Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dwarves - In praise of Fanfiction

Before we move on to our guest today, I'd like to take a moment to send my heartfelt prayers and thoughts out to a blogging friend, Natalie Aguirre, and her family. Natalie lost her husband, Rudy, this past weekend. There are no words of comfort I can give to take away the pain of such a loss. Know that if there were, I'd gladly offer them. May peace and love hold you close, Natalie. ~Sia~


Our guest today is Saralee Etter. Although she's a published romance author, her not-so-secret crush is on Thorin Oakenshield, a dwarf in the Hobbit books (actually, it's on Richard Armitage!) She's also a fanfiction author.

So there’s this new movie trilogy based on JRR Tolkien’s beloved children’s book, “The Hobbit.” So far, two of the three installments have been released, and they’ve been popular around the world.

Some of the biggest attractions of the Hobbit are the “hot dwarves.” These fellows aren’t the squat, hairy, cantankerous little miners of Snow White. They’re badass warriors with rough charm to spare.  There are three main objects of fan adoration: the majestic leader of the company, Thorin Oakenshield, played by British actor Richard Armitage, and his two nephews, Fili and Kili, played by Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner respectively.

One of the ways fans have shown their appreciation is by writing fanfiction – stories that take these characters and send them on new adventures, exploring who they are and what could have been.

If you’ve ever finished a story and wished it hadn’t ended, fanfiction is the answer to your wish. People who write fanfiction are your fellow yearners, those who wanted to know what happened next, or what might have been. They are writers with fire in their bellies and an unquenchable desire to share their story with the world, and they do it for no other reason than that they are in love with a story.

This means that fanfiction works, in my opinion, tend to have an enthusiasm and vitality that’s sometimes lacking in works created by professional writers. Fanfic writers may not always have the technical expertise but they’ve got excitement to spare.

Fanfiction has been around longer than you might think, according to this post from Tumblr, written by someone who identifies themselves as a professor of literature:

Most of the history of Western literature (and probably much of non-Western literature, but I can’t speak to that) is adapted or appropriated from something else. Homer wrote historyfic and Virgil wrote Homerfic and Dante wrote Virgilfic (where he makes himself a character and writes himself hanging out with Homer and Virgil and they’re like “OMG Dante you’re so cool.” He was the original Gary Stu). ….

Shakespeare doesn’t have a single original plot—although much of it would be more rightly termed RPF—and then John Fletcher and Mary Cowden Clarke and Gloria Naylor and Jane Smiley and Stephen Sondheim wrote Shakespeare fanfic. Guys like Pope and Dryden took old narratives and rewrote them to make fun of people they didn’t like, because the eighteenth century was basically high school. And Spenser! Don’t even get me started on Spenser.

(Note: RPF stands for “Real People Fiction,” which is just what it says on the tin. Tom Clancy added a bit of RPF to his novel Patriot Games when he had Jack Ryan give marital advice to the Prince of Wales.)
Now, two years after the first installment of the trilogy came out, The Hobbit has inspired more than 10,000 works of fanfiction on An Archive of Our Own (AO3) and 6,400 fanfiction works on (
And impressive as the numbers of Hobbit-related stories is, there are other fandoms with more: The Harry Potter series has inspired 678,000 stories and the Twilight saga has spawned 216,000 fanfiction works on The TV show Supernatural has given rise to 66,000 fanfics on AO3.
Those are some of the big fandoms, but there are fan-written stories that celebrate and explore a wide variety of works, from Arthurian legends to Phantom of the Opera, Sherlock Holmes to video games, anime and manga, Pride and Prejudice, A Song of Ice and Fire, Gone With The Wind, and many more. Browsing the fandoms on both sites can provide you with an idea of what is out there for your reading pleasure.
If you’re looking for new stories to read, why not explore the world of fanfiction? You might find some delightful new tales that feature your favorite characters!

Let's chat: Have you ever read fanfiction? Written it? What book or movie might inspire you to read or write fanfiction?

Miranda Luce expected to make her debut at Almack’s, but when her father’s death leaves her penniless, she becomes an actress. But when her brother-in-law is wrongly arrested, it’s up to Miranda to  help him. Lord Justin Devereux is desperate for a fiancée in order to take control of his inheritance. Hiring an actress as a faux fiancée seems like a good plan. But neither Miranda nor Justin expected their pretend engagement to lead to true love…
Saralee's fanfiction:
When Thorin Met Tauriel (M/F, general)

Dwalin and the Pearl (M/F, mature)

It Takes a Thief (M/M, explicit)

Saralee Etter loves to read and always knew writing was the only career for her. Her lighthearted, fun, Regency romances are the perfect way for her to combine her love of history, romance, and adventure! She also writes fanfiction.

The "D" Books and Authors List:

Dan Brown: Love him or hate him, he sells millions of action thrillers and never fails to engender a strong reaction. Put me in the "fan" camp.

David Sedaris: Non-fiction, some of the best humor I've ever read. Holidays On Ice is a favorite.

Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: A wizard for the grown ups. The audio versions are great!

Damon Runyon: The book Guys and Dolls is nothing like the movie, but the toe-tapping, syncopated rhythm of his writing will throw your speech patterns off for days!

Images courtesy of 


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia, Kat and now SaraLee -

Thank you for the note re Natalie - such a tragic time for the family ... my thoughts for them all.

Also Sia I hope you are improving .. but as you're obviously active around the blogosphere .. I guess things are better.

I expect one day I'll get caught up with the Hobbit series .. and enjoy watching them ..

But now I see who Richard Armitage is I can see the attracting to dwarves!

Cheers to you all and what devastating news for Natalie .. Hilary

Kat Sheridan said...

Sia, thank you for the note on Natalie. Sending prayers and peace to her and her family.

Kat Sheridan said...

Hilary, yes, Richard Armitage will certainly make anyone look twice!

Jo said...

Poor Natalie, sending my warmest wishes.

Read lots of fanfiction over the years. Not seen any of the Hobbit movies yet, I will eventually.

Hope things are improving for you Sia.

Love the Dresden Files and I read a lot of Damon Runyan years ago.

Mason Canyon said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to Natalie and her family. Hope Sia is feeling better too.

I read The Hobbit just out of high school and never thought about the dwarves looking like Richard Armitage (or even anyone popular at that time). Guess I saw them more as the little miners.

Fun post and wishing you much success, Saralee.

Anonymous said...

First, let me send get-well wishes to Sia as she continues on the road to recovery, and also my deepest condolences to Natalie on the loss of her beloved husband.

Hugs and healing to you and your families.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hilary and thanks for stopping by! Yes, Richard Armitage is both handsome and talented -- he's inspiring in all of his acting roles. I think you'll enjoy the Hobbit movies when you get the chance to see them.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jo,

I hope you enjoy the Hobbit movies when you see them. They are fun and exciting, and I'm looking forward to the climactic third installment this December.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mason,

Yes, I know what you mean about the dwarves! Before the Hobbit movies came out, many of us wondered how the dwarves could possibly be made to appear attractive -- but I'm glad to say the movie makers succeeded.

Thanks for your comments!

Kat Sheridan said...

Jo, I got into the Dresden Files sort of by accident. Hubs and I take long (18 hour) road trips a couple of times a year and needed a book to listen to that we could both enjoy (I lean toward romance and historical fiction, and he likes space operas and non-fiction). I'd seen the LOOOONG lines at a book signing for Jim Butcher at a conference and decided to give him a try. WOW! The reader for his audiobooks is soooo good. We look forward to the trips just so we can get more Harry Dresden!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never written any, but fanfiction does keep the passion for something going. Probably draws in new fans as well.

Dani Harper said...

Sia, I've been missing your blog posts -- haven't been showing up in my inbox since Yahoo started fiddling with their interface. Glad this one got through!

I agree with the comments about the dwarves --- my imagination painted them differently (curse you, Snow White!) when I first read the Hobbit waaaaaaay back in high school.

Richard Armitage portrays the dwarf prince wonderfully (although I have to say my heart belongs to Peter Dinklage who plays Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones).

Under the "D" Books, I adore the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

Carol said...

I wrote fanfic in elementary school, but that faded when i got older. The pre-Web internet brought an explosion of fanfic. I had a friend who read, wrote, and attended conventions about fanfic for many years back in the day. Now it is just easier.

Kat Sheridan said...

Alex, fanfic does indeed draw an audience. It always pays to remember that (love it or hate it), Fifty Shades of Gray started as Twilight fanction (called Master of the Universe). It was the fans of EL James' fanfiction that convinced her to self-publish the original version of Fifty Shades, which gave her a built readership right from the get-go and blew it up so big.

Lainey Miller said...

H Kat, thanks for visiting my blog (, I'm glad to have found yours! Great post today - never read any fan fiction as such but my and my hubby have read some Firefly comic books! Love the stories being carried on. As for the Guys and Doll book - I never knew that existed, shameful really as I adore the film! The book is on my wishlist now ;) Please pass on condolences to your friend x

Michael Di Gesu said...


I had no idea how much fanfic has been inspired! Those numbers are ASTOUNDING...

Anonymous said...

Kat, I love the Dresden files too! And Damon Runyon is great -- my parents had a collection of his short stories, one of which was the basis for Guys and Dolls.

Of course I've read Dan Brown, and I'm going to have to start reading David Sedaris. So many books...

Anonymous said...

Hi, Alex,

I found that I was even more interested and invested in The Hobbit after I wrote fanfic for it. There's something about immersing yourself in a fictional world and exercising your own creativity that does, as you say, keep the passion for it going.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dani -- Peter Dinklage is a terrific actor with a lot of presence and charisma. I'm not surprised that you really like Tyrion Lannister, too, because the character is so cool.

Anonymous said...

Carol, how great that you wrote fanfic in school! Here's an excerpt from another tumblr post, this one in praise of fangirls, that just struck me to the heart:
"Those girls, man. They take all that energy, all that circulating fire in their veins, and instead of letting it destroy them, they choose to love, ferociously. Be it a band, or a book, or a series of films. They do it to keep themselves sane, and yet we mock them for it. Teenage girls find a buoy for themselves in the sea of emotional ruin, and they hold on tighter than anyone else."

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lainey, I just wanted to say, Firefly is a great fandom!

Kat Sheridan said...

Lainey, Firefly! Browncoats forever! You can't take the sky from me. I aim to misbehave. Etc. I haven't read the comic books yet, but I follow a couple of Firefly fans on Pinterest and those pop up on my pages often. I'll have to look for them. And since Monday will be "F" books, I'll have to add them as a recommendation!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Michael,

The sheer number of fanfics that have been written is amazing. And I've only mentioned two of the many, many places on the Internet where fan fiction can be found. Storytelling is an essential human need, I think.

Chrys Fey said...

I was actually surprised when I watched The Hobbit and saw the hot dwarves. I just kept thinking "dwarves are supposed to be short, fat, hairy and ugly!" But it was nice. ;)

It's funny that you said for Dan Brown "love him or hate him" because I loved Angels and Demons but did not care for The Da Vinci Code.

Kat Sheridan said...

Chrys, when DaVinci came out, I ordered all his other books first, since I'm a wee bit obssesive about reading an author's works in order (I like to see how an author grows). Plus, I read DaVinci before I became a writer. I find writers tend to slag on him for "bad writing", but I read it for the story and before I knew what "bad writing" might be. I was enthralled, reading the book with one hand and looking up all the art and references with the other. Then I got the illustrated version of DaVinci Code, which made it easier. I just really liked the concept. But I find that readers and writers get really polarized about Dan Brown. But that's what's nice, really. So many people and so many books, and everyone can find something they like

Brandon Ax said...

That is a lot of Fan fiction. I admit I have not read much FF. I do love dwarves though. I think my favorite dwarves are R.A. Salvatore's.

Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

cleemckenzie said...

That was a very thoughtful message about Natalie. I know she's going through a terrible time.

As to the dwarves, it seems they are becoming more "interesting" and attractive with each film. Small, but mighty they are.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chrys Fay,
Yes, I think a lot of people were surprised to see that dwarves could be hot! But then, before LOTR, I think people mostly thought of elves as tiny, pixie-like creatures, and not the tall and stately Elves that Tolkien imagined.

Glad you liked them, though!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brandon, I haven't read any of R. A. Salvatore's stories, but I'm glad he has some cool dwarf characters!

Anonymous said...

Hi, cleemackenzie, I agree -- the dwarves get more interesting with each film!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hilary I AM doing better but still on some heavy duty meds for pain.

I still can't type beyond a short time without pain. And one handed is a pain in the butt to do. I do try to pop in as I can, but it isn't something that will happen comfortably for two or three weeks, yet.

I was gone all day with doctors visits and medical issues. Came home and slept 4 hours--I was wiped out.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Saralee, Welcome to Over Coffee. Love your subject. I read a lot of RA Salvatore (my son and I both love him) and love his Dwarves--very few are of the short squat type, altho I do love Grimley,in Lord of the Rings, played by Rys Davies. Jacklyn Frank also wrote some yummy dark dwarves.

I haven't seen any of the Hobbit movies just the initial LOTR movies.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo,/>Things are improving. I'm doing good for one week after surgery. I get impatient. Doctor has read me the riot act on that. :-)

About the only fanfiction I've been drawn to read is StarTrek
, a few StarWars series (are we seeing a pattern here?lol!), and a few Pride and Prejudicestories and only because friends wrote them. Not my favorite FF. There's another FF series, but I can't think of it right now. Stoopid pain meds.

Mason Thank you, doing a little bit better. I didn't even read the Hobbit when I was a kid. I do like the movies and yes, as Kat said, Richard Armitage makes one rethink Dwarves.

Yay, Brandon Another RA Salvatore fan. :-)!

Alex It does keep the passion alive. I've loved Star Trek, etc because if that love read many of the FF for it.

Lee Thank you. I know Natalie has to be going through a hard time with this. Who wouldn't? My heart breaks for her.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Dani, Good to see you back. A few who have the blog delivered via email mentioned there had been a glitch. Glad Yahoo has it straightened out. That's why I have the option to Follow by EMAIL in the upper right side bar. Supposed to make it easier to read, instead of harder, lol!

I saw you're having a scavenger hunt, I'll have to check it out.

~Sia McKye~ said...

If I've missed any comments, apologies. My arm and shoulder is screaming NO MORE typing. I bid you g'night.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Saralee! Waving at you. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for this fun world of fanfic! As a youngster, I dabbled in my own version of fanfic, unaware there was a bigger world of it out there. Of course, that was before the Internet. As a reader back then, I soaked up Star Trek novels and other books featuring characters from my favorite Western TV shows.

Now, you've got me interested in checking out Arthurian fanficdom (as a writer). Is there Illiad and Odyssey fanfic out there? Probably!

Anonymous said...

I began writing because of fanfiction! I found it a few years back while I was very ill and read a bunch of stories. I commented to one author that I wish I could write like her. She told me to try. And here I am! I write Gossip Girl fanfiction, the Chuck and Blair (Chair) pairing, as MegamiTenchi on I was pretty successful for someone joining the fandom in the latter half of the show. It's a great fandom and I owe it so very very much, as a writer and as a person.

D Biswas said...

Hot dwarves and elves have captured the popular imagination after LOTR-- cool post :). I haven't written any fan fiction, but do read some from time to time.

Wow, that's scary!

Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Daily (w)rite Latest Post

Twitter: @damyantig

D Biswas said...

Hot dwarves and elves have captured the popular imagination after LOTR-- cool post :). I haven't written any fan fiction, but do read some from time to time.

Wow, that's scary!

Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Daily (w)rite Latest Post

Twitter: @damyantig

Comley Charlotte said...

I haven't read or written fan fiction, but after your post I will definitely think about it. Nice to connect and follow on

Anonymous said...

Hi, Oberon! Yes, there are Iliad and Odyssey fanfics -- even crossovers, pairing Watson and Sherlock with the Odyssey, for instance.

I think you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sia! (waving frantically) Thanks for letting me be a guest on your blog, and I hope you are feeling better every day!

Yes, Lord of the Rings was such a great trilogy of movies. I loved them too.

And I can see I'll have to add R.A.Salvatore to my TBR list -- sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi, there, Ms Gigi! I've read some of your stories, and they are absolutely delicious -- there's nothing better than spending more time those beautiful and passionate characters from Gossip Girl. I'm so glad you stopped by!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Damyanti,

I do enjoy the world of LOTR -- hope you do, too!

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Charlotte,

I hope you'll give some fanfiction a try, then! There is plenty of it out there to explore.

Thanks for stopping by!

randi lee said...

<-- closet fanfiction nerd!