I love writing; I do. I always have. I've always created scenes in my head. I always wanted to know "the rest of the story," so I would write it.
I love it, but it isn't easy. Oh, don't get me wrong. Sometimes the words just pour out of me onto the keyboard. I don't struggle over every word choice. I don't pull my hair out. I don't bang my head on the keyboard, or drink to drive away the pain of writer's block.
Sometimes it does take effort to write. Sometimes a passage does not want to be written. Sometimes a character refuses to behave. But that's not the really hard part.
The really hard part of writing is editing; it always takes effort. To examine my own writing. To be honest with myself. To erase forever words that I wrote, words that I love, but that just don't work for the story.
I know why so many fanfic writers don't use betas. I know why they post within seconds of typing that last period. My writing is my creation, my art. I love it; I want others to love it. When I take the time to go through and self-edit, I see my errors. They glare at me from the page, telling me that I'm not perfect.
Then I sent it off to beta readers who tell me where I failed as a writer. Oh, they are wonderful and kind about it. I've not met a bad beta in this fandom. Everyone I've used has been incredible. However, in the end, their basic job is to tell me where the story fails. They let me know the grammar mistakes, and they let me know when I'm not clear or wrong.
"What did you mean here? I don't understand the sentence."
"Do you really think Sloane would weep with joy? It strikes me as OOC (out of character)."
"Okay, the story is excellent, but the end doesn't work for me."
Of course, then my beta readers get the wonderful job of working with me to make the story work. That's their basic job after they wade through it for mistakes.
I feel sorry for those writers who don't have the courage to face the editing process. I do. At one time, I used to get mad as a reader. Now, as a writer, I feel sorry them. As a child needs discipline, writing needs editing.
I've learned so much from constructive criticism. If anyone doubts me, email me, and I'll send you the first "Zorro" story I sent out to the mailing list. I'll wince, but I'll send.
What have I learned? I have a problem with homonyms and homophones. The fact that I know I often put "waste" in for "waist" helps me keep an eye out for it. My spelling, while still a problem, has improved greatly. And I know how to show instead of tell, now--the greatest improvement in my opinion.
However, the biggest reason that I feel sorry for those that don't edit is that they have missed out on something special. Excellent friendships--and self-confidence--develop when people share their honest thoughts and work together to make something better. I wouldn't change those experiences for anything.
Robin, aka "icyfire," loves to write fanfiction. She also loves to read well-written fanfiction, and if you don't find her staring at her computer monitor, she probably has her nose in a book. She wrote her first published piece of fanfic in the X-Files fandom, on the Scullyfic list. It answered the question of why Scully *always* wore a black bra to bed. Fortunately, she does not have a copy of that fic.
Then, she drifted over into the "Zorro" fandom. She unfortunately does have copies of her early work in that fandom--ouch. She also wrote in the "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" fandom.
She is now focused on Jack in the "Alias" fandom. She is a huge "SpyDaddy" fan and most of her "Alias" fanfic centers on him. :) (Will Tippin is also another favorite.) If you read or write a great Jack story, please let her know. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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