I believe that every writer has within them a story that can capture a reader’s attention and keep them riveted. The type of story that can keep a reader up until the early hours of the morning because they can’t put it down. Every reader out there will know what I mean. It is the story that no matter how late it is, or how early you have to be up in the morning, you have to read just one more page.
The question I am asking myself these days is whether it is possible to write more than one of those stories. You see, I think mine was already written back before I ever became published, when I was still writing ridiculous amounts of fan fiction.
In 2007 I began a story in my fandom that became my longest story ever. It came in at around 400,000 words and even though the story was finished in 2009 it seems to be as popular now as it was then. Yes, it is still online. The link is at the very end of this post for anyone who is really curious.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I was reading through my emails and replying to the reviews that the story still gets and once again I see yet more readers staying up until the early hours of the morning to read this story. Now, one of these reviews also mentioned something I had actually forgotten I included in the story and I went back to the site to have a quick look and remind myself that I had actually written what the reviewer was referring to. I had, and then horror or horrors I spotted a typo on the page. Well, that won’t do at all!
Since I am the queen of procrastination I decided to skim to see if there were any more and saw there were. So, despite having way too much stuff to do, I spent more time than I want to admit to reading through the entire epic to try to polish it up a bit. Yes, I know I have more important things I could be doing with my time.
Anyway, as I was reading it through I started to realise that this story is The One. This is the piece of fiction that people can’t put down, that gets rave reviews even now, years after it was completed. This is the story that gets the occasional bad review, but for the most part people enjoy it. It is a love it or hate it story, but at least it has never been called mediocre. Even now, more than four years after it was finished, it gets hundreds of readers every month.
What is it about this story that makes readers recommend it to their friends? Boy, do I wish I knew the answer to that question.
I guess it makes me wonder why I can’t even get close to emulating the popularity of this story with my original fiction.
Is it a case of my simply being better suited to writing fan fiction, or is it just that a writer can only write a story this popular Once in a Blue Moon?