Prospects & Presumptions: The Ebook

Ladies & Gents,

My 2014 novella Prospects & Presumptions is now available as an ebook. You can buy it through Amazon here.

As a special treat I’ve decided to publish an excerpt on this blog. Enjoy!

Part I: Northing Cottage

It is generally considered rude to wake people with bad news. However, like most unpleasant things, bad news usually has unpleasant timing. That is why Mr Porter came to Northing Cottage that night. He dismounted, wiped the rain from his brow and knocked on the door. Northing was a small house that could, with a great deal of cramming and good manners, lodge five people at most, and so it often did. This particular evening, however, it housed only three.

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Smurrie

With apologies to my English friends and readers, I’d like to share a short story of mine written in Dutch. It was published in Babel Magazine this month, a publication affiliated with the Humanities Department of the University of Amsterdam.

The illustration is by the talented Winona van den Bosch

Attached to this story comes an interesting tale of its production: I originally wrote it last year, when I was reading Neil Gaiman’s excellent bundle of short stories, Trigger Warning, and wanted to try my hand at something similar. This year, I sent the story in to be judged for the Harland Awards, where it was ranked at the very bottom. The judges did not like it one bit. Naturally, I was discouraged, so it was with some apprehension that I ended up sending Smurrie in to Babel. WhatI’m trying to say is that this story taught me something about being a writer, or an aspiring writer. Never give up.

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Text available under the cut.

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Slash

You sigh. You roll your eyes. “Hasn’t Frenzied frickin’ Fangirl written enough about slash by now?” you ask. Maybe I have. But this time Slash is the title of a film I’ve just seen, and I’m here to tell all y’all that it rocks. As always, I have a few critical notes, but they’re not many.

So here’s the gist: Neil, the protagonist of Slash, writes slash for the fictional fandom of Vanguard. When his composition notebook is stolen (this is why we never take our attempts at writing erotica with us to school, children!) he accidentally befriends Julia, also a slash writer. Sidenote to people that know me IRL: There is a Julia in this film who writes gay fanfic, wears lots of t-shirts with cats on them and is an avid feminist. Sound familiar? I thought so. Julia encourages Neil to put his fic online, and when he does it soon becomes so successful that Neil is asked to do a reading at Comic Con. Then some other stuff happens that I won’t tell you for the sake of spoilers.

What I loved about this film: it’s about fandom, and more specifically: fanfic. It beautifully portrays the tensions within fandom that arise when old school fans are confronted with newcomers. Its full of in-jokes from RPF to curtain fic. It’s super open and honest about non-hetero sexual orientations.

What I didn’t love so much: Why is the protagonist a white guy? (SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading

The Elephant In The Room

Once again I want to thank anyone who voted on the Fantastic Story Competition. Even though I didn’t win, I had a wonderful weekend at Dutch Comic Con at Utrecht and it was a great honor to read my short story, The Elephant In The Room, to so many enthusiastic members of the audience. You can now also read my story below. Congratulations to Marjolijn Ahsara and her beautiful story Death’s Diner for their victory.

Fantastic Story Competition

The Elephant In The Room

by Julia Neugarten

It was a Tuesday afternoon like any other when Ian Jones-McWorthington-Smith came home to discover an elephant in his living room. He didn’t see the elephant right away, as he was busy putting his groceries in the fridge. Then, quite suddenly, the elephant sneezed. It happened just as Ian was putting the eggs in their rightful place, and one of them slipped out of his hand at the unexpected noise. The egg’s name was Patricia. Faster than you’ve ever fallen before, unless you have previous experience with falling to your death, Patricia made her way towards the linoleum of the kitchen floor. She screamed, but no sound came out because eggs don’t have mouths. As she saw the floor approach she thought, first, that it was a damned shame because she had been the tastiest egg in the carton, then, that it was a good thing not to end up boiled or fried or, heaven forbid, scrambled, and then, in her final moments on this planet, Patricia thought of her mother. Finally, with a dull splat, her shell shattered on the kitchen floor. Continue reading

The Elephant In The Room Or: The End Of Writer’s Block

Just over a week ago I blogged a complaint to my Muse: she had deserted me. Writer’s block had set in and I WAS NOT WRITING. It was a nightmare. Almost as soon as I published the post, a solution presented itself. A short story of mine got shortlisted for the Fantastic Story Competition organized by Dutch Comic Con. Voting ends March 12th. VOTE NOW!

I was surprised by the effect this seemingly insignificant event had on my creativity. I felt validated, I felt wanted, I felt cool. Simultaneously, I felt like a bit of an idiot. It’s a little  childish to only write when you get positive feedback on your work, and then, when you feel as though you’re not getting enough positive feedback, to just…quit.

I want to be a writer. I mean to say: I want to make writing into a career. I want to be a person who makes a living by writing stuff. That doesn’t just mean blogging on topics I feel passionate about on moments I feel passionate about them. Sometimes it means just sitting down to do the work, which is why I’m pledging to do at least one blogpost a week from now on. Wish me luck.

There are, however, two sides to every problem, and sometimes there’s an infinite number of sides. Continue reading

Writer’s Block

Ironically, I’ve had a post on writer’s block in my drafts folder for ages. It went something like this: “How lucky I am, never to have experienced writer’s block. I wonder how the phenomenon works. Can you even call yourself a writer if you’re not writing? I don’t understand how people’s personal lives can get in the way of their writing. For me, writing is the only way to deal with my personal life, blah blah blah.”

It’s been over a month since my last blogpost, so I think it’s about time I redact that statement. During this month, I’ve written a number of university assignments with extreme difficulty. No fiction. No non-fiction. No fanfiction. Barely any Facebook posts. Something is fucky in the state of Denmark.

First, I made y’all a promise. I was going to blog about TJLC. I though the craziness would be over within a couple of weeks and I’d be able to blog about it comprehensively. Contrary to my expectations, the conspiracy just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I can no longer oversee or understand all of it, and I don’t feel confident blogging about it, partly because I’m not sure what my opinion is on the whole thing.

Second, I don’t want to blog about TJLC. What if it’s the last time I get to blog about Sherlock with any sort of news value? Over the course of my hesitation, the news value has, of course, evaporated, but still. Ten years from now, I’ll just be a silly lady in a quiet corner of the internet, still blogging about Johnlock. I don’t want to become outdated quite yet.

Then I went to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in London. My notes on the play and the experience are lengthier than the average blog post. I really need to do some editing and organizing on that post, but I don’t feel like doing that… So, I’m stuck.

Third, I don’t want to return to the rigid scheme of blogging I’ve observed in the last months of 2016. Posting something every three days leeches my creativity and makes me dread writing, when writing is actually supposed to be an enjoyable activity.

By writing about my difficulties with writing, I’ve broken the silence. I sincerely hope I’ll have something a bit more substantial to post soon. In the mean time, please root for my muse to return.

Love,

Frenzied Fangirl

PS: To the people who have been enquiring after my radio silence because reading my blog pleases them: I LOVE YOU.

Most Popular Blog Posts Of The Year

At the risk of being self-aggrandizing, I wanted to show you all which blog posts did well this year as well as some statistics on who read my blog and where they came from. It interests me, and this is my blog, so you’re just going to have to deal with that.

Let’s start with some stats.

In 2016, my blog was viewed an incredible 3,784 times so far, by 2,385 different visitors.

2,331 of those visitors were from the Netherlands,  584 from the US and 294 from the UK. One person in Sri Lanka, one in Uganda and one in Estonia viewed my blog, to name but a few.

The most read blog posts are:

How I Recovered From Depression, with 397 views,

Why I Hated “Me Before You” And What You Should Read Instead, with 205 views

What A Flat Tire Taught Me About Intersectionality, with 194 views

Most remarkably, someone used the search bar on my blog to ask: “Why is Toby Ziegler cynical?” It’s a good question, and I might even devote a blog post to it in the future. Someone else searched for “Toby Ziegler love interest.” I didn’t know y’all were so fond of Toby, but I have no problem devoting more of my blog to him.

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National Day On Writing

Yes, you read that right. Today, October 20th, is the National Day On Writing in the US, but I have taken the liberty of celebrating this special day on the other side of the Atlantic as well. After all, I am a writer, or I try to be one. I love writing, and in this blogpost I will attempt to articulate why, and also tell you about some writers who have said or written great things about writing. It’s all very meta, which, coincidentally, is one of my favorite kinds of writing.

Ernest Hemingway has given what is perhaps my favorite advice on writing ever:

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway

To me this is particularly true. If I don’t write I feel full to bursting with emotions and opinions and stories. I have to tap into the creative vein every once in a while, just to blow off steam. But there are also times that the flow of ideas seems to have dried up. Those days, I have to dig into myself deeply, sometimes so deeply that it hurts, and wait for liveliness to come back into my writing. Because that’s what writing is to me; it is the essence of life. And blood is also, in a much more literal way, the essence of life.

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