A couple years after I discovered my love for reading, I decided to try writing my own stories. I always had a few rattling around in my head, mostly based around my favorite movies and shows (fanfiction before I knew of the term). I think it was the summer I turned 12 or 13 was when I tried to write my first book. I think it was something like urban fantasy by today’s standards. All I remember is that it was supposed to be centered around two modern monarchy countries where the princess of one country and prince of a neighboring country fell in love. They or may not have been vampires. I got a few pages in on the first day and even found a photo for the book cover. Well, the next day I went to add to it, and the file was corrupted. I could open it, but all the words had been transformed into a jumble of letters and symbols. I was devastated that my first attempt had gone so poorly that I didn’t try creative writing again for two years.
When I was about 14, I was on a forum for one of my favorite TV shows, and someone mentioned the site Fanfiction.net. To my surprise, there existed an entire website based on the same type of stories that occupied my brain. I eagerly signed up and poured through stories for my favorite forms of media. But then I was disgruntled that one particular movie series didn’t have the type of story I was looking for. Then I remembered that quote by JFK “don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Side note: the quote was plastered in one of the classroom halls at my middle school, so that’s how I remember it. Back on topic, I realized that I’d have to write the fiction I wanted to see. Sure enough, once I started romance stories about the main character (he surprisingly had very little) of the movie, other people started doing it as well. Not everyone finished their stories, but I managed to finish a few. Then I started writing for other movies and tv shows, and then I learned of the sister site FictionPress.com. I put a couple of original story ideas on those (paranormal romance young adult and adult), but they didn’t do well. I felt disheartened at first but then decided to change my strategy. I created another pen name and wrote a lesbian story. It was a hit, and I was happy that my writing was finally getting some recognition. It took me awhile to finish it, and I even started on a sequel series for it. But then the sequel didn’t get much traction, so I stopped. Oddly enough, I did get a series of reviews for both last year by someone who read through both stories.
I still wandered back to fanfiction every once in awhile, but I also wanted to eventually write a book. I did NaNoWriMo a few times, but never turned any of those into novels. When a creative writing class in college turned out a really good short story, I tried to turn it into a novel. I even enrolled in a program to help me do so, but at the end, I was just wasn’t happy with the end product. I couldn’t get to the core of the story or come up with anything that made sense for the book as a whole. I expressed my feelings with several author friends, and they told me not to give up. I still felt upset over the whole thing and took a break to try and find out where I went wrong with my novel. I did a lot of research and realized I didn’t like my book anymore because it felt too cliched. I wrote it before doing genre and trope research, but sadly even the new knowledge didn’t give me inspiration. It did at first, but then rewriting it seemed so complicated, and I didn’t have the motivation to do it.
Then I discovered Ellora’s Cave and realized that people could make a living off writing smut. It took me a couple years of dealing with personal issues that popped up in my life before I was finally ready to take my desire for an author career seriously. I browsed through Amazon picking up best-selling erotica and how to write/publish erotica books. After a few more months of research, I got the DBA for Dana Kenzi and launched my first book. A lot of original ideas I had did not make it to the writing or publishing stage, and I’m fine with that. Most of them weren’t even good ideas. It’s been a process finding story ideas that I want to write and that people want to read, but it’s better to put an idea out there and see the response rather than to not try it at all. You learn and move on. Self-publishing is an ever-changing career, so there’s always more to learn.
And that completes (more like summarizes) how I got into creative writing. This is a mostly condensed version since sometimes I have trouble remembering what happened when, but this is the gist of it. If you’re thinking about self-publishing too, let me know! I’d love to read your work when it comes out.
Much love, Dana Kenzi 🙂