Surviving the Pitchforks of Being a Writer

When I started seriously writing  almost 11 years ago it was within a universe that is known as FANDOM! *cue ominous music*

Green-Eyed Monster?

Now some writers out there might chuckle at the idea of Fandom if they are aware of it, but never had the pleasure of wading through its murky waters. Those who have made the transition from Fandom to Professional writing will understand the depth to which fellow writers will go to get attention including the flaming pitchforks often referred to as sporks.  It is these people who let the green-eyed monster take over. Whether you look at it as envy, jealousy or any of a million other emotions the green-eyed monster begins stalking you from the moment you dip your toe in the waters of writing.

All those years ago I dipped my toe in those murky waters and went on a journey that made me a better writer despite the sharp tines of those green-eyed beasts. Early on I learned that some people just can’t seem to control themselves no matter how old they are. Maturity has nothing  to do with age, it has to do with making mistakes, living your life as best you can, and learning from the mistakes that you make. It also has a great deal to do with karma; whatever you offer the universe will be returned to you three fold and sometimes more.

When I first wrote m/m erotica, known as slash in the World of Fandom, I was scared senseless. That’s right…I said it. I was fucking terrified because although I’d read a ton of it I still wondered if I could write it. So, taking a deep breath I decided to write what Fandom writers now refer to as crack. The idea is that the characters act completely out of character and humor rules. Said story was written and I sent it out into the Ethernet to be consumed by the monsters and if I were lucky one or two folks out there would get it.

I had a good reception considering I was an unknown writer at the time with one exception. One of those hideous lil’ green-eyed creatures reared its head and hissed at me. It told me that I needed a BETA (aka Fandom editor). I told the monster whilst holding it off with my magical sword, that I’d decided not to use a BETA because I wished to learn on my own. The beast was not happy with that response. It hissed at me numerous times explaining that my characters were acting out of character. I explained it was supposed to be funny (after all Mulder wasn’t a weepy twink and Skinner wasn’t about to do him on a kitchen counter with olive oil as lube). The concept of humor was apparently not within the monster’s comprehension.

After three days the monster took it upon itself to gift me with a copy of my story that had been cut and pasted into a file. With much trepidation I open said file and to my complete horror discovered said story covered in red. The monster had against my wishes mutilated my story and sent it back to me–How bloody rude! I e-mailed the creature back and very kindly told it to “FUCK OFF”. I didn’t use those words, but I got my point across. No more would the beast hiss at me and tell me how I should write without permission. As a matter fact it lurked back to its den of inequities and never shadowed my doorstep again.

That wasn’t the end though. Many monsters reared their heads at me. Each time I slayed the beasts with sweetness and my armor grew stronger (my hit points popping off the scale). In my time lost in the murky Waters of Fandom, I learned a great deal as a writer such as never use the word scissoring whilst describing preparation for anal sex (twitches) or that some people will use anything for lube (Dude, Vick’s Vapor Rub? Seriously, are you insane?). The biggest thing I learned though is that the green-eyed monsters are full of hot air and a quick poke of a shiny pin will send them flying away as if they were  a balloon released before being tied.

Ppppppptttttt…..

Yeah, monsters can be quite easy to deal with. They are nothing but the bullies of the writing world. Seeking to take someone else down because of their own lack of self-esteem.

Of course, when I graduated from the Swamps of Fandom I was hopeful I’d left the monsters behind. How very mistaken I was about that. There are green-eyed monsters every where you go in life and professional writing is no different. All I can hope to do is just polish up my Dino-armor, sharpen my flaming sword, and focus on my writing. If the monsters dare come near my lair I shall be prepared with the lessons I learned in the Swamps of Fandom.

Hold fast. Be strong. Do the best you can.

And kill the green-eyed beasts with kindness. *hee*

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8 comments on “Surviving the Pitchforks of Being a Writer

  1. Jesse, you made me glad I was never part of fandom. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories and I guess I was lucky that the only monsters I encountered were a bit more subtle about it. As if this job wasn’t hard enough already – what’s so hard about supporting a fellow writer? We’re all in this together in the end…

  2. Fandom can definitely be a roller-coaster of Hammer worthy horror, but there are also some wonderful people out there if you know where to look. I met three of my best friends during my time trudging through the swamp. One of those was Juanita Campbell who did the cover for my novella Le Jardin de la Lumiere back in 2008. She’s now the staff artist for Dark Roast Press and I couldn’t be prouder to call her friend.

    I had honestly hoped to discover the green-eyed monsters to be non-existent in the professional world, but I quickly discovered that they lurked here as well. At least I came prepared though. What I said about Fandom making me a better writer is true, but it made me more equipped to deal with the craziness of the professional writers world as well.

    To me it isn’t that hard to support fellow writers. That’s part of the reason I began The Fox Hole where I interview writers–no matter the genre–and give them a chance to share themselves and their work. It feels great to be helping the folks out there just like me. 😀

    • Oh, there aer fantastic people out there. Most of my writer friends are ex-fandom (some are recovering, some are still in the midst of things). I just never managed to become a “fan” of anything (it would mean following shows in their time slots, and I never managed that), so I never got the “fandom treatment”.

      • Definitely, I wouldn’t trade in the great folks I’ve met for all the money in the world. Only three shows in 11 years online. Besides you’re not missing much. Sometimes fandom needs to be nuked with the level of crazy that goes on. 😉

  3. Awesome post!

    LOL, it seems that most monsters don’t take the time to read a story’s description before doing the “OMG HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!” dance. After I got over flamers, I found that fandom writing served me very well in learning how to plot, how to use dialogue effectively, and a whole host of other things.

    And it really doesn’t change here. There will always be immature people who act like idiots. The best thing we can do is ignore them, or if we do react, react in a way that will confuse and befuddle them aka not the way they act!

    It helps to know that I’m not the only one who worries about pulling of m/m effectively. I might just try my hand at it soon.

    🙂

    Blessings,
    Dena

    • Very much like you I learned everything I could in fandom. The day I went pro was the day I felt as if one of those beasties had burrowed in my gut. There was a part of me that feared stepping out of my comfort zone, but being a writer, a true writer, is about stepping out. How else can we grow?

      Oh hell you aren’t the only one that worries. I worry myself silly most days and I’ve been writing it for around eight or nine years. LOL

      Let me know when you decide to take that leap of faith. I’d be more than happy to help a fellow writer get their toes wet. 😀

  4. Mulder and Skinner! I’d never have thought of that. But… ooh. I’ve made forrays into fandom, some of my earliest m/m stuff was that shape – I did Snape/Harry stuff, with Harry an adult. I was fascinated by trying to get a plausible balance between their usual interactions and something erotic, which led to a lot of sniping. I must admit, I hate fan fics that make Snape all mushy and cutesy. Ick.

    Whever you go, there are occasionnaly folk who will tell you they know best. I’ve found in my travels that there are folk who know a hell of a lot more than me, but they seldom come running with advice. The ones who know their stuff will sometimes tell you things, if you ask nicely and lurk about a lot. The noise makers are frequently (but not always) full or poo.

  5. I was torn when I was in the X-Files fandom, being new to both fandom and eventually slash I was twitchy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The two major m/m pairings were Mulder/Krycek or Mulder/Skinner, I honestly wasn’t hooked by either completely, but if I had to chose it would be M/S.

    Gooey never does it for me. I have nothing against emotions being involved, but when the two male characters involved suddenly are dressed as Disney princesses and skipping through the woods surrounded by singing bluebirds I’m out of there. Don’t even get me started on the male pregnancy stories… *shudders*

    The ones who know their stuff will sometimes tell you things, if you ask nicely and lurk about a lot. The noise makers are frequently (but not always) full or poo.

    You are too kind my dear. Poo indeed! 😉 Shit is shit no matter the type of deodorizer they may spritz about. I’ve sadly discovered more shit than roses, but the roses I’ve found are the biggest and most beautiful I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. 🙂

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