I published a little fiction in my last post and several of you were very positive about it. A few of you asked for “more” so today I thought I’d tell you the story of the manic author. (This is not fiction, but I sort of wish it was.)
You know how a lot of people dabble with writing in high school? They might keep journals, write poetry or stories, or just write for fun. That was NOT me. I remember having to write something for an English lit class and practically getting sick. Fiction was not my thing. Poetry was REALLY not my thing. I would just sit and stare at my paper. (Yes, in those days we used good old fashioned handwriting.) I had writer’s block forever.
This all continued through college. I always had great grades and could write any non-fiction or technical paper but forget fiction. It just never happened.
Fast forward to age forty. Yes, that would be about twenty years or so out of college.
I had had manic episodes before and had done all sorts of things but I got centered on the computer. The whole internet world was new to me at that point and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
One night I was watching television and I saw this celebrity on there. He was about 28 or so and looked pretty cute to me. (Remember, I was 40, married, and had three kids at this point.) So with my hot desktop computer, I decided to look this guy up on the internet. Well, lo and behold, there was a huge website about him. There was information on things from the kind of socks he wore to how he liked his eggs. It was pretty extensive.
At first, I just read a lot on there. I saw who some of the “important” posters were and which threads were popular. Little by little, I decided to post a few things of my own.
Now I did not want to seem weird, so I passed myself off as much younger than I really was. I liked this internet thing. You could be just about anyone you wanted. This was back in the day when it was hard to find out where someone lived from their IP address. And everyone else was pretty anonymous, too. We were all scared some psycho would get our info and show up at our door with a machete.
I quickly made some friends on the site. One of them I got really close to. (I actually wound up sending her money, but that is another manic story.) One day, someone suggested that I check out the “fanfic” part of the site. I had no idea at all what this was. I had never heard of it. But I found out it stood for fan fiction. All sorts of people wrote fictional stories about celebrities. Some of these were pretty steamy, other were about the person and aliens, others were just G rated. You name it, it was on there.
I started reading some of these stories. Many of them were incredibly long. But they were addictive. Once I started reading one, I couldn’t stop until I finished it. I quickly learned that some people on the internet are really bad writers and some were pretty good. Every once in a while, I’d run into someone excellent.
Most of these stories were written in a serial format. The author would post a chapter every day or two and people would post a lot of feedback. All kinds of feedback. Some people would tell the author what they wanted to come next. Some would critique the hell out of the chapter. Others would just say “oh, it made me cry…..” I can’t really explain how emotional people got over these stories. I have to admit, it did make this guy come alive in a weird way.
The romantic stories about this guy were sort of a joke. I mean the authors would give the character incredible attributes. No man could possibly come close. I always wondered if this guy ever read any of this stuff and what he thought if he did.
Well, you probably know what happened next. I decided I had to write a story. I knew I could write a story at least as good as half of them because I could put a sentence together and I could spell. And I didn’t have to worry about plot: girl meets celebrity, they fall in love and get married (after having chaste sex), they have a kid or two…you get the idea.
So I started writing. And I really got into it. I posted a chapter a day. And these were not short chapters. I would get up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and start writing. It would take me an hour or so to put the chapter together. And then I would hang around the computer desperately waiting for feedback from my readers. I never edited this stuff. I had no overall plot or theme. I just sort of let the story come to me as I went.
I got lots of feedback. Most of them wanted more sex. I hated writing about sex and I avoided it like the plague. This was a wild group of women! But basically everyone liked the story. I had quite a following. And this was from someone who had never written a story or anything before.
I attribute it to mania. There’s just no way I could do this now. Making sense out of nothing and writing intimate details about some guy I don’t even know.
This story went on and on and on. I can’t totally remember how long it got, but I know it was some amazing amount. (I will try to find out for you before the next post. A friend of mine actually saved a copy of this thing.)
Don’t you just love mania? You can’t make this up. Part Two will be on the way soon.