Gaining a ready-made audience is one of the wonders of an on-line fan fiction forum. There is nothing quite like pushing that “Post” button and having a chapter go “live” for all the world to see.
How grateful I am for readers who took the time to give feedback and encouragement, especially in those early days. (Susan Kaye and I removed a too-convenient plot device of Jane Austen’s, so there was plenty of howling too!) Who knew that I could be entertaining? That words I wrote made people laugh–or even cry? And that those same people would want more?
I was already connected with Susan Kaye, and I soon met Pamela Aidan. These working writers, who put out some of the best fiction on the board, took me into their confidence.
How I marveled that such talented women had the same writing struggles as I! Week by week I saw them straighten out plot problems and come up with new ideas. The quality of their work made me want to improve.
So I began to study. Not how-to books–those came later. My strategy in the early days was pretty basic: I reread favorite authors. The bar had been set high by Austen, and I added Agatha Christie and the Queens of Crime as mentors. I took pages of notes, imitated their beats, and tried stuff. My fan fiction writing became an apprenticeship.
A few years later Robin Helm came into the mix. Robin is a writing dynamo, although she would deny this. In spite of a busy teaching schedule, she manages to produce books at a steady clip. I am following in her wake, learning to do the same. Two books a year is all she asks of herself. Ah, right. My time-management skills need help!
Thanks for reading today’s post! If you’d like to see what the other 35-Day Challenge participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.