A Guide to My Fan Fiction

Today is eight years since I started writing fan fiction. As per tradition (and as promised in my previous post), let’s do a little deep dive into the specifics of that.

What is Fan Fiction?

Fan fiction (or fanfiction, or fanfic) is simply fiction written by fans. It’s stories written in the universe of their favourite movies or shows or books or games, sometimes using the characters from ‘canon’, sometimes with original characters, sometimes both.

Generally speaking, fanfic is written and shared without the exchange of money, as the writers can’t profit from someone else’s intellectual property. The exception to this is when the source material is out of copyright, or if the copyright holders commission someone to write novelisations.

All those literary “retellings” of fairytales or Shakespeare or Jane Austin? They’re fan fiction. Though publishers don’t want you to think of them like that, as per the taboo surrounding fanfic that I discussed last time on this blog.

What Kind of Fanfic I Write

I haven’t done the math on this to confirm the figure exactly, but I’d say about 95% of my fanfic is set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel universe, and of that, it’s all romance stories between Buffy and Spike. But the romance is sometimes comical, sometimes dark, a lot of the time angsty.

I’ve written fanfic that’s actually poetry. I’ve written love stories that are 300 words, and ones that are 50,000 words. So there’s still a lot of variety there.

The other five percent is mostly epilogues I’ve written for various things that left me wanting a little more.

Which Fandoms I Write In

Outside of Buffy, I’ve written:

And also a story in which characters from Once Upon a Time crossover with characters from Buffy.

How Much I’ve Written

According to official stats, I’ve written 648,000 words of Buffy fanfic, but that includes a 30,000-word story I co-wrote with someone else. All of the other words in all the other fandoms, listed above, total maybe 10k.

Where the Words Live Online

The place I originally shared fanfiction to, and still continue to use, is a site specifically for Spike and Buffy (Spuffy) love stories called Elysian Fields. Then, after a while, I started archiving my work on Fanfiction.net, and later again, Archive of Our Own (Ao3).

FF.net and Ao3 are huge, open to almost all fandoms (excepting ones where copyright holders such as Anne Rice have threatened to sue if people write their characters). I used to have my non-Buffy fic in both of these places, but have recently removed most of my work from fanfic.net as it doesn’t have the community that Elysian Fields does, nor the infrastructure of Ao3.

Some Other Stats

As of right now, over 200 people have me marked as a favourite author on Elysian Fields (meaning they get notified every time I post something new). It was 165 last year.

I have 118,000 hits on Archive of Our Own, 5,900 kudos, 488 subs, and 821 bookmarks.

Anything Else? 

If you have any questions either about my fanfic or fan fiction in general, please leave a comment. Also let me know if you’ve ever written fic and what fandom it was for.

Happy eight-year anniversary to me!

Mid-Year Check-In

I’ve been racking my brain for a way to summarise how I’ve found this year so far, and to give an account of all the ways I have (or haven’t) worked towards the goals I set out at the end of 2020.

I know that January, February, and March were frantic with rewrites and formatting and marketing for the release of Full Term.

I know April was Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’d previously said I wasn’t taking part as I didn’t think I had it in me. I was decompressing after the first quarter. But then I went ahead and did it anyway, albeit with a small (10k) goal.

If you’re to ask me how I reached that goal, or what I did in May or June… Well, I have the stats right in front of me, which I’ll get into in a second, but honestly? Everything mostly happened in a fog. I have an all too familiar sense that I’ve been very busy but also that I haven’t much to show for it, which is subjective at best and an outright lie at worst.

So, since that is the case, and my own thoughts and feelings are not the best barometer for measuring success, I will lay out these past six months in cold hard facts.

Words written so far: 85,000 across multiple projects––poems, blog posts, short fiction, fan fiction, and novel rewrites.

That was:

  • 31,000 in January
  • 18,000 in February
  • 3,000 in March
  • 10,000 in April
  • 17,000 in May
  • and 6,000 in June

Books read so far: twelve (and I’m in the middle of three more).

I set out to write a minimum of two blog posts per month, make at least two poetry and two short story submissions per month, and it’s these goals that have been the most hit and miss depending on whatever else I’ve had going on in said months.

My study goal was to complete my Masterclass subscription, which I did. (You can find my thoughts on that summed up here.)

I aimed to put out three newsletters this year, and I’ve done one so far and am planning the second for mid-July, so that’s on track.

I wanted to finish writing three fanfic works in progress, and I’m in the middle of that right now.

Still to come this year is finishing the third Belfast Writers’ Group anthology, finish books two and three in the Family Ties Trilogy, and publish a different book, which I’ve teased but haven’t officially announced yet.

I guess you could say things are more or less going to plan. As is often my takeaway from these kinds of posts, I think I need to not be so hard on myself. I may not have written as much as I’ve wanted, but what I want is often unrealistic, and I have done a lot.

Let me know in the comments section how you’re getting on, reader. If you set any goals, how are they doing? And more importantly, how are you doing? As much as my brain tries to convince me otherwise, goals are not the be-all and end-all of everything.

Stay safe, and I’ll write again soon.

Crowdfunding Stats

If you were ever curious about how the crowdfunding thing works behind the scenes, I’m here to lift back the curtain. Purely because I think transparency is important and the taboo around money needs to die.

So, let’s dive in.

On the surface, the crowdfunding campaign for my novel raised six-hundred-and-twenty (620) pounds. What I actually got in my bank account, after fees, was £535.51.

That’s a lot of fees, you might say to yourself, and I agree. IndieGoGo (my crowdfunding platform of choice) has two different types of campaign. Why I picked them is because they offer an option to get the funds you raise, even if you don’t reach your target. I think that if you picked the more standard method, of only getting funded if you reached your full goal, has a different set of fees. So there’s pluses and minuses to both.

What is the same with both is that the minimum goal amount you can set is 500, whether that is euro, dollars, or pounds––you choose whichever is most relevant for your country.

Charges deducted from my total were a £31 platform fee, a £28.49 payment processing fee (2.9% + £0.30 fee per transaction), and a £25 bank delivery fee, which I believe varies depending what country you’re in.

If I’d had over £1,000 pledged, the site would have also held some of my funds in reserve.

As you can see from the pie chart above, the funds came from four different countries: £280 from the UK, £250 from the US, £50 from New Zealand, and £40 from Canada.

When I set the campaign up, I think the guidance notes said, on average, most people get 30% of their pledges from family and friends, but for the 23 people who backed my campaign, 22 of them were my friends. There’s just one person who’s identity is a mystery to me, though likey I do know them, too, just don’t recognise their username. (The campaign page says I had 24 backers, but one of my friends contributed twice.)

My campaign had 260 total visits, with viewers coming from Facebook primarily, via a direct link in the second instance, and thirdly from Twitter. None of my funds came from people randomly scrolling through IndieGoGo, which I believe is uncommon.

The majority of contributions to my campaign came at the beginning, trailing off towards the end, which I understand is normal. And I think that’s basically all the info. I have to share. I hope it was interesting (I know I love these kinds of breakdowns), but if you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make my campaign a success.

What I Wrote and Had Published in 2020

In 2019, I wrote 166,000 words. At the time, it was a new personal record. This year, however, I outdid myself, writing a total of 242,000!

Poems Written: 5

Poetry Submissions Sent (many including multiple pieces): 20

Poems Published: 1 (and 1 held for publication in 2021)

Short Stories/Pieces of Flash Fiction Written: 6

Short Story/Flash Fiction Submissions Sent: 16

Short Stories Published: 8 – a new personal record!

Some of those stories made it into FOUR different anthologies, now available to buy worldwide.

And probably most important of all, I crowdfunded a fricken novel! Which leads me to say, I think 2021 will be even better. At least in terms of books.

The Numbers Game

I think about submissions a lot. Not just figuring out what I will send where next, but bigger picture stuff like how many submissions is “normal” or “enough.” How many acceptances equals success. Torturous questions like that, that don’t really have a real (i.e. definitive) answer. I adore definitive answers. Objective feedback. Hard and fast rules that tell me when things have worked and when they haven’t. With such a mindset, it’s hard to know why and how I ended up writing for a living – where I’m not sure certainty ever happens – but, you know, such is life.

Further to thinking about submissions a lot, I have this one particular friend (hi, Elizabeth!) I talk about submissions with a lot. She’ll come over for tea and a chat, and that chat will almost always turn to which journals are open, who has a good reputation for replying fast (or at all), and whose guidelines are completely incomprehensible.

Even further to this, it has not been unknown for me to start making notes during these chats or periods of intense thought. I will often look up my submission folder in my email inbox, or pull up one of my many spreadsheets. But in all this, I wondered, has anyone else perhaps looked into the submission process more thoroughly? Has anyone ever sat down and researched the stats behind this seemingly mysterious process of firing your word babies out into the void, hoping one of them will land somewhere and… I’m not honestly sure where I was going with this metaphor, ‘word babies’ is maybe one of the worst phrases I’ve ever written and I apologise, but I’m sure you catch my meaning.

It’s all well and good to torture yourself, wondering if the five submissions you made yesterday were “enough,” or if that one you spent two weeks on a month ago was “worth it.” I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be much more effective to torture yourself by the cruel and unusual means of comparison? Continue reading

Summer Writing Update

My last writing update was in March. Before lockdown. Before George Floyd was murdered and the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets again. Before so many things, most of them stressful and traumatic (and some of them both).

The world has changed in some ways, stayed frustratingly the same in others, and we all are struggling on. So, let’s catch up.

I’m going to be talking about my reading and writing for the first half of the year in this post, but I recently shared a health and fertility update here, if you’re interested. And if you want to read about my response to the BLM movement, see here and here.

Reading

Sadly, because of the aforementioned global shitstorm, there is not a lot to report here. I am currently four books behind in my reading target for the year – 28 books read so far out of 65 (43%) – but am confident I can and will catch up.

Writing

Shockingly, I have been writing more than ever. I genuinely don’t understand how or why this has happened, because I’ve lost count of the number of times in the past three months where I’ve been close to tearing my hair out with frustration at my supposed lack of words. (As my long-suffering husband can attest.)

Here is a little breakdown in stats:

  • January – 9,000 words
  • February – 29,000 words
  • March – 24,000 words
  • April – 28,000 words
  • May – 32,000 words
  • June – 22,000 words

Overall, that’s 144,000 for the year.

Obviously the numbers are a little rounded, but compare them to last year when I wrote a total of 166,000 words over the course of the full twelve months, and 2018 when I wrote 146,000. It makes me wonder what word count I’d be sitting with right now if the world wasn’t on fire.

But what I will note is that, despite the steep rise in my word count, the projects I’ve been working on are not what I had intended right at the start of the year. For the most part, I haven’t really had the brainpower to work on “original” fiction, instead sticking well inside my comfort zone of fanfic.

Going forward, I have some plans, uh… planned. July is Camp NaNoWriMo, for which I have set my monthly goal to 30,000, but outside of that I’m keeping my writing goals for the rest of 2020 fairly quiet. Things are going on in the background, but it’s too early to talk about them yet. By the time my end of year update comes out, all will be revealed, so stay tuned! And please let me know how your writing is going.

‘Till next time!

Literary Audit March 2020

I was going to put up a post with tips for working from home today but… well, it’s my birthday and – honestly – I want something a bit more fun. Indulge me, will you, dear reader?

It’s been four years since I first conducted an audit of all the words I’d ever written (original post linked here), and it’s fair to say a lot of my stats have changed since then, with some projects being finished, some scrapped, new ones being taken on etc. I’ve of course shared bits and pieces of statistics between then and now, but not all of them in a singular post – until today!

Going forward, I might do a yearly update to help track my progress, but for now, let’s get onto the figures.

Note: I’m not including my previous self-published poetry and short story collections in my list of book projects, because at this stage I’m really trying to pretend they don’t exist. A line in the sand has been drawn and I’m moving on.

Writing Project Master List

Memoir: WIP*

Novels: 2 Complete, 7 WIPs

  • Family Ties Trilogy
  • Death Girl
  • Rain After Fire
  • Family Secret
  • Holes
  • Sasha
  • A Man Convinced

Short Story Collection: WIP

Short Stories (individual): 66 Total, all Complete

  • 3 Awaiting Publication
  • 4 on Submission
  • 16 Ready to Submit
  • 43 Published (by self or otherwise)

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

Six-Month Stats Round Up

It’s a new week at the start of a fresh month. We’re now entering the second half of 2019 and, personally, I’m excited. But before I jump headlong into the next round of CampNaNoWriMo, it’s time to look back. I said I’d be more open with my stats, going forward, so here we go:

Books Read

  • 31 out of my goal of 60 for the year = 52%
  • So, just ahead of target. That’s a win.

Words Written
(Rounded to the nearest thousand)

  • January: 4,000
  • February: 6,000
  • March: 6,000
  • April: 37,000
  • May: 12,000
  • June: 13,000
  • Total = 78,000

Continue reading

PitMad March 2019 Results

Yesterday – Thursday the 7th of March – was the latest round of #PitMad, a Twitter event in which novelists pitch their books to agents and publishers. I had dabbled in the past, deciding last minute to take part without giving it a lot of thought.

This time, I prepared. I pre-wrote my tweets. I scheduled the date in my diary. I double checked the timezone difference. (PitMad being mainly an American thing.)

Do things like this actually work and secure people publishing deals? Sometimes, yes.

Someone – last year I think it was – shared information of what they tweeted and how far they got with it. I find it fascinating to look at this data alongside success stories and crunch the numbers.

Naturally, I put together some stats for my own experience. I wondered if there was any point in sharing it – it’s a fairly niche set of information, of importance really only to me – but, hey, why not? I found that other person’s findings interesting. If no one else connects with this post, no harm, no foul.

But enough preamble. Continue reading