Confession time. I am a fan fiction writer. I’m covered in shame to admit it, but there it is. For all my ‘hi I’m C.J and I’m an addict’, I’m not quite prepared to put up my publishing pseudonym here where it’ll affect my real life.
The truth is FanFic writing has a lot to recommend it to a writer. Within minutes of publishing (I am not exaggerating, minutes) I get feedback from people who are glad to see I’m written something new! I get comments from people who are already invested in the characters I’m writing about and you know what? It feels pretty good!
Nothing original I’ve ever written has pulled half as much interest and feedback as my least popular fanfic. I love playing with voices and dialogue, and my fav shows to write have an array of accents, backgrounds and world views which lend themselves to really fun and interesting interactions. Of course I try to recreate this in my originals as well, but as no one has ever heard of my stories or characters… hey don’t get the same love.
From a purely stats driven point of view, my fanfics kick the booty out of the blog. I haven’t published a new story in a month, while I post here a few times a week on average. Yet my FF.net page gets multiple hundreds of hits a day! When I post a new story that can jump up to 1000 plus a day for a while! That really makes 10% look like the poor cousin don’t it?
Fan fiction feeds a writers deepest addictions without really costing anything. My name isn’t on those stories, so they’ll never come back to haunt me. There’s no prep time, because I always know everyone’s back story, and so to the readers. Every year in November, I register for NaNoWriMo, 50 000 words in 30 days. I never finish. Not once. I have however completed a 30 000 word fan fiction in eight days. Eight freakin’ days! It’s one of my most popular ones too. What’s my point in all this you may ask? Why does any of it matter? I’ll tell you why…
I can do this. I can write something that people like, that they come back to and read again and again. If I can do it there, I can do it anywhere, I just need to recreate the interest and the knowledge. FInding your audience when you write fanfic is easy, they all gather in a limited number of places and a quick google will show you exactly where. Once there, a few tiny rules ensure success;
- Try to keep your spelling and grammar under control.
- Don’t stray too far from cannon (that which is true in the show/book/movie etc)
- Don’t allow your invented characters to become perfect versions of you. No one likes that.
With that under control, the fanfic world is your oyster, but if that’s the case, why shouldn’t the same hold true in other areas? It’s all about finding your audience. You wouldn’t post a Glee fanfic on a Star Trek board, they’d hack you to bits. Like wise it’s not a great idea to post Twilight fic on a True Blood board… those people just don’t get along.
So, the major issues seem to be ‘who wants to read what I write’ (my original work that is), and ‘where do they like to hang out’? Now, unfortunately for me there may not be as simple an answer as FF.net, that could be a problem.