rain-proof wrote a bit about 1796 Broadway coming to an end this morning, and I’ve been waiting to do it all day.
A year ago, I wrote an in-character letter to rain-proof as a little encouragement boost when she was having trouble with her fic. I don’t, as a rule, write fic. I wrote some short fics when I was in Hogwarts Elite, but those were never more than a few thousand words, and usually under 1000. I don’t read fic, either. It’s not an objection or dislike or anything— I just don’t read a lot in general. But I’d heard so much about, and felt so invested in, Rain’s current fic, that I wanted to do something for her.
Then people started asking if there would be a reply. The idea of a reply didn’t make sense— I didn’t want to hijack her story. But— and I don’t remember which of us suggested it first— we started talking about writing together.
It wasn’t the first time we’ve talked about writing together. Once, back in 2007 or 2008, we even went so far as to set up a forum to write a story about magic-users in a sort of 19th century curio shop. But we wrote for a day and then got too wrapped up in our roleplaying game. We role-played together quite a bit— until our two characters turned out to be too sensible for the plot and literally got up and left the story.
But something about this clicked. I don’t know if it was the interplay, the necessity of replies, the fun of the subject matter being superheroes we both loved from different angles and different entry points in the canon, but it worked.
The rarity of finding a creative partner who is so entirely on the same page with you, who wants to tell the same kinds of stories in the same kinds of ways, and whose weaknesses and strengths complement your own weaknesses in strengths in such a way that you’re better together than you are working on your own is amazing. It’s something I’ve looked for so many times and never quite found the right fit. And as someone who is at my essence a social creature, who doesn’t do well approaching anything alone, creative partners who work are something I have always yearned for.
Somehow, whatever we did together…I don’t know why, but people responded in a way that exceeded our wildest dreams. Our story drew a following, people who read it every morning, people who commented and discussed and speculated and puzzled out the clues to the plot. And the more people got involved, the more we wanted to make the story better, because now we had an audience, and we wanted to deserve their attention and praise, we wanted to give them more things to discuss…
It spiraled, but it spiraled in the best way, and somehow, from an epistolary fanfic, a group of readers built an amazing community.
I feel so grateful and so humbled that this resulted from a story I was responsible for. A year ago, I was feeling pretty bad about myself, and seeing that this was something I could do for other people made all the difference in the world. I am honestly so overwhelmed.
I got up at 7:30 and posted the last chapter, a routine I’ve held for nearly a year now, of posting as soon as I get up, of setting weekend alarms. We never once missed a day, in 361 days.
It took hours for it to sink in, that it’s over, that I’m not going to have all the people who have followed along with us for a year, who have been so generous with their thoughts and their time, to poke at me with quips and questions, with glee and tears and everything in between. It’s like coming down from a high, it’s the precipitous drop after an adrenaline rush.
But I know this isn’t the end, even if it’s the end of this story. I learned so much from our readers about storytelling, about our perceptions of characters, and the broad spectrum of possibilities for how the same lines can be read in so many different ways. So it’s an opportunity for more, for new, for better.
I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has read the story, commented on the story, recommended the story, written work inspired by the story, contacted me over private message or email, or even just listened to me babble or vent about the story. My life is richer for having you in it, and I can’t begin to express what it means to have so many people take such an interest in a fanfiction. When you’re doing something like this with no expectation of compensation, the interaction and community— which are really the reasons I’m in fandom to begin with— are absolutely the most important thing. Thank you all. If any of you ever have questions about what we did or how we did it, or want advice, or just want to chat, or who knows, please never hesitate to hit me up.
This was an incredibly special and unique experience, and I know it won’t be duplicated in my life. It was an absolute gift.
And Rain? If you’ll allow me to reverse roles for a moment, I’m not as good at—at anything as I am when I’m doing it next to you. And that’s the truth.