As we approach the two-month countdown until the January 1 deadline for submissions for The Fan Mail Project (the book of letters to female characters that I’m compiling), I wanted to devote a little time on a Fangirl Thursday to thank all of the fangirls (and fanboys) who have sent in letters so far. Fangirl Thursday posts are usually places to share excitement, so it seems fitting for me to use this post to tell you that there’s nothing like the excitement I feel when I look into my inbox and see a new letter. (There’s also nothing like the tears I cry while reading almost every single beautiful letter, but that’s another story for another post…)
I’ve received letters to characters as varied as Scarlett O’Hara, Cristina Yang, Claire Underwood, and Hermione Granger. These letters are already painting such an amazing portrait of why female representation in the media matters—because, for as diverse as the characters have been, the people who’ve written letters to me so far are even more diverse. It’s been a true pleasure to read your stories, and it’s a true honor to be trusted with sharing this part of you with the world in a way that will make you proud to be involved with this project.
And if you haven’t sent in a letter yet (or you want to send in more), there’s still plenty of time to write! If you’re having trouble settling on a character to write about, here’s a shortlist of much-loved female characters still missing from Fan Mail right now:
• Lorelai/Rory/Emily Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
• Dana Scully (The X-Files)
• Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
• Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
• Sarah Walker (Chuck)
• Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)
• Sydney Bristow (Alias—but don’t worry, I’ll be rectifying this one myself soon)
• Arya/Sansa/Brienne/Daenerys/Cersei/etc. (Game of Thrones)
• Zoe/Inara/Kaylee/River (Firefly)
• Natasha Romanoff (Marvel comics/movies)
• Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)
• Regina/Snow/Red/Belle/etc. (Once Upon a Time) (I’ve gotten a couple of letters to Emma so far but could always use more!)
If you’re looking for inspiration, maybe that list can help you get started, but that’s by no means a comprehensive list of characters worth writing about. Choose a character whose story moves you to write—which character do you think of when you need confidence, or when you feel lonely, or when you want to believe things are going to turn out okay? Which character has been a part of your life for so long that you don’t know who you are independent of their influence? Which character helped you navigate the rough waters of high school, or college, or parenthood? That’s who you should write to. And take it from someone who knows—the letter you’re most proud of might be one you never planned to write.
To those who are still struggling with the writing process, I know it’s not easy to open yourself up the way these letters call for you to. There are still letters I don’t know how to start because I’m afraid of how vulnerable they’ll make me feel. But we can do it together. If you need a cheerleader or someone to remind you how brave you are to be writing one of these letters at all, I’m here. Don’t be afraid to comment here or send me a Tweet (@nerdygirlnotes) or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking for some moral support because that’s what this project is all about—helping each other feel like we’re not alone, shining a light on the unifying and inspiring power of fandom.
If you want to leave a comment listing other characters you’d love to see included in this book, please do so—maybe you’ll inspire a fellow fangirl or fanboy to start writing. If you want to share who you’ve written to already or who you plan to write to in the future, please do so—maybe you’ll inspire someone to keep going with their writing plans because you kept going with yours. And if you want to spread or seek words of encouragement from your fellow fans, this is place to do that, too.
We can do this, fellow nerds! Together I truly believe we’re creating something special, moving, and revealing—not just about those of us who’ve written letters but about fandom as a whole and why it’s important. I know I’m already growing as a person for having the privilege of reading the letters I’ve seen so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this project over the next couple of months and beyond.