So I’ve decided to try to do something a little more consistent with this space than just using it for news about publications and the occasional bit of thinking. Partly inspired by features on other writer blogs regarding tips they’ve picked up and things they’ve learned, I am going to start doing a regular column on what writing has taught me, what I’ve figured out about the creative process, what’s involved in trying to sell and market work, and some combination of all or none in general. I’m calling it The Object Lesson, and I’ll be trying to do one every Sunday, though they may become more irregular as the semester heats up and my workload increases.
I am speaking from no position of authority except as regards my own experience. Your mileage may vary.
Today: It’s lonely out here.
This is a lot more to do with one of the specific differences I’ve observed between fanfiction and original fiction, especially original fiction written for eventual publication. I want to stress here that it isn’t a value judgment; it’s merely a statement of fact, or at least fact as it is observed by me (and therefore probably questionable, but me is pretty much all I have to go on). With fanfiction, you’re dealing with fandom, and fandom is an extremely focused beast–it tends to be all about specific characters, which are pre-existent and established for you; your audience and your community are therefore generally pre-existent and already interested in what you have to say. Everyone knows the characters, everyone knows why they’re there and what they’re about. You pick up the thread and run with it, and there’s usually a strong sense of community around it. There’s usually a lot of encouragement, and often a lot of praise and positive comments to go around. This isn’t to say it can’t be mean, cold, and unpleasant, as far as online environments go, but there’s still something there.