Kara Wild is best known for being the current administrator of the Paperpusher's Message Board, the author of the Driven Wild Universe fanfic series, and the keeper/blogger of DVDaria. Wild has been an active member of Daria fandom since February or March 1999. In addition, Wild has also contributed other works of fanfiction, artwork, numerous essays, and interviews with the creators of the show. Until recently, she also kept a Daria fansite, the Contrarian's Corner, but time constraints led her to announce that July 5, 2007 would be her last update consisting of outside material.
Wild attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a B.A. in English and History. She later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a professional writing career. Having not found it, she announced in August 2007 that she would be starting law school in the fall. Wild obtained her law degree in May 2010. In November of that year, she passed the California Bar.
Early Fandom History
Wild was aware of a Daria fandom as early as spring of 1998 when, as a student abroad at the University of Kent at Canterbury, she searched fan sites eagerly for descriptions of new episodes. She came across Planet Daria, one of the original sites, but quickly disregarded it because it did not have in-depth episode descriptions. Once back in the United States, Wild was finally able to watch all of the Season Two episodes. She was so impressed by the character development in "Gifted" (the first Season Two episode she watched), and the other Season Two episodes that she crossed over from casual fan to major fan. She looked forward to the next season of the show and began haunting Daria fan sites for new information, which led her to discover Daria fanfiction. At first skeptical that fan efforts could come close to the show, Wild finally let curiosity get the better of her. She started reading Peter Guerin's fanfiction, before getting hooked on John Berry's work, then C.E. Forman's. Forman's painstakingly canon-like scripts, in particular, inspired Wild to develop script ideas of her own.
Soon after Season Three began, Wild discovered the Lawndale Commons message board and quickly became an active member. Meanwhile, her dissatisfaction with the first half of Season Three, including "Through a Lens Darkly" (which, she felt, should have shown Quinn's reaction to Daria in contacts), fueled numerous "what if" scenarios that she was itching to write down. Finally she did, and "Rose-Colored Lenses," the first Driven Wild Universe installment, was posted on Outpost Daria in April 1999. It was accompanied by the ficlet, "A Desperately Needed Ending (to 'Depth Takes a Holiday')."
Both stories marked the first time Wild had written scripted dialogue. Expecting to have her work picked apart, she was thrilled when her feedback (via e-mail) was positive. Wild received encouraging reviews from John Berry and C.E. Forman, then two of the biggest names in Daria fandom. This spurred her to continue writing more scripted fics. She considered making her next endeavor a lighter story, such as a two-parter called "English Impatient," in which Mr. O'Neill's classes took a trip to England, or an untitled story in which Helen and Quinn both get sick with the flu. However, a scene in "Through a Lens Darkly" made Wild come up with a story about Helen and her sister, Amy, trying and failing to bond. Concerned that someone else would beat her to the punch, Wild chose that story, and The Tie That Chokes followed RCL in May 1999. The events of TTTC inspired Wild to write That Thing You Say, which caused a profound reaction from Daria fans. TTYS was one of the few Daria fanfics to have Daria struggling with showing love for a member of her family in a realistic manner. In addition to general positive feedback, Wild's fanfics were added to the Lawndale Commons fanfiction page, run by the notoriously selective Michelle Klein-Hass. Wild was also made a Featured Author at Martin J. Pollard's Outpost Daria, joining John Berry, C.E. Forman, Katherine Goodman, Michelle Klein-Hass, Martin, and the Paperpusher.
Wild continued to explore dynamics that the show and fanfiction had not considered. Tired of the relentless Daria/Trent 'shipperism amongst some members of fandom, her follow up to TTYS was 'Shipped Out, a Daria/Trent Anti-'shipper that she rushed to get out before "Lane Miserables" aired in the United States. Screen shots of the episode, which had accidentally first aired in England, showed Daria and Trent sitting together in Daria's room, leading Wild to conclude that their relationship was going to heat up. She wanted to get her perspective on the relationship in beforehand. When "Lane Miserables" wound up going in the same direction (right down to the future fantasy), many people half-jokingly claimed that Wild was clairvoyant.
Between June and November 1999, Wild turned out a new fanfic every 2 to 3 weeks. Each one, written in the same quasi-script format, took the story a little bit further and a little bit more off canon. The real break from canon came when Wild decided to make Quinn president of the Fashion Club and continue to wear glasses on a regular basis (DWU #6 Cheered Down). Wild wrote her first eight fanfics in a notebook, then typed them on the computer. She felt that the dialogue came to her faster that way, but as a result, got tendinitis in her wrist and had to settle for writing on the computer. By the time she wrote her ninth full fanfic, September 1999, her series finally had a name: the Driven Wild Universe. The name came from C.E. Forman, who had written the fanfic Driven Wild for his continuum and jokingly called Wild "Kara 'Driven' Wild." About that time, Wild decided that her continuum would be 22 fanfics long for a "full" season of Daria. Yet as she prepared to write her senior theses at U.C. Berkeley, Wild's writing slowed down, with DWU #12 Surreal World and #13 Erin the Head coming out in December and January, respectively.
During the time Wild wrote, her feedback increased steadily, until many fans put her in the same group as other popular authors like Forman, Berry, Klein-Hass, and Austin Covello. In 1999-2000, most of these writers were winding down, with Forman producing his last Lost Seasons fic, Fireworks in late 1999, Klein-Hass ending her series with "Best Served Cold," and John Berry producing just two more fanfics. Meanwhile, other popular and notable writers were fast emerging, such as Diane Long, Canadibrit, Jon Kilner, Admonisher, Milo Minderbinder, Renfield, and more. Many of these authors preferred to write in prose rather than script, launching many "prose vs. script" debates.
While fanfic authors could write year-round, the premium times were during the Drought between Seasons and the Mini-drought during each season. By fall, Martin J. Pollard had established a fanfiction message board at Outpost Daria and authors and their fans interacted on an unprecedented level. Rather than wait until the Outpost Daria update, authors could announce when their stories were finished and use the thread to solicit feedback.
Wild became disenchanted with this new system. She liked getting feedback via e-mail, both because e-mails were generally more thought out and because Wild disliked the feeling of competing with her fellow fanfic authors for readers' often fickle attention. She started to wonder how much longer she could continue to write Daria fanfiction.
Message Board Moderating
Even as Wild continued to write fanfiction, she was becoming increasingly burnt out. By the time she wrote DWU #14 "Primarily Color" in February 2000, Wild had grown tired of writing deeply serious, more canon-than-not, multi-layered fanfics. Meanwhile, other developments were shaking up fandom. In late 1999/early 2000, Michelle Klein-Hass abruptly closed down the premiere message board, Lawndale Commons. Shortly beforehand, C.E. Forman had quit, citing burnout and a desire to focus on other passions. His second season of the Lost Seasons was left incomplete. As Forman was still a popular and influential author, his departure and the LCMB shutdown came as a double blow. Fans moaned that Daria fandom was "dying," and while these cries were largely premature, most seemed unsure of what would happen next.
In response, Martin Pollard turned the Outpost Daria Fanfiction Message Board into a full message board, while the Paperpusher offered his new message board as another resting place. In spite of her bitter feelings, Wild was anxious to help with the transition, and volunteered to be a moderator for the PPMB along with Diane Long. As the ODMB population swelled, it became apparent that a moderator was needed there as well, and Wild offered her time. She saw moderation as an exciting new challenge and a welcome departure from the fanfiction grind. While the slower-moving PPMB usually needed no moderator, ODMB proved to be more of a challenge. Wild did not encounter trouble too often, but some users' suspicion of the moderator was such that, in April 2000, Wild penned the response essay, "The Moderator Is In."
Main article: Abruptly Amy (series).
Although Wild wanted to finish her continuum, another story was burning in her mind. She had long been amused and exasperated by the "Saint Amy Barksdale" image perpetuated by fanfiction (most notably in C.E. Forman's "Quinntet" and "Alienation Legacy"), in which Amy was the only person who understood Daria. In her fanfiction, Wild sought to portray a more human, fallible Amy, but considered going a step further, completely subverting the image. Inspiration came in the form of Aaron and Barry Adelman's "Daria the Movie" fanfic, which was preceded by such an authentic "rumors" website, many fans thought it was real. The fanfic consisted of a film script for a live-action movie, emulating the poor movie scripts of then-current teen flicks.
Wild decided that instead of a movie, she would create a pilot for a "spinoff" starring Amy, with the twist being that the pilot was written by someone ("Alan Smithee") with no understanding of the show, Daria. Using themes of then-current shows like "Suddenly Susan" and "Providence," Wild came up with a storyline in which Amy was a glamorous FBI agent forced to take refuge in her home town to escape the mob. While Amy's abilities were inflated to ludicrous proportions, in keeping with her "Saint Amy" image, her personality was flighty and emotional. Wild created several new characters for the pilot and a "making of" special, "In Search of Amy," that delved into the behind-the-scenes tensions. Most notably, Wild enlisted several fanfic artists to do "screen captures" for the pilot. To preserve the mystery, she only e-mailed select scenes to the various artists who had volunteered. The result was an eclectic mix of images from artists as far-ranging as John Berry to SBBED.D. Finally, Mike Quinn agreed to read the pilot and do a "Delayed Reaction Review" as though he had watched the episode live.
Wild put all the parts together into one big fanfic called "Abruptly Amy (The Spinoff That Never Was)," which she premiered in spring of 2000. While some fans appreciated the joke, the primary response of people not involved with the project was shock. Many could not believe that Wild, who was known for her good characterization, would deliberately "dumb down" her writing in such a way. Michelle Klein-Hass was particularly critical, and to this date has not read any of the "Abruptly Amy" fanfics. Aaron Adelman, on the other hand, saw "Abruptly Amy" as a "Jane" fanfic to his "Daria" fanfic. While his "Daria the Movie," like Daria, conformed to certain stupid rules and mocked them, "Abruptly Amy" was free-flowing, going off in all sorts of crazy directions.
Wild was concerned that her credibility might be hurt as a result of this project, but she felt liberated nonetheless. Wild would later credit "Abruptly Amy" with keeping her passion alive long enough to keep writing the Driven Wild Universe. Over the months, the project would draw enough fans that Wild and other fanfic authors/artists would take it to the next level. Meanwhile, the project had taught Wild how to code and upload web pages, which would soon come in handy.
As Season Four premiered and the number of fanfics continued to surge, Martin Pollard grew busy and updated Outpost Daria less frequently. This created a need for other websites to post material in the meantime. The websites that filled the void included Daria's Rubber Room, by Crazy Nutso; Glitter Berries, by Kemical Reaxion; I Am Not Daria, by Canadibrit; and Wild's own Contrarian's Corner.
Begun as early as September 2000, the Contrarian's Corner was originally intended to be a specialty website. Wild had toyed with creating a fan site in the past, particularly a pro-Helen website, and found willing co-conspirators in Mike Quinn and the Paperpusher. However, the project never went beyond its early stages and was eventually abandoned. Instead, Wild chose to create a small, simple website that catered to eclectic fanfiction interests, such as the Helen-Centric Fanfic Collection, the Underexposed Characters collection (which included such characters as Sandi's cat, "Fluffy"), and Steven Galloway's Fanfic Author Spotlights. Beyond fanfiction, Wild planned to put more emphasis on essays, a form of expression that she felt lacked respect, and fiction writing workshops. The Contrarian's Corner was never a strictly Daria website; Wild created sections devoted to artwork and opinions that were independent of the show. She also created sections like "Why the Contrarian Chose Her Name" and "The Contrarian's Eight Commandments" (the latter of which Wild regarded as rules to follow, but was less than convinced that she or anyone else could follow them all the time). With regard to Daria fanworks, Wild intended to implement a system similar to Michelle Klein-Hass's, in which she asked permission to post only the works she liked best, rather than open up her website to anyone who submitted.
However, the vacuum created by Outpost Daria's less frequent updating led several fans to send Wild fanfics that she had never read. Rather than turn them away, Wild opened up her site to general contributions. Still, the site never became known as one of the "mega" sites, and Wild never enjoyed spending hours coding new webpages and smoothing out kinks in the HTML fics sent by fans. Time spent making new fanfiction pages meant that her specialty pages went neglected. Wild most preferred to update her own Driven Wild Universe page, including HTML versions alongside the text versions that were sent to other websites.
Over time, she would create other pages, such as an SOS! Daria Overboard page that linked to fan efforts to get Daria more widely aired, the Anti-'Shipper Collection, the Abruptly Amy page, Fanfic Author Interviews, and even a page for her anti-competition, known as the CRAPPIES. The more-frequent gaps of time between Wild's DWU installments led her to create an Updates page, which she used to detail her progress. She also created a new section to house all of her non-DWU fics and various unfinished efforts. Lastly, in 2005, Wild created the Driven Wild Universe Primer, which went into detail about her continuum's characters and history.
In early 2007, Wild finally announced that she would do one last update, before closing the Contrarian's Corner to outside fanfiction for good. The date of the final update has not yet been determined.
Abruptly Amy the Series
In late summer/fall of 2000, Kara Wild showed the pilot of "Abruptly Amy" to C.E. Forman, who loved it immediately. As the pilot hinted that eight episodes had been filmed, but never aired, Wild and Forman discussed writing these episodes. Soon Wild began to recruit other well-known writers to the series. The writers of the first eight would be Kara Wild ("A.A. A.O.K" and "A Very Amy Christmas"), C.E. Forman ("Corona, Corona" and "Double in Paradise"), Crazy Nutso ("Windy City Walkabout"), Mike Quinn ("Raiding the Bar"), Admonisher ("Hot Head, Cold Fetus"), and John Berry ("Disaster Strikes"). The writers sought to write all of the episodes at once so that they could be "aired" once every week for eight weeks. However, delays on John Berry's part meant that there was a few-week gap between the first four and the second four. The last of the eight, "A Very Amy Christmas," premiered December 2000.
While Wild served loosely as the head writer/show runner, the writers tended to come up with their own ideas. John Berry ran with an "Evil Tom" plotline. Crazy Nutso dragged in several random "guest" characters. C.E. Forman developed a wicked nemesis for Amy, complete with a campy secret hideaway. Otherwise, all writers tried to stay true to the show's over-the-top, cliche-ridden tone. The lengths of the finished fanfics tended to vary, with Wild's being amongst the longest and Berry's being the shortest. Milo Minderbinder, meanwhile, offered to draw "screen captures" for each episode.
Each author adopted a silly pseudonym, with Wild becoming "Carrie D. Wildly" and Berry becoming "Shawn Perry." Minderbinder became "Milo Mindbender," who wrote angry notes to "Alan Smithee" over each of his images.
Before "airing" the episodes, Wild created a few promotional advertisements, which she posted on the PPMB. Wild hoped that the promotional ads would stir up interest, but as the episodes appeared week after week, they met with muted interest. Wild and Forman were a little discouraged, having hoped that fan interest would spur them to finish the season. However, Milo Minderbinder's interest was great enough that he offered to develop an "Abruptly Amy" fansite. The joke would be that it was created by Amy Terwilliger, an obsessed fan first mentioned in "In Search of Amy." Modeled after Outpost Daria, Outpost Amy contained the pilot, the making of special, the eight episodes, and the screen captures. It also contained character descriptions (written mainly by Wild and Minderbinder) and illustrations (Minderbinder). Wild created supplemental content for the site, such as a Jump the Shark page, a transcription of an actual T.V. Guide article, and "Amy on Daria." Minderbinder created "Abruptly Amy" products, such as DVD sets, action figures, and play kits. The rest of the site contained Amy-centric fanfiction and artwork.
Minderbinder also wrote and illustrated the ninth episode of the "Abruptly Amy," called "Crouching Lawyer, Hidden Agenda."
Although "Abruptly Amy" never developed more than a cult following, it received attention from some unexpected places. One fan added it to the Daria page at Internet Movie Database, where it lasted for several days, until Wild notified them of the mistake. Minderbinder saved the page, and it exists at the Outpost Amy site to the present day. C.E. Forman noted in his interview with E.A. Smith that MTV employees were rumored to have read the fanfics. Some other fans even wrote fanfiction for the series.
From the summer of 1999 through May 2000, Wild wrote several short to medium-length essays: "On the Subject of Quinn and Rape," "The Unflappable Jane Lane," "Amy: Savior or Chimera?", "The Helen-Jane-Jodie Connection," the afore-mentioned "The Moderator Is In," "The Off-Canon Approach," and "It Happened to Jane."
Some were basic chacter explorations, like "The Unflappable Jane Lane" and "The Helen-Jane-Jodie Connection," while others addressed controversial issues. "On the Subject of Quinn and Rape" took some fanfic authors to task for treating rape like a vehicle for redemption. (Though compared to later essays on the topic, Wild's was relatively mild.) "Amy: Savior or Chimera?" challenged the widespread belief that Amy only cared about or was a grown-up Daria. "The Off-Canon Approach" was a response to authors like Daniel Suni, who believed that only strictly on-canon fanfics met the standard of true Daria fanfiction. "It Happened to Jane" came about because Wild was tired of fans claiming that Jane's character or the show was ruined because of a clumsy episode plotline ("The 'F' Word"). Wild's main point was that if the writers wrote it, it couldn't be off canon or out of character.
"The Unflappable Jane Lane," "Amy: Savior or Chimera?", and "The Off-Canon Approach" became popular essays amongst the fandom. For a long time, fans used "unflappable" in association with Jane, while "The Off-Canon Approach" became a rallying cry for authors who felt beseiged by canon-loving purists. However, Wild would come to rethink some of her views. While she did not agree with Suni that fanfic had to adhere strictly to canon, she was bothered by the fact that more fanfics were spinning ever-further away from the television series. Fanfic authors whose characters bore little resemblance to their television "selves" sought to explain away the discrepency by claiming it was character "development." Wild felt that they were moving too far away from the core themes that made Daria what it was, and to this day has not shied away from voicing criticism of fanfics that she feels are too sensational. Likewise, Wild moved away from her position in "It Happened to Jane" when she saw the Season Four episodes "Fire," "Dye! Dye! My Darling," and "Is It Fall Yet?", in which Daria begins to date Tom Sloane.
Wild, and others who shared her views, would get into many heated debates with fans who liked Tom and who thought it was obvious that Daria and Tom had a "thing" for each other since "I Loathe a Parade." Wild argued that they had been thrust together too quickly and that the writers had succumbed to the sorry teen show cliche of pitting two friends against each other over a guy. In January 2003, she would finally take a closer look at the subject in "The Other Side of the Kiss." With its in-depth examination of several different episodes, the essay would be Wild's longest and most analytical. She credits Daniel Suni with setting the standard, with his analytical, controversial essays, "Cynic's Complaint" and "On Comedy, Drama, and Emotional Involvement."
Wild would follow this up with "Anatomy of a Tom Hater," written in mid-2003 with the help of Alan Benard, intending it for the use of the short-lived fan magazine, The Padded Walls. Whereas "The Other Side of the Kiss" focused mainly on Daria's behavior, "Anatomy of a Tom Hater" scrutinized Tom Sloane's character and discussed why fans felt he was lacking. Both essays were generally well received.
Kara Wild would also write several lengthy postscripts after each Driven Wild Universe fanfic, filled with analysis of the characters' actions in that particular story and how it related to the characters' behavior in the television series. For instance, she used the postscript of "An Uneasy Marriage" to criticize Jake and Helen's relationship in the series and the postscript for "In Her Own Words" to challenge the "Is It Fall Yet?" mantra: "Give people a chance."
Wild's initial contribution to the DVDaria effort was free webspace at the-wildone.com, in February 2002. Alan Benard (known as "um" on the message boards), then the keeper of the site, moved it there from GeoCities. Benard remained the primary voice of DVDaria until the end of August 2002, when he expressed his frustration and regret about "Is It College Yet?" being sold in edited form on DVD. This, coupled with Viacom's decision to air the series with heavy edits on its new channel, The N, led Benard to stop updating the DVDaria site.
DVDaria remained dormant for months, until several fans pointed out that the petition was still gaining signatures. When fans started asking whether the site was dead for good, Wild decided to do a mini update to reflect the number of current signatures. She then chose to keep the site going, making her first post nearly a year after Benard's last one.
Like Benard, Wild mainly posted news tidbits from official news sources or other fans. For instance, after CINCGREEN mentioned on his blog Daria's placement on TV Shows on DVD, Wild began to promote the website at DVDaria. However, she also did some advocacy of her own. From late 2003 through 2004, Wild offered her support to two different companies seeking to buy the licensing rights to Daria to put the show on DVD. Unfortunately, both times, talks fell through because MTV wanted more money than either company could afford. Wild later took matters into her own hands and tracked down a representative from MTV's video/DVD department. She learned that the department was looking to put its "classic" programs on DVD, rather than sell the licenses to third parties, as in the past. MTV reps were unsure of how to treat Daria, although recent department shake ups suggested that it would have a future on DVD sooner or later. However, as the shake ups continued, Wild wondered just how much later was "later."
On January 20, 2005, DVDaria officially became a blog. Inspired by the advocacy blogs that she read on a daily basis, Wild hoped it would make DVDaria a more interactive, engaged site. She further sought to keep fans interested by posting material that was not strictly related to DVDs. On March 16, 2005, Wild posted "Twenty Questions with Glenn Eichler," which addressed questions that fans had long had regarding the show. Wild would go on to post three follow-ups with Eichler, before moving on to Anne D. Bernstein on January 20, 2006. The Bernstein interview had one follow up.
In March 2006, Wild created a DVDaria and More forum at the PPMB to promote discussion of various projects and innovations. Although fans were initially enthusiastic about launching new projects to get the show on DVD, failure to get organized, coupled with knowledge of the difficult position they were in, led most new ideas to founder. However, a promising idea was launched in the form of the Daria Fans Press Room, brainchild of Martin Sylvester, and the forum remains a place for tracking new developments with the DVD market.
From Fall 2007 through Summer 2009, DVDaria lay dormant while Wild went off to law school and there was little news on the release front. However, in July 2009, Wild learned from several fans that an image for "Daria: Coming to DVD 2010" appeared on the MTV release of "The State." After further confirmation from Michelle Klein-Hass and Glenn Eichler, she promptly started updating the DVDaria site. On November 19, 2009, Wild was contacted via e-mail by executives at MTV to discuss the upcoming DVD release. Wild held a phone meeting with them on November 20th, where she learned, amongst other things, that the DVDs would come out in 2010, that the series would likely be released at once, that there would be extras, and that most of the music would be changed. Wild knew about the release date for Daria: The Complete Animated Series, but was not authorized to disclose the information until it was made public. Now that the release announcement has been made, Wild is mulling over the future of the successful DVDaria campaign.
Paperpusher's Message Board Administrator
From 2004 onward, as the Paperpusher spent less time interacting with Daria fandom, Wild increased her moderator duties on the PPMB. This arrangement seldom led to problems, until late 2004/early 2005, when the board suffered an increasing number of outages. Finally, in early 2005, the PPMB collapsed completely, giving an error message whenever anyone tried to get on. Regular users streamed over to the SFMB and posted anxiously about PPMB's future. With Paperpusher's official e-mail long since defunct, Wild did not know how to get in touch with him, until she unearthed his cell phone number on her computer hard drive. It was still current, and Wild informed Paperpusher of the events, later learning that the server company had suffered a terrible crash and was rushing to rebuild. PPMB finally re-emerged, but with more than a month's worth of posts permanently destroyed. Paperpusher then made the decision to move the PPMB to a new server and turn ownership of the board over to Wild. Wild chose Gamer to be the host of the message board, as he was generally attentive and reliable as SFMB's host. This would draw criticism that if the server went down, both boards went down, so one couldn't serve as a refuge from the other's problems. Regardless, the board was officially moved to its new server in April 2005.
As the new owner, Wild made some changes, including appointing new moderators, adding a couple of new forums, altering the purpose of some current forums, and posting the message board rules in plain site. Otherwise, she sought to maintain message board continuity. Gamer updated the phpBB and added new features like an image attachments option and a spellcheck. While the PPMB has not been glitch-free, and even suffered a few milder server crashes since the move, it has not faced the same level of problems, in spite of the unprecedented number of posts and users.
In June 2007, Gamer moved the PPMB to a far more advanced platform, leading some people to urge Wild to give PPMB 2.0 a new version number. Wild chose PPMB 2.5 because the board was not completely changed, just higher functioning.
On August 5, 2007, Wild announced that in anticipation of the demands of law school, she would stop actively moderating/administering the PPMB (although she would maintain ownership).
Completing the Driven Wild Universe
When Wild posted DWU #20, "Memory Road" in June 2002, she hoped to be able to complete the final two Driven Wild Universe episodes, but believed deep down that she never would. Her previous four DWU installments were already coming out six months or more apart and her real-life writing had taken precedence. Plus, she faced a more crucial problem: She did not know how to end the continuum. While the Morgendorffer family's future lay clear in her mind, Wild was less certain about what to do with Mr. Phelps, the villain. The answer came in the form of the script for "The Return of the Sith," the link to which Michelle Klein-Hass posted on her personal blog. The script portrayed a mentor/mentee relationship between Palpatine/Anakin that was similar to Phelps/Quinn, giving Wild an "Aha!" moment. Suddenly Phelps's end was clear in her mind, and Wild rushed to plot it out.
Since she was at a lull in her writing, Wild decided to write an opening scene for DWU #21. Then she wrote the next one, and the next one, and pretty soon she was completing the first act and was well on her way to completing the entire fanfic. DWU #21, Into the Fire" was posted in May 2005, three weeks later. The final DWU was a longer time coming, mainly because Wild kept expanding the number of Acts to satisfy the sprawling, complicated plot. Originally meant to be four acts (like a real hour-long drama), Wild finally expanded it to six, and was going to release it as such, but she was too dissatisfied with the way the plotline was resolved. After doing additional research, she wound up rewriting and expanding scenes in Act Six, so that it was necessary to create an Act Seven. Finally, in November 2005, Wild released "Tomorrow Never Knows" in eight installments to the general public.
The Driven Wild Universe series, which premiered April 18, 1999, was declared officially ended on November 27, 2005, even though one installment, "The Age of Cynicism," remained unfinished until August 2007, nearly two years later. Wild is less optimistic about finishing the sequels "Working Girl" and "The Winter Chill," both of which were begun before Wild wrote the final two DWU installments. The Driven Wild Universe remains Wild's longest and most complex project to date.
Wild would be involved in a number of other projects, both large and small. Some of these projects were intended to spark controversy and reflection, while others were just for fun.
In early 2002, she joined Milo Minderbinder and Thomas Mikkelsen in writing the Tales from the Burbs series, which consisted of three horror-comedy tales. Wild's contribution was Revision.
In fall of 2002, as a joke, Wild wrote a fake fanfic, DariaNTrent For-EVER!!!! and a fake author name (Darialuvstrent) with a fake e-mail address, which she then submitted to Fanfiction.net. Her goal was to see whether this attrociously written 'shipper fanfic, just 408 words long, got more feedback than longer, more thoughtful fanfics. Within hours of posting it, Wild saw that someone had posted a link on PPMB. Responses rushed in, both on Fanfiction.net and the PPMB itself. Some fans thought it was fake, while others thought it was real, written by someone who was obviously very young or mentally deficient. Wild finally revealed herself to be the author, provoking appreciation from some and anger from others. Because Wild mentioned in her reveal that the idea came to her after she had posted her Driven Wild Universe fanfics on Fanfiction.net, critics accused her of deceiving them just because she was bitter over not getting more feedback. Wild countered that she had posted her DWU fics in early summer, but did not actually follow through with the spoof fanfic idea until several months later, when she just wanted a little fun after an intense period of script writing. Besides, what if the author had been real? Were the often brutal comments the fanfic received any kinder? In any event, Wild's point was proven. While the better fanfics that surrounded it received maybe 10 comments, "DariaNTrent For-EVER!!!!" snared close to 50. It still exists at SUSU's Lawndale Leftovers.
In spring of 2004, Wild accepted a challenging to create the craziest sci-fi fanfic possible, while challenging authors known for being very off-canon to write something "realistic." Wild's challenge turned into a 21-part fanfic called "They Came from Planet Xulfanex", about Quinn and Daria discovering that they are half alien. The name "Xulfanex" came from someone Wild knew named Zulfan. It was the first and only full-length fanfic she had written entirely in prose. Oddly enough, it served as a sort of alternate universe outcome of the relationship between Quinn and Phelps, which had not yet been resolved in the Driven Wild Universe itself.
Seeking to shine a light on the nature of fanfiction writing and critiquing, Wild created the CRAPPIES anti-awards for fanfiction, which were held in early 2005 and 2006. The CRAPPIES encountered a lot of criticism on both sides, with some fans saying it went too far, while others saying that it did not go far enough. Because Wild meant for the CRAPPIES to shine a light on the excesses of fanfics that were widely considered "good," fans like CINCGREEN felt that she was just giving already popular writers more exposure, while ignoring the truly bad ones. Wild countered that truly bad fanfic authors deserved no exposure, good or bad, and that the CRAPPIE awards were meant to instill humility in fanfic authors. Wild oversaw the 2004 CRAPPIE awards, while RLobinske and Quiverwing (then nmorgendorffer) oversaw the 2005 CRAPPIES, with Wild's input. By early 2007, however, Wild realized that she had read little fanfic from 2006 and was too busy to hold the anti-awards, and decided to discontinue them.
Wild's current project with S.C. and RedlegRick is a full-length animated Daria episode. Wild and S.C. collaborated to write the script in late 2006 and early 2007. The project has been delayed due to difficulties with finding the right voices and the voice actors' limited time to record dialogue.
Fanon and Fan Culture Contributions
Wild is credited with being the first person to popularize the notion that Quinn could be intelligent, over a year before the show followed suit. Because of the nature of this trend within her writing, she was known for a while as 'the Queen of Quinn.' She is also credited with humanizing both Helen and Amy, characters who were often vilified and glorified respectively.
From Wild's fanfiction comes the widespread notion that Amy is an art appraiser. (This is one of the more popular notions for Amy's career background; another very popular notion is that she has some sort of background in the intelligence agencies of the United States.) First noted in DWU #2, "The Tie That Chokes," this choice of career has been adopted by other fanfics, such as Greystar's "The Longest Year" series and The Angst Guy's "Prayers for a SAINT" and "Invisible Planet."
Wild's short contribution to "Scenes No Daria Fanfic Should Have" led to Guy "Decelaraptor" Payne's fanfic Kadhimiya, about Quinn joining the National Guard and later dying in Iraq. This led to a short trend in "Quinn in Iraq" stories.
Bibliography of Major Works
- The Driven Wild Universe
- A Desperately Needed Ending (to "Depth Takes a Holiday")
- In Search of Amy
- Abruptly Amy: A New Beginning
- A.A. A.O.K.
- A Very Amy Christmas
- Mother's Milk
- They Came from Planet Xulfanex
- "I Don't" the Aftermath
- On the Subject of Quinn and Rape
- The Unflappable Jane Lane
- Amy: Savior or Chimera?
- The Helen-Jane-Jodie Connection
- The Moderator Is In
- The Off-Canon Approach
- It Happened to Jane
- The Other Side of the Kiss
- Anatomy of a Tom Hater
Daria Fanworks Awards
- Favourite Quinn Story for Kadhimiya (with Guy “Deceleraptor” Payne)
- Favorite Helen Story (tie) for Driven Wild Universe #15: The Age of Cynicism
The CRAPPIES Awards
- Most Unbelievable Alternate Dariaverse Situation for "They Came from Planet Xulfanex"
Visual Most Likely to Cause the Reader to Gouge His/Her Eyes Out for "They Came from Planet Xulfanex"