I finished the last multi-chapter fanfiction story I had planned to write before I started in on Gone in earnest. I can't say "goodbye" to fanfiction; it's become too necessary an escape. So, I'll write one-shots to fill requests and as they come to me, but I won't spend time plotting out and researching a length, multiple chapter story until I have a decent draft of Gone completed.
I wanted this. It's what I have been talking about for eons.
And yet...I'm sad. I've never been good with change. And this...transition, while desired, is bittersweet.
It isn't as if I'll never write another long fanfiction again. I'll be able to pick it back up when Gone is drafted should I still desire to. I think it's just insecurity and fear.
I know I am a decent fanfiction writer. And with that style of writing, posting each chapter as I complete it, I get feedback along the way encouraging me and pushing me. This is going to be totally different. I have no idea what kind of novelist I am. Or if the characters I created that aren't in any way connected to the Winchesters will appeal to people.
Not only will there be no "ready made" audience who shares a common interest in and attraction to the main characters of my story, but I'll not be able to post periodically for feedback as I've become accustomed to.
I have a friend -- ironically made through fanfiction -- who is writing her first novel and she emailed me awhile back asking if I really wanted to do this. Meaning write an original fiction. She also advised me not to call it "original" because each piece of fanfiction is still an original story, but it was a term that helped me separate the two in my mind, so I continue to go with it. She told me writing her novel is lonely and frustrating but that she loved her characters with a passion she hadn't seen from me when I talk about my characters outside of Sam and Dean.
Good points, all of them.
The thing is, I do love my characters with as much passion as I do Sam and Dean; I don't talk about them simply because...no one knows who they are except for me. It doesn't make sense to me to gush on about Michael and the trauma that had him blanking out his past or Ryan and his compulsion to feel responsible for everyone and everything or Grace and her innocently entitled attitude.... It means nothing to anyone but me.
Until I make it mean something to you.
I got on Amazon today and ordered several tour books for Chicago -- where Gone is set. One from 1997 which is perfect because the story takes place between 1996 and 1998. I visited Chicago many times while growing up in Muncie, IN, but it's been awhile since I've been there, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to visit during this first draft writing period. So, this research will have to do.
I've decided to ask a few fanfiction readers if they would be part of a "focus group" to read pieces of the story and send me reactions or thoughts (no edits, that's too much to ask of someone) as I go. I haven't figured out quite the best way to do that -- posting in a locked journal, or emailing "read only" files.... I trust these people, but haven't figured out how to get it to them yet. I'll have to actually pay someone to edit me when the time comes.
And then there's the whole business of what comes next -- agent? query letter? sending manuscript?
But I'll worry about that later. Say, in 2012. Unless, of course, the Mayans are right.
Meanwhile, when I need a break from the Sullivans and Murphys and their tangled tragedy, I'll be PDFing long fic and also formatting some stories to be uploaded to an eBook site. Oh, which reminds me. I attended a Webinar called "The Borders Dilemma" a few weeks ago about how the closing of that bookstore and how it will eventually affect the publication process. It was a free Webinar offered through Writer's Digest, but you did have to register. Here is the recording of the presentation. I thought it was extremely interesting.
Anyway, I just wanted there to be multiple ways to read my fanfiction should anyone desire to. It's amateur, yes. And rough with typos, sure. And probably could afford to have any number of plot points smoothed out or better explained. But it's through fanfiction that I first forayed into this world of storytelling and I'm not ready to let it go. I plan on sticking around and sliding one-shots in here and there in hopes that people won't forget me. And I'll come back. I still have a story with Brenna Kavanagh that I've wanted to write for a few years now. It may just have to be done.
SO. The journey has begun. I can't wait to see what happens next.