My Stomach is in Knots


Sam Update!

This is a bit of a side adventure about fanfiction. But it’s also a story about writing the story in your heart and believing in yourself, and how good things can happen when you doubt yourself the most.

Something just happened to me, and it’s something that’s so amazing and incredible that I am not sure I can even adequately capture it for you in words.

Let’s start with the beginning… in the Naruto fandom, there are a few people who stand out in the community that just… everyone pretty much knows them. There are the fanfic writers who are well known for a particular style or a particular character. Then there are also a few artists who constantly produce works of fan art that are so incredibly good that they pretty much represent every good work of art for a given character.

These people basically become celebrities to the fanfiction community. If you read/write/draw the fandom and are even remotely serious about it, you KNOW who they are. You can’t help it.

So the story begins when I found a fan art. It’s an amazing, scorchingly hot fan art that redefined the way I saw a ‘Ship that I’d never even considered a ‘Ship before. It’s flawless. It’s wonderful. I’ve shown it to so many people I can’t keep count, like LOOK AT THIS PERFECT PIECE OF ART. It simply cannot be overstated. I bookmarked it. I saved it to my computer so I could easily share it with others. I saved it as my desktop for a time, just to keep having a look.

And then I read a fanfic from a friend of mine, and it sort of started to hint at this ‘Ship, and I told her she should write that one. She countered with “Why don’t you?” It was a ‘Ship outside my comfort zone for a couple of reasons. 1) It involves a character I fear ruining with my writing (he’s already flawless without my help) and 2) It’s a homosexual ‘Ship, which I had no experience writing and didn’t feel as if I had a right to.

But I respected this friend’s opinion, and we got to talking about it. And then I got to thinking about it. And then I was seized by an idea that would not let go. It was such a powerful, stubborn idea that I got myself out of bed and stayed up several hours into the wee hours of the morning on a day I had to work to write the first 12,000 words of it. Within 10 days, I was done writing it. All 53K of it. And then I edited it, and then…

… then I got in a bit of a snit with someone on Tumblr, who reinforced the feeling that I had that I had no right to write a homosexual pairing. They tore me to shreds because I defended a canon married couple in opposition to a popular M/M ‘Ship that included the husband in the fandom and agreed that it was odd how heterosexual women fetishize homosexual males by voraciously writing and enjoying the work (I still think this is weird… but for ME. If this is something you enjoy, no one should tell you not to). I’m a straight ally (err… mostly straight), and I was struck down so harshly that I stopped writing for a while. I almost deleted the story I wrote. I definitely sat on it for a long time. I ended up composing a 5K disclaimer about why I wrote the story and how you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.

And then one day, in a brief moment of defiance, I just fucking posted my fanfiction and shut the computer down. You know why? Because I wrote it. And I liked it. And the story had to be written so I did it. And one jerk on Tumblr wasn’t going to stomp on something that brought me so much enjoyment.

So now back up. Remember those artists I was talking about? The ones that are so amazingly talented that they’re basically famous in the Naruto fandom?

A few weeks back one of them lent their extraordinary talent to illustrate a scene from THIS fanfic. I came on here and blogged about it because I was so excited. It’s my background on my desktop now.

Breathing Glass Fanart


This is what happened to me today–

I logged on for a Tumblr break. I don’t love Tumblr because of what happened to me a while back. But I looked up at my toolbar and I had 2 messages. I never have messages. A while back I sent a picture of a Team SoloMid jack o lantern to Dyrus, so I thought perhaps he’d finally responded.

It was another of the brilliant artists, best known for their work with Itachi and Shisui. Two full messages, about how they would draw the whole story if they had the time. About how I’d mastered the dynamic of the relationship I characterized. About how convincing it was, and how drawn into the story they were when they were reading. About how I surprised them with every turn and kept them engaged throughout the entire story and never devolved into cliches. About how “that is so rare, especially with such a long story. It was also great to read language-wise. I hope I brighten up your day with this message because you deserve to feel so confident about your writing!”

I was in the room with my mother and sister at the time. I try not to discuss the content of my stories, especially given this one was one of my more… ahem… explicit ones? But I sat here and pushed my computer away. My stomach fell and clenched into knots. Because OMG, I know this artist. And OMG, they’re amazing, and-and-and… they LOVED my story? They want to draw it, more than once? It’s like any other big name celebrity casually strolling and fangirling about something you’ve done. I even said out loud, “Oh my gawd!” And I gasped a little and covered my face and looked around, completely shocked that life was continuing as normal even though THIS was happening. “This amazing artist just sent me fan mail. I don’t think you understand,” I said. [They don’t].

So just in case I’ve lost you throughout this narrative, let’s recap.

  1. I was inspired by a Fan Art from an artist I have great respect for to write a story.
  2. I wrote the story
  3. I almost didn’t post the story, out of fear.
  4. I posted the story.
  5. The artist of the Fan Art that INSPIRED the story just sent me fan mail.

The artist has no idea. Time to let them know.

Now excuse my while I go cry and/or throw up.

Note: I would post the artist for you, or the fan art, save I don’t currently have permission. Let me see if I can get it.

EDIT: Permission GRANTED! Here they are: Fifi-la-Fumeuse/MalignedAffairs DeviantArt Gallery

Here are a few more of their works:

au_shisui_by_fifi_la_fumeuse-d62pxmz waves_by_fifi_la_fumeuse-d65hqv8 yakuza_by_fifi_la_fumeuse-d6sxmuu


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: Frankie:

Posted on November 7, 2015, in Sam Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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