One of the perks to writing fanfiction that is shared online is the near instant gratification for an author. Responses can vary widely yet a good storyteller will generally find an enthusiastic and supportive audience. This has certainly been my experience. Until recently, my romance pairing Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast' with Ariel from 'The Little Mermaid' was the fanfiction that had received the most positive reception ('Land and Sea: A Belle and Ariel Fanfiction'). I corresponded with some excellent people while posting that story yet those interactions ended once the story was complete.
In March I began posting a story based in the 'Horizon Zero Dawn' universe. Since the fandom is still very young (the game came out in February 2017) there's a lot of interest in stories with not too many to choose from. I decided to write from the first person perspective of an original character, a decision which does not usually result in a lot of fandom interest (this story is called 'Looking into the Sun'.). People tend to prefer stories that focus on canon characters.
Despite this fact, the response I've received from readers has been enormously positive. When I was about halfway through my own story, a new tale featuring an original character debuted and I began reading it. The promising premise expanded into an intriguing, well-written and deep story. I was so impressed that I gave enthusiastic, lengthy comments for each added chapter.
The author, Kitewalker, responded to each comment and we exchanged engaging points about the story as well as writing in general. As I was reading other people's comments on her story, 'Out of Cryo', I discovered I wasn't the only one leaving detailed comments. leogrl19, an author whose work features stream of consciousness storytelling with poetic language, was also conducting discussions with Kitewalker through comments. I recommend leogrl19's 'Sunrise', 'Nightfall' and 'Aurora'. Soon those conversations were nearly as interesting as the chapters themselves.
Soon the three of us were commenting on each other's work and regularly corresponding. Our mutual interests in writing and 'Horizon Zero Dawn' spurred us to set-up a space where we could chat more comfortably (and less publicly). I'm pleased to say that this enhanced interaction has worked out beautifully. Both are amazingly talented and kind people who I'm lucky to have met.
I wanted to reflect on this encounter since I have never had this experience before and it's made me appreciate the connections that can be fostered through mutual interest. While it's true that relationships forged between people who've never met can fade, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to get to know people I would otherwise never encounter. Safety must always be a consideration when meeting strangers, yet fear is too often the primary response in our society. Had I not been willing to take a chance with these two authors I would have been denied the chance to expand my awareness and robbed myself of many laughs.