When I pop open my computer at 6 am, I don’t check my email. I don’t check Facebook. I check my dashboard to see if anyone has liked my stories or left a comment on them. Likes, or kudos, are awesome. Comments, though, are the best.
I woke up to three comments this morning and began the day with a towering sense of accomplishment. These aren’t likes or comments on the articles I write for my job. No, I wake up for likes or comments on my fanfic. My pornographic fanfic, to be exact.
Because even though I spend my days writing about motherhood and current events, I spend the rest of my time writing about sex. Specifically, sex between TV characters I didn’t create.
Most people would say this is an inherent waste of time.
I would tend to agree, except it turns out that I’m very good at it.
This all started in college, when as a joke, I wrote a Harry Potter porn for my roommate (only God can judge me, and yes, they were of age). She thought it was hilarious — and also kind of hot. Fanfic was always out there, always waiting for me when I ran out of TV universe and still wanted more. Mulder and Scully from The X-Files on hiatus? Time for some fanfic. Fringe over and done with? Let’s hit the fanfic. Except a good bit of fanfic is “shipping,” or romantic link-ups between characters, which inevitably leads to steamy sex scenes of varying competence. I was in the middle of reading The Magicians fanfic, jonesing for some straight porn instead of the inevitable Quentin Coldwater/Eliot Waugh stuff everyone writes, when it dawned on me: I could just write my own. I am, after all, a freaking writer. And I write good sex. I know I write good sex.
So I gave it a shot.
People loved it.
I got loads of comments and kudos on my very first smut. People said it was super hot; they told me it was great and I needed to keep writing. My vanity kicked in. I wrote a sequel. They loved that one, too. So I wrote another sequel, also loved. I tried my hand at a Fringe threesome between Peter, red-universe Lincoln Lee, and blue-universe Olivia. Turns out I could do decent gay sex, as long as I stuck to the basics, and women (i.e. most of the fanfic readers) love gay sex, especially if there’s a woman involved (I know, I know). I turned to Sherlock and The X-Files.
I finally broke the news to my husband. He laughed his ass off. Then I let him read it. “That’s 245% more graphic than I thought it would be,” he said, and I collapsed into laughter. “What did you think it would be?” I asked. “He sexed in the door, sexily?”
“Okay, it was really hot,” he admitted. “I can see you in it. And now I really want to take you from behind.”
So now he reads all my pornographic fanfic. For ideas. It works for both of us. I find I have more confidence in bed, because hey, I’ve already written it down, or I’ve had to do research to see if a certain position will work. He knows what I like. Win-win.
But why fanfic? Why not write my own characters? Well, there’s no audience for random people having sex, at least not outside of pornhub, and every writer wants her stuff to get read. Second, I find it an exercise in character and dialogue: can I make these people sound and act like they’re supposed to? And it’s fun to play in someone else’s universe, a blast when I can have Eliot and Margo from The Magicians sound as bitchy and quippy as they do on the show, or when I can make Mulder from The X-Files as deadpan as he’s supposed to be. It’s priming me to get back into writing my own fiction, which I haven’t done in about a decade.
It’s also just plain fun to write literate porn that doesn’t use stupid-ass words like “manhood,” and “quim.” I feel like it’s a gift to the world. It’s certainly a gift to a group of dedicated fans I’ve developed, who encourage me to write more and give me suggestions on where to take my stories next. Most of those stories are PWP (plot what plot, or “this is all about fucking”), but some have actual narrative. Those end up pretty good, too, if I do say so myself.
So when I’m stressed out, when I’m bored, when I just want to write some more, I sneak open my computer or my phone (google docs is an amazing invention), and start writing, always careful to keep another tab open that I can quickly flip to. Only a few people know about my secret: my husband, my work bestie, my college roommate. Not because I’m ashamed of it, but just because I know I’d get massive judgment from everyone for writing fanfic, let alone fanfic porn.
In fact, you’re probably judging (or stereotyping) me right now.
Well, fuck you. It’s fun. Let people like what they like. I happen to like writing characters from The Magicians and Fringe in non-canonical threesomes.
One day, I’ll migrate from fanfic into my own work. Today, however, is not that day. I’ll click through my dashboard multiple times, looking for comments and kudos. I’ll finish this assignment, then spend my limited pre-kid time coming up with new and inventive ways for Margo from The Magicians to cuss people out. It’s stretching my writing wings. It’s shouldering my way into a genre I haven’t written in for years, one where I get to describe not only sex, but also set scenes and write realistic dialogue and develop character. Mostly, it’s fucking fun, a stress relief from the mundane and the boring and the everyday.
And if it helps my sex life along the way, thats a bonus too. I’ll take it.