I’m reading a Candace Bushnell novel. I thought I should try reading some chick lit/women’s fiction/romance for research purposes. After all, that’s what I’m supposedly writing. The novel is One Fifth Avenue, and I hate it. I tried reading Trading Up first, and I hated that even more.
I have no experience reading chick lit. I’ve never had an interest before. My favourite authors are Stephen King, Maria Doria Russell, Cormac McCarthy, Ursula LeGuin and a hundred more I can’t list or I’d be here all night. Not one of them writes the kinds of stories I write.
The reason why I’m writing romance is pretty clear. That’s what you do when you start writing fanfiction. Stories in fandom are stories about relationships.
But maybe these stories we write in fandom aren’t romance at all, or chick lit. Or any of those genres that are so familiar in mainstream fiction. After all, fanfic is transformative. It changes the text it’s based on, it challenges perceptions about how relationships work, both romantic and platonic. Heteronormative, serial monogamy is the exception in most parts of fandom writing.
Why am I trying to fit my writing into a pre-existing category now? Simple answer: Because I want to publish. The problem is, right now, while finishing off my manuscript edit, I’m starting to hate my characters, just like I’m hating the characters in One Fifth Avenue.
I don’t want to hate my characters. I want them to be as they were when I created them. They were different, the story was different from what one sees published. But what if I can’t sell that story? I’d love to have the recognition one gets from publishing through the established channels, I won’t lie. But can that happen, really, with my kind of story?
There’s no answer here, just lots of questions. This post wasn’t planned, it just happened. Stay tuned, maybe I’ll have an epiphany one day. Otherwise, come looking for me on AO3. At least I understand the rules over there, and I don’t hate my characters there, either.