I Heart WritersBy:
I sent my first fan letter to my favorite author in 5th grade.
It’s been 36 years now, and I’ve never gotten a reply.
I may have forgotten about that letter myself, but I keep getting reminded. It was an assignment with many options; I was the only one in the class that chose to “write their favorite author” and the teacher raved about my work to the whole class. Evidently, it made an impression on them. Years later, in high school, or while briefly at home during the college years, I would have former classmates ask me, “Hey, did that author ever write you back?” And I would always respond sadly, “no, she never did.”
The crushing hurt from this oversight has diminished over the years, particularly since I learned the author in question, Carolyn Keene, writer of the Nancy Drew series, doesn’t actually exist. The books were written by many different people over the decades and quite frankly, it’s hard to hold a grudge against a non-existent person.
But this may explain one of my favorite aspects of Twilight fan fiction, namely, the communication between writer and reader. If you send a writer a chapter review or more often a private message (PM), sometimes she will actually write you back! And oh the joy that floods my soul…I love getting responses. Honestly.
I idolize writers. Well, I idolize really good writers. Always have; probably because their creations take such a strong hold on my brain. I am in awe of any person with an exceptional imagination that allows me to get on board and take flight with them, away from all this hum-drum reality we’re forced to live in.
Can you imagine the joy of interacting with Jane Austen while she posted chapters of her masterpiece on fanfiction.net? We’d probably send her reviews that read, “That Mr. Collins dude sure is a creeper. I’m glad Lizzy turned him down…but I like Mr. Wickham, and hey, I think Darcy may actually be a pretty decent guy. Could you put more of him in there??” She would no doubt answer with a flowery 200 word treatise on the concept of “patience”, but I would still be enthralled with her reply. Though we readers probably have very little influence on their stories, we do enjoy discussing them…especially with the story’s creator.
Please allow me one word of caution on this subject. I think I’ve made it clear that getting a response from a fanfic writer puts a huge smile on my face and makes my insides all tingly. The problem is…sometimes I feel twinges of guilt. My conscience says, Hey you! Don’t you realize how many people, including you, are waiting for a chapter update? And you’re wasting her time sending her PM’s that she feels obligated to answer? Selfish much??
For that reason, I’m careful about who and why I message. I would never send questions requiring a reply to tby789 or DeviKalika for example, because I don’t want to waste their time answering my silliness when the whole fandom is desperately craving chapter updates to “
The Office” and “
Oh, Inverted World.” Have patience, young grasshopper (That’s what I call myself…young grasshopper.); everything will be written in due time. I only send PM’s when I’ve found a typo or two, (When it’s chock full of typos, I generally don’t waste my time.) or when I have something to tell the author that the whole world doesn’t need to know about.
I have enjoyed a brief, dignified correspondence with a few fanfic writers about their creations. (One such is
Lambently. You’re all reading “
Mind’s Eye” right? It’s deliciously creepy.) I love the interaction with the author and my conscience stays completely guilt-free.
And I still squee and do a little happy dance whenever I get a reply.
You can blame my reaction on that god damn Carolyn Keene.
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