I'm sure you've noticed that I've been sparse lately. Some of that is the holiday hustle and bustle, some of it was because I hit a genuine creative streak and got a hell of a lot of work done on the YA novel I'm trying to hammer out, and the rest of my creative juices have been diverted into my new vice.
Oh, dear God. I'm going to confess it now, and I still can't believe I'm writing it as I do.
I got addicted to fanfic.
Not the reading of it, mind you. I've read a few fanfics here and there over the years and they're almost all uniformly bad. Once in a great while you hit a gem, but they really are the exception, and not the rule. But you see, I had this story in my head, and one of the main characters was pretty much a ripoff of an already existing character that I'm fond of, and I thought, what the hell, it might be fun to post it as a fanfic.
Fanfic, for those of you not-so-schooled in internet lore, is short for "Fan Fiction" and there are several sites that host that kind of work. In essence, you take a beloved character from a book or a movie or a TV show and you write a work of fiction with them featuring prominently. Maybe it's set in their reality, maybe not. Maybe you mashup two different movies or books (like maybe Katniss Everdeen goes to Narnia or Sheldon from Big Bang Theory falls in love with Sarah Connor from Terminator). It's all in good fun, and you know, as the writer, that you own exactly none of those characters. Amazon has even started publishing fanfic now, and some people make money off of it, but I'm guessing not a lot of money.
But, as usual, I digress.
So I created a fanfic account, and posted the first couple of chapters of the story that was running through my head. It didn't get a huge amount of notice at first, even though it featured a popular character (and it was romance, which is a huge category). I teamed the character with someone I invented instead of someone else from the character's world, so I suppose that was pretty much a sub-category instead of being mainstream.
But the story was in there and wanted to come out so I kept writing. And writing. Updating daily, even twice a day, sometimes. And then the reviews started.
Yes! They liked it! They liked it a lot!
I got "favorited"! I got "followed"! (In plain terms, a story can be 'favorited' and writer can be 'followed'). I kept going, twenty chapters, thirty, until I found the perfect, I mean mutha-f**kin-perfect ending and I marked it complete and the reviews and favorites and follows kept coming.
I loved it. I reveled in it. I wallowed in it. I needed more of it.
So I started another fanfic, this one featuring two characters from the same place - two very popular characters. Two chapters in, and I had triple the reviews, favorites and follows of the last story and people were begging me, begging me to update after every chapter.
And a week later, I realized. I was addicted. Addicted to the reviews. To every added favorite and follow. To the helpful traffic graph that the site provided to tell me that there were thousands - thousands! - of people reading my stories from all over the world.
I am amazing. I can write! Go me!!
There sits my novel, still not finished. I was so close. I was on a roll. It's a great story, and I even have an agent who wants to see it the minute I have it ready to submit.
And I just let myself get derailed for nearly three weeks, writing occasionally smutty fanfic for people who aren't paying me a cent to read it. All because I love to tell stories and I more than love the accolades.
Look, I'm a blogger. I'm obviously not into writing for the money. I live to tell stories, and writing them for free is nothing to be ashamed of. But writing is also discipline, especially if you want to sell a freaking book. And I do.
So fanfic will have to go to a back burner. I can't imagine I'll just stop, but I need to back off. Update once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day. It's been a great exercise, forcing me to really plot out my stories since I'm writing them in chronological order. And the shots in the arm I get from the reviews have really been a boost that I needed.
But I have a goal.
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