Guest Post: Quinn Dressler on Fan Fiction

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June 13, 2016 by kitmoss

Hi everyone.

My name is Quinn and I first want to thank Christopher for inviting me to share my thoughts about writing on his blog.

When it comes to writing fiction I’m both a newbie and experienced at the same time.

Confused? Well, let me explain.

I’m talking about two worlds of fiction that are similar, yet different. The traditional world of publishing and fan fiction.

Like so many other authors, I got my start writing fan fiction. Growing up I loved watching TV, especially shows with two handsome guys. I conjured up stories starring my two heartthrobs while walking home from school. I called them daydreams back then, but what I really was doing was starting my writing career without even knowing it.

Then came the Internet, and along with it fan fiction. More importantly, for me, came my discovery of M/M stories, otherwise known as slash. Of course, slash wasn’t created in cyberspace. According to Wikipedia, fan fiction has been in print as early as 1939 to differentiate fans who wrote their own sci-fi stories from more professional fare.

But the modern birth of fan fiction, and more importantly to me, slash, came at the start of a five-year mission across the stars. Fans of Star Trek fell for the show in a big way, and 79 episodes were not enough. Many published their own stories in fanzines, making copies using mimeograph machines to share with others. They’d ship their stories through the mail, or give them to other fans at the many Star Trek conventions that popped up throughout the country.

Fans would write all sorts of stories. From missing scenes where authors would add to the storyline of an actual episode, to creating all new adventures for their favorite heroes.

I discovered fan fiction at one such convention. Also for the first time a friend whispered a word in my ear that would change my life: slash.

It’s commonly believed that the nickname slash came from the / symbol in-between the Kirk/Spock or K/S abbreviation used to describe the romantic pairings at the head of most stories.

I didn’t write any stories during this period, but confess to reading a zine or two, especially some of the “naughty” ones with a flashlight under the covers.

During the next several years Trek TV evolved through several versions, until the show Enterprise hit the airwaves in the early 2000s. That’s when the Internet, and my participation in fan fiction, really took off, thanks to the creation of online groups dedicated to writing and reading M/M stories.

I found the Enterprise slash group the night before I had a major root canal. I found I really didn’t mind sitting in the dreaded dental chair; my mind was filled with happiness in discovering that others enjoyed the same stories I did.

After I recovered from my dental work I decided to finally write my stories down and share them with others in my group, who I must add were extremely kind and happy to share their enthusiasm, and constructive criticism, of my work.

In the Enterprise fandom the favorite paring was Archer/Reed, but I preferred Archer/Tucker. Archer was the captain of the ship, while Tucker and Reed were members of the crew. I became quite popular in the Enterprise FF circles, and even met my best friend through the fandom.

Surprisingly most of the writers, and readers in my group were women. Once woman told me jealousy led her to embrace M/M fiction. She couldn’t stand heterosexual (het) stories because she was so jealous of the female character. Some women insert themselves into their fiction—those are called Mary-Sue stories—but for many women they prefer slash because, to them, two men together aren’t a threat.

The strength, and downside, of fan fiction was the quality of the writing. Since fan fiction is written by fans, the quality ranged from excellent, to terrible. One girl posted a story that was only one paragraph, making her work nearly unreadable. Fortunately my fellow members were kind, and gently taught her proper paragraphing.

But for me one thing that drives me crazy was writing in present tense. A trend in fan fiction, in my unofficial poll it seemed that nearly half of the fics I ran across were written in present tense. I’m sure most people don’t mind, but I think that’s why I began to transition from fan fiction, to published M/M fiction.

This move coincided with more availability of M/M fiction on Amazon and other online book stores. Brick and mortar stores hardly ever carried gay fiction, especially gay romances and mysteries.

I early discovered the joy of reading an e-book, first on my Palm Pilot and then on my phone. I remember my joy that on the night that Evan Lysacek won his Olympic Gold Medal for skating in 2010, I found a great selection of gay fiction on Amazon.

After that there was no going back. I first was a ferocious reader, then turned into a ferocious writer.

I’ve had to boost my skills from my fan fiction days. In fan fiction the writer concentrates on plot, creating an exciting, interesting, or romantic story. I had no trouble with my plotting skills, but missed out on one big part of writing. With fan fiction, characters are created for you. Writing your own fiction, you start from scratch. Let me tell you, coming up with compelling characters is much harder than you think.

Still, I think I’ve managed it, at least enough for Dreamspinner Press to publish two of my stories. The first is a short story called Love on the Tarmac, published as part of the Bare Studs anthology. And coming up on June 29th my very first novella, Murder Most Yowl, will hit the shelves. You can find the Yowl here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/murder-most-yowl-by-quinn-dressler-7201-b

Oh yes, that’s another advantage of writing for publication: you can get paid. Writing fan fiction is fun, but not much good to fill an empty wallet.

Still, fan fiction has come a long way since those early Trek days. From mimeograph machines, to websites, yahoo groups, to reading FF with an app, fan fiction is here to stay, and for me a complement to published fiction, filling gaps that no published story could ever fill.

I do love my missing scenes…

Till we chat again.

Quinn

Quinn’s always been thinking up stories. A shy kid, she conjured up adventures while walking home from school. At first she only kept her tales to herself, then she shared them through fan fiction and short stories. She got a job with local TV stations, passing on noteworthy events to viewers on the evening news, winning a Golden Mic and three Emmy awards. Now as long as her cats don’t help her by walking on her keyboard, she’s working on writing more stories so everyone can enjoy them.

Find Quinn at:

Blog: https://quinndressler.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012216971417
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/quinn-dressler
Twitter: @dressler_quinn
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/41984299-quinn-dressler?utm_medium=api
Email: quinndressler@gmail.com

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