Writing Revelation

Sarah Waters:

“Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel,  I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce…Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.”

Fanfiction for the Soul

 

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Fanfiction has been in existence since 1939; you read that right. 1939. Now, fanfiction has served as an outlet for many to read and write as they please within a world the original storyteller has already created. It can be broken down into many subcategories as well, like: angst, crossover, fluff, darkfic, fix-fic, hurt/comfort, shipping, self-insert, smut, songfic, and WAFF. We’ve discussed some places where fanfiction can be found on the internet (Wattpad, FicWad, Tumblr, etc.) but another outlet which some can profit from is Kindle Worlds – Amazon’s fanfiction service.

Are you a writer of fanfiction and don’t like to admit it? Well, E.L. James and Anna Todd are two successful fanfiction writers and some writing professionals have taken to fanfiction as well. We all know E.L. James – writer of 50 Shades of Grey, and currently rewriting her best-selling series in Christian Grey’s point of view. Everyone knows the original 50 Shades was Twilight fanfiction. If you’re just learning this now, you read that right – Twilight fanfiction. Another author on the rise is Anna Todd. We’ve talked about her previously as a Wattpad star, but her original series After is based on some fanfiction she wrote about the British boyband sensation, One Direction. Embrace your love for writing fanfiction…these ladies did and they’re bestselling authors now!

Moving on to a more touch-y subject, many authors who rose to their fame the old-fashioned way don’t necessary enjoy fanfiction, especially of their own works. Authors like Stephanie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, J.D. Salinger, and Diana Gabaldon see fanfiction in a similar way: some form of plagiarism, discrediting the author of original story, and not a good way to write if you want to make a career out of it. But let’s break down why fanfiction is good for the soul, according to AutumnMooncakes (a fanfiction writer) and another source:

  1. To clear the air, fanfiction is not technically a form of plagiarism. It isn’t a form of trademark infringement until someone decides to make profit off it. This is exactly why E.L. James drastically changed her fanfiction to become an original piece of work.
  2. The writing of fanfiction helps embrace the creativity within an individual. Not all writers have a sense of what they wish to write about, all they know is – they want to write. So by using a world already created by published authors, the writer can exercise their own writing capabilities.
  3. Fanfiction has proven to be a form of support for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The connection people have to reading LGBTQ+ type fanfiction can change a person’s life in a way. So, why wouldn’t you want to helping people not feel alone?
  4. And find a way to deal with the bumps in the road of writing. Fanfiction sets creative limits with the characters already made by the author, getting the minor details right, and there needs to be plenty of research to make the character accurate. Even when the original author has added onto the series (i.e. spin-off, prequels), it makes the writing process more interesting to revisit the fanfiction piece to include new details.

I respect any author who dislikes fanfiction; they’re entitled to their own opinion and demand respect for their work. It should always be remembered a piece of fanfiction can save a life, can serve as an outlet for their fans who are facing their own struggles and a way for writers to embark on their journey of writing.

The Publishing Journey: The Slush

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Oh yes, we are briefly discussing the writer’s worst nightmare: the slush pile. If you’re new to the writing world and haven’t heard about the slush pile, it’s essentially the place where unsolicited query letters/manuscripts go to be read by assistants-to-the-editor.

Many will say a writer doesn’t want to end up in the slush pile, and there’s more truth to that than fiction. Once in that pile, one will never actually know if their manuscript ever made it onto the editor’s desk. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a world out there where the slush pile could potentially become a good thing. For example, an open slush pile.

The idea of an open slush pile may scare some, but if used correctly it can begin your journey as the writer-turned-published-author. The traditional slush pile is private to the publisher or agent the manuscript has ended up with, but the open slush pile exposes work everywhere. The downfall is, the work won’t be private anymore; anyone can access it, read it, and comment on it. If this is not the road you, as the writer, want to travel down, here are a few ideas to entice people, editors, and agents to read your writing and make use of the open slush pile:

  1. Short stories.
    Posting short stories on open slush pile websites can expose your audience to your writing style: how you execute the plot, how you build characters in a short span of writing, etc.
  2. Excerpts from your main manuscript.
    Just like if you were reading an excerpt at the end of a book for the sequel or to another book the author is working on, use your favorite or strongest excerpt from your manuscript to see if it peaks an audience’s interest. If it’s in high demand, then maybe you’ll end up getting picked up by an agent rather than you searching for one.
  3. Spin-off stories of your mysterious manuscript.
    Does your main character in your novel have another quick little tale they want to share? Get your audience excited by reading a prequel story of your main squeeze. It might make the character the more lovable one.

So maybe sitting in the slush pile in the editor’s storage unit (come on, we know there’s a lot and you need a place to put them) isn’t the ideal place to be, but there are other ways to use the wonderful resource of the internet and to make the best of being in the slush pile.