Essay Non-Fiction posted February 17, 2015

This work has reached the exceptional level
A Brilliant Treatise On Fanstorian Addiction

I Say, This IS the Real World!

by michaelcahill

I have two reasons for continuing my association with Fanstory. One is to improve my skills as a writer. Two is the social interaction available with what I call, "my own kind".
These seem to be unrelated aspects. On one hand is the serious opportunity to grow as an artist. If growing as an artist were important to you, as it is to me, then it would stand to reason no other reason would be necessary.
If meeting like-minded people to interact with were your goal then that would be reason alone to continue membership.
I've come to realize it is the unique combination offered here that draws me to this site. My investment in the people here cushions my reactions to the realities of honing a craft that can be subject to brutal and often unfair critique.
I'm sure we have all felt like we are "spinning our wheels" here. We post a piece anxious for a reaction. Instead of a reaction, we receive a series of bland cookie cutter reviews saying nothing. Indeed, it isn't even clear if your piece was even read. Or worse, a self-appointed authority trashes your work and tells you it is of no value. Or, even worse than that, a know-nothing talentless moron trashes your work and tells you it is of no value. Sad to say, all the stellar reviews and praises sung on high are not enough to quell the horrible feeling of doom that hits me when I receive a poor review. It doesn't matter that intellectually I know it is meaningless and even laughable. There is still that part of me yearning for approval and trembling with doubt anxiously awaiting an opinion.
The great thing about this place is, I can go right to private message and send a note to a friend bemoaning my sad fate. On top of that, I'm likely to receive a response agreeing with me and telling me to not worry about it. In other words, I can talk to my friends here and they really are friends. No other site has that dynamic. Yes, I have looked and looked long and hard.
I realized after a few months here that I had practically fallen in love with a couple of the members. The beauty of this place is that we don't bring any of our physical limitations to the table. We bring our hearts and souls. We share our highest highs and our darkest lows. I've revealed things here that no one else on the face of the earth knows. Hell, I'm one of the most secretive people you'll ever meet. Yet, there are a few people here clever enough to sort through my "fiction" and deduce things about me that could get me in huge trouble! But, I trust the people here.
When I graduated from high school, it marked the last time I saw ANYONE with whom I went to school. I did look up an old girlfriend thirty years later and found her, but that is the only exception and another story. The point is, I'm not a big fan of people. There are very few people I've met in my life that I'd drive a mile to see if I didn't have to. I'm happy to hang out with my wife to be honest. I LIKE her. There are several people here I'd look up if I found myself in their neighborhood. I'd go out of my way.
Well, I get carried away with the social aspects of this place. It amazes me that we develop true friendships here and truly care about each other. That, I believe, is the true reason for the so-called Fanstory addiction. I don't think the writing and reviewing alone would make me feel so compelled to check in every chance I get. In fact, I'm certain of it.
Now, back to point one. I want to improve as a writer. I'm serious about it in spite of the amount of time I spend joking around and acting silly.
All of the resources I need to improve as a writer are here. They are here for everyone; whether you are brand new composing your first piece or you're an already accomplished author.
If you are a novice, this place is crawling with people happy to teach you. They aren't difficult to find. Express the interest and you'll find the help. If you're already advanced, post that novel you're ready to send off to the publisher. There are people here who can give you tips to improve it.
Did I mention that all of these special services are free? Yep, some of the best writers on the site will take the first chapter of your first novel and give you a wealth of expert advice on how to improve it, as well as what your strengths appear to be. FREE!
If you want to get an idea of the value offered here, then go online. Google "editing and reviewing" and see how much real dollars these services cost. I can't put a price on being able to have an ongoing discussion about writing with one of the many professional level writers here. We have a host of published authors, professional editors and proofreaders. Most are happy to discuss their craft.
We have English teachers more than willing to help you with your grammar. I made it all the way through college with lousy grammar. I learned grammar here at Fanstory in about a year. I didn't learn it during twenty years of formal education.

Are you stuck with how to approach your novel or short story? Try calling Stephen King to discuss the difference between first person and third person point of view when telling a story. Wouldn't that be nice if he'd discuss it with you? Well, there are top writers here at Fanstory who will.
This is a topic that most Fanstorians could go on blathering about endlessly. I'm especially wordy, so I'll try to close this out.
This is a site where you can meet like-minded people and develop lasting friendships. At the same time, you can pursue your dreams and improve the skills you use to do the most important thing you do, write.

The question isn't, "Why am I still here at Fanstory?" The question is, "Why would I ever leave?"



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