5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Olivia Riley 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 Olivia Riley, who volunteers as a graphics creator.

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

That old idiom that “a picture is worth a thousand words” tends to hold particularly true on the internet, where users face an info-overload on a daily basis. The OTW needs visuals in order to break through the babble: bright, easily digestible messages to catch audience’s eyes and draw them into the larger conversation. That’s where we graphics volunteers come in!

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: OldToadWoman

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.

OldToadWoman is a large ball of anxiety and weird ideas (and possibly toads) that resolves into a human shape and manages to type out fan fiction from time to time. Find her works on her Dreamwidth.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I don’t know whether it was a teacher lecturing me on plagiarism or a classmate teasing me about making up silly stories based on a TV show, but I somehow knew I wasn’t allowed to write fanfiction before I even knew what fanfiction was.

I stumbled into science fiction fandom in college and it was just a magical encounter. You’re allowed to write stories and share them with other fans without having to worry about them not being “good enough” to publish, and it’s okay if they’re based on TV shows and movies that already exist? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, I was very short-sighted and jumped into fandom posting under my real name. I can’t really talk about my first fandom without basically doxxing myself. Even though I was submitting to zines under my real name, it never occurred to me that what I wrote back then would leak out beyond that small fandom and end up documented on the Internet forever* [stay tuned: There’s a happy ending to this one]. One woman in our fandom used a pseudonym and we all thought she was a bit pretentious and now I realize she was the only smart one. Of course, at the time I was writing pretty innocuous fluff. I had no idea that someday I’d be writing explicit fiction that my boss might not approve of.

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