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Like many other fans, the episode Flight hooked Wnnepooh on The Sentinel. This author began writing fanfic "long before I knew it was called fanfic" and was happy to find another great show to inspire her muses. She posted her first fanfic after receiving encouragement from several of our fandom's established authors, and hasn't stopped writing since! Wnnepooh's Cascade Library story listing currently includes 24 stories, an eclectic combination of humor, short warm pieces, drama, missing scenes, and crossovers. She has interests in education and of course, her daughter, who serves as one of her sources of inspiration (along with Shakespeare and Monty Python, according to her author profile!).
Wnne recently created her own website, Wnnepooh's FanFic Grotto, where she is gradually moving her fanfic stories. The rest of her stories can be found right here at the Cascade Library. She's also one of the authors involved in Faux Paws Productions Virtual Fifth Season. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Wnne!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you enjoy doing besides writing TS fan fiction?
Writing fic, and uh, writing fic, and ...oh, uh writing fic. I've written fic for other shows - as well as other types of fic, most for my own enjoyment. I do belong to a couple local writer's groups, and assist with the local high school theater program. Self-defense classes and the 8-year old. (NOT necessarily in that order ;)
How did you become a Sentinel fan?
Watching Blair Sandburg disrobe in the middle of the Peruvian Jungle... I was flipping channels, saw the part where Blair is screaming about having something in his pants and starts to unzip them. I couldn't change the channel THEN, could I? And then they panned around to Jim and I went nuts! I was a HUGE One West Waikiki fan and was absolutely thrilled to see the man on TV again.
What is your favorite episode and why?
OOH! Everyone asks if they have to pick just one... I'll try. Okay. I really DO like all of them, even the ones I have to fast-forward through at points. While Flight holds a special place in my fave list (That first-time thing...), I have to say there's a tie for my favorite ep - Dead Drop and Secret. Both feature Blair Sandburg doing what he does best - bringing people together to make the best of the bad situations that seem to follow him everywhere.
How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction? Specifically, what was your first story, when did you write it, and what was it like to post your first story?
I was writing fan fic before I even knew it was called that. Once I'd found the show, it was inevitable. I used a couple of friends from my writer's group to bounce around ideas. A couple of wonderful writers (waving to Becky, TAE, and the great Jo Duffy) encouraged me to post something. I did. I posted Not Your Typical Date. From then on in, I was never the same. I didn't know what LoC's were - but I got 'em! It was a wonderful feeling to know that people liked what they read. And I immediately started planning another couple stories.
If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?
That would have to be Out of the Wilds. It took me a long time to hammer that one out because I love a good plot. I'm not saying I'm great at it, but I do try... I liked putting the pieces together, and I really liked my OFC.
Which story are you most proud of?
Old Wounds. The re-writes alone took me three months. At some point in time, I became slightly obsessive. (The 8-year old is reading this over my shoulder and is laughing at the use of the word "slightly." "Yeah, and Blair has slightly curly hair...." she says.)
Which character do you most enjoy writing?
Blair. I guess I like writing him the most because Blair is unique and hyper and just wonderfully fickle sometimes. His attitudes are a hodge-podge of old-world morals and new age human awareness. Writing him is such a dream because he's so open to the writer's interpretations. On screen, the character is SO easy going, and I get the feeling that even though I've read that Garett says he's able to separate himself from the character, the speech patterns he uses when delivering his lines are very much him! (Watch a blooper tape - you'll see!)
Which character is the easiest for you to write?
Simon. He's a man of action and poignant phrases. "My mother cooked possum.." It wasn't how MUCH he said, it's the look and the actions attached to that phrase that made the moment. Writing words for him is easy - explaining the Simonizing that goes with it - THAT's tough!
Who is your least favorite?
Jim. Cause I like him so much, but he's so complex. I really feel the Ellison attitude needs to be studied and honored. There are so many times I write something and wish I could just reach into the story and slap Jim cause he's being himself. It never fails to irk me that I have to re-write Jim so much. He just takes so much concentration... (of course, there are worse things upon which to concentrate...)
What genre(s) do you enjoy writing the most?
Well, I don't know WHAT to call it. Case stories describes me best. I try to use a number of elements in each story because I've found all those elements in the episodes. Yes, I'm one of those writers who tries to keep stories in the same tastes as the show. A serious problem, a real plot, throw in a desperate situation, a quiet resolution with some introspection, add an action sequence here and there, and a few humor-in-the-face-of-adversity or friendship banter parts to cap it off. (Aren't you sorry you asked...) Old Wounds is a crossover, and I do plan on continuing Detective Dakota, but her crossover aspect isn't as prominent.
Who are your beta readers and what do you appreciate most about them?
TAE, Nickerbits, and Gabrielle Bessey. And I appreciate each of them for their abilities to NOT find the same problems. TAE is always caring and constructive. Nickerbits likes the tough questions. Gabby B just likes to cause trouble... LOL! I'm kidding Gabby! Really, I like them cause they don't pull any punches. They all want what's best for the story, which is great because I don't always write the same way day after day. Some days I'm "get it said and done with" and other days I'm "let's examine that more closely." They help me keep the story continuity true.
Old Wounds is a very long, very involved story and is very different from the normally short pieces you do. What gave you the idea of writing it?
I needed someone who could die in Blair's arms over and over again. (VBG) That had a lot to do with it. I really wanted to do a Highlander crossover, but I didnt' want to just put Duncan or Methos or Connor into it. I needed someone who would get close to Jim and Blair, think like them, interact and such, and give them a catalyst for examining their friendship and gift of mortality. (As much as I'd like the guys to live forever, I just couldn't make Jim and Blair Immortals. It would remove the angst factor that keeps most of us on the edge of our seats, chewing our nails.) OF COURSE I couldn't just throw some super cop into the mix. I felt a woman would be more versatile. I DID try writing my Immortal as a man, and it didn't give me the scenes I wanted. And writing Simon as Carl Robinson was a twist that begged for me to use it.
Many of your stories are short and deal with simple things like making cookies or Girl Scouts. Do you get ideas for these from real life?
And for most of them, I have the fic lists to thank. The lists and my Mooses. Yes, I use real life inspiration. By name - my daughter, who was named Alex long before S2!! (And was like SO mad when I explained things...) They say you should write what you know... (You're lucky I haven't written about my ex... but then you don't get much call for "My ex is dumber than your ex" literature...)
You tend to write a lot of humor in your stories. Do you find this to be easy for you?
Yes. My mother tells me I can find something funny in even the worst instances. And while that isn't always a compliment, I believe that if you can't find the humor in things, then you'll always be unhappy. I know I don't have the worst RL in the world, but I've been through quite a lot and know that humor really can help you through the worst times. (Just ask my divorce lawyer and the judge that signed the papers...)
Do you ever find fanfic stories that you're able to share with your daughter? If so, what kinds of stories do you look for, and what is it like to share the stories with her?
I've found a lot of them! And if I don't think the entire story is g-rated, then I'll edit it for the story and leave out some of the less favorable descriptions. I only have one child - my daughter, who is an admitted - and possibly the youngest - Blair fan. I pick stories that have action, humor, and most often a good plot to them. Lots of the stories out there actually have morals to them - which is great! I choose a lot of shorts with great friendship themes and funny happenings. And as far as sharing them with Alex? Well, sharing anything in print with a child is wonderful. (Can you tell I have an Ed degree?) But I love it when she sees something in the story that I didn't.
How did you choose your moniker "Wnnepooh"?
My name is Edwina - not a WORD about that! - and I go by Winnie to a lot of people. Well, there are a lot of people out there who picked versions of Winnie or Pooh for their e-mails and such. My cousin STILL calls me Winnie-pooh, so I just took an easy form.
What do you do when your muse takes a vacation?
First off, I have Mooses - Lucy, Ducey, and Ethel. (You make fun of ONE Greek deity and that's what happens...) And writer's block is horrible. I've never found a cure for it, kinda like housework. If you lay down, it doesn't just go away. I'll force myself to write. I could say it's the way I was taught, but it's really a result of a B.A. in English where I HAD to write papers for nearly every class. I had to learn to push myself.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Knowing when it's done.
What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?
Knowing when it's done.
What are your feelings on story feedback?
I welcome it, but I don't live for it. I recently had to think about this topic, and I realized that I write and post my fic for the joy of sharing. I think it's only fair since others share their work with us.
Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?
WATCH - every ep you can get your hands on. READ - every piece of fic that you can and figure out what your favorite style is. WRITE - even if you don't write TS fic, just work on things and sooner or later (mine seem to be later, like after 2 AM often) you'll find yourself working Jim, Blair, and Simon into the picture.
What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever read?
That would be a really bad Star Blazers piece written by a classmate of mine in junior high. (She was convinced our Principal was a Gamelon...)
What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever wrote?
And that would be a really BAD continuation of said story... I guess you'd call it a round robin, since each of us at lunch took turns writing it. It was BAD, really really REALLY bad... (And I still have a copy of it on my book shelves. I'm already in an asylum, what're you gonna do? Waves to my fellow asylum-sibs.)
What was the first piece of Sentinel fan fiction you ever read?
Becky Brewster and Kris Williams. Kris' "Legends" has stuck with me for a long time and I've shared that story with my daughter. And I couldn't begin to tell you just which piece of Beck's stuff was first. I CAN tell you I've read everything on her pages as up to date as Monday.
Are there particular kinds of Sentinel fanfic stories that you especially enjoy reading?
Complex stories with a couple layers and subplots. Can't get enough of 'em.
What is it about The Sentinel that inspires you to write?
OY! We don't have enough space for that list! Yikes - top thing is the interaction. I love how their individual personalities are woven together to create the fabric of their friendship. (Thank you Ethel for that wording.) When Blair said "it's about friendship," I got the feeling he meant it was about all three of them. Sandburg gave up one trip to the jungle only to turn around and head into another jungle - and he made BOTH those decisions based on friendship.
What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses, as a series?
Strengths - Richard Burgi, Garett Maggart, Bruce A. Young, Bilson & DeMeo, **Insert rest of production credits for excellent show here* Weaknesses - "Deadly Popcorn Mentality" and CCommercialism. DPM is the attitude that when a person turns on the TV, they need immediate gratification and entertainment. They don't want TV that makes them think. And if it DOES make them think, then it's so serialized or commercialized, it gets watered down and loses much of its integrity.
Do you find yourself identifying more with Jim or Blair?
By default in my house I am like Jim. (Alex is saying I CAN'T be like Blair because he's young and cool... Thank you my child. <sigh>) I guess I really am like Jim, though. I HAVE to be responsible. I have someone else who depends on me and needs my guidance as well as my love, friendship, and support. And yeah, once in a while she gets to take care of me... <VBG>
If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?
Blair's final exam for Advanced Shamanism 420...
What three specific things would you like to see on The Sentinel that we haven't seen yet? How about general changes?
Three things I want to see? 1) Blair earn his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice! 2) Jim's MOM! 3) ME in a guest starring role....<snicker>
General changes? Well, they already switched networks. The only thing that's left is new eps c/o USA Sci-Fi.
What one story do you think people will always remember you for?
Certainly not for that Star Blazers thing from junior high! Probably for Old Wounds. Probably because I'll be continuing with Nikya.
Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?
An Auction story, a One West Waikiki crossover, eps for Faux Paws Virtual 5th, and something to do with Stellaluna... (See the Mooses for the order of importance...)
Last updated 10/21/03 igr