let's get the seven lines.
Hi! I'm Aja; I write for The Daily Dot about my corner of the web, namely, fandom and fandom culture. If you'd like to contact me about a media or press event, please email aja at thedailydot.com. Thank you!

Other places you can find me:
The DotDreamwidthpinboardtumblr@mmmarthur@ajaromanoThe Mary SueFanbatte!

This journal's been through lots of changes over the years, but I hope you guys will always feel welcome here! Feel free to say hi, friend/defriend, just lurk, or drop by to hang out at any time! :)
let's get the seven lines.
02 June 2013 @ 04:03 pm

Hi, LJ. I miss you so much. I feel displaced constantly on the Internet these days. My heart is like a grounded fledgling, staring longingly back at its far-away nest, knowing it needs to fly away but unsure where to go.

(Do you like how we can't blockquote things on LJ anymore because now they auto-format as shitty fucking italics? I KNOW I SURE DO!)

Anonymous asked you:

aja, i just watched inception for the very first time (I KNOW) and now i need all of the arthur/eames fic. what's the best you'd recommend? where should i start? #latetothepartyproblems


*Deep breath* Okay. Ahaha wow. You don't know what an overwhelming question this is for me to be asked 3 years into a fandom whose fics are as good as Inception's. I don't know if I just turn my critical filter off more, or if the fics are just objectively better (i like to think both), but you should know my rec rate is about 40% higher in Inception than in any other fandoms I read in. (I calculated this on Pinboard once, it was ridiculous, haha.)

So when I say you should READ ALL OF THE FICS I mean that with a kind of desperate urgency because they're all so good, haha. Read all of the fics on Phen's enormous 600-strong rec list, read all the fics on Mementis's rec lists, read all of the 2,000-something fics on my Inception pinboard bookmarks, read them all because Inception fandom is amazing, and Arthur and Eames are just. There's nothing quite like them.

so, fic recs.Collapse )
let's get the seven lines.
28 October 2012 @ 02:32 pm
So tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries fandom. There definitely is one, and it's actually one of the most delightful fandoms I've come across in a while, even if my interaction with it has been almost totally in YouTube comments and on Tumblr.

In case you missed my earlier flailing, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in vlog format. Lizzie keeps a vlog about her day-to-day adventures, and all the crazy cast of people who come in and out of her life. It. Is. Fabulous. Caroline tries to win fans from Lizzie's vlog audience by gifting us her cast-off designer handbags (no seriously). WICKHAM WEARS GUYLINER. PERFECT SHOW. IS. PERFECT.


The vlog updates twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Each ep runs anywhere from 3-7 minutes on average, and each ep covers one full chapter of Pride and Prejudice. Although P&P can feel like a short book, it's really not, and at 63 chapters in, we're only FINALLY getting to one of the main plot points of the book:

the proposal.

There are so many amazing things about the way the LBD is happening. The Jane Austen fandom was my very first fandom, and one of only 2 that I consider a lifelong fandom, along with HP. But the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, because it's happening on YouTube, is revitalizing the Austen fandom in a way that I really honestly thought could not happen, because let's face it, there are 8 zillion P&P remakes out there already, right?


Because it's happening on YouTube, there are lots of fans who a) have never read the book, and even fewer, a handful of fans who b) still haven't figured out that the show isn't actually real. So, in any given episode, you have a bunch of things going on:
- people confusedly wondering why the people on Lizzie's vlog are acting like characters out of a book, because they don't realize that they ARE characters
- people who know what's up but haven't read the book begging other people not to spoil them for what happens, which generally leads to
- lots of other people amusedly trolling them with fake spoilers ("WAIT TIL LYDIA GETS PREGNANT!"), etc etc.

So that's all good times. But even more than that, people like me who know the book backwards and forwards, who've read it a million times, are basically freaking out on a regular basis because everything about this story is enhanced by having it done in Vlog format. We vet to spend more time with the characters, side characters who are deliberate caricatures in Austen's world become fleshed out and even more sympathetic, and the relationships that we see on-screen deepen. We invest in them even more, so that when the plot twists of Austen's novel happen, they hit us in totally new ways. (Not even going near the show giving us Jane's reaction to Bing leaving, because OH MY GOD SO MANY TEARS.)

Take Lizzie and Charlotte. Charlotte Lucas--or Charlotte Lu as she's named in the LBD--is so much more than just a side character. She has her own voice, we watch her argue and fight with Lizzie, we watch her impacting the whole style of the show, and we see her away from Lizzie trying to be her own person while still desperately missing her best friend. The weeks that they were apart in the series really felt strained as they unfolded in real time in a way that never happens in any other Austen adaptation or fanfic, because we got to really feel her absence episode after episode. When the episode that brought the two of them back together finally happened, I HONEST-TO-GOD SHRIEKED ALOUD IN GLEE, because even though I know that they remain friends, the emotional catharsis of watching them make up after their long fight and separation hit me as hard as any new story that I'm watching would have hit.

That's why it's absolutely one of the highlights of my week right now to peruse the comments on YouTube for this show. Like, this is one time where I would urge you DEFINITELY READ THE COMMENTS because apart from being very polite and happy--everyone loves all of the characters, which is just so nice oh my god--the comments really submerge you in the amazing cultural convergence that is happening around this show.

Everyone who knows the book knows that Monday is Proposal Day, and the fandom has been FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT. Which is exciting all by itself because the LBD still hasn't shown us Darcy yet, and every episode we get brings us closer to the Big Reveal omfg.

But the people who have NO IDEA what's happening next because they're watching the story for the first time?--THEY'RE ALSO FREAKING OUT. They're all, HOLY SHIT WHAT DARCY NO, NO WAY! and OH MY GOD LIZZIE, and WTF IS GOING TO HAPPEN NOW, and DARCY YOU ASSHOLE, and it's so fucking incredible, haha.

Like, just to be a lifelong Jane Austen fan is to know that you're one of Those Women who dreams of a Darcy figure to whisk you away to Regency England, right, and you get lumped in with this kind of fuddy-duddy culture of cat-owning book club members who own all of the Austen films and have three copies of the 1995 BBC P&P because their VHS tapes wore out and then 2 people gave them the DVDs for christmas *cough*.

So there's this real joy for me in watching other people discover this story as it's happening. This is in part a tribute to the excellent writers of the LBD, but also, ultimately, to Austen, and to the power of a universally beloved story. When I hosted the Daily Dot's Transmedia Round Table recently, Bernie Su, the LBD's co-producer and head writer, said that the LBD considers P&P to be "our greatest weapon." And it's so true, because you can literally see people who started watching randomly, or maybe because of the Hank Green connection (he's the other producer) moving from casual interest to total obsession based on the power of the story, and getting so caught up in the plot and the characters in real time.

It's MAGICAL, YOU GUYS. it's making me SO UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY. Like, these are all actual comments on the most recent eps, and I'm just totally rolling around in them like watching this show is some kind of brand-new spectator sport.

I have no idea what's going to happen on Monday. My personal theory is that Darcy's going to ask Lizzie out via text or something equally awkward and Lizzie's reaction will occur onscreen while she reads his texts to us with increasing indignation. BUT no matter what, I just wanted to commemorate this, because 199 years after Pride and Prejudice was published, tens of thousands of people in the Jane Austen fandom are literally on the edge of our seats waiting for Darcy's proposal, like we've never seen it before. Because amazing tales, being retold in amazing new ways, not only gain new audiences, but gain new emotional resonances in the telling.

That's the power of story, and the power of transformative fanfiction.


let's get the seven lines.
12 July 2011 @ 09:03 pm
After many many many ages I have finally finished working on the updates to my post from last year about published fanfic.

Needless to say it's now TOTALLY tl;dr, but my hope is that it will continue to be useful wherever discussions of fanfiction come up.

Of course, last Friday Time published Lev Grossman's amazing and insightful article about fanfiction, and I'm pretty sure this heralds the turning of the tide with regard to popular opinion about fandom as a cultural entity. But, hey, the list is there, and I'm happy it's been helpful to people this past year. :)
let's get the seven lines.
24 March 2011 @ 11:29 pm
Earlier this month I was asked to write a guest blog post for the Organization for Transformative Works (the OTW) in support of their March Fundraising Drive. I hope you will please read this post and others from around the community and think about what the OTW means, or could mean, to each of us in fandom. Please follow otw_news this week as they update! My guest blog is crossposted below.


Recently, I've had two of my default assumptions about fandom overturned.

Assumption #1: The Powers That Be know what fandom is.

In May, I attended the first annual Book Blogger convention, where a room full of publishing reps were asked, “How many of you know what fanfiction is?” I was stunned when less than half of them raised their hands.

In fandom, we face constant threat of exposure, legal repercussions, etc. It's hard to grasp that lots of media professionals don't find fanwork threatening because they don't even know what it is. When they *do* discover fanwork, their response hinges on their overall view of fan culture. When they perceive fan culture as a positive thing, fandom becomes safer from threat.

I believe that no one can portray fandom more positively than fandom itself. But do we always?

Assumption #2: Fans know fandom is nothing to be ashamed of.

If fandom has taught me anything, it's that legitimized fanwork exists everywhere. So when I posted a long list of examples to show how fanfic fits into a larger cultural spectrum of reworking previous sources, I assumed I was re-stating the obvious.

But the outpouring of response I received was overwhelmingly one of surprise. I hadn't realized how many fans saw fanfic as illegitimate, or how eye-opening and empowering a simple list of examples to the contrary could be.

Fandom may no longer be widely viewed as something closeted and shameful, but we're still transitioning. We often need reminders that fanwork has cultural and creative significance. We need fans advocating for the legitimacy of fanwork--not just for legal reasons, or as liasons to the general public, but for ourselves.

That's the reason I've been a member of the OTW since its inception. I want my community to take pride in itself and the things it creates. And I take constant pride in the OTW, not only because it secures legal protections for fans, rescues endangered fanworks, and tirelessly educates the public about fandom, but because just by existing, it proves that fans and fanworks are a part of a larger collective experience. The OTW exists as an invitation and a challenge for us to express, to the world and each other, what a vast and valuable part fandom plays in modern culture, and what a wonderful, irreplaceable community experience it is.

Take the challenge! Join the OTW.

23-29 March 2011 OTW Membership Drive
let's get the seven lines.
1. If Yuletide were held right now, at this moment, my Yuletide fandoms would be:
  • Plants vs. Zombies
  • The Room (2003)
  • Old Spice Man (and crossovers with every fandom ever)
  • Taylor Swift RPF
  • Inception.

    2. The OTW is awesome. You should be a member. An OTW member. A member of the Organization for Transformative Works. Won't you?

    3. Old Spice Man.
    Watch this commercial. Nevermind, you've already seen that commercial. Now watch these. I like the one for Anonymous, as well as the one for @pancakehumpr. Sardonic look.
    Now read Old Spice Man/Sassy Gay Friend. After you've had plenty of time to recover from the dazzling perfection around which your universe has had to expand to fully encompass, read Old Spice!Arthur from Inception--no spoilers because that would be unmanly--and then you should read Old Spice Man/Saito, because the only thing manlier than Isaiah Mustafa is Ken Watanabe, and by "manlier" I mean "more cable of fully demolishing the last frayed threads of your willpower so that you can no longer feebly resist the urge to rip his clothes off at this very moment and instead can only fling yourself upon him in a hapless frenzied heap of desire."

    And if there are any more Old Spice Man fics out there, well, let's just say I'm starting a collection. Meaningful Eyebrowface. New numerical item.

    eta, 8/5/10: behold, the zeitgeist hath given us this wonder:

    4. Taylor Swift, a brief rant. Also many fanfics. FANFICS! click this link. Yes.Collapse )

    5. Inception. General Reactions! Everything below this cut is a spoiler!Collapse )

    6. aka ha, i lied in my subject line, this entry isn't over:

    no, but seriously, Can we just freaking have a queer main character already, modern media? Can we just freaking have one who gets to be gay and fully sexualized and maybe in a relationship or two, and they're not forbidden to have a real romantic relationship, and they're actually the series lead and not part of a safe ensemble cast, and if they are the lead, they don't turn evil or die a martyr, their lover doesn't get written off the show after sweeps week, and they don't wind up getting shepherded into a heterosexual love interest after their gay lover is killed off, and the show doesn't build their entire characterization around their sexuality, and they're not depicted with intentional homoerotic overtones that get coded as "bromantic" and played for laughs, rather than allowed to be what they are, which is FUCKING QUEER, and they're not hoary chestnut stereotypes as old as the celluloid closet itself, and when they finally (hallelujah) do get to achieve a realistic and well-developed plot outline, they aren't immediately punished with unspeakable violence, and/or the show they're in isn't immediately canceled forever?

    Can we just freaking have one already????????

    No? Not at all? Not even ambiguously?

    oh, right. what was i thinking. it's not like it's the year two thousand and fucking ten, or anything.