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January 2nd, 2015

rthstewart: (Default)
Friday, January 2nd, 2015 11:06 pm
I am really excited to introduce you all to another Athena's Daughter's 2 author, Tess Tabak. I cannot wait to read her story, about, wait for it, Judaism, Eastern philosophy, and a zombie apocalypse. Really. Tess is a writer, filmmaker, and co-editor of The Furious Gazelle. She is a recent graduate of Purchase College, where she won the Ginny Wray award for fiction. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her most recent film, BEANED, recently premiered at the Williamsburg International Film Festival in Brooklyn.

I asked Tess if she could talk a bit about her influences for her story and how she made the jump from derivative to original fic. 


Hi there! This is Tess Tabak, one of the authors of Athena's Daughter's II. As Ruth mentioned previously, Athena's Daughter's II is a collection of science-fiction and fantasy written entirely by women. I'm thrilled to be a part of that anthology, and psyched to be taking part in this blog swap to get the word out.

My story, "The Miraculous," is about someone who tries to survive in a post-apocalyptic world based on the teachings of Judaism and Eastern philosophy. I learned how to write by emulating the styles of other writers and genre forms. When I was growing up, I wrote some pretty bad parodies of the books I read -- Frankenstein, Harry Potter, Sweet Valley High -- and posted them on Fanfiction.net. Copying the styles of other people and adding a bit of my own voice to it became natural to me. I actually began writing "The Miraculous" as a pastiche of a choose-your-own adventure story about someone who, for some reason, could not leave their house. It was written in the imperative, second-person voice, as in a choose-your-own-adventure, but there were no choices. The character was trapped.

As I wrote, more and more of the story came to me. One big influence on this story is Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Other horror stories about monsters are really about immediate survival, like King's 'Salem's Lot, but Matheson really explored the horror of being alone for a long period of time. When I read I Am Legend, I desperately wanted to write something that came close to Matheson's masterpiece. One lesson I learned from avidly writing and reading fan fiction for so many years is that ideas themselves are not original; it's what you do with them and how you make them your own that counts. Had I been obsessed with originality, as some writers are, I might have shied away from the zombie genre. When I workshopped this story in my college, one classmate wrote in critique, "You shouldn't have even bothered writing a zombie story," because zombies are overdone. I just don't think that's true. I hope that everyone gets a chance to write their own zombie story.

You can pick up a copy of Athena's Daughter's II on our Kickstarter page. Happy reading!