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I’ve had this discussion bouncing around inside my head for a while, and I’ve finally decided to try to get it down in written form, touchy nature though it may be.  I will confess that I’m afraid you’ll all scream and run-click away as fast as your mouse can take you, though!  Hmm, perhaps a few disclaimers are in order?

-It’s not about the F-Word that rhymes with ‘duck’
-It does not involve beating a dead horse (as far as I know)
-Once you realize which F-Word I’m talking around, give me at least a few paragraphs, because I’m genuinely curious to see what you all have to say.

If you’re warily nodding your head and muttering “Okay Kate…I trust you…maybe,” go ahead and click “Continue Reading” because I’m going to write about…

FANFICTION!!!

OKAY BUH-BYE NOW KATE!” Wait, come back!!  Let me assure you then, real quickly, what it will NOT be about: pulling-to-publish, the ethics of pulling-to-publish, my thoughts on authors who pull-to-publish…you get the gist.  Instead, I’m going to share my thoughts about the positive aspects and how it all comes back around to original fiction (since that’s what Britt and I write, and this is our blog).

So to start, I know that some of our lovely visitors/internet friends are aware that Britt and I didn’t just write in the fanfiction world, that’s where we first met too!  So that’s obviously the #1 most positive thing about it for us!  And honestly, while some people are embarrassed to admit they read, let alone wrote fanfiction, Britt and I are pretty proud of it now.  We wrote a LOT, which is the authorly equivalent of faithfully hitting the gym…we exercised our writing skills regularly, got some great honest feedback from readers, and occasionally tossed around the “Wouldn’t it be great if we wrote our own novel one day?” idea.

And look where we are now.  Positive thing #2: we got a LOT of practice in.  Our first fanfic endeavor together clocked in at just over 180,000 words.

(Before you ask, YES, Pistils is 100% original fiction, not p2p.)

The very first memory I have of fanfiction (without even realizing what fanfic was) was of ST:TNG paperbacks.  I still have a tattered copy of the first fanfic book I ever bought and read, and when it falls apart completely I’ll buy an e-copy.  Since HELLO…

RIKER + TROI 4EVA!

RIKER + TROI 4EVA!

Going back to the feedback aspect, however…fanfiction writers (specifically ones who write and post online) are often blessed with an abundance of feedback.  Granted, much of it is gushing and over-the-top praise because the reader wants to prod the author into writing more.  But occasionally you’d get the holy grail of reviewers…someone who enjoys your writing, but is completely honest and thoughtful in their assessment of it.  Sometimes you got people who straight-out hated your writing and told you so.  It stung a lot bit, but you picked yourself up, put your big girl panties (or boxer briefs, for the men) back on, and got back to writing.  Or possibly started a Twitter war, if that was how you rolled.

So positive thing about fanfiction #3 was learning to deal with critics of something that was very personal to us.  Thick skin = authors need it.

#4, and probably most important (aside from #1) to us is the number of wonderful people we met both virtually and in real life.  Even though we’ve left our fanfiction days behind us (albeit with many fond memories), we got to know people that we now genuinely call friends, and we’re grateful for that.  It’s also the reason we made darn sure to put a sincere thank you in Pistils’ Acknowledgements to our fanfic community friends and fans.  We all had to start somewhere, and those people provided a confidence boost that got us headed down the path we’re currently on.

Finally, everyone’s experiences with or opinions on fanfiction are unique, but we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, keeping it positive on this round!  Did/do you read/write fanfiction?  If so, which genre? (Britt and I came from the Twilight community, and no, we are not ashamed.)  What do you think are the most positive aspects of fanfiction?  And if you’re an author, how would you feel about people writing fanfiction about your original work?  Let us know!

-Kate

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