TLS would like to thank all of the participating authors for the beautiful love letters. We appreciate you sharing your heartfelt words to brighten the days of others and are thankful for your help spreading the love.
From our hearts to yours - Happy Valentine's Day, Twific Fandom.
This is both a love letter and a heartfelt note of apology. I like to fancy myself both your best and probably your worst fan.
Ask me what I am reading at any given moment and in the top two will be, “Whatever story Counselor is writing right now.” Ask me my favorite fanfiction author and the answer is Counselor. Ask me which authors make it into my top five favorites of all time, and I will answer you, truthfully, “Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Harper Lee, Counselor, and Leif Enger.”
I am known for showing up in the Facebook group for your fics and making long, rambling comments on the raw honesty of your prose, the mirror you hold up to both our strongest and our lowest selves in the characters you write, and generally lamenting the fact that I cannot hope to compare, ever, though I am so happy to get every update despite the feelings of inadequacy and awe they usually inspire.
I am, however, a terrible reviewer. I’m trying to do better about giving you well-deserved feedback. I know that the thousands of reviews you receive are a treasure to you because you often say so, and somewhat like my grandmother, I do not think you would ever lie to me, or to any of your other readers. I tend to forget you have other readers, though. I feel like you write just for me. This is a mark of the best, I think, this ability to make us forget that a story is between anyone but ourselves and the pages that hold it.
That’s where this whole love letter gets a bit awkward and perhaps a bit fan club-idol scary. I can count the times we have interacted via the interwebs on one hand. You, like the effortlessly wonderful Ms. Lee, like to keep your private self, well, private. I respect that. I can’t help, as I read your stories of love and hope and heartache and redemption and flawed, beautiful humanity, wanting to really know you. I wish I could invite you out to my house in the hills of Tennessee and offer you some iced tea and a slice of hummingbird cake so that I might sit at your knee and soak up some of that ability you have to see so much. You must notice everything. From the shoelaces of a girl in the ’60s to the heartache of loving a man who may father someone else’s children, to the way an old man’s story was once a young man’s life, you notice, and like a machine, you somehow churn this out to us in wisdom and sex and blood and words.
I think, as usual, you said it best:
This was my home. And all of those who had met inside of me, laying down their stories, laying down their brokenness and their love, they were the thunder in my heart. And now…in this life…for my time on this earth…I was theirs.
Wherever you may make your mark, whatever may come, I see you as mine, Counselor, as do so many in this fandom that are blessed by your words. You’re our thunder, and we’re so lucky to “know” you this way.
Dear IngenueFic aka WritingFicariously,
I remember the first time we met like it was yesterday. We spent hours traveling through the perilous desert while smashed into the backseat of a Ford Focus. When you started talking about Twific, I knew we were meant to be. I was new to the fandom then and didn’t know anyone, let alone an author! You immediately skyrocketed to the top of the list of cool people I knew.
Back in real life we were separated by over 1,000 miles, but the distance between us was no match for GChat.
We spent hours when we should have been working talking about the more important things in life, such as fic and Rob and the upcoming Twilight movies and lots of other srsbsns things. Then one day you asked me to pre-read one of your chapters. One became two, and then two became an entire story, and ZOMG I was so excited that you wanted my input. Little old me! I was over the moon.
When I posted my first story, you were there for me as well. You taught me so much about writing when I really didn’t know anything at all. Sometimes I dreaded sending stuff to you because I knew it was awful (and other times I thought it was good when it wasn’t), but you always gave me great advice and helped me be the best writer I could be. It’s been years since you’ve been my beta, but I can still hear your voice in my head.
Sometimes when I’m stuck I ask myself, what would Mary tell me to do? And I’m sure half the time you wouldn’t tell me to do it, but that is totally not the point. The point is you are always on my mind when I write. In a non-creepy way. Anyway, I digress.
Your writing has always inspired me. Whether you wrote something fluffy or angsty or sexy, I hung on your every word. That’s the kind of author I aspire to be. At times I think I got my evil streak from you, because you wrote Watch Me Burn and even though I’ve begged for a futuretake YOU WON’T FIX IT. WHY WON’T YOU FIX IT? WHY MUST YOU HURT ME SO? I remember what we talked about in California last fall *nudge nudge wink wink* and I want you to know that whether you write more fic or something original, I cannot wait to read it. So get on that.
Because I miss your words.
Thank you for being an inspiration, and most importantly, thank you for being my friend. Okay that’s enough sappy crap. I’m gonna go shower it away; you go write me something.
ooza aka Jibs
Like a true fan, I knew of you before I knew you. When pictures of moustaches that I (thankfully) hadn’t seen since my disco-and-amber-tint-glasses-filled childhood began to pop up on Facebook, I wondered who this Planetblue chick was and what the hell she was thinking giving the perfect and beautiful Edward Cullen such hideous facial hair. So I opened up chapter one of Deviant. And then I got it. Manchu forever, baby!
Time and again, you weave brilliant, descriptive, enticing stories. A talent, a gift, whatever name you call it by, you have it: The ability to pull readers along on the ride your characters take, whether it’s in a stolen car or a purple camper or a Bugatti. We loved the art “thief”, the eyeliner-wearing/weapon-brandishing teenager, and the good guy struggling to find himself underneath his parents’ expectations. We lusted after your Angel of Death and wanted a happy ending to what might have been an unhappy tale… and you delivered it.
Your Bellas are no less fascinating and varied – smart, sly, kinda damaged, free-spirited. They are the best of us, and sometimes the worst of us, but every time written with an appreciation of who they are. It’s that appreciation that endears them to us, and, of course, to Edward. In this fandom, Bellas are often tolerated more than liked. But yours, my friend, are worthy of every bit of love thrown their way. Whether we want to be them, meet them, hang out with them or protect them, we love them.
Creating a story isn’t easy. It can be maddening to painstakingly make sure every scene and every relationship is built the way you want. Crafting a great, layered story and plotting it out so that it unfolds seamlessly from beginning to end is even tougher. And yet you do it in a way that feels effortless to the reader. The personalities of your characters stay true throughout, but they learn and grow from what they experience, just like real people. It’s a joy to read them in every incarnation. Each one has a different voice, a vernacular of his or her own. Not every writer is capable of that. So take a bow, pat yourself on the back – or better yet, raise a glass of something good to yourself.
And, by the way, you totally nail the guy’s point of view. Every. Fucking. Time.
While I love your stories and adore your storytelling, the main reason for this love letter is the 3-D you. I was fairly intimidated by the thought of meeting so many people in Nashville. I practically clung to Six’s leg as we walked into the restaurant to meet your group that first night last summer. But, immediately, you (and CarrieZM and Layathomemom, who each deserve their own love letter!), were friendly and welcoming and fun. Sitting in that big, square booth eating, drinking and trying to shout over the music was the perfect introduction to the weekend, and I had a legit girl crush (on all three of you) in no time.
Aside from your obvious talent, one of the things I love most about you is the way you encourage and support others. In a fandom where it’s sometimes every woman for herself, you are open, thoughtful, and gracious. You recognize that this place is big enough for everyone, and you celebrate other writers instead of feeling threatened by them. You appreciate your readers, and have absolute devotion to your friends. It’s easy to understand why so many people love you: dimples and Squiggy. Kidding, kidding. It’s the good heart, the quick wit, the no-nonsense delivery, the perspective you have on the world and your willingness to share it. You’ve made me think – and think differently.
So, whether you’re posting stories or pictures of Squiggy or pictures of hunky men, I’m in for the long haul. Happy Valentine’s Day.
With much love,
jayhawkbb ~ xo
Dear Tricycle of Awesomeness,
When I started reading fanfic, I had no idea that it would change my entire life. Not only did it inspire me to write but it connected me to people I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. The Trike is and always will be my favorite collaboration ever.
It’s not easy to write. The more I do it, the more I realize this is true. Know what’s even harder than writing? Writing with someone else.
Know what’s harder than writing with someone else? Writing with more than one someone elses.
Know what’s easy? Writing with you two. You both have such amazing gifts of wit and creativity. Your styles are so different but your hearts are the same. The heart is where you both write from and it’s so clear when I read your words that you leave a piece of yourselves on that page. Must be why I love your words so much.
There is a Light by Belladonnacullen will be my favorite fic of forever. Getting to melt my characters with those characters was one of the best experiencing in my writing career. I still imagine Alec and Little One making a life together somewhere in the world! Not only does your writing inspire me, your friendship makes me smile. I love your sense of humor and your level headedness. I admire your compassion and your quiet strength.
Then there is FictionFreak95 aka JoFicFreak aka JR Richardson aka just Jo. I can’t put into words what it was like when the author of The Dick popped up in my Facebook group and started gushing about my story. You wrote Edward Cullen, Dick for Hire. Are you even aware of what a big deal you are?
Of course not because that’s what I love about you, Jo. You are the most down-to-earth, humble, amazing, hilarious, soft-hearted, dirty-talking, incredible human I have the pleasure to call friend. I am in awe of everything you do. You are so brave even though I know you would try to argue with me about that. Brave doesn’t mean fearless, it means you’re willing to take a risk in the face of fear and you have done that time and time again. One book on my shelf with your name on the cover and one soon-to-be right next to it proves it is true.
Jo and Marie, thank you for letting me be your third wheel. Thank you for all the laughter and some of the tears. Thank you for being in my life and being my Trike.
Dear Windy (Windchymes),
Where to even start? I've known of your writing since 2009, when I discovered Blood Lines. It was my very first AU fic and I still remember the enormity of my fascination with the story you'd created. I was obviously already in love with the character of Edward Cullen, but you cemented something for me with that story. You painted a richer, deeper character. And you continue to do so with each new story you post. All of your Edwards remain, for me, more 'human' than any AH I've read since. And Your Bella. Ah, your Bellas. Her canon character lacked a strength and wisdom that always kind of bugged me, but you always fill in those holes for me. Your Isabella always has just a little bit more umph. Reading your work is like turning off the world for a short while. You never resort to gratuitous drama or extreme plot devices. I'm held by the hand and guided from chapter to chapter by the thoughtfulness of your tone and the emotions you conjure. I feel a genuine pulse of emotion beneath your words. You care for the characters, and that endears them to the reader far more efficiently than the actual words ever could.
In short, I would read your adaptation of the McDonald's menu. Please never stop creating.
As if that wasn't enough already, you've been a wonderful friend to me. Always thoughtful, kind, and humble to all the (probably) creepy fangirling I tend to hurl your way. I wish you so much success and happiness in all that you do. Now, I know you're going to get all shy and modest about this letter, but that's okay. There's not enough of that in the world. Take it anyway, woman. You're amazing.
All of my love, admiration, appreciation, and sincere gratitude for what you've brought to my life,
Dear yellowglue (aka littlegreyache) (aka Sarah Elizabeth), beautiful dreamer, sunshine swirl, empress of the sacred and profane,
a love letter.
are a love letter.
Let (v) : to free from or as if from confinement; to allow or permit to enter, pass, or leave.
You let love come through you like a prism does sunlight, turning it into a spectrum of luscious color so pure, and vivid, and heart-pounding, eye-watering beautiful, we can't help but try to run our fingers through it.
It feels effortless to readers, but I can assure you, anyone who writes understands that it is not.
For some, writing is just a matter of fantasizing on paper. But that couldn't be farther from the way you work. The voices you write choose you. You see where they walk, hear what they think. You feel everything they go through, and this is why your stories go miles beyond basic literature, embracing us in a deeply engrossing experience rather than a casual pastime. Loading even simple moments with rich details and subtle associations calls all of ourselves into reading it, much the same way that you put all of yourself into creating it. To skim a yellowglue story is to sprint through the Louvre.
This is not a love letter. Because the skillful way you use music throughout your writing inspires and illuminates in such a way, anything written about you could be nothing less than a love song.
Including lyrics in your titles and chapter names, in dialogue and as backdrop, you invite readers to become part of the moment. The songs you plant within us linger like a powder burn, and while they offer a private place to feel closer to characters we've loved, they also arm a trip wire for emotion. When readers are in their car and Jar of Hearts or Cruel and Beautiful World begin to play, it's nearly impossible not to think of Trouble and Bliss. When Tulips by Bloc Party shuffles on, we're dancing in that dark club next to Ballerina Girl and her guardian. With careful and intuitive use of music, the soul that you put into your words crawls off the page, down our arms to our thumbs, slipping into mp3 players and phones and climbing along twisted wires into our ears, anchoring your visions of love in the deep places of our hearts that only sounds can find.
This is not a love letter, and you are not a writer.
You are an artist whose medium is words, and love, and the sea and the sky and the wild untouched darkness inside each one of us. Your medium is starlight, and bitter shadow, and every shade of red a beating heart can hold. Your medium is finding the exquisite in the everyday, tracing its fragile edges with your soft, careful little fingertips, and finding ways to write down all of the colors of the natural magic that is the exchange of love.
For all their power, words feel short when I attempt to write my thankfulness for all you've given us. From the radiant intensity of first love's affection, to the blinding urgency of mortal terror, the cold valley of loneliness and the heady thrill of losing yourself, you've walked through it, shared it all with us in lyrical cadence, and kept giving us more.
Thank you for smooshes, twirls, beeps and squeeps, nicknames that we carry between our lungs, and music that we carry inside of them. Thank you for contagious exuberance, insupressible honesty, tumblr-bombs, bon-matins, and being irreplaceable you, every day. Thank you last but not least for all the kind guidance and feedback you've given to so many writers in this fandom, myself included. Making time to offer thoughtful help and encouragement to others proves that you don't just write love.
You live it.
And I want to live it with you.
You're still the song I can't stop singing.
I love you so truly, so deeply, and so forever, my little punk rock pixie.
I do love no [fic-writer] in the world so well as you – is that not strange?
Six years ago, I was spinning my wheels in that “I’ve-read-all-of-the-books-but-there-has-to-be-more” rut that seems to lead so many into this wonderfully chaotic fanfiction bubble. And, as so many did before me, I found my way to the fic-world and, mercifully, very early on, to your wonderful words. It’s a shame, in some ways, that I found your magic as early as I did, because few stories since have intrigued my mind and gripped my heart the ways yours (particularly “Breaking News”) did.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read “Breaking News” and “The Port Angeles Players” – the tally rivals the number of times I’ve read my favorite books, watched my favorite movies. I’ve tried, in every reread since the first, to put my finger on the true magic of your stories, and even now, years after the first time, I’m still in awe.
You write smart Edwards and, even more importantly, smart Bellas. Your Bellas, to quote – well, you – are “tart, and pithy, and sexy as fuck.” No lip-biting, self-doubting, oh-just-grow-a-spine-already protagonists here. Your Bellas are girls I’d want to be friends with – funky, original, savvy. Your Edwards, meanwhile, are sexy without being caricatures, commanding without being domineering, and – the sexiest thing of all – respectful of and dare I say awestruck by the intelligence of your Bellas. And that, when we get down to it, is the most wonderful thing about your stories: the intelligence. Of the plots, of the language, of the dialogue, of the characters. The banter is the best kind of intellectual foreplay; the smarts of your story are the sexy, so much so that the actual sexy? It’s gravy. The parry-and-thrust of your dialogue is pitch perfect, the subtlety of character revelations the most seamless kind of brushstrokes.
“Breaking News” is what I come back to when I need to read something real. Something that makes me feel, makes me think. Something that titillates my cerebral juices while also appealing to that sappy side that fell in love with Twilight to begin with. If I amassed a pile of my favorite pieces of artwork – books, songs, movies, paintings, plays – this work of fanfiction would be damn near the top of that heaping pile.
And outside your writing? You’re a class act. A smart cookie. YOU are tart, pithy, and talented as fuck, and the wonderful words you’ve put out there make the world a smarter, sexier, more wonderful place to be.
My love for your particular brand of genius knows no bounds.
There’s fan fiction. And then there’s FAN FICTION. Stories that overlapped or intertwined with the originals and made them something new. Stories that reinvent and reinterpret, becoming as beloved as the work that inspired it.
Careful weavings from the same colorful strands that composed the stories that made us hunger for more. Those threads are twisted and rewoven, making the tapestry brilliant in a new way.
That’s the kind of fan fiction you wrote.
Your work was my first encounter with exceptional fan fiction. I found you by accident, before I knew about the fandom and the fansites. I was hunting through mediocre to adequate stories, searching for more, more, more Twilight. But I still wanted GOOD Twilight.
In my search I encountered a variety of fun stories that took Twilight to an expanded level. But it was you who took it deeper. You showed me what fan fiction could be.
You showed me that it could be anything. And it could be better than the original. It could right wrongs, heal wounds, answer prayers, light the darkness, give closure, and open doors. It could take a world we all wanted to spend more time in and make it a universe. It could reinvent and redefine and reshape canon. It could be wacky or silly or sexy, but always comforting.
It could be original.
You were fresh and new with every story you shared.
I love how you care for your readers and the source material. I appreciate your meticulous research and your respect for the story and the characters in it. You're deliberate about your craft.
You’re not only a beautiful writer and talented artist, you’re also a caring participant in the fandom, and a generous spirit.
You give of your talent in so many ways. With words and graphics and participation in fandom contests and events. You’re a presence here. A great one. With a great smile.
Your leap into original fiction was graceful and your work continues to make me say, “Just one more chapter and then I’ll go to sleep.” The More trilogy, YA novels and short stories demonstrate your ability to tell great stories in multiple genres, in various ways.
I don’t know you that well. I just know that I’m grateful to have found your stories, that they opened the door to a world of exceptional fic I didn’t know what out there. I remember many times reading your work into the wee hours, staring at my phone and thinking, “Wow. What talent. What heart. What a great story.”
What an author.
What an incredible outpouring of love we’ve seen this past week! We are blessed to have so many talented writers in this fandom, and each and every one deserves a love letter. So to all writers not singled out, we want to remind you how much you are loved and appreciated. Thank you for being courageous enough to share your words. Your memorable characters and unforgettable story lines leave a mark on us long after you hit complete. We put you on alert, we favorite you, announce your updates, share passages, and flail. You make us think and wonder where you will take us next. Even if you haven’t been around in a while, please don’t doubt; we miss you. We long for more. It doesn’t matter if you have a few hundred reviews or if you have thousands, YOU still play an integral part of keeping this fandom alive. After reading all the wonderful love letters and swooning over entries in the May to December Romance contest, we’d say there’s a pretty strong pulse at the moment!
Anyway, we just wanted to make sure you feel the love we have for you. Again, thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day!