You read that right: Fan Fiction.
Yes, let’s get it out of the way now, here’s the confession – I write fan fiction.
What kind? Star Wars? Star Trek? Supernatural?
Not science fiction or fantasy, nothing like that. Although they have their own thriving communities. I write fan fiction for one very specific area. Downton Abbey.
Why Downton Abbey?
Sometime around September 2015, life went a little mad. My husband’s health plummeted, mine followed shortly behind and the whole world was just way too scary to be dealt with. My doctor agreed, put me on some tablets and signed me off work for a couple of weeks.
For those few weeks, and for the following month, I did little other than watch Downton Abbey.
I was new to the show. I’d never seen an episode before. But there were four glorious seasons, plus Christmas Specials, all ready and waiting for me on Amazon Prime. I could watch them on my laptop, my tablet, even on my phone. And so I began to watch them on repeat. I would get to the end of season 4 and go back to the beginning of season 1 and start again.
Because, quite frankly, for all of its drama and angst and upheaval, Downton Abbey was a much nicer mental headspace to be part of while my own world was falling apart. And when I have finally wrung every drop from the characters, plot and world that I could, I was still hungry for more. So I started reading fan fiction about it.
Some of it was terrible. But much of it was excellent, and it lead me into the beautiful little world that is the Downton Abbey fan fiction community, who are largely resident on fanfiction.net and tumblr.com
Eventually I started writing fan fiction, with particular focus on Anna and Bates, my two favourite characters. And then, to my surprise, the reviews started to flood in… They were like a shot in the arm for my confidence and self esteem, and the words carried on clattering into my keyboard.
By the time I emerged from my Downton Abbey haze, I had written over 100,000 words… including numerous short stories (yes, including some smut) and two long stories of multiple chapters with overarching plots.
And you know what?
I am proud of them.
Can we read them?
I battled with myself for ages over whether to include them here on Project Shandy. I mean, some of the shorter ones are pretty smutty, so I doubt they’ll make an appearance, but the two long ones are some of the finer work I’ve written in the last few years. And they are proof to myself that given the right passion and framework, I CAN write something of 30K+ words in length. And therefore, given the right starting point, I WILL write the novel I have always wanted to write one day. I just need to wait for the right now.
So I will be including the stories here for linking and reading. If you’ve not watched Downton Abbey, they might not make an enormous amount of sense. However there are plenty of summaries around on the web. The second story is more accessible, but I think the first is more powerful (and more adult in its themes). I will give them ratings in accordance with the fanfiction.net website, so upon your own head be it if you choose to read them.