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[ profile] blevins prompted me: "What subjects are you especially passionate about when it comes to original fiction? What are your favorite kinds of ~stories—to read AND to write? Anything you love about original fiction. Tell me your original fiction feels."

"Original fiction" is a super broad term that can encompass any fiction that is not a blatantly transformative work, whether it be television or comics or movies, and even derivative works, depending on the approach, but for the purpose of this post, I'm going to assume it means the kind of indie original fiction you find on people's blogs, or original fiction in contrast to fanfiction.

I'm also going to divide the "stories to read" part from the "stories to write" part because they're such different things to think and talk about.

"stories to read"

I am a big fan of original fiction. I have huge respect for fanfiction and think it's a beautiful thing, but I've never been a big reader or writer of it myself. Original fiction shows you the type of stories people are passionate about in their purest form. A person can love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and write Buffy fanfiction but not give a shit about vampires or high school stories or other elements that come with the territory. So when I love the fanfiction a person writes, I want to see their original fiction a thousand times more. I want to see them in their purest form. It's like the stuff a comic book creator does as work-for-hire versus their passion projects, you know? They may love to do both and do both really well, but they would never have created that Marvel character they signed on to write. It's when you read their creator-owned work that you really see the kind of creator they are.

So I eat up people's original work, even at their shittiest. I want to see what kind of stories they would tell when given free reign. I like to see the characters they create because, my god, there's little in this world I love more than character creation. Bringing people to life! Man!

The type of original stories I like to read are the same types of stories I like to consume in any medium: stories with interesting and well-developed characters, a lot of heightened emotions, and exciting plots.

I'm going to rec some original fiction here, but the line between indie journal fiction and fiction that is out there in the published world is, of course, blurry.

- Captive Prince, a gay erotic political thriller by C.S. Pacat, is legitimately one of the best things I have read in my entire life. The first two books were posted on LiveJournal but have been taken down because Captive Prince was picked up by a publisher. The first two books can be purchased on Amazon. Check it out! It's so fucking good.

- The Posterchildren, a queer superhero YA novel and short story series by Kitty Burroughs, rose very much out of fandom as a community. Kitty has a fanfic and fanart background, and the covers for TPC are drawn by fanartists. All of TPC can be purchased from the Gumroad and Storenvy shops linked on the site for a low, low price.

- "Behind the Eyes of Sleepers," by the one and only [ profile] blevins, is a prose introduction to the characters in the novel she is writing, and it's phenomenal. A diverse cast of girls fighting monsters in the 1950s.

- "Sleepsong," a prose poem by NEN. There are also illustrated pages of part of the story in NEN's gallery. (The other one in this series I used to really like is "PUREWATER.")

- Pie-IX, an illustrated book by Jaida Jones and Kyla Sturgeon, is worth mentioning, but they never got past the first book, which is now out of print. Jaida Jones is co-writer of the Harry Potter fanfic epic The Shoebox Project and original steampunk fantasy novel series Havemercy. (The first Havemercy book is also excellent. I have middling feelings about the second and have not read past it yet.)

The other ones that rush to mind are a lot of mediocre stories, a lot of incomplete stories, and a lot of (really good!) porn that I will not be sharing with you because you don't need to know what kind of porn I like.

Also, I want to encourage indie writers to write their original stories, so if you write stuff and give it to me to read, I'll draw your character(s).

"stories to write"

I laugh a little at the idea of myself as a writer because while I've developed dozens of story ideas over the years, some of which I've plotted out in painstaking detail, my actual written word count is very low.

My biggest success is [community profile] dearcousin, which I co-write with [personal profile] sanau_du. It may be the only time I've ever broken 10k words on a single original project. I love the co-writing process because writing is grueling for me—just getting a few hundred words out in one sitting is a triumph—but we push each other to put something down. It doesn't have to be good or make sense. It just has to move us forward. Dear Cousin has been so good for us getting words out into the world that I'm currently writing the first chapter of another collaborative project with [ profile] amioneofthem. If it were my own solo project, words might never have hit the page without intense pre-planning. Instead, I think about how I have to hand it off to Silver sooner rather than later, and I write. I'm at around 2k, which for me is a huge deal.

So in that sense, my favorite types of stories to write are ones I'm writing with someone else.

But if I look at my entire repertoire of stories that I've developed, even if they haven't made it far on the page, there are a lot of teenage girls, ghosts, memory loss, and queerplatonic life partners. Also lots of sad people, lots of people getting shot or set on fire or otherwise dying.

I guess I like to write stories about people who have lost something and either figure out how to go on without it or destroy themselves first.

Anyway, I feel like I should post some of my writing, but as I've said, there isn't much of it and the link to Dear Cousin is up there for all to see. My thing with Silver isn't ready to be shown off yet. So here's the first page of Weddy & Sid, which I'm writing as a comic:

(I would like to tell you the cool thing I intend to do with narration throughout the story, but instead of telling, I should just finish the goddamn chapter and then finish the next eleven chapters and have a story that will tell you the cool thing itself. Write instead of talking about writing. Please encourage me to do the thing.)


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