Saturday, March 19, 2011

No more excuses

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 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.


  1. You are unforgetable baby! :) LOL!
    really, I'm glad you're taking the chance to do something you've been dreaming of for years, and when you do come back to writing long-chapters fanfiction, people will be all over it ;) I know I'd love to read that Brenna fic someday.

    However, I get your concern - you do have a regular & very loyal following in fanfic, so not getting that non-stop feedback must be challenging when you're so used to it. That's why I think "the focus group" is a great idea, for testing reactions & thoughts during your writing process. That said, I think most of all - listen to your instincts. You've got many praises for your OC's in the SPN world so I'm sure Michael, Ryan & Grace will catch the readers in the same way. As for how to send them the fic.. I'm thinking send them a locked site's address by e-mail where they can comment and discuss with you & with each other - should be interesting (unless you don't want them to read each other's feedback?).

    I'm really excited for you because I believe in you as a writer. One day, when "Gone" is published worldwide and it gets translated to Hebrew (though I'd read the original English version!!) & be in stores all over the country -I could say: "Hey, I know her from way back!"

  2. Hey. I'm rince1wind over at livejournal and have been reading your fanfic. Took you up on your link to see your blog. I'm a writer too, though I haven't published much outside the newspaper at which I work (just a fantasy novella for the educational market, a couple of short stories, an academic piece -- one of my past lives is a student of Chinese literature -- and some poetry.
    I came across fanfiction through an unexpected & sudden obsession with Supernatural, introduced to me by one of my daughters. I knew she'd been reading the stuff and thought I'd check some out. And couldn't stop. And still haven't stopped. For the experience, I wrote and posted on a piece of my own.
    I've been impressed with the talent and -- especially -- the skill of what was to me a surprising number of fanfiction writers (yourself included). It's been fascinating to read about writers' experiences of writing for the community of fanfiction writers and readers. I can see the draw of writing about characters already fleshed out that come with a following; writing from scratch is far less warmly received! The whole agent, publisher, networking, etc., procedure is daunting and requires luck as well as persistence. But it's good, too. I've learned so much in my own (long) excursion into fiction-writing, and I can see how much better a writer I am now. I have no idea whether I'll eventually publish this stuff, but it has definitely been worth the time I've spent.
    I'm sure it will for you too! And you'll never know unless you try it.

  3. Adaya -- thank you so much for always being so encouraging. You are a light in my world, lady. :)

    I've been thrilled that the OC's in my stories have gotten some positive attention. It's been reassuring that when I introduce Michael, Ryan, and the others there will be some connection there.

    I will consider the locked journal idea for the feedback it could generate among those in the focus group -- that's a good idea. I just get worried because I don't know enough about the ins and outs of the publishing world...what's considered 'published' to some might not be to others...y'know? I'll figure it out, though.

    Thanks again -- and I won't be straying far from fanfic. One-shots are chapter-length, so that's plenty of room to run our boys through the wringer. :)

    Natalie --

    Good to meet you! It was good to get your email as well. You are certainly far more advanced than I in the publishing game, congrats on that!

    And you're totally right -- I won't know unless I try. Maybe I'll be happy writing fanfic about my favorite characters, but right now I have the urge to take it outside of this arena and see if this pony can run. Guess I'll find out, yeah? :)

    Thanks for coming by and I hope I see more of you.


  4. AHH! Wouldn't let me post my comment! :(

  5. Hey, Amanda, how's it going on the original piece? Have you found/put together a critique group where you live? That makes a big difference - it's not a fan group, but the interest in common is there, and in a good group everyone wants the best for everyone else.
    I just interviewed a young woman yesterday - Veronica Roth - who's written a YA book that looks to be the next "Hunger Games" (not quite Harry Potter-large, but big); it comes out next week and the movie rights have already been bought - after a bidding war, like the book. She was very nice, seemed to find the whole thing hard to believe. Just a real person who can write well and had some very good ideas. So. There you are. :) Good luck!

  6. Natalie --

    I have OBVIOUSLY fallen completely off the map. I put my stake in the ground, decided I'm going to do this and then... *insert bomb-drop sound effect here*

    Life turned a bit sideways on me. I am currently in the dusting off the important parts and putting everything back on the shelf where I need it to be stage so that I can get back to this whole...writing...thing.

    That interview with Veronica Roth -- is there a place I could read it? I would love to know more! I haven't found a critique group. I've been thinking about asking some of my book club friends if they would like to be part of it, but they're not writers (not all of them -- one is, but she's not in it for the long haul) they're readers and I'm not sure it would be the approach I'd need.

    I do like the suggestion, though, and need to buckle down and make it happen, life confluences aside.

    Thanks for your post and again, sorry it's been so long.