Over three years ago I published story online on a website called fanfiction.net. It was nerve-wracking, scary and I felt like I was walking into the unknown. I recall starting this process when I did not know a lot about fan-fiction writing, only that I was fascinated by two characters and thought I could retell their story better. I remember my writing style was different, mimicking those of a lost time period, vainly echoing those of Keats, Austen and the Brontë sisters purely because I read their works almost religiously. I suppose I had not found my "voice" quite yet, but I did notice I had a special knack for describing details of settings, nature and the clothing apparels of the character. I was naturally gifted at descriptive writing, perhaps, it is because of my years of exposure of poetry that I could describe a scenery almost like a painting. Still, I had not quite developed my voice quite yet.
Three years ago I decided to publish a story on fanfiction.net purely because it was where I first discovered this genre. There were few readers that were interested in my pairing however, so about six months later I switched over to Archive of Our Own (Ao3). I simply uploaded my completed work and waited to see if the readers response were still the same. It was the exact opposite, it was like an explosion of fireworks where I was flooded with readers comments and kudos like there was no tomorrow. Apparently, there was a huge fandom for that pairing, and they were all too eager to have some new material.
Three years later I have published almost thirty different stories online. The genres span from fantasy, sci-fi, horror to modern settings. I've experimented with different fandoms as well, not wanting to tie myself down to writing stories for the same two main characters. It was a good decision in hindsight, because it allowed me to meet new writers and ultimately friends online. Today I have a secure, tight-knitted group online where we can bounce off ideas and share our opinions on each other's works. To enter the fan-fiction world was ultimately one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far. I have made good friends from across the world from it. I've had the chance to read amazing stories, and help them with their writing when they get the dreaded writers block. I have developed a strong fan base that are in love with my work, and they were the ones that ultimately encouraged me to publish Cursed as an ebook.
Fan-fiction is something to be taken seriously. It can be a stepping stone for a writer. I have been writing stories since I was thirteen years old, but it has been websites such as fanfiction.com, Wattpad and Ao3 that have allowed me to publish my stories online to reach a wider audience. Therefore, I am thankful for being an avid fan-fiction writer because it has provided me with so many wonderful ideas. At the same time, I am excited to enter the publishing world and learn how to climb the ladder so that Cursed can eventually reach a world wide audience.