Writing is so much harder than the decades of technical stuff I've done. With technical stuff, usually I know when something is going to work or not work according to some criterion. Even when the criterion, itself, is really hard to get and can, pretty much, never be gotten completely right as someone always comes up with some new, crazy idea on how they want to use it; it's at least a good measurement before I actually make the thing and give it to someone.
With writing, I can never be sure if it's going to work until someone says, "Wow... I got that."
I love my Twin Souls beta incandescens and my other betas mysocalledhell, stark_black, and calmingeffects for giving me that initial push of, yeah, that'll work... thank you, so much.
I know I'm going to miss someone, and I'll be sad about that. But it seems good to at least try, given that I went ahead and did that other list of close friends and probably missed someone with that, too. I'll try it chronologically, too to give it a little structure.
It started with incandescens and amberley and shaterri all sending me tons of anime. Mostly, ironically enough, with amberley, even though he never actually reads any fanfiction at all. incandescens introduced me to Bleach years and years ago by sending me the first book of the manga. amberley, on the other hand, started shipping me boxes and boxes and boxes of manga and anime and when he went to Japan, brought me back stuff as well. He got me into Right Stuf soon after I retired, and I also bought boxes and boxes of stuff.
Hm. Maybe I should say it really started back in the Chatsubo, but that might be going too far.
Anyway... I still remember a conversation with amberley and flit about this "slash" stuff and we were giggling a lot over some pairing in an ice fishing shack; and it amuses me, far too much, that nearly seven years later I'm now one of those...
From the boxes and boxes of stuff, along with playing video games with Jet (specifically Kingdom Hearts II) and looking stuff up for the game, I ran across more of this fan fiction stuff and started getting intrigued. Plus, watching four or five episodes of Bleach every single day finally started bleeding into my dreams. Dreams were the start of all my fiction in November of 2007, so it seemed natural to want to write from them.
After a long conversation with incandescens and two or three small things that she encouraged and probably asked other people to read, I started Twin Souls. I'd done a lot of "starts" last November with my own novel ideas, and I couldn't quite bring myself to actually write them out. I wanted something... easier to start. Something where I could exercise all the things I knew I'd have to be able to exercise in plot, character, research, and depth of world building and description that I really wanted to pursue for the long term. I trust incandescens's knowledge of Bleach and her practiced skill with using English really effectively, and she's been wonderful through the writing of what's turning into an epic. I thought it was only going to be eight chapters, at most, when I started. It's now at 20 and still rolling.
rasetsunyo I found through incandescens, and it's fun to admire her art while she admires my writing and we both have our own strengths. She's taught me more about how to just have fun with this stuff.
Twin Souls brought me calmingeffects and shadowgirl1605. bellumina and mysocalledhell got dragged in through shadowgirl1605's speed-ficcing. That was insane to me, to try and write that quickly. April's disappeared for the summer, but all the others are now good, solid companions on IM whom I depend on in different ways. I've learned a lot from them and learned a lot about them, and, I hope I've returned some of that value. They, along with incandescens, really initiated me into the methods, nomenclature, and how fan fiction works and spreads on livejournal.
By actually reading kurosaki_clinic on a regular basis, I found letmyself_go and had fun commissioning both the Jyuushiro that is now this entry's icon and a Zoot suit version of the two Captains. I still drool at nearly everything she does.
Twin Souls also attracted zangetsugirl, whom was very patient with me when I started asking detailed questions about what shikai really meant. Her comments on my fiction always make it obvious she *gets* so much of what I put in it that it amazes me. That always gives me the incentive to keep putting everything I can into each chapter. It's been fun talking with her about other things, and reading the other fandoms she writes for, especially her very character and plot driven fics for Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers.
calmingeffects then introduced me to the works of stark_black. And I read all of her stuff nearly obsessively, commenting on every chapter of "I Come to You in Pieces" in one night.; and then diving into her fic that wasn't even related to fandoms I knew nothing about. I think it was the combination of being able to do really complex, powerful emotional work along with clean, clear action and a solid plot that carried readers along that really attracted me. Admittedly, the fact that she was so successful in pulling readers in really made me want to understand how that works, too. I pretty much stalked her, her email box, commented on every entry, and then nearly died she asked me to beta "Memories" even though I knew next to nothing about One Piece.
calmingeffects also introduced me to the works of 2metaldog, I'll admit I started just with the Ukitake/Byakuya heavy bdsm fics because I'd been thinking of something along the same lines for... well... forever, but hadn't had the courage to write them down. Hers were there and perfect. And she shared a lot of other interests that I have, and that was really cool. She's a really interesting person and it's fun to share perspectives on things that we both have done. I read through all her Saiyuki fics in a week as technically they were excellent. They were also really hot and I loved her characterizations of those beautiful boys. I commented as I went and I think the comments have started a really cool friendship. But her work, along with calmingeffects's constant encouragement and support, gave me enough courage for me to start writing my Ukitake-bdsm fics.
On seeing those stark_black stunned me by asking me to write with her. Giving Grace was the breathless result of that. I'm still... bemused to find that I now have such a creative, intense, and supportive relationship with her, now that I... it still leaves me speechless sometimes. Thank you for sharing.
stark_black was the one that introduced me to Y!Gallery, and that's where r0ck3tsci3ntist found Twin Souls. And that friendship, though relatively new, has come up with hundreds of fun parallels, shared attitudes and interests, and it's going to be a lot of fun to explore that. That she loves my writing always amazes me when I love her art so very much.
There are also dozens of people here, fanfiction.net, and from Y!Gallery that I'm starting to get to know a bit better, like ginnyvos, ai_ici_lover, and nikita_cheri111. And there are probably still more threads and tendrils going out from all that that will bring me more friendships in the future. That amazes me.
Especially since I've so rarely had solid relationships with women other than the technical ones I've always known, this is all entirely new territory for me. Thank you all for making it so much fun. :-)