At the beginning of this month I had the joy of attending the JAFF Reader Writer Get Together in Washington, D.C. What fun! I reconnected with old friends, made new ones, heard lots of new stories in progress, and learned a TON! I thought you might enjoy hearing about it too.
If you’ve never been to one of these events, you are really missing a treat! We started off Friday night with a dinner and then a series of readings of works in progress by authors both old and new. The good news: there are some wonderful stories being written right now, stories that JAFF readers everywhere are sure to love! Do you like humorous stories? Stories with angst? Mysteries? Time travel? Fantasy? All kinds of JAFF stories are in the works! The bad news: none of them will be released as soon as you would like them to be! 🙁 But they will all be worth the wait.
The fun continued Saturday and Sunday. We had a series of presentations and panel discussions on various topics. For example: what kind of Mr. Darcy do you like to read about? It turns out that there are some things that don’t especially matter to readers, such as whether Darcy is a member of the nobility or not. Darcy must always be handsome, of course, although readers may not always agree on what handsome looks like. But readers really, really want Darcy to be British! (Maybe it’s the accent?)
We also heard about the settings that readers like to have for their Jane Austen fan fiction. Stories set in the regency period are still the favorite, but there are more and more stories with magic and fantasy elements. (Anyone interested in Pride and Prejudice and Potions? Stupefy, Sense and Sensibility?)
There were also presentations on why JAFF readers like fantasy, feedback from JAFF readers to authors, and how readers affect the success of a book. Time and space do not allow me to list everything that we talked about, but I will be touching on some of them in upcoming blog posts. (Who knew regency architecture could be so fascinating??) The most important thing, though, was the lengthy interaction between writers and readers. It was pure joy!
During this event I was privileged to take part in a panel discussion about the importance of accuracy in Jane Austen fan fiction. Is it ever all right to have an actual historical event described incorrectly in a Jane Austen fan fiction story? What about details like the length of time to travel from one destination to another, or words that we use today that did not exist in regency England? Are those kinds of errors ever permissible? Readers and writers alike have strong opinions on these topics! This was a discussion that could literally have gone on for hours.
Besides all these interesting discussions we were treated to a delicious tea on Saturday afternoon, complete with English place settings and cakes in the form of books! There was also plenty of down time to play games, look through books that were being traded and given away, and in general just enjoy the company of other Jane Austen fans. A great time was had by all!
If you could choose topics to discuss with fellow JAFF fans and JAFF authors, what would you talk about and why? Let me know in your comments below!
***My apologies to my fellow authors and participants for not listing anyone’s name here. I did not want to accidentally offend anyone by leaving them out.***