Original version written for Erotic Horizons
I’ve always been a writer. I come from a family of writers, and we joke that we have printer’s ink instead of blood in our veins—even though that’s a little out of date these days! I started out my career as a newspaper features writer, and at first, I loved it. I got to interview people, figure out interesting ways to present their stories, cover entertainment events, and even meet celebrities now and then. I didn’t have to deal with the deadline pressure of working on breaking news, and once my editor figured out that I was pretty sharp in that area too, I started getting assigned more editing tasks.
It took me a couple of years to figure out that the job was draining all of my creative energy.
I didn’t think of myself as a fiction writer back then, but I did have ideas floating through my head all the time, both fiction and nonfiction. Problem was, after spending the bulk of my forty-plus-hour work week writing, I had absolutely no desire to write on my own time. And it was gradually eating away at me.
My turning point came when I was shifted into a layout editor position, giving up the bulk of my writing duties at work. That was so much better. I was responsible for designing our page layouts, which gave me some creative outlet, and switching from writing to editing gave me freedom to write on my own time. I’ve stayed in editing since then, with few if any writing responsibilities, and it’s worked very well for me. It’s challenging enough to be interesting, without taking away from my creativity.
Even after the switch to editing, though, it took a few years for my right brain to kick back in fully. That’s when I started writing fanfiction. I know a lot of professional authors are afraid of admitting to any connection to fanfic, but I don’t see it that way. I think writing fanfiction can be an excellent training ground for writing original fiction, for those who are interested in making that transition. I learned how to write better description, how to develop characters, how to “hear” a character’s voice in your head, and how to accept criticism and editing of my work. It’s akin to an apprenticeship, where you gradually learn the different parts of the job until you’re finally cleared and released to go off on your own.
My first novella, Model Student, originated as a fanfiction story. It was quite a divergence from the original material to start with—what’s called “alternate universe,” for those unfamiliar with fanfic terminology—which means it used only parts of the main characters’ backstories. I didn’t have a long way to go to make it a standalone, original story. I’ve gone through the same process with two other fanfic stories, and I have a couple more in mind, but the bulk of my writing these days is original. I still write fanfic, but chances are those stories will stay in the fanfic realm.
From here, my goal is just to continue writing. I don’t plan to make writing a career, since I’ve been that route already. I don’t want that kind of pressure on a regular basis again. In the end, I’m doing this mostly as a hobby. Getting paid for it is just a very nice bonus!