Friend of The Collective, betty days (sadrobots) has 22 works on AO3, but I found her fics through a Twitter rec from one of my smut sisters when I put out there that I was in need of something on the NS side of NSFW. Consequently, “Words with Friends” is one of the smuttiest series (and a favorite) that gives a whole new meaning to term “sexting”. But Betty isn’t just a one-trick pony. Her capability for world building and bold characterizations within AUs make her work exciting and fun to read while keeping the boys in consistent character across the varied themes in her work. Her answers to the “5 questions” are honest and powerful, reminding participants in the transformative community the cathartic nature of writing as well as the benefit of a great support system.
xoxo The Collectiva Diva
Want your favorite writer to answer 5 questions? Let me know over on Twitter @collectivadiva
1.) What/Who inspired you to write fanfiction?
I started writing (not just fanfic, but narrative form in general, though before that I’d been writing memoir and poetry for several years) about six months ago because a boy I liked dumped me, and I had all this emotional goo floating around in my heart that needed to be funneled into something productive. I was scouring AO3 for a fic that just hit the spot, something long and fluffy and smutty and engaging that I could just drown myself in, and couldn’t find anything. For lack of anything better to do, I opened up a Word doc and churned out the first chapter of Sex 101 in about two hours, then promptly fell asleep. I woke up the next morning to an unheard-of amount of traffic. I was floored. That night, I wrote another chapter, then another, and another. The feedback I was getting was like crack to me. Suddenly the gaping emptiness that was left in the wake of being dumped like a wet sack of trash was slowly being filled by a loving and supportive community whom I’d only quietly observed for years. Every chapter I wrote healed me more and more, and by the time I completed Sex 101, I was like a completely new person.
2.) What do you look for when you read fanfiction? Are you reading anything now? What is it and why do you like it?
I really kinda hate how picky I am about fanfic. I look for tightly-knit, engaging plots that either revolve around or effectively weave in the romance. I look for unceasing amounts of romantic tension that only break in the (hopefully literal) climax of the story. I like ingenuity, creativity, and clever dialogue. I like people who take risks. I like slightly OOC AUs and gritty IC canon!verse. I like clean writing, free of unnecessary amounts of exposition and explanation, organized plots, and reasonable character motivations.
I’m constantly reading fanfic, and am incredibly thankful for the number of people who respect my opinion enough to request my feedback on their writing, or who want me to beta for them. I also enjoy encouraging new writers and utilizing my following to promote them. My “to read” queue is quite large because of this, but I try to keep my bookmarks on AO3 and my fic rec page (with filters!) on tumblr constantly accurate and updating.
3.) What is the favourite piece you’ve written and where can readers find it?
Right now, my WIP No Exit is thus far my favorite, because it combines everything I enjoy in literature: solid themes, psychological/philosophical questioning, and a hint of science fiction. My favorite one-offs I’ve written are Cut You Down and Constellation of Scars. My favorite completed novella is The First Five Times. All of these are on AO3 and are, of course, my least popular fics. Though there will always be a special place in my heart for Sex 101, Words with Friends, and Dean Winchester Is a Gay Virgin.
4.) Are you working on anything now and, if so, can you tell us a little bit about it? Fandom? Pairing? Plot points?
I’m working on three projects, actually. No Exit is about a third of the way completed, and I’m webbing out the rest of the story, which is a challenge for me because the plot doesn’t move chronologically. It’s a Destiel prison!AU mindfuck fic with heavy psychological and religious themes (as well as bare knuckle boxing and prison sex, don’t you worry). I understand why darkness and gratuitous symbolism don’t appeal to many in the fanfic world en masse, but I’m so so so grateful that my readers (who have named themselves Bettybabes) enjoy this kind of gritty tonality that I am wont to explore.
I’m also in midst of outlining an epic Destiel romance called Painted Fire, which is taking place in a universe I built a long time ago called the Mezzaverse (I am also the Dungeon Master of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign currently happening in this verse). Cas is a fire elemental necromancer hiding out in modern-day Arizona as a librarian (with three cats!). Dean is a firefighter with a badass sleeve tattoo and a mad crush on the hot librarian. The plot spirals into fantasy when Cas’ old demons come back to haunt him, and bring the Winchesters along for the ride. Best of all, there are gonna be dragons!
Lastly, I’ve decided to move into the realm of non-fanfiction and am beginning the world-building and character development of a young adult sci-fi novel called Dust. In three words, it’s about lesbian cyborg gladiators, and if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. I have no idea what pseudonym I’ll be writing it under, or if it’ll ever get published, so the best way to keep up-to-date on my non-fanfic writing if you’re interested is by following me on Tumblr, Twitter, or joining my mailing list.
5.) Any advice for aspiring fanfiction writers?
Three words: you do you. Write for yourself, write the stories that you want told and that you would want to hear, and put yourself and your soul into everything you do. The reason we tell stories is to feel a connection, feel some emotion, pull ourselves out of the humdrum of the day-to-day human condition. Don’t get hung up on whether or not what you’re writing is “good,” don’t set yourself to anyone else’s standards, don’t worry about what other people will like or hate. Share your heart with the people who are reading your words, because therein is where greatness lies.
Thanks for the words of wisdom Betty. If you haven’t read her work, there’s no better time than the present! Click on the links in the text above.