About a year ago, I made a series of 3 posts where I basically "came out" as a fan fiction author. If you want to check them out, I'll make it easy--you can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.
All caught up? Okay, then.
I caught some flack for it (as I expected--the fact that people look down on fanfic authors isn't foreign to anyone who writes it) but, in honor of Twilight's 10th anniversary, I thought I'd stick my neck out again and review why the fandom was so special to me and continues to have a place in my little writer heart.
The Twilight fandom gave me the courage to write. Sure, as I mentioned in the previous posts, a good deal of my writing fanfic in the first place was because I was annoyed with the source material--hey, you've gotta start somewhere. But the encouragement from others--positive feedback via reviews and emails, trusty beta-readers to look over your work before posting (kind of like in-between-editors---many authors still utilize them), and even the occasional troll only served to make me a better writer.
My passion for editing was also born during this time. I'd edited for a few people in college, but nothing serious. I enjoyed beta-reading for other fic authors and trading proofreading services. And when I ended up reading and approving well-written stories for a Twific website, I knew I'd found a calling. Writing and editing it was.
I very grateful to have met many friends through the fandom. Some were other fic authors; others were fellow readers. A good many I still consider to be friends to this day. I got to know my critique partner. I met people who would eventually become my coworkers. The author's group I now belong to includes several people I met while we were involved in the fandom. These lovely people (mostly women, but there were a few men) were, and still are, wonderfully supportive of others' writing. It was very much a reciprocal relationship; you'd support other writers, and they'd support you. Even better, many of these same folks are best-selling authors, having hit the NY Times list, USA Today, and Amazon categories. It's amazing to see people's progress and success.
So, for me, the Twilight fandom (which would obviously not have been possible if it weren't for Stephenie Meyer and Twilight) was an overwhelmingly positive experience I'm very grateful for.
Like it or not, when Twilight came out 10 years ago, it changed the face of bookshelves everywhere. Paranormal romance, though it had existed before this but was much more of a niche market, went mainstream for both YA and adult audiences. Vampires, shifters of all varieties, were-creatures--you name it, it was written. The same thing can be said for The Hunger Games a few years later and dystopian stories. And there'll be something else soon, I'm sure, and a fandom to go with it.
Without Twilight, I wouldn't be pursuing my dream of publishing my stories. So, thank you, fandom. You rock.