Back when I wrote the #PelvicSorcery blog about what I was learning from reading smutty fanfic, J started teasing me, saying a lot of things that began with, “When you start writing fanfic….” I thought the notion ridiculous, but guess what? I’ve started writing smutty fanfic. I’m still dedicated to the Myrcia ‘verse, and in fact, I just finished my revision of Dock 29, the first Oleg Omdahl book about a world-weary detective living in Annenstruk, Myrcia’s southern neighbor. I often dislike what I write, and at best I can usually live with it, so know it means something when I say I kind of love Dock 29. In about a month, J and I are going to read through it, and I’ll probably make a few more changes before moving onto revisions of the second Oleg book, The Science of Fire. Hopefully I’ll finish that up before November, and I’ll be ready to write the third book, which is already outlined, for NaNoWriMo.
But in the meantime, yep, I’m writing smutty fanfic. I’ve even posted my first story to Archive of Our Own (AO3). Now, I am not going to link to the story or reveal the pen name I’m using for my fanfic. I don’t want anyone to think I’m embarrassed of my sexually explicit fanfic, but for the sake of keeping the JS Mawdsley brand about Fantasy, I think it’s best that my fanfic persona live her own separate life. However, that doesn’t mean JS Mawdsley can’t learn something from Anonymous’s experiences in fanfic.
1) Instant feedback is the best.
At AO3 readers can leave comments and Kudos, which is essentially a Like system. My first story hasn’t been up long, and yet it already has a fair few number of kudos, as well as some sincerely touching comments from people who enjoy the story. I’ve never written something that had this many readers or received this much feedback, and I have to say the ego boast has been fantastic. As I said earlier, I’m pretty hard on myself, so a positive response to this had been tremendously good for me.
2) Know what the reader wants.
Naturally, J and I have spent a lot of time over the years discussing the expectations of fantasy readers. And readers of other genres for that matter, including mystery readers when working on Oleg Omdahl. But there’s something great about writing smutty fanfic for having some really specific expectations and desires to shoot for. For instance, more than one reader has commented on a specific kink I included in my story, which only received as much focus as it did thanks to my beta readers encouraging me to play it up. As I’m working on my second story, it’s aimed at fanfic readers with a slightly different bent, so I am finding it a fun challenge to make certain I deliver on the promised kink of the story.
3) Writing is fun, dammit!
I haven’t had this much fun writing in years. It’s in large part the fanfic, but the Dock 29 revisions also went so well that they have much to do with my current good mood. I remember when J and I started writing, we didn’t care what eventually happened with our work, because it was something we did because we enjoyed it. Truth be told, I have disliked writing far more often than I’ve liked it for a couple years now, and I’ve been thinking about what J and I said back at the beginning—we’ll do this as long as it’s fun. Since it had stopped being fun, I’d seriously thought about packing it in more than once, but that isn’t the case anymore. In fact, you would have to pry my pen out of my cold dead hand. I’m having a helluva good time, and I’m going to keep writing to make myself happy, no matter what anyone might think of what I’ve chosen to write.