The Art of Sharing

I have to admit, I’m still in bed while I’m writing this post. My little camping escapade really didn’t take any prisoners and I’m as sick as a dog. I would’ve gone to ride my horse today, but to catch him I have to walk miles and I just realized that I won’t be able to manage that. So, I’ll stick around, try and work on my word count and spend some time with you. Besides, sadly – I need to be ready for work again tonight and if it’s going to be anything like last night, I’ll need all the strength that I can get. It’s challenging working when you’re brains are leaking out through your nose…

So, I’m still on the NaNoWriMo topic and I think now is a good time to answer the question: What now?
You might now find yourself in a position where you have with a story that’s over 10K long. You’ve spend hours working on it and a whole month musing about it (maybe even more if you planned it before hand). The end is in sight and victory just around the corner.
The only problem perhaps is that now you have thousands of words and you have no idea what to do with them.

Let’s be honest. Sadly, very few of us will publish. Not because we’re not good, but because we like to procrastinate on our words. We sit on them and sit on them until we forget why we wrote them in the first place and we loose the courage to do with them what we wanted to do with the beginning. The reason for this is mostly because we have nowhere to go with our words… Or so we think…

About six years ago, I stumbled onto the website FanFiction.Net, a site that hosts the very popular but sometimes unknown stories of people who took other people’s ideas and make them their own. I’m not going to go into fan fiction in this post (as I’m brooding on it for another topic) but I’ll just briefly explain the term and say that it’s stories, written into other stories, but people who make absolutely no profit out of it. The site has a couple of main components:

  1. Registered readers and authors – just because you register doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write.
  2. A very good and effective feedback system – which is ultimately why most people post.
  3. A large archive of fics that have been written over the past five years.
  4. An easy to use interface in which you can submit your work.

Next to FanFiction.Net there is also its sister site: FictionPress.com. Fiction Press offers a similar layout for people with original poetry and literature. The possibilities on this site are endless. It has the same four easy base points that I pointed out up north.

These websites provide a very good base for anybody who wants to start putting their personal words out there for feedback. It’s safe to use, have some forums in which to interact with other authors and tons and tons of things to read. I’m always amazed at the effort that people put into their work, and I have to say in some of the categories there are stories that will put the original authors (this is now on FanFictionl.Net) to shame.

Other websites out there that does non-profit internet publishing are the following:
Ficwad.com – I’ve been on this website but found that it’s user traffic is not as good as FictionPress.com’s and FanFiction.net’s.
Adult FanFiction.net – Admittedly, I haven’t been here but I know of its existence. This is a website for stories with a content rating higher than NC-17.
Live Journal – No like provided, but I’m sure you all know what live journals is. Again, I’m not a member of it myself, but I’ve noticed that quite a lot of people host their stories on this site.
Various Target Sites – In Fan Fiction, you can find quite a lot of websites that’s dedicated to a specific genre. A good way of finding this would be to google something like: “Tomb Raider Lara Croft Fan Fiction”. These sites will come up immediately.
Free Web Site Hosting – I’ve been using freewebs for a while and find it a very easy, manageable web site creator site. (how’s that for worst line ever…) if you don’t want to put your stories or things in any of the other archives, but you do want it up on the internet, create your own website! That works very well as well. Just remember then to define your tags very clearly and make sure that it’s presentable.

Websites like these provide you with a means to get that one step closer to publishing. It makes you used to the idea (while remaining behind the anonymity of an internet pseudonym) that people are going to read your stories and have opinions about them. It makes you a little braver and, I have to say, a little better. It’s amazing how critical you can become on your own writing if you know other people are reading it. I can say this for myself; if you compare my first work with my latest the difference is enormous and it’s all because I became aware of my style and how it affects other people.

Yes, there is no real glamour in this safe for bragging rights, but it’s a start and one should remember not to take the reviews too seriously. Take them to heart, but also bear in mind that there are people out there who won’t like what you’ve done and who will point it out to you.
Never sit on your stories, no matter how bad you think they are. You don’t even have to put up everything. Write a story with the purpose of putting it online to see what people’s feedback is. It’s a great start and, I have to say – if I had not taken that first step years ago, you would not be reading me today. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “The Art of Sharing

  1. Fyrefly November 24, 2009 / 1:45 pm

    I hope you feel better soon. My cousins are sick at the moment too. So far I’ve managed to avoid catching what they’ve got and I’m hoping my luck holds out.
    I am really liking those websites and I didn’t even know about them until I seen them here a few days ago so, thanks for that. Actually, I didn’t know about fanfiction either, so thanks for that too. (Geez, I sound like I’ve been living under a rock or something)
    I don’t think I’m up to putting anything there, but I really like to read the things people have written.

    • Alyssa November 25, 2009 / 1:38 pm

      🙂 It takes time to develope that courage and trust me, it takes a lot of courage! I received a less than promising review this week and once again found myself thinking – why do I do it? Why do I open myself up to critisizm? Then – the answer came to me.
      Because, I like to and because I want to get better. 🙂

      So, don’t feel shy and don’t feel despondant because you have not taken that step yet, it will come – one day. 🙂

  2. Phil November 25, 2009 / 1:07 am

    Hey, Alyssa! [cf., Kim’s blog] 😉

    • Alyssa November 25, 2009 / 1:38 pm

      LOL, I saw you up there and I figured, why not? ;P

  3. Phil November 25, 2009 / 1:10 am

    Feel better soon!!

  4. GreyIxia November 25, 2009 / 1:30 am

    Hey, I hope you feel better too.
    I have heard a lot about those types of websites.
    Another is booksie.com. This one is cool because if you are writing a novel, there is an “add a chapter” feature so it is easier than starting a new entry each time, and you can add any other type of literature as well.

    • Alyssa November 25, 2009 / 1:40 pm

      Cool! I’ve never heard of that one. I did a websearch but only came up with the one’s that I mentioned. I know that deviantart also hosts stories, though the website is more art fueled.
      🙂
      Thank you!

      Good writing!

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