This won’t make any sense unless you’ve read Part 1 yet, so go back and read it if you missed it.
Back? Okay, onward!
So, when I left off I was saying how my first desire was to fix the Twilight books…write them the way I thought they should be. But maybe I didn’t have to do all this work…maybe there was something out there like this already?
I didn’t really know where to start. I had no idea people even did wrote stuff like that, but some Googling sure fixed that for me.
Site upon site popped up, and I started reading on several of them, fascinated and relieved that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to take the work in a different direction. A lot of the stories were decidedly more adult in nature (to be expected, given how much importance is placed on sexytimes (or avoiding them–Edward) in the books, and the fact that Stephenie Meyer faded to black in Breaking Dawn, not even giving the fans a little bit or somethin’ somethin’). There were even stories where the characters were all human (abbreviated AH) instead of vampires, allowing the fic writer to take the characters in completely different directions while still retaining the character traits. I’ll talk more about this later and in Part 3.
I mostly read on the sites for a while before the writing bug really started kicking in. I started small, writing a short story that was accepted on one of the sites, then, when I’d gained some confidence, actually wrote a novel-length piece. People might wonder why I’d bother spending so much time and energy doing this–why write fanfic when I could have been developing my own worlds and skills?
You see, I was doing just that. To me–and what I often tell people who look down on fanfic writers as silly people who are wasting their time when they could be writing real stuff–is that I believe writing fanfic is like writing with training wheels. For someone new at writing period, or someone like me who hadn’t done it in so long and was a bit rusty at it, it makes the process easier. Half of the work is already done for you…the characters have backstories, descriptions, personality traits. The fic author just has to make them do stuff–make a story around them. It’s like playing in someone’s sandbox with the toys already there. And later on, this gives us the tools and frees us to create characters and stories of our own. The practice I got writing fanfic was, I believe, in some ways just as good as taking a creative writing class, and much more hands-on.
Another giant plus about fanfic writing is the instant feedback. The sites you can post on all allow reviews, so readers will review your work (usually as posted…most of the time you can post chapter by chapter), and trust me, they won’t pull any punches. Sure, you’ll get your share of “OMG write more! Loved it!” which is always nice, but you’ll also get those who will give you a detailed critique of your chapter and/or story. And there’ll be some who hated your work, hated your characterization, hated…whatever…about the way you took the story. Not much difference between fanfic readers/reviewers than “real” ones on Amazon and Goodreads, huh?
I loved working with other writers as well. I was lucky enough to find a few that I used as “beta readers”, or basically light content and grammar/spelling/punctuation editors. We’d trade services where we’d read each other’s chapters before posting them, giving the author feedback on what they’ve written. As time went on, I could see my work improving, which was very satisfying.
Again, this is getting away from me, so stay tuned shortly for Part 3!
Thoughts? Leave ’em in the comments below!