How I Got Started On Writing M/M Fiction
In case anyone was wondering how I got into writing m/m fiction… ♣
I’ve always liked writing. I’ve always had a fairly creative mind. And though I don’t particularly like dealing with grammar, I’m half decent with it, and I’m really good at reviewing/quality control. I didn’t do much with it back then, though…
I was recognized in a county-wide competition in high school, but that’s about it. Writing wasn’t what I wanted to do at the time. [What did I want to do? Teach. That's what I got my degree in. Am I using it anymore? Nope. I still love teaching. I despise the system and, in particular, the woman who burned me out in my first year. Anyway...]
Fast forward to sometime last year (being 2009, maybe late 2008). I found out (due to the popularity of Twilight and thus the sudden re-popularity of the vampire genre in general) that an author was FINALLY going to continue a series that had stopped unexpectedly in 1999. I was totally thrilled. [The series? Nightworld by L. Jane Smith. It's teen romance stories, but I wasn't much older than a teen when I was reading them. Heard of The Vampire Diaries, currently a TV series? That's another series of Lisa's. Her teen vampire work is popular again because of Twilight.] Anyway, she said in her blog that she was likely going to hold a fan-fiction contest not too long before the next (final?) book, Strange Fate, comes out.
I jumped on top of writing a Nightworld fan-fiction. I wrote two of them, actually. And the story lines came to me fairly easily, which surprised me. They were written without any sort of outline, just a general plan of where I needed to end up and some highlights to hit along the way. The dialogue and character interactions came easily; the story flowed from mind to page without any prior planning. The first one (17000+ words) I finished writing in around 2 weeks, and then I spent quite some time tweaking it. When I finished, I realized I’d had fun writing it and wasn’t ready to quit, so I wrote the second one. It took a bit longer to write (like 2-3 months), and it’s not quite 30000 words. I wrote these before I had my first child, which is why they were churned out much faster than I can write now.
When I say ‘write’, I also mean literally hand-written. I bought some single subject notebooks and wrote the stories there first, typing them in and editing them on the fly after the majority of the story was written. The notebooks allowed me to write ideas and notes to myself, as well as track how fast I was writing, how much I wrote each time I sat down to write, etc. It works for me for now, and I find the process of hand-writing calming. I know that some people would go nuts writing it down first and then typing it out later, but I type around 90-100 wpm, so the typing process is also pretty mindless as far as that goes. I’m also hand-writing the novel I’m currently working on – it’s only maybe 2/3 done right now; I’m on my second notebook with it already.
OK, so yes, I started with fan-fics. I’ve since discovered there are quite a few writers who started out that way, at least based on their bios.
[Please note that it’s not slash-fic though. I generally don’t/can’t slash together favorite characters from series that I like – I just like the characters too much to put them together in situations they weren’t designed to be in; e.g. I cannot fathom slashing Mal/Jayne from Firefly or Doctor/Master from Doctor Who – the characters just weren’t designed or meant for that in my mind. However, Capt. Jack Harkness? You can slash him with anything because that’s how he is. I also usually don’t read slash fiction for characters that I like [Fai/Kurogane from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (manga)? No, thank you. Sasu/Naru from Naruto (manga)? I don't care because I don't read Naruto. I have actually read and enjoyed a few Sasunaru slash-fics.]
So, how did I get interested in writing m/m fiction? Yaoi. When I started reading manga, it was shoujo (for girls). I don’t remember when, how, or why I decided to start reading yaoi (boys’ love; B.L.), but I did, and I adored it. (Still do.) And then an online friend introduced me to m/m novels. [The first one? True Blue by Connie Bailey from Dreamspinner Press.] Several hundred dollars [to Dreamspinner] later, I thought I could give a try to writing m/m romance stories, and I started looking at DSP’s open calls for submissions. Thus far, I’ve turned in one story for an anthology, I’m working on writing a novel, and I have ideas for lots of other stories (short and long) and series. (I finally had to buy a digital voice recorder so that I could start remembering all the ideas I have in the car on my way to work.)
So, there you go. That’s how I became interested and started writing m/m fiction.