Just FanFic Thoughts

I’m having mentoring with Jo Zebedee at the minute (courtesy of funding from the University of Atypical), and in our most recent check-in I caught her up on what I’ve been writing recently. Which is––some of you who know me well will be unsurprised––primarily fan fiction.

When I said this, I wasn’t sure if Jo was going to wag her finger and tell me I should be working the sequel to Full Term (which I’d initially scheduled for this month). But of course Jo is lovely and not at all finger-waggy, so I think the mild fear came from my own subconscious.

I told Jo I felt a little guilty for writing fanfic instead of “original” fiction, but when she asked why, I found the answer hard to pin down.

“I just generally always feel guilt,” I said, which is true, but in this specific case I also think it’s because fanfic is looked down upon in some circles. As ‘not real’ writing. As cheating. And no matter that I know that’s nonsense intellectually, I’m not immune to feeling chastised by such opinions.

So why am I working on fanfic instead of my novel this month? Because this month has been hard, and I find fan fiction easier in a lot of ways than “original” fiction. I needed something easier––something that would make me happy without taxing my already overworked brain too much. Also because despite my self-appointed schedule, I have almost a year to write Life Lessons. It’s not like I’ve set up pre-orders, have the book coming out in under thirty days, and still haven’t written the damn thing.

So it’s fine. I need to chill. Which is, in fact, what I’ve been doing. And although I just went ahead and did it anyway, I don’t need to justify the writing of fan fiction. Any and all writing that gets done is a good thing. And I’m actually having my best writing month ever. I signed up to do 50,000 words for this round of Camp NaNoWriMo and I’m over halfway there.

But here’s the other thing Jo asked me: if writing fanfic is a big passion for me and I put all this time and effort into it, why don’t I talk about it more? That one had me stumped a little, because I’d been under the impression I talk about it too much. Though in going back through old posts, I can see the last time I made one about fan fiction specifically, it was almost two years ago.

I used to do yearly posts, collating stats on the anniversary of when I started writing fic, but skipped 2020 because, well… we all know there were some other things going on. But a main yearly post and vague mentions elsewhere do not indeed constitute talking about something a ‘lot,’ so I’m back to thinking that was my irrational guilt talking. An internalised sense of shame that I talk about it at all. I know some published authors have fanfic writing pasts that they think of as dirty little secrets, but that’s not me and will never be me.

So this internalised sense of shame acknowledged and unceremoniously shown the door, I next wondered if the topic was moot. If anyone outside my existing fanfic circles wanted to hear about it. I had assumed no, but Jo challenged that assumption, so I decided to put up a Twitter poll and get the actual answer…

And so, here I am, sharing these thoughts. And later this month, on the anniversary of when I first started writing fanfic (28th July), I think I resurrect the tradition of posting my yearly stats.

In the meantime, if you are one of the people who fell into the curious category, you can find my stories free to read online here: https://archiveofourown.org/users/EllieRose101

Writing Realisations

Sometimes things that should be perfectly obvious manage to, somehow, evade our notice. In terms of my writing – something you would expect I’d know quite a bit about – I have encountered two such examples. Two facts that surprised me that really shouldn’t have.

In the first instance, I was talking to some of my writing friends the other day about how it wasn’t until maybe a year after I finished the first draft of my novel (Full Term) before I realised it is, in essence, a baby fic.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it mostly floats around in fanfiction circles and just means, as the name suggests, a story primarily featuring a pregnancy and/or baby.

Now, obviously I knew there was a pregnancy in my novel – it is indeed the hook of the story – it was just that I hadn’t put two and two together and thought of my novel in those specific terms. Probably because it’s a fanfic term and the novel isn’t fan fiction. But here’s the really interesting part: when I finally made the realisation, I was embarrassed.

I really believe in Full Term and the story it tells. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, and I’m excited to see where it will end up published. None of that has changed but, in the moment I attached the ‘baby fic’ label to it in my head, it suddenly felt foolish.

It took me a second moment to figure out why, and a third to dismiss the embarrassment as the truly foolish thing. Because what it boils down to is basically snobbery, and snobbery has no place in literature, if you ask me. But let me back up for a second and unpack that a little. Continue reading

The Idea Graveyard Part Two

I get a lot of story ideas. In the past, I’ve talked about how I deal with them all: metaphorically, by making them queue up and wait their turn, and practically via the use of lists and spreadsheets. But even with this mindset and those tools, it can still be a lot to manage. Sometimes – and it breaks my heart to say this – it is best to just let an idea go.

I was greedy for a long time, so obsessed with fears of ‘the one that got away’, that I tried to not give up on any idea. Ever. No matter how much it didn’t work. But that, as I’m sure you can guess, is unsustainable.

Once upon a time, I had a long list of maybe twenty or more blog posts I wanted to write, forty poems, and dozens of short stories. It stressed me out because, deep down, I knew my output wasn’t big enough and that the backlog was only going to grow. Not only that, but all the blog posts, poems, and short stories were keeping me from the novels I wanted to write.

To save myself from the insanity, I’ve had to learn to prioritise even more; not just making the stories queue up and wait their turn, but actually turning some of them away. It’s been difficult, but my master list of works in progress is finally starting to look manageable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not entirely where I want it to be, but substantial progress has definitely been made. This has taken literal years. I used to have three blogs instead of just this one. When I merged two of them and scrapped the other one entirely, that was a big step. As of right now, I have ideas for three future blog posts. Three is a number I’m comfortable with.

In place of my list of forty-plus poems I wanted to write, I easily have forty poems. The backlog on those is completely cleared to the point that if I get a poem idea, I can write it then and there without wondering to myself if I should finish a different one first. Continue reading

FanFic Writing Update 2019

I usually share some statistics regarding my fan fiction on the 28th of July each year (the anniversary of when I first started writing fanfic). This year, I wasn’t too bothered about it, but I do actually have some news to share in that regard so am deciding to write about it after all. Better late than never!

As I acknowledged in my annual fan fiction round-up post last year, I won’t always have the opportunity to write as much fanfic as I do right now, at this stage in my life.

If and when I get a publishing contract, my focus will be on working with my own characters and worlds.

So, as much as I’m impatient to hurry along any future success in that regard, I’m using the opportunity currently afforded me of not being on book deadline to continue work on my (unpaid) passion projects.

This past year, I wrote some new stories and finished off a couple of other pieces that had been left abandoned for way too long. I also won Elysian’s Field’s ‘Author of the Month‘ award – something I have coveted since it was first announced, a few years ago.

I continued the mega task of re-editing and uploading my older work to Archive of Our Own and, in completing my outstanding WIPs, ticked off another goal I’d been working towards: finishing with Fanfiction.net

All of the stories I have published on FF will remain there, but I won’t be adding any new pieces to that site (those will continue to be shared on Ao3 and Elysian Fields).

In the image on the right are my ‘legacy user stats’ as of the day I uploaded my last chapter to FF.

By this time next year, my goal is to have finished archiving old work to Ao3. Beyond that, I can only hope to have acquired one of those lovely publishing contracts, but we’ll see how it goes.

Five Years Writing FanFic!

When I first heard about fanfiction, I thought it was a fantastic idea. I didn’t start reading it right away, however, and I told myself I was not – absolutely categorically NOT – going to start writing it.

Why? Because I recognized it for the rabbit hole it was. I knew that if I started I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Regardless of knowing that in advance, though, and no matter how much I told myself I wouldn’t give in, temptation finally got the better of me.

And, as it turned out, I was right. Fan fiction kind of took me over, just like I thought it would. Do I regret that, speaking from my place now five years down the line? Nah! It gave me a lot of writing experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise and, aside from all that, it was fun!

It’s still fun.

If and when I get traditionally published, I plan to continue with fanfic on the side. Granted, I’ll no doubt have a lot less time to devote to writing in other people’s worlds, with other people’s characters, when I’m also trying to focus on my own, but I’m no longer in denial. I’ll still dabble any chance I get.

Continue reading

Four Years of Fan Fiction

On this day, every year, I post some stats about fan fiction I’ve written; today being July 28th – exactly four years since I started writing it. You can view my stats for 2016 here, and 2015 here.

When I started, it was only Buffy fanfic, and it was only posted in a single place: Elysian Fields. After a year, I started sharing work to FanFiction.net and dipping my toe into other fandoms, also. Last year I decided to re-edit my back catalogue and stick it all up on Archive of Our Own. That is still a work in progress, as you’ll see below.

Total Words Written: 320,000
Words Posted to AO3: 100,000

On EF, I have left over 1,000 reviews totalling 50,000 words, and 84 people have favourited me.

130 people have favourited me on FF, and I’ve left 150 reviews there.
Total views to my FF profile page: over 10,000.

I have almost 500 ‘Kudos’ on AO3. Hits are over 12,000, subscriptions over 100, and 69 bookmarks (honestly, I don’t really know the difference between subscriptions and bookmarks, but I post the details here for reference anyway).

I’m not even going to begin trying to count how many reviews I’ve received, because it was in the thousands last year and it took me forever to total. Needless to say, though, I’m feeling pretty pleased with what I’ve accomplished.

Six Months of Books

Now that half the year is gone, it really is high time I got around to summarising everything I’ve been reading. I set myself the goal of fifty books this year, and I’m very pleased (not to mention surprised) that I’m well ahead of target with thirty-seven already down (74% of target, 13 books ahead of schedule).

Here is a breakdown of those thirty-seven books:

Poetry

Through a Hedge Backwards by Rene Greig, Reflections from the Enler by Alex Dempster, The Orchard by Isobel Gamble, The World’s Wife and Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy, Famous American Poems edited by Gene Baro, The Goose Tree by Moyra Donaldson, Undying by Michel Faber, Crow by Ted Hughes, and Stranger Baby by Emily Berry.

Audiobooks in the Dresden Files Series

Turn Coat, Changes, Ghost Story, Cold DaysSkin Game, and Side Jobs all by Jim Butcher.

Young Adult Novels

No Life But This and Spinning Thorns by Anna Sheehan, Terror Kid by Benjamin Zephaniah, Among the Ghosts by Amber Benson, Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Life and Death by Stephanie Myer, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Inish Carraig by Jo Zebedee (audiobook)

Adult Novels

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin (audio), As You Like It by Shakespeare (audio), Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Non-Fiction

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (audio), The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight (audio).

Novelty/Gift Books

In the Garden of Happiness by Dodinsky, Doug the Pug by Leslie Mosier, and Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones by Bryan Cogman.

Other

The Female Line edited by Ruth Carr (poetry and short stories), and a novel-length fanfic.

*sighs a deep, contented breath* What have you guys been reading?


Want even more stats? Follow me on Goodreads here.

People Worth Promoting: Anna Sheehan

anna sheehanThe good people of Tumblr have declared today – August 21st – Fan Fiction Writers Appreciation Day, making this the perfect opportunity for me to put up part two of my People Worth Promoting series.

I want to talk to you about Anna Sheehan, a wonderful author (not to mention a wonderful person in general, and a great friend), who I met through writing fan fiction.

Anna has written a metric-shit-ton (actual measurement) of beautiful, twisted, character-driven words set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. Not only that, but she’s had three of her own original novels published, too. I’ve read the first one (A Long, Long Sleep – loved it!), and am about to start the most recent (Spinning Thorns – can’t wait!).

She’s so talented, and I can’t recommend her highly enough. So, if you love Buffy fanfiction, check out her stories here. And if you love Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, check out her novels here. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Fan Fiction Milestones 2016

FanFic AnniversaryNow three years from when I started writing fan fiction, it’s time for another round-up of statistics. For comparison, you can see last years post here.

One thing that’s happened since my last update that I should mention is that I’ve joined Archive of Our Own.
So, I’m currently going through all my fanfic, re-editing and crossposting it there.

Basic Stats:

  • Over 8,500 Profile Views | Fanfiction.net
  • Received over 500 Reviews | Fanfiction.net
  • Received over 1,500 Reviews* | Elysian Fields
  • 107 Followers | Fanfiction.net
  • On the Favorite Author List of 99 Members | Fanfiction.net
  • On the Favorite Author List of 67 Members | Elysian Fields

I Have Written:

  • Over 270,000 words of Fanfiction for Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
    (70,000 in the last year)
  • About 5,000 words of Fanfic for Other Fandoms
  • Over 850 Reviews, totalling 40,000 words | Elysian Fields
  • Over 150 Reviews | Fanfiction.net
  • 13 “Challenges” | Elysian Fields

I Have Currently:

  • 44 Completed Stories for the Buffy Fandom**
  • 6 Completed Stories for Other Fandoms
  • 42 Works in Progress for Buffy Fandom
  • 1 Works-in-Progress for Other Fandoms

Awards Since Last Year:

  • Runner Up: Best Beta | Sunnydale Memorial Fan Fiction Awards (Round 32)
  • Best Crossover (with a TV show) | SunnyD Fanfic Awards (Round 32)
  • Best Quickie Fic | SunnyD Fanfic Awards (Round 32)
  • 2015 Challenge Month Participant | Elysian Fields
  • 2015 Holiday Fic Challenge Participant | EF
  • 2015 Holiday Review Challenge Participant | EF

*This is calculated to the best of my ability. There were a lot to count, and there might be a small degree of human error, hence why I’ve rounded numbers down.

**For this statistic, I’ve combined series and counted them once.

More Fanfic Awards!

Fanfiction Award Plaque Today, the winners of Round Thirty-Two of the Sunnydale Memorial Fan Fiction Awards were announced, and I was one of them!

I’ve been titled runner-up for ‘Best Beta.’ One of my stories won ‘Best Crossover (with a TV Show),’ and another story won ‘Best Quickie Fic.’

So, needless to say, I’m very happy! Thank you to whoever voted for me 🙂
Fanfiction Award Plaque Fanfiction Award Plaque