Guiding Light

CN Winters: Hi Otalia and Blis fans.

Gin Akasarahsmom: Hello everyone…

kelinswriter: hi!

Gin Akasarahsmom: will the panelists please change their font color to Red…

Gin Akasarahsmom: and panelists.. if you would… introduce yourselves…

Gin Akasarahsmom: then we can get this party started!

kelinswriter: Hi I’m Kelinswriter also known as @worddancer21, author of Once Upon a Dream.

CN Winters: I have to do something techy. Eeek! Did it work? I’m CN by the way

Gin Akasarahsmom: if you have a question raise your hand and we’ll make sure it’s not lost in the chat… but feel free to participate in the discussion!

CN Winters: Yay! It worked that time.

Gin Akasarahsmom: LOL.. you don’t HAVE to do it CN.. it’s just easier to see your posts if you change it to red..

Gin Akasarahsmom:

Gin Akasarahsmom: okay… so here we go.  What got you all interested in the Guiding Light fandom?

quietheartedfsc: My great-grandmother.


CN Winters: My late friend Bridget was a xena fan and sent me a link to the graveyard confession and said you need to watch this now!! lol

kelinswriter: I was a Crystal Chappell fan from way back, but I hadn’t actively been watching Guiding Light. Then in March 2009 a friend of mine basically harassed me until I started paying attention to the Otalia story and I got hooked.

kelinswriter: Graveyard is what got me too.

Gin Akasarahsmom: so the Otalia storyline is what really solidified the fandom for you and got you started watching?

quietheartedfsc: She watched it faithfully and kept me as a baby. I knew the story lines before I could walk good.

CN Winters: Yea and then I had to backtrack about 25 years of storylines, tracing family trees, and whatnot. LOL

Gin Akasarahsmom: all the ABC soaps were like that for me QH… I didn’t start watching Guiding Light until Otalia

CN Winters: once I knew the players i was able to break into doing the fan fic.

kelinswriter: Well I’ve been a soap person since I was in my early teens. My summer babysitters got me hooked on GH and OLTL. The next set of babysitters got me hooked on Days, and from then on I was an NBC soap kid.  I flirted with GL on and off but nothing ever hooked me on it until Otalia.

CN Winters: i do have to say that I love Doris just about as much as otalia

Gin Akasarahsmom: the Blake/Doris pairing does seem quite popular

kelinswriter: When GL ended I ended up doing a couple fan events and through that got to know some of the actors and production staff folks, which I think helped really tie me in to GL.

Gin Akasarahsmom: that is great.  It’s always nice to meet the people responsible for the fandoms we love

kelinswriter: Blake and Doris are fun. To me they’re the wild unexpected fling we all hope we’re going to have in our 40s or 50s (if we’re not partnered up)

Gin Akasarahsmom: do you feel it’s an underutilzed pairing for this fandom or is the ratio from Otalia to Blake/Doris about right?

Gin Akasarahsmom: any other pairings you like?

Gin Akasarahsmom: anyone?

CN Winters: i always wanted to see the year Doris got her degree from Springfield university to see how old she is but I figured she’s got about 10 years on the other gals based on Ashlee’s age, but again in soaps they’re 7 one day and 18 the next LOL

CN Winters: i like Dolivia too.

CN Winters: i know. I’m horrible LOL

kelinswriter: My view is there is always advantage in using the whole of GL’s history as part of your canvas. What made Otalia unique is they were the last great love story in a show that had 70 years of great love stories. That’s something special and I think it’s importnat to tie them into that whole.

Gin Akasarahsmom: doris was SO horrible to Olivia though… I can’t deal with that pairing very well…

kelinswriter: I’m pretty much of a purist. Otalia is the game. Blake and Doris, okay, that’s kind of fun. Anything else and you’re getting so far out from canon you might as well be writing original fiction.

Gin Akasarahsmom: It kind of ticked me off that they did Otalia at the end… knowing they were going to be cancelled… it was like a ‘safe’ time for them to do that.

CN Winters: i see Doris as the politician and who did a lot of things out of feeling ‘trapped’

Gin Akasarahsmom: and it ticked me off that being ‘safe’… they didn’t actually ‘go for it’…as far as the relationship went

CN Winters: but I like how Olivia gave Doris the strength to be who she really was.

kelinswriter: It’s all about when you can get the green light. The timing was right in 08 and they got the green light. Years before, they had pitched Holly and Olivia but it was too soon for it and they couldn’t make it happen.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I mean seriously.. NOT ONE kiss??

kelinswriter: Gin, like I said I know the folks involved. They were 100% for it. That was network and sponsor politics.

CN Winters: Yes, first no kiss on Xena and not one on Otalia 15 years later. ~sigh~

kelinswriter: They shot a couple things that got cut.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I understand that Kelins… but it’s the people who called the shots that I’m ticked at.

CN Winters: we need that ‘blooper’ reel LOL

kelinswriter: Well yeah but what’re you going to do.  

Gin Akasarahsmom: LOL.. come on the internet and complain of course.

kelinswriter: Yes no kiss was disappointing, but in some ways I think it strengthened what they could do. If they had been able to kiss I don’t think we would have had that unbelievably intense undercurrent between the two characters which I think actually made for a more compelling dynamic.

kelinswriter: Think of things like the mirror scene, the way they can’t even look at each other because it’s too intense. That was all very carefully choreographed.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I think it cheapened their relationship… putting it on a different plane than the ‘real’ relationships on the show.. the male/female ones that kissed and fell into bed all the time, easily..

Gin Akasarahsmom: but that’s just me

CN Winters: hehehe eye sex

Gin Akasarahsmom: Olivia was very good at eye sex.

kelinswriter: Well, I waited 4 years to get them in bed in my fic, too. So I guess I’m guilty of that as well.  

CN Winters: Hey, Nat was no slouch either on the eye sex. When Olivia was doing that necklace at the engagement party it was pretty intense at times.

Gin Akasarahsmom: but not kiss right.. they kissed in your fic?

Gin Akasarahsmom: touched

Gin Akasarahsmom: hell they weren’t even allowed to touch each other most of the time in the show

Gin Akasarahsmom: it was annoying

kelinswriter: Well yes, it was. But that’s what fanfic is for.

Gin Akasarahsmom: true.. natalia has great eyes..

kelinswriter: GL did what it could with the time money permission etc. it had. The nice thing is that in fic, we can move beyond those limitations and give them a much more full world.

Gin Akasarahsmom: yepper.. that is certainly what fanfic is for.

CN Winters: “kelinswriter: Well yes, it was. But that’s what fanfic is for. ” Hehehe true!

Gin Akasarahsmom: So what are you working on now?  New stories?  Care to share a bit about them?

kelinswriter: I’m wrapping up Once Upon a Dream which has been rather massive. I’m also starting an original work which will be a five part novel series. The first volume will hopefully be out in 2015.

CN Winters: I’m actually doing a sequel to a epic monster story called ‘An Otalia Funeral’ and yeah it can be grim at times. But it’s happy too. Like life you might say.

CN Winters: i have other fics going in other fandoms too but that’s my most recent Otalia offering

Gin Akasarahsmom: very nice

kelinswriter: CN what do you think it is that keeps us writing these characters? I have my theories but would love to hear your point of view.

DiNovia: I am contemplating finishing Hide Beside Me.  I don’t want it hanging over me for the rest of my life.

Gin Akasarahsmom: Does it seem that the Guiding Light fandom has dwindled somewhat?

quietheartedfsc: strongest respectful suggestion to stop contemplating and start writing, DiNovia. *G*

Gin Akasarahsmom: Ha!

kelinswriter: Definitely. People are moving on to other things and in some ways, the characters are living on in Venice and The Grove.

Gin Akasarahsmom: Do you think if Venice and the Grove hadn’t happened that there would be more Otalia fanfic.. just to fill the gap?

kelinswriter: I have this theory that you get about a 3 year trend after a show ends in terms of fanfic, then it does off. You stop getting new authors in and that’s pretty much the end of the game.

DiNovia: Suggestion noted, QH.

kelinswriter: dies off, I mean. lol

CN Winters: I find that I still think of stories I can tell about the characters. But I do think that the fandom is dwindling. I know Incandecent Fire had a lot of followers but many folks seem to have moved on.

kelinswriter: perhaps but there was an awful lot. I think its more that people have moved on to other stories where they’re getting more…satisfaction…if you will. Plus there was a noticeable schism in the fandom after GL ended, imo.

DiNovia: Depends on the fandom, I think.  Otalia burned brighter for a shorter time.  Hard to sustain that kind of devotion after the show is over.

CN Winters: I know at the risk of being linched (LOL) I don’t care for Venice. It feels…hollow… I don’t know if the Grove has even started yet (has it?).

kelinswriter: There were some people who were really unhappy with how things played out at the end of the show and as a result, we have a lot of unfinished epics.

kelinswriter: Yes, CN it’s been available on YT since January.  

kelinswriter: and it’s wonderful.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I’ve only seen the first episode of Venice.. I didn’t really care for it all that much.. never seen the Grove

kelinswriter: Otalia is actually kind of famous for most of its best stories being unfinished. (*cough* DiNovia *cough*)  

CN Winters: I saw a teaser for the Grove but that was about it. Maybe I’ll check it out. I know that Venice didn’t seem to have the characters fleshed out very well.

kelinswriter: Venice is a case study in how to improve a show on the fly. But they don’t have the kind of time GL had so it’s not going to have the same kind of depth, sadly.

kelinswriter: I felt season 2 was extremely good. S3 rambled a bit but had some great moments, very much looking forward to s4.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I’ve only written short ‘scenes’ for Otalia.. very short stories… so mine were always finished

Gin Akasarahsmom: but they were written while the show was still airing… and between days when Otalia was on screen.

DiNovia: I will do my best to finish HBM for everyone.  It’s taken me a while to be able to see the characters again in the same way as before.  But it’s percolating.  I just have to move into the new house and then I’ll have some time to actually sit down with it.

Gin Akasarahsmom: time is an issue

CN Winters: I find I lack time too. I’m goofing off and doing stuff like this. LOL Teasin’. this is fun, but I really do lack the time to do all I’d like to do.

kelinswriter: that’s a fun concept, Gin. Filling in the blanks. Soaps tend to lend themselves well to that because most actors only appear 3 days a week.

Gin Akasarahsmom: yes… as I said I grew up on ABC soaps.. so my mind is wired to think in terms of soap opera story lines

kelinswriter: If I could keep writing Otalia and write original fiction too, I would. But I have this annoying need to keep food on the table and I feel like, in some ways, with Dream ending the journey is coming to an end for them. I think they need a nap and so do I.

kelinswriter: Which is not to say I don’t have a sequel in my head.  

Gin Akasarahsmom: yeah… I love writing fanfic… but I would dearly love to finish my originals and possibly publish them.. lol.. it’s that evil money thing that gets me… sometimes you just need it

kelinswriter: But I also think at some point these characters become part of the collective unconscious, and once you’ve written them for a while, they integrate themselves into you in some way. So bits and pieces of them will appear in other things I do as I move forward.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I totally agree with that

CN Winters: I find that many of the fandoms I like are similiar to one another like Xena, Otalia, Rizzles.

CN Winters: A case might even be made for Willow and her loves on Buffy

kelinswriter: I find a lot of people see parallels between Xena and Otalia. I do as well.

Gin Akasarahsmom: from the personalites of the characters you mean?

kelinswriter: I think both Olivia and Natalia are very archetypal. It lends them a certain epic status which is a bit bigger than their actual story was.

Gin Akasarahsmom: that is true… but the older/younger… experienced/newbie… jaded/innocent pairings have always been around

kelinswriter: agreed. That’s why they’re archetypes.  

Gin Akasarahsmom: that is a lot of what drew me to Xena… and Devil Wears Prada…

CN Winters: yes, of all the fandoms in femslash I think Xena and Otalia could be the most ‘uber-ist’. LOL

quietheartedfsc: I’m loving them archetypes

Gin Akasarahsmom: exactly.. the whole teacher/student thing.. LOL… who hasn’t fallen for one of their teachers at one time or another?

kelinswriter: I think a thing that gets forgotten about Otalia though is that in her own way, Olivia was just as if not more inexperienced that Natalia.

kelinswriter: She’d never known love. She didn’t even really understand what it was.

Gin Akasarahsmom: of course.. just in different areas… just like Xena had less experience in some things than Gabrielle did…

CN Winters: Could I ask a question of the panel?

Gin Akasarahsmom: sure…

Gin Akasarahsmom: sorry stinka.. didn’t see your hand… I’ll get your question after CN

CN Winters: If the censors allowed it, what do you think you would have done to show Otalia’s coupling? How would they have ‘done the deed’ LOL

quietheartedfsc: Big kiss and a morning after scene. Traditional soap plot points.

CN Winters: I see people say they wished the censors would have let them kiss but where would you have put it, for example?

Gin Akasarahsmom: I think that even a ‘fade to black’ moment for them would have been sufficient for me… with them both in robes at the kitchen table the next morning… that is all it would have taken

kelinswriter: Just a slow, simple, very romantic love story. Very old school soap. In fact that’s what Dream has always been for me – my chance to give them an old school, 80’s style supercouple love story. Complete with villains.

CN Winters: where would it appear in the storyline though?

kelinswriter: See i think they got that though Gin. Not the fade to black, but the morning after. No two people have ever made sandwiches like those two made sandwiches before.  

Gin Akasarahsmom: after the gazebo talk

quietheartedfsc: on the getaway

Gin Akasarahsmom: okay… stinka… you have a question?

kelinswriter: In canon, I think gazebo talk probably is the right timing. Somewhere in there.

stinka27: More a comment. About the inactives, as a reader I think I would be “semi” satisfied if authors just wrote up a synopsis of what they wanted to happen and how they wanted it to end. The family is still in the darned water in I’d Come For You.

kelinswriter: as an author, I have pretty strong feelings about abandoned fics. I feel like you better be committed to seeing it through before you put up the first post. I just think it’s unfair otherwise.

CN Winters: Sometimes that’s not an option. I don’t always know where a story will go so a synopsis wouldn’t work. Plus, some people hate ‘spoilers’ .  

Gin Akasarahsmom: yes.. that is why I never post a story if it’s not finished

kelinswriter: but I will admit I also come at this from the perspective of a professional writer.

CN Winters: i find that when I write a chapter I never close the doc until I write a small synopisis of where the next one will go. That way I’ll go back to it. Finding the time is another matter. And when have a co-writer that can open a new can of worms lol

kelinswriter: I don’t differentiate between fic and “original fiction.” You still owe your audience the courtesy of finishing the story, even if they don’t like the ending.

kelinswriter: cowriting scares me. lol I don’t know how people do it.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I agree..  the readers deserve the story to be finished

kelinswriter: do you outline, CN?

CN Winters: co-writing isn’t that scary. LOL You just need to find the right co-writer

kelinswriter: yeah but how do you smooth out the syntax so it doesn’t sound schizophrenic?

DiNovia: Speaking from the other side of the aisle, I had every intention of finishing mine.  Becoming so disillusioned with the characters was something I didn’t expect.   And while I agree that the readers should have a finished product, shouldn’t it be the best I can do, rather than an hasty synopsis of what I wanted to do or something written in anger or from guilt?

Gin Akasarahsmom: I don’t care for co-writing…

CN Winters: sometimes I outline. It really depends on the story. I do plot points for sure and then work my chapters around those points.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I hardly ever outline… I think I should.. but it never seems to work out

kelinswriter: This is just a personal thing, but I don’t think you can write a character unless you love them. And that means all the characters. I had to find something to love about Jeffrey, and something about Edmund, and something about Alan (actually I always loved Alan). Because otherwise they were just ciphers, and ciphers aren’t interesting.

CN Winters: I find that when I need to get that ‘anger’ out I write a NEW fic DiNovia. I did it after season five of Xena when Gab got a chakram upside the head. LOL

kelinswriter: So if a character does something in canon I don’t like, doesn’t mean I don’t like the character any more. Just means I have to incorporate that behavior into my understanding of them.

DiNovia: Except I wasn’t angry with the characters.  I was angry with CC.  The person.  And that killed the character of Olivia for me for a long time.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I agree about liking the characters… not necessarily love.. but I think you need to find something interesting about the character, or the reader won’t find them interesting either

kelinswriter: but I also had the luxury of not beginning to write until all the dust was settled.

Gin Akasarahsmom: really Di… being upset with the actors kill the characters for you?

Gin Akasarahsmom: I separate the two

Gin Akasarahsmom: there are a lot of characters I don’t like, but still like the actor.. and vice versa

CN Winters: I see the character independently from the actor because the story is about the character and not the person that plays them.

stinka27: Nobody said “hasty” LOL. Last IDF an author (I think it was Bronzey) said she had “head” finished a story and it was spectacular. That’s what put the idea in my head.

CN Winters: I’d never write Rizzles if I thought about republican Angie Harmon. LOL

Gin Akasarahsmom: exactly

kelinswriter: i think good writing can take time. Sometimes a story needs to cook.

CN Winters: this is true but you’ll burn your cookies if you leave them in for an hour.

kelinswriter: There’s also the danger of getting too far out in front of your skis, so to speak. That’s why I think outlining and knowing how the story will end is important.

Gin Akasarahsmom: cooking is a good analogy… I say I get a seed of an idea and it grows in my head until it bears fruit.

kelinswriter: It’s a balance.  

DiNovia: I broke my own rule, one from my days in the XWP fandom.  I read interviews and articles and when those things affect how I hear the characters in my head.  It was my own fault, I admit that.  It does affect the voice of the character in my head.

CN Winters: Now I’m curious… what did CC do DiNovia?

Gin Akasarahsmom: me too!

Gin Akasarahsmom: lol.. Di… to tell…

kelinswriter: DiNovia, all due respect but I see CC a couple times a year and we have a number of mutual friends so I’d prefer is we didn’t go here. Thanks.

Gin Akasarahsmom: we have about 10 minutes left in the panel

DiNovia: It’s not important.  As KW said, she knows her and my opinion doesn’t mean anything except to my own writing.

Gin Akasarahsmom: ah.. most likely as Di said an article or interview that changed the way Di saw Olivia

kelinswriter: if, that is.

CN Winters: Well maybe you can email the rest of us in private DiNovia and we can help you get over the writing hump.

DiNovia: I don’t need help with it anymore because I have had the space I needed to return to the characters.

kelinswriter: I will say it sucks when real world affects writing. I’ve been there myself with other things.

DiNovia: But thank you for the offer.

CN Winters: but yeah, I don’t think that the actor’s life, opinion of the characters, etc make a difference to me.

Gin Akasarahsmom: I’ve done that… anyone else?  Seen something that the actor has said/done in another show/interview and changed the character to fit that new information?

Gin Akasarahsmom: it was never in a negative way though

Gin Akasarahsmom: just a bit of humor pointing back to the actors themselves..

kelinswriter: for me it’s not about the character. I still love Braveheart. But when I see Mel Gibson’s face I want to punch him.

CN Winters: i wonder if Ares shippers in the Xenaverse felt that way when LL said she thought Gabby and Xena were a couple for sure.

CN Winters: I never thought about that before. That’s kind of interesting though.

Gin Akasarahsmom: it’s possible… when your own idea is challenged we tend to no like the person challenging it

Gin Akasarahsmom: to not

CN Winters: So where can otalia go from here? Is there anywhere left to explore do you think?

Gin Akasarahsmom: there seemed to be a lot of stories already…

Gin Akasarahsmom: I didn’t get to them all before I sort of fell out of the fandom…

Gin Akasarahsmom: there are always more stories though eh?

kelinswriter: I think without new information, it gets more difficult. I always wanted to know Natalia’s backstory, i think there’s lots there. But at a certain point I’m not sure how much further you can take them without new canon to draw from.

Gin Akasarahsmom: that’s when you start making stuff up.

CN Winters: which is always fun

michelle_2011: thanks for the panels and everything femslash

Gin Akasarahsmom: always fun

kelinswriter: Well yes. but at what point does it stop being Otalia and start being original fic?

CN Winters: i think if you’re using the majority of what we know of Otalia, it’s still Otalia fic.

Alsike: but hey, Otalia Ubers happen too

kelinswriter: True.

CN Winters: but it is fun filling in other parts of their lives or as I like to do, look into the future and what’s in story for the Otalia kids

kelinswriter: there are two characters in my next novel who are basically Otalia in a very different setting. Their spirit will live on in these two characters.

CN Winters:  ool!

Gin Akasarahsmom: nice

Gin Akasarahsmom: it’s great that people can keep their fandoms alive!

CN Winters: i find that there are people out at and archieve of our own

kelinswriter: Yes it is. That’s the great thing about storytelling – it’s not what people write, it’s where people take it.

CN Winters: I’m not sure if there are any other Otalia locals like I.F. out there.

kelinswriter: I think IF’s pretty much the ball game for Otalia, yes.

Gin Akasarahsmom: there may be some on Passion and Perfection..

Gin Akasarahsmom: whoops.. our time is up…

Gin Akasarahsmom: any last comments?

kelinswriter: there is quite a lot, but I think pretty much all of it is also on IF. Someone with more time than me would have to do a survey.

CN Winters: this was fun gang. Thanks to Ralst for the invite and I hope to see more fans out there commenting when they get the chance. It does help writers finish their work.

Gin Akasarahsmom: Thanks to CN Winters and Kelinswriter for being here…

kelinswriter: thanks everyone! Love that people love Otalia. Keep reading!

CN Winters: Thank YOU guys

kelinswriter: Thank you Gin and CN. Fun talk.

Gin Akasarahsmom: thanks to EVERYONE who attended… the more attendees we get, the more attention this issue “femslash” gets.

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