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Emby Quinn's Quick-and-Dirty Guide
to Writing Gatchaman Fanfiction or, Oh Look, The Redhead's Being Pretentious Again.

I have been writing Gatchaman fics since I was 17. (Well, okay, the first few were actually Battle of the Planets fics, but once I discovered the source material, I never looked back.) I've written fanfic for other series and genres as well, I've been published in fanzines and on the Web, and I've even written an original story or two. (I've got a novel that still hasn't been published.) But, somehow, I keep coming back to my first true love...five teens in bird suits who save the world.

What makes me an expert on Gatch fic? Frankly, not much. I'm just hoping to help budding writers avoid the pitfalls I fell into in the past. See, when I first started writing Gatch fic, there was no Internet. Nobody saw those early stories but me and a couple of my penpals. For this, I am truly thankful, because those early stories did, in fact, suck ass.

Back in the day, there were fanzines, of course; I submitted to a couple of them, but even that had something of a "safety net". Every fanzine has an editor, and that editor is responsible not only for assembling the content of each issue, but is also responsible for quality control. So it was unlikely that any author's raw product would see the light of print without a going-over by someone who wouldn't be shy about telling them if they had spelling errors, plot holes, or other embarrassing gaffes.

Today, however, things are a lot different. The Internet provides a golden opportunity for anyone, no matter how young or how old, to make a complete and utter fool of themselves in front of the entire planet. Not only can anyone have a website if they want it, but fanfiction archives like Fanfiction.Net and MediaMiner have offered a haven for fics of all descriptions. Archives like these allow an author to upload directly to the server...which bypasses any editorial filtering quite nicely.

So how do you avoid looking really, really dumb? These are some solutions I have found to work for me.

The following tips apply exclusively to self-insertion fictions, those that involve original characters that interact with the established Gatch cast, and the much-dreaded "Mary Sue" type of story, because I happen to enjoy both writing and reading that sort of thing. It is my sincere hope that, along with the Mary Sue Litmus Test for Gatchaman et al, this section will be of some assistance to budding fanfic writers who don't want their favorite creation to go down in history as the next Marissa Picard. (If you have to ask, you don't want to know.)

I hope these tips and warnings prove helpful. There are a lot of quality Gatch fics out there--because it's not one of the more prevalent anime, Gatch fandom doesn't get the influx of drek that plagues more well-known series like Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball--but we could always use more. So open up your word processor, put on your thinking cap, and keep on writing.

Send your comments to Emby Quinn

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