Way back in my post about THE CURIOSITIES (August 1! Don’t forget!), Samantha asked “Did you ever write short stories with a group of CPs, like the Merry Fates?” And I am going to attempt to answer that question today.
The short answer is no. I haven’t. After I discovered The Merry Fates, I did set out to write one short story a month for a year (and was mostly successful, except for November where I wrote a novel and December where I napped and made cookies. And also the part where two of them became novels, and were therefore never posted), but I did this mostly on my own. My crit partners were busy writing other things, and I was busy not having any idea what I was doing, and for the most part, it worked out pretty well.
What I have done, though, is written as part of a collective who all posted our stories on the internet for the others to read, critique, borrow from, occasionally steal and in more than one instance, just die completely from having read. I speak, of course, of fandom.
I’ve written in 31 fandoms, give or take, and with varying degrees of commitment*. I learned many things in each. I made some of my best friends (including 1/3 of When Fangirls Collide) in Stargate. I made some of my best writing connections and developments in Sanctuary. I tested the limits of worlds already made and pushed established characters as far as I thought was reasonable. And I had a lot of fun.
Fandom has burned a lot of people over the years, several of them very dear friends. I don’t think I was ever a big enough deal to worry about it, but as my book release date approaches, I’ll probably have to make some decisions. I’m hoping I can find some sort of happy medium. I’ve invested a lot, and received a lot in return, from fandom, and I’d hate to burn my bridges completely.
My original fic Crit Group is a shifting entity, mostly made up of people I met in fandom anyway. There are some people I read for who don’t read for me, and vice versa. There are people who get every chapter, the moment I’ve saved it. There are people who get the last draft before I start sending it out. There are people who cheer me on. There are people who bake me things. There are so many people. I am very grateful for that.
What I am really saying, or trying to, anyway, is that everyone’s crit/support/writing group is different. Also, in most cases it’s different even for the people who are in it. I cannot comprehend how people do this alone, but it works for some people. I’m not sure something like The Merry Fates would have worked for me. I practiced with tenses and weird settings writing Sanctuary ficlets. I learned to world build with SG-1. I got better at dialogue trying to duplicate the camaraderie on Firefly. That was my writing group.
But I do have those short stories. Some are better than others. And one of them, apparently, I forgot to post entirely once the contest I’d written it for was lapsed. So keep an eye out. In the meantime, I’m still fond of “Starry, Starry Night (Or How To Fall Upwards)” and “In Memoriam”.