Author's Archive, Spotlight No. 12: anthfan
First Published on FFnet: April 21, 2006
Written for: Arrow, Harry Potter, Bones, Castle, and Smallville (35 published stories on AO3, 54 on FFnet)
1.) What inspired you to write your first story?
“I’m going to assume you mean Olicity story. Because trust me, no one needs to know about the ST:TNG story I wrote at the ripe old age of 10.
That being said…
Short answer-Oliver and Felicity, aka-’these two beautiful idiots’
“Long answer-I had 14 eps of the show stacked up on my DVR. I’d watched the first three or four with my husband but it hadn’t caught our attention although we both definitely liked the ‘blonde IT girl’ from 1x03. I’d heard that the show had gotten better and sometime in early 2013 we started watching the backlog. When Felicity came back on in her scenes with Walter I remember turning to my husband and saying ‘I really like her, she needs to be on more’. The more she was with Oliver the more drawn in I became. They just popped off the screen and it was that missing piece of the show for me. Felicity was already in on Oliver’s secret in the eps being aired at this time and I was starting to see gifs from eps I hadn’t watched yet. Gifs that were definitely catching my eye.
“It got to the point I saw the gifs from 1x21, the casino ep and I NEEDED to see the episode! However, my husband and I hadn’t gotten that far on the DVR yet! So I sneakily watched the ep on the CW page on my laptop so it wouldn’t show up that I’d watched it on the DVR. I was already in deep with Olicity and didn’t even know it. And that is how I came to write my first Olicity piece. It was originally a one-shot that turned into a two-shot which will surprise absolutely no one that reads my work. I enjoy tag stories, add ons, what ifs. So, ‘The View From the End of the Rope’ was born from my need to see what happened after Oliver saved her at the casino. I had no intentions of writing more than the one story. I really didn’t think I’d get so dragged in. I had been pretty deep into the Harry Potter ff world and was coming off a long project and had no plans to jump into another fandom. And then two days later I found myself starting another story, which very quickly turned into ‘Hope in the Darkness’ which was a rewrite of the end of season 1! And now we’re here.”
2.) You have a collection of stories centered around common tropes. Which trope was your favorite to write for? Was there a particular trope that gave you some difficulty?
“This is an incredibly difficult question. I love each of the tropes for different reasons. However, I feel like I should point out that several of my longer stories began as tropes that then grew out of control (ie. OaFQ, TLT, QoH). Don’t know if it’s fair to lump those in with the collection or not, so I think I’ll focus only on the collection for the purposes of this question.
“It’s actually an impossible question. You have no idea how much time I’ve spent looking back through those ten stories and trying to figure out which one was my favorite to write. Trope #3 (car breaking down/lost in the woods) was a fun one to write and Trope #7 (bank hostage) had “one of my bucket list scenes to write in it. Trope #2 (attacked in the club) is one that I come back to a lot just to reread because I enjoy it so much. Trope #10 (kissing on NYE) I really loved the story. Trope #9 (handcuffed together) led to 9.5 and 9 ¾ which were great smutty fun. Ugh, see, impossible.
“A trope that gave me difficulty was probably #9. It took some time to work out how to describe two people being handcuffed together in a way that was clear but also didn’t feel stilted or too vague. I wanted the reader to really have a strong visual image for O/F’s movements and what it looked like and knowing that every time he moved it affected her physically and vice versa, just made that difficult to write. I remember working on that section for a long time reading and rereading trying to make sure it all made sense.
“#2 was difficult in that it’s a sensitive matter. I’ve been accused of writing ‘rape fics’ before which is absurd since I’ve never once written such a thing, but this trope and ‘Tango’ is probably as close as I’ve gotten. I wanted to do this one because it’s something that happens and not just as a tv trope. I wanted to look at it realistically and I wanted to treat it fairly and not sensationalize it. Writing Felicity’s fractured emotions in this one was difficult because it makes her a very unreliable narrator. Her view is skewed, as it has to be. She’s not always aware of everything that is happening around her and she’s in a highly emotional state. The scene where she’s in barefeet in front of the Queen mansion with Digg behind her and Oliver also in barefeet in front of her begging her to go back in and she just can’t. She has to leave. She doesn’t understand why she just knows she has to. And she knows it’s hurting him but she can’t be there any more. That scene is so vivid in my head and so raw and so heightened and I can picture every little nuance of it. So I hope that I managed to effectively convey that. I also got to continue this trope into 2.5 where again, some really hard things are covered which is always challenging to write. “
3.) Of all the stories you’ve written, which do you feel the deepest connection with?
“Again with the difficult questions. The first chapter of ‘Dust to Dust’ was incredibly difficult to get through. I’m not a highly emotional person. In my writing, yes, but not personally. The only time I’ve physically affected myself with my own writing was with that story. I was legitimately in tears writing parts of it and that has never happened before. So because of that it will always mean something to me. (also it’s possible I was the first one to bring Batman into an Arrow story-just sayin’)
“Over all though, ‘Times Like These’ has to be my number one answer. I’m just damn proud of that story. Firstly it’s Felicity centric. It’s not a true ‘Arrow’ story. This is her past coming back to haunt her and it has nothing to do with Oliver or the Arrow. From chapter one I knew that however the story ended it would definitely end with her saving herself. I didn’t know how, or any of the details but I knew she would be the one to do it which is why I laid in small things like Digg having taught her how to shoot. ‘TLT’ is my longest story and I feel like it’s a complete one. I got to do something that rarely gets done in shows because of time and that’s to fully explore the aftermath of a traumatic event. Being able to work with Oliver and Felicity in the week after she got back was amazing to me as a writer. And I got to do things I love like callbacks and bookends, and write an epilogue that I adore. That story taught me a lot as a writer and I will be forever grateful to it. “
4.) You currently write for the Arrow fandom and the majority of your work centers around the relationship of Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen. What about this pairing inspires you to write?
“What about them doesn’t inspire me? They’re the total package. It’s a perfect example of how you can’t plan everything. Magic does exist and you’d be stupid to ignore it. I’ve been ‘shipping’ characters on tv since the early ‘80s and there are only a handful that I can think of where the actors just had this sort of lightning in a bottle, undeniable chemistry. You don’t pretend that doesn’t exist. And to make things even more amazing when it comes to these two is you have showrunners and writers who understand that and respect it and are doing it justice even though this was never in their original plans.
“The way the relationship is being developed is perfect, and yes it is slow but it needs to be. There’s a balance there between the bedrock of their friendship, the obvious attraction and connection, and a very real recognition that both these characters have histories. Throwing them together too early on the show is disingenuous to every single one of those aspects. To that point however, we all know that fic is different and thats the beauty of it. I don’t have to operate under the constraints of the network, or fulfilling a 23 show contract, or utilizing different character/actors if I don’t want to. So I can write 50 different ways they get together in 3x01 and still make it real and believable.
“Theres so many nuances that are being carefully juggled it’s a treat for writers. So much is there but not being said. We joke about all the eye-sex but that’s such a great example of being allowed to see below the surface with them if only for a brief second. Then I can use those moments and expand on them, get into the characters heads, use that as a jumping off point to twist things a little, etc.
“I recently reread one of my stories I had written last December, five months before the finale. I have Felicity and Oliver having a very intense conversation and I actually had him say ‘Do you understand?’. I love when things like that happen because it just lets me know that I’m not crazy, I’m on the right track with these two and I’m interpreting the subtle things the actors do in the correct way.”
5.) Is there a story that you’ve read by another fanfic author that made you say, “Wow! I wish I wrote that”? (Or, is there a story that you just really, really appreciate?)
“I don’t have a ton of time to read other stories. Between writing my own and life I’m not left with a lot. That being said when I had just started writing for the fandom and was barely aware of tumblr I did fall completely in love with hopedreamlovepray’s writing. In fact she is the sole reason I’m even on tumblr. So if anyone would like to send her thanks for my even being as involved in the fandom as I am it would be well earned. I was fic stalking her story ‘Somewhere Beyond the Chaos’ and I think at the time she was only updating it on tumblr.
“So every day I would go looking to see if she had updated. Eventually I got tired of having to navigate and search every day and I made my own account. And that was that. I jumped down the rabbit hole that is tumblr and haven’t looked back and it is all her fault. Her ability to so vividly convey the characters internalized emotions blew me away and still does. It’s something I strive for, but I think she beats me every time. She’s the only one I trust to lay eyes on my stories while they’re being written. So she knows what’s in the QoH graveyard, and the half written fics in my docs, and my insanely long list of tropes to write. One of my favorite things is to ‘talk fic’ with her, hashing out ideas for stories, and figuring out how everything is going to work out. I definitely don’t think I’d be as prolific as I have been without her enabling.”
I would like to thank anthfan for not only participating as our first Arrow fandom writer, but for writing such beautiful, engaging stories! If you’d like to read more of anthfan’s magnificent work, then Phunky Recommends:
Tropes 9 and a half
This is a sexy continuation of trope 9, Handcuffed Together. Felicity uses the handcuffs gifted to her by Oliver…and uses them well! Part of anthfan’s tropes series. (You should really take a look at the entire series, by the way!)
This began as a drabble, then spawn into something that was a gorgeous mix of hot and sweet. Read what happens when Felicity and Oliver end up under the mistletoe.
This is a short, lovely post-finale look at Felicity and Oliver finally embracing the inevitable. Beautifully tender and heartwarming!
Is there a fanfiction author whom you feel deserves a little spotlight (and would be willing to do a short interview via e-mail/messaging)? Are there questions that you’ve always wanted to ask some of your favorite writers? Let me know! You can nominate authors to spotlight and suggest questions in my inbox, ortweet me @Phunky_Brewsterwith the hashtag #FFAuthorsArchive!You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. This is a multi-fandom segment.