I started writing Jane Austen fan fiction for two sites last year. It’s been a lot of fun, and I thought I’d share some of what I’ve experienced.
1) Most of my readers are from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Canada, and Australia, but I also have readers from countries all over the world: Malaysia, Ecuador, Slovenia, Belarus, Philippines, Malta, Texas, and so on.
2) I’ve made friends. Through e-mails, I am corresponding with several people who I got to know through my stories. When my daughter got married, I received numerous “best wishes” e-mails.
3) I enjoy every review or almost every review. (I did have one person who swore at me when the story didn’t go in the direction she thought it should.) But of the hundreds and hundreds of comments, I’ve only had a few truly negative reviews. Those too have been helpful in improving my writing.
4) One reader (a young lady from England) writes her reviews using short phrases, colons, and parenthesis. ;) I had to ask her to explain them to me. Another reader sends only smiley faces, but it is appreciated.
5) Some people are angst weenies (I’m one of them). If they think something bad is going to happen, esp. to Darcy and Lizzy, they’ll send me a PM asking what’s going to happen.
6) A lot of people enjoy guessing where the story will go next. I’ve used some of their ideas in my stories. If you’re reading “Anne Elliot – I Am Woman,” the idea for Swoosh originated with an e-mail from someone who asked if I was going to do a spoof of Mansfield Park and make Fanny Price a secret agent. That idea eventually led to Anne connecting with a street urchin who knows the ins and outs of the bad streets of Bath.
7) Pride and Prejudice is by far the most popular Austen novel. Between the two sites (fanfiction.net and meryton.com), I had 1,200 people following my P&P stories. Only 500 people are following the Persuasion story.
8) Darcy and Lizzy may have to climb mountains to be together, but by the end of the story, they better be together.
9) There are dedicated readers who read the story within an hour of it being posted, but there are also readers who want to read several chapters at one time.
10) I love writing, and I would write even if I didn’t receive reviews/comments. However, I love getting reviews. It’s a way of connecting, and I enjoy it. I’m looking forward to my next year of writing fan fiction.