A Matter of Space: The big thing I miss about writing fanfic.
I used to write a lot of fanfic. It’s how I cut my teeth as a writer. I turned out close to a million words of fic before I tried to sell an original piece. It was after I wrote a 120,000 word piece of fic where several people made the comment that I should be selling original work that I took a deep breath and submitted my first novel.
Now that I’m writing professionally and turning out a good deal less fic I find there are several things I miss. One is the ability to be a bit lazy. No one is paying for my fic so I didn’t feel bad putting out something that’s only had a quick edit that I wrote at three in the morning. I tell people it was written quickly at three in the morning and people just shrug and say ‘we’re reading this quick at three in the morning’.
The big thing I miss though is the feedback and interaction with that feedback. Yes when you write pro you get long detailed reviews, which you’re told not to read. There is amazon which you’re not supposed to reply to. It seems like Goodreads blows up at least once a month when an author responds to a review. I know to ignore the haters but there is this idea going around that you shouldn’t respond to the good reviews either.
I’ve realized it’s a matter of space and audience. Reviews are readers talking to other readers, not the author. Goodreads groups are again places for readers to talk to each other. Even if people are saying nice things about my book it feels like I’m listening in on a private conversation. I know there are some authors who manage to engage with their readership there but that can be risky and I don’t think I could manage it.
When I was writing fic it wasn’t like that. I would post chapters on my LiveJournal or AO3 account, then readers would comment directly to me. I was not just allowed to respond but I was expected to respond. And the feedback was blow by blow. One chapter at a time. Love for new characters, questions and theories on what might happen next, curses for chapter cliffhangers.
Maybe it’s the Gen X desire for instant gratification or some social media fed need to be interacting with someone constantly but I still miss it. I know a lot of people liked my last book, and I love them all for it. Some people on Goodreads have said absolutely glowing things about it. But I was not supposed to read those reviews and if I try to reply to them, to say thank you for their words, Goodreads will try to stop me, and it will be considered weird, like butting in on someone else’s conversation. And that sucks.
But my blog is my space. If you talk to me here I will respond (haters will be ignored). And if you pick up one of my books and have a desire to treat it like fic, giving a chapter by chapter commentary, and possibly even use the word SQUEEE, I would not mind in the slightest.