a little <pause> annoyed, but he was pretty cool about it. He wrote it when he was fourteen, he's eighteen now. Some one in the Subreality Café knows one of the people who's in the story (not Andrew, one of the other characters), and he told him, "Hey, look, you're in this story!" [The person] told me, and told Andrew, and the next day, I got a letter from Andrew.
I panicked, I admit, I thought I was dead. I thought, "My comeuppance has arrived. I'm gonna be sued." But he was pretty cool. He asked me to take some of the names out. I mean to do that.
Q: How did you get the name "The Scribe"?
Kielle: That's sort of a joke. I won't go into too much detail because it was a long time ago and some people don't want it discussed because it was a private project. There was a group of writers who corresponded with each other, and there was a joke going around about naming ourselves after the Hellfire Club-the two courts. Instead of being red and white, it would be one court for humor and one court for serious stuff. At the time, I wrote both; I didn't have a clue what court to join.
In the Excalibur comics, they have the Scribe, who is neutral between the Red and the White. I said I'd be the Scribe. And I didn't think it would stick!
Some people think, "The Scribe, it's such an arrogant title." But I didn't mean it like that. That would be way back when I started CFAN. I honestly didn't plan that to be a nickname.
It's kind of embarrassing because lately I've been writing in round robins, and I've been calling myself it, because everyone is. It feels so (squirm) … arrogant to be calling myself, "The Scribe."
Laersyn: Wasn't it Contrail and Silvanis who kinda solidified it by worshipping you openly?
Kielle: It was Celendra. [She] threw herself at my feet, declared herself my groupie and my high priestess. I had nothing to do with that.
I will admit, I have gotten accused (I won't name names)… I've gotten into arguments with people who thought I was high on my horse, who thought I really believed that I was "the goddess of CFAN." I just… I got obsessed, I did all the stuff, and one day I turned around and people were thinking I was… some deity. It's kinda fun, I won't lie. But I never.... It's just me.
Q: CBFFAs [The Comic Book Fan Fic Awards]. Why did you do it? Is it because there are no major awards for comic book fanfics?
Kielle: It started, as a lot of things start, on CFAN. Someone had the idea and I said, "Hey, that sounds cool! Let's do that!" I didn't plan to put it on CFAN, I didn't plan for it to be my project. It was Matt Nute (he called himself Claymore back then)… he asked why wasn't there a vote for best fanfic. I think he asked several big archivists-Lori, Hawk, a couple people were in on it. Everyone thought it was a good idea, and you know, I'm a masochist, and I said, "Hey, I'll host it on CFAN!"
I hosted a vote, the vote was done, I added it up and it just looked kinda <pause> boring. So I started thinking, what if we did this as a story? I can't remember if I decided to ask other people, or if they asked me about it, but it sort of evolved into a "who ever was interested" deal. The current ones are almost done. <laugh>
I thought it was a one-time thing. It's a December-January thing, and in August, people were going, "When's the next CBFFAs?" I didn't know there was a next one! I'm not kidding. I got ten or twenty people asking me; I finally got ticked. I said, "Shut up until December. Don't bother me 'til December."
So December 1 comes around… BANG! e-mails in my mailbox. I [had] put it in my FAQ, "Do not ask me about the CBFFAs!" So December came around, and the sucker that I am said, <sweet voice> "Well, okay, I guess we could do it again." It's just turned into a nightmare this year. It's not done yet, but it will be done. Before X2, most likely. <laugh> I hope to God before X2.
Q: SubrealiCon, August 21 and 22. How'd you get the idea for that?
Kielle: There was a West Coast convention a few years ago, a small one in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun, but there weren't a lot of people on the West Coast, so…. It's basically a competition with Dex Con. I'll say it right now, I'm jealous. I can't make it to Dex Con, and it got me thinking… I heard other people grumbling [about how] they can't make it out to Dex Con. We never thought there were that many people on the West Coast. I just figured, what the heck. I mean, we can't do anything special. If people have enough money, maybe we can go to Disneyland or something.
I [didn't] know if we'll do it here [in Orange County], it's selfish. But a lot of people are from around here. I was going to do it in San Francisco, but the response has been all Orange County.
Q: What other things do you read besides comic books?
Kielle: I like anthologies, short stories. I'm a sucker for those ones like "Unicorns!"-it's all a book about unicorn short stories. Fantasy to some degree… I tend to go into a book store and look for something that I've never read before. My perfect shopping trip is to find one book by an author I like, one book from a series I read, and one book I've never seen before for variety. "Doctor Who: The New Adventures"-I read those like crazy. Elfquest...
Laersyn: Pratchett...
Kielle: Pratchett... I love Terry Pratchett. Anything by Peter David. The occasional Star Trek or DS9 book, if it looks real good.
Q: Star Trek fan or Star Wars fan?
Kielle: Oh, no... Star Trek, more than Star Wars. I used to be a real big Trekkie, but now I'm not anymore, kinda grew out of it. I was more interested in making up my own stories. The characters we role-played became more interesting than the canon characters.
Q: Do you have Trek stories somewhere back in the computer?
Kielle: Oh yeah.... Oh, God....
Laersyn: <interrupting> No! No, she doesn't as a matter of fact. She erased all of those from her hard drive. <laugh>
Kielle: There's five hundred pages of them. Also a five hundred page novel, which he was involved with.
Laersyn: <shaking his head> I had nothing to do with it. I wasn't there.
Kielle: They will never see the light of day. But… it exists. It was a matter of really liking these characters. Any time we had a role-play campaign, stories resulted.
Laersyn: Anything angsty Seraph has ever tried to do, we put it completely to shame.
Kielle: We tried to out-angst each other. It was really ugly. And then, we had a "Happy War."
Q: A "Happy War?"
Kielle: We tried to write the fluffiest, cutest story… [Laersyn] won it. Laersyn wrote the fluffiest story I'd ever seen.
Laersyn: It has no relevance whatsoever. Nobody knows those characters.
Q: There aren't many female writers in anime fic. How do you explain the many female writers in comic book fan fiction? Because, if you think about it, there should be the same amount, since not many females read comic books.
Kielle: It's come up before; I know what you mean. Some fandoms are totally female: Star Trek, X-Files...
Q: Star Trek?
Kielle: Oh yeah. Maybe Star Trek's more half and half now a days. A lot of guys read comics… I don't want to stereotype men, but I think in general your average 14-year old boy…read them, he's enjoying them, and maybe he's acting them out. Girls can't play it. The girls who are the type to write fanfic tend to be loners, a little withdrawn. I don't want to stereotype, but your average female writer feels a bit alienated. [When you're a girl] you don't play superheroes with other girls, so you channel it into writing. Marvel and X-Men are where the females are; DC and Image are mostly male.
I think it's because girls read it and they want more. They see these characters and they want to know what they have for breakfast. The whole Remy/Rogue thing… it's a displaced romance. People see Rogue and Remy, and they want to see them together, so they'll write about it. [However,] it's different between fandom to fandom.
Laersyn: Kelly had a good observation a couple of years ago; when guys read a comic, they walk away from it, they're satisfied. Girls read it and they're not really satisfied.
Q: Kinda like sex?
Kielle and Laersyn laugh.
Kielle: <laughing> It depends on how well you train the guy.
Q: How do you feel about OTL [the Outside the Lines Mailing List]? Do you think it's a good alternative to a.c.f-f?
Kielle: I like OTL a lot. I think it's a good source-I like reading the feedback. I think it's a good alternative. I'm of the old school, I'm of the feeling that you have to take the good with the bad. I liked a.c.f-f when it was alive; I'll admit, a.c.f-f's pretty much dead now. I'm on OTL, I like OTL, but sometimes I feel OTL… is a little cushioned. I don't like flames either; I'm a hypocrite, I hate bad feedback. But sometimes I just feel that… it's too protective, it's not the real world. I realize that people say this isn't the real world, this is fanfic. Maybe as a professional writer I'm biased; I know there's a big world out there and I have to be ready for it. A lot of these people are writing for fun, so they don't feel they have to deal with the negative aspects. Sometimes I feel that's sticking your head in the sand. If OTL is a forum for people to read and have a good time, then it works perfectly.
I feel it's a shame that fanfic has become private. I mean, the mailing list is open for everyone, but you're not going to stumble across it. Readers are not going to find it by accident; whereas [with] a.c.f-f, if you searched the newsgroups, there it was. There's good and bad; Usenet has its problems, too. I'd like to have a moderated newsgroup, but there's no one to do it. The day of newsgroups is over, [at least] that's what I've found.
Q: If you had to pick something from your own body of work that you really, really liked doing and you really enjoyed, what would that be?
Kielle: For my MSTies, "X." For my serious stories, "No Way Up." I also have a TCP called "Ghost."
Q: I remember that one!
Laersyn: You weren't there when that idea came about. She had this sort of happy little idea, this cute little thing about this guy...
Kielle makes sounds of protest.
I said, "Well, what if you did this, and what if it went like this?" And she's all, <imitating Kielle> "No! No, don't do this to my story!"
Kielle: He came up with the end, and sort of... turned my thoughts down the dark side.
Laersyn: Then she started thinking, "Well, I could do it like-No! I won't do it!" It's my job to make all of her fun ideas turn dark.
Q: If you had to recommend fanfics written by other people, what would they be?
Kielle: Can I recommend authors in general? I have trouble thinking stories. Anything by Kaylee, anything by Poi Lass. Anything by Dex, anything by Abyss. Anything by Jaelle, but she hasn't written in a while. I tend to go for funny.
Q: Do you tend to cross over into other fandoms [regarding the things you read]?
Kielle: I tend not to move into big fandoms. The big ones [Star Trek, X-Files] I can't get into. Sometimes I'll see a little niche fandom where there's maybe about fifty stories. And I get curious, I figure I can read some of those. "The Real Ghostbusters"… okay, I admit… "My Little Pony." I read some "My Little Pony" fic… they were cute! They're mostly kids' stories, but they were really cute. If I see something that looks different, I'll go read it out of curiosity.
Q: What trends do you foresee in fanfic writing?
Kielle: I see a move away from Marvel, it's happened already. Gotham's getting very popular. Well, let's say continuing trends… a lot of the stuff I saw when I first started with fanfic haven't happened as much. Mary Sues, you don't see those as often. New-character-joining-the-team stories don't happen as often. But they still happen.
I've noticed a trend towards silly fic, stories that don't really go anywhere which are a lot of fun. I see drabbles happening. Drabbles are something off the Doctor Who newsgroups; they make a challenge to write a story within 350 words-short little bitty stories. I see drabbles in our future. Not as many epics, more male writers.
Q: Do you think that the reason why you've been getting a lot of drabbles is that a lot of the good ideas have been taken?
Kielle: Possibly, but I don't think a lot of the new writers have seen the old ideas. My memory goes back to the first few stories and I know a lot of people haven't heard of them. A lot of them are lost in Hawk's archive. No, I think it's the atmosphere of OTL, that anything you write will meet with feedback and approval. It's not good or bad, it's just a statement. It's nice to write something short and have people say what they think of it.
Q: What are you working on right now besides X2?
Kielle: X2, the albatross around my neck. Oh, wait, that's CFAN. «laugh»
I have a TCP I'm working on for forever about twins who share the same mind. I'll leave the ending a surprise because it's kinda messy. It's going to be an ugly one.
I have a lot of co-stories... <Kielle confers with Laersyn> Chris has sanctioned me to work on the sequel to "Devil's Due"-the official sequel, which means that he'll be involved with it, but we don't know yet who's gonna do how much and when we're gonna do it. So that's up in the air. There are some unofficial ones...
Laersyn: I offended so many people with that story [they they said], <manic voice> "We have to go save our heroes! Kill the Marauders, damn them!"
Q: If you had any advice to give other people who wanted to start writing fanfic, what sort of advice would you give them?
Kielle: Discard your first idea. Anytime some one comes up with a story, they use the first idea they think of. I guarantee the reader will have also thought of that idea. Always think of another twist. Think a little harder, think a little further. People just come up with one idea… and stop there.
My other advice is to write them like people. Read the dialogue aloud, think how you'd feel in that situation. I see stories where characters are just so unbelievable. It's minor little things-I always think of things like, "Is my character hungry? Do they have to go to the bathroom?"
Q: Like Method Acting.
Kielle: Exactly. Does the spandex itch? You know… [when you] think of yourself as that character, it all comes alive. "No Way Up" is a good example. I had [Vertigo] get hit by a car, and I realized that I wouldn't be able to walk a day after that. So I had to give her three days of recovery. I had to come up with plot to cover three days of recovery. I wrote some other plot around it, because she had to lay in a drainage ditch and moan for a couple days after that. It derailed the story, but I thought it was more realistic.
Laersyn: My observation with the TCPs is that someone would come up with one idea that was really good, and let the rest of it hang. They didn't really worry about it, they just threw in a bunch of typical stuff and thought that was good enough. So you'd have a story that had a real good idea in it, surrounded by stuff that wasn't worth reading.
I take into account that I am very jaded because I've been through a lot of writing classes, I've dealt with a lot of newbie writers, so I do have a bit of a harsher, less forgiving nature with writing. At the same time, I don't really have a lot of pity for people because when I can see it's just being lazy…. There are stories that aren't really very good that I still liked.

We talked some more over fries and burgers, occasionally stopping the interview in order to gossip and watch the birds on the patio. When the time came for me to get going, I shook hands with Laersyn and Kielle (who surprised me by giving me a hug) and we parted company.
I can't wait for August.

Author's Picks:

Vertigo: No Way Up--Kielle's one and only saga story, starring Vertigo of the Marauders. This is the template by which all Marauders stories are measured.
X: The MSTie by Kielle (with help from Greg Newcomb)-- The infamous story, MST'd by the infamous Scribe. Original HTML found on The Great Comic Book MSTie Site.
The Kai and Logan series by Kaylee --Starring Kai, the enigmatic young lover of Logan, this series is part drama, part comedy, all fun.
First, Do No Harm by Poi Lass --A CFAN feature, starring Beast and Iceman. Usually linked from the CFAN main page, somehow this is unlinked at the moment. Bug Kielle when you get the chance.
It's Not the Fall that Kills You (It's the Beer and the Bunny Slippers) by Abyss--Delve into a realm of cute innocent slippers, Guiness drinking and gummi noshing, hosted by that fearless Sinister-taunter, Abyss.
Through the Valley of Shadows by Darqstar-- Magneto and Logan come to the aid of the "hellspawned".
Orphans by Dex --One of Dex's more serious pieces, featuring Jubilee and Scott Summers. This page is linked to the FicWorld archive.

Spotlight Picks:

Since there are so many of Kielle's and Laersyn's stories that I like, it would be impossible to name them all. In that case, I'll direct you to their website for their shared works.
Camelot-- The repository for all of Kielle and Laersyn's fics, handily color-coded according to serious and non-serious works. Here you can find all the Subreality Cafe, TCP and other assorted stories mentioned in this interview.

Assorted Links:

--The biggie, the one and only, the largest collection of comic book related fan fic archives under one roof. If you find a broken link, contact Kielle, thus giving her more stuff to do with the page.
Assorted Art --Didja know Kielle can draw, too? Here is a collage of assorted images that have come out of the brain and pen of our favorite Scribe, complete with artists' descriptions.
The Mary Sue Society --Devoted to those wonderful self-insertion avatars we all know lurk in our writers' brains. The other reason I'm including a link to this page is that I have a poem listed on it.

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