Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

September 2017 Newsletter, Volume 117


On September 5th, the OTW celebrated ten years of successfully achieving our mission to support the creation and distribution of fanworks and preserve their past. During the month of September, our Communications Committee hosted online chats with authors Lev Grossman, Martha Wells, Seanan McGuire, Christina Lauren, and Tessa Gratton, along with Young Adult Library Services Association board member Kate McNair, and romance writer and professor of cultural and gender studies, Catherine Roach. We also hosted several open house chats with OTW volunteers, a trivia contest with prizes donated by author Tamora Pierce and First Second Books, a guest post from media scholar Henry Jenkins, and a retrospective post by OTW co-founder and author Naomi Novik.

A big thank you to all of our wonderful guests, staff, and volunteers who helped make our celebration (and the last decade) a success! We hope everyone enjoyed the events and posts this month. If you missed any of September’s events, we have links and transcripts to many of the posts and chats available.


5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things SoyAlex Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with SoyAlex, who volunteers as a staffer at Fanlore.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

Part of OTW’s mission is to “preserve the history of fanworks and fan cultures”, which is exactly what Fanlore tries to do. Documenting what fan history I know, and helping other fans do the same, is something that really appeals to me, which is why I ended up volunteering.

Fandom is huge and multilayered, complex and incredibly rich. It’s also forever changing and unfortunately fleeting. One of the saddest things for me, when it comes to contemporary fandom, is that it shines bright, burns hot, and quickly forgets. Those fans who remember don’t always want to share their experiences, because they either don’t consider themselves “experts”, or they don’t think their personal experiences aren’t representative of the rest of their fandom.

I suspect they simply don’t realize that no side of fandom is too small to put on Fanlore, no personal experience too minor to document. You could say that my personal mission, to go along with the OTW’s and Fanlore’s, is to try and convince every fan I come across that they have something to contribute to Fanlore. I’m happy to report no restraining orders have been filed against me. Yet.


OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Betsy Craig

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Betsy Craig is the Founder and Organizer of FannibalFest Toronto, which is launching this year and takes place from November 2-5. Today, Betsy talks about Hannibal fandom and project learning curves.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

Over the years I joined social media groups dedicated to fans of favorite TV shows. Reading through posts, I found members chatting about this thing called “fan fiction”. I decided to look it up online and discovered that other people “shipped” characters in TV shows like I did. I thought I was the only one picking up heavily implied but unexplored relationships between characters in the storylines.

I checked out a couple of sites…AO3 and was not easy to use nor did it categorize and explain what each piece of fiction was about like AO3 did. So I never really went back to and just started reading fan fiction of TV show characters I liked. As time went on I found I had favorite writers and began to subscribe so I’d know when they had posted a new chapter to an ongoing piece or a new story all together.