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"D.I.Y. 'Do It Yourself' Television"
  04/15/2000

A new age of interactivity between television program creators and fans is about begin. The producers of Xena will be hiring a fan fiction author to write for their next season. The lucky writer's name hasn't been announced yet, but it should be confirmed fairly soon. Star Trek bought story ideas from fan fiction authors in the past, but none have been given a shot to write an actual teleplay for a show. This is definitely an exciting new world with the Internet making it possible for television show producers to get instant feedback from fans. However, interactivity has gone one step further with the abundance of fan fiction available on the net. Talented fans are taking over where producers and writers have left off by spinning new tales and directions for the characters.

A brief Q & A follows with two talented fan fiction writers from the Xenaverse, CN Winters and Melissa Good. It has been rumored that Melissa Good is the lucky writer who will be bringing her vision to the screen during season six of Xena, which will start airing in September/October.

AP: 
How long have you been writing creative fiction?

CN Winters: 
Since I was in the third grade. The first story I wrote was called Leigh and the Ghost. So it's been quite a while since that 1 page story.

AP: 
What is your favorite fan fiction story you have written and why?

CN Winters: 
Do I have to pick one? I love all my stories. I don't release anything that I don't enjoy. I have many stories sitting on my PC that I've never 'published' on the web because they are missing that special something. But if I had to pick, my favorite would be the Xena Alt fiction "The Play" because I enjoy the Salmoneus character and I thought my portrayal of him came together true to the character.

AP: 
What got you interested in Xena and writing fan fiction?

CN Winters: 
I got hooked after watching A Day In The Life (a Xena episode). I was channel surfing and saw two beautiful women in a tub! That was something I'd never seen on television. Suddenly it was, "Wait a second. Let's go back." So I did. I finished watching that episode and I eagerly awaited the next and the next and the next. . .

AP: 
How has Xena changed your life?

CN Winters: 
I've met people face to face from this all over the US. I have pen friends from different countries. I think that this one little television show has been responsible for many friendships... and a few deep, loving relationships too. It's nice to see how something as simple as TV has brought folks together from different walks of life.

AP: 
Have you met Rob Tapert and any of the creative team from Xena? Have they read your work?

CN Winters: 
I'm not sure if anyone from the series has seen my fiction work but I hope they check out my site called
'Save Xena' . I noticed this year (5th) of Xena is lacking certain elements and many fans, like myself, want to make the powers that be aware of our growing disenchantment. If Tapert looks at anything I've created, I pray it's this site... and he takes heed to what his fans are saying.

AP: 
It sounds like XWP has one more season left, do you think there 
are any stories you feel they haven' t touched on yet?

CN Winters: 
Yes - the long awaited Sappho script for one. I'd like to see more of the core to the show - which for me is the relationship. It seems this year is plot heavy, not relationship heavy. I'd like to see them get 'back to basics' - dark stories that have a solid moral or purpose in the end. Comedy that doesn't serve to the lowest common denominator with slapstick and bodily function jokes. There are many fan fiction stories out there that would make wonderful episodes both Alt and Gen genres.

AP: 
If you were to take a guess, how will people remember Xena 25 years from now?

CN Winters: 
Once upon a time I believed that Xena would be a show known for pushing the envelope in regards to religion, race and sexual orientation. Judging by this year I'm not so sure. I think it will just be known as a campy 90's hit. But I do sincerely hope that Tapert and crew can get the show steered to its former glory and 'go out with a bang' as Lawless herself is hoping.

#######

AP: 
How long have you been writing creative fiction?

Melissa Good: 
About four years. I was a fanfic writer for a couple years before they decided to publish one of them, making me an actual writer.

AP: 
What is your favorite story you have written and why?

Melissa Good: 
Dark Comes the Morning, Xena fan fiction. It allowed me to explore areas of the two characters I really enjoyed, and it was a lot of fun to write.

AP: 
What got you interested in Xena and writing fan fiction?

Melissa Good: 
I happened to watch The Quest, and decided to go online to see if there were any Xena sites. There were. I had a story idea, wrote it, and sent it up to
Tom's page, and he posted it. It sort of evolved along from there.

AP: 
How has Xena changed your life?

Melissa Good: 
Well, it made me a published author, and now screenwriter, and allowed me to make a lot of good friends in the process.

AP: 
Have you met Rob Tapert and any of the creative team from Xena? Have they read your work?

Melissa Good: 
I've spoken to Mr. Tapert and RJ Stewart. I personally know Steve Sears. Yes, they've read a bit of my work.

AP: 
It sounds like XWP has one more season left, do you think there are any stories you feel they haven' t touched on yet?

Melissa Good: 
With characters as interesting as Xena and Gabrielle, there's always stories left unwritten. You can take almost any situation with them in it, and make it a good story.

AP: 
If you were to take a guess, how will people remember Xena 25 years from now?

Melissa Good: 
As a show that unintentionally changed people's minds about women's roles in life.

  - by Ariel Penn

  Feature Writer Links:

  Related Newsgroups:
 
  alt.tv.xena
  rec.arts.sf.written
  rec.arts.sf.fandom