- Guest Post by Tracy Sweeney
Many years ago, before I had an adorable nephew who loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates and a gorgeous baby niece who I am going to just ruin, my sister and brother-in-law went to Mexico for a romantic getaway. As soon as my sister landed back in the country, I got a frantic phone call from her. No, she hadn’t lost her luggage and she didn’t need probiotics. (Well, maybe she did. That wasn’t why she called.) She needed me to read a book. About vampires. Um, ok? I hesitantly agreed to read it after I finished the rest of my grown-up-big-girl book for book club. I wasn’t a big fan of young adult books so I was in no rush.
That was sadly the very last selection I read for my book club because once I picked up the story about vampires, everything changed and my life took a very, very strange turn. It’s a turn that led me here, so it can’t be all that bad because you guys seem fun.
A lot of women share my story. We tore through the first Twilight book, ran out immediately to get the second, almost died plowing through the third and for me, were lucky enough to finish the week the fourth installment was released. I found myself reading all the time. It was all-consuming. And honestly, I needed my life back. I decided that I would just power through the series until I was done and then some sense of order could be restored to my universe. I couldn’t wait.
But finally, when I was done, I felt…empty. Like, what now? Was I really supposed to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo after that? I mean, I was fairly certain there were no sparkle vampires in Dragon Tattoo. So instead, I took to Google. I found fansites—places where I read about the filming of the movie, places where readers discussed whether they were Team this or Team that, places where they discussed Rob Pattinson’s hair. (Yes, that’s very newsworthy, ok.) But even Rob’s hair didn’t really fill that void. Until I found something else—a place for other stories.
I had never heard of fan fiction prior to stumbling upon the Twilight fandom. I didn’t even initially understand the concept. There was an entire online community dedicated to writing stories using the names of the book characters but in most of the cases, they weren’t vampires or werewolves. They were human. And there were no Rated-PG-Fade-to-Black scenes like the Isle Esme fiasco in Breaking Dawn. These versions of Edward weren’t as, well…gentlemanly.
I read voraciously—secretly on my phone twenty-four hours a day. I slept with my BlackBerry under my pillow. It was my dirty little secret. It made the long hours at home alone with a three-year-old and a newborn baby that much easier. I was tired and lonely and it was honestly my salvation because I’d swoon and blush and sigh and not feel like a mommy machine for just a little while.
I was astounded by the degree of talent that I discovered in these communities—women (and a few men) who wrote under pennames and crafted beautifully written (and often, awesomely racy) stories. I was inspired by these writers (and not just by the racy parts). The plots were solid and the stories were captivating—some utterly gut-wrenching. It was these women (and a few men) who got me to finally put the ideas in my head onto the page. For this, I’ll always be grateful. Because it doesn’t matter what or who you’re writing about. Your little story, as silly as it may be in your head, might be the inspiration for someone you’ll never meet. Someone like me. So it doesn’t matter where you’re writing. Just write.
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Genre – Chick Lit
Rating – PG13