The Circus Appeal and the Importance of the Internet

Ever since we got the internet in our house and we were stuck with a dial-up connection, I’ve been reading stories online. I tried to read fan fiction but never really found the appeal (with two exceptions, a Spirited Away trilogy by Velf and a despicably evil Labyrinth piece by Subtilior, which goes by the name of Erlkönig), I even tried writing some. I still get emails from Fanfiction.net telling me that people have been commenting on that shame of a story, asking me to update even thought it hasn’t been updated in at least five years. It will never be updated.

But that is not the point.

My readings first started on Quizilla, where I read young adult fantasies. Then Quizilla became a haven of real-people fan fiction and I couldn’t stay there, the writing went somewhat down hill as all of the more popular writers migrated elsewhere and I followed. Mibba was next. After some searching, I have discovered that my profile is still there despite the much changed design of the website. None of my fiction is there, however. I am almost certain I deleted it before I abandoned the website for brighter horizons. What is there is a tiny blog entry in which I use the word ‘ponderation’. I do not remember much of my time on Mibba, it didn’t really stick. I don’t think I read anything remarkable.

Throughout this time I was dabbling on Fictionpress but there was so much on that site that I couldn’t really find anything that appealed; there was one story, I forget the name now (it has been a long time since I lost the link from my favourites*), which kept pulling me back to read it again and again. Delightfully original and definitely something I would buy if it were published. The writing was of excellent quality, better than I had seen before. With the internet there are no editors – well, that is not strictly true, more true would be to say that there is little quality control, anyone can upload anything and there are no rules as to how good the writing has to be. While this is good, it gives platform to those who otherwise would not be published anywhere, it also hampers enjoyment and perhaps undermines the importance of good, well-written prose. Of course, there are published novels that do this as well but again, that is not the point and I don’t think I should let myself rant about it right here in this blog post.

So, moving on from Quizilla and Mibba and Fictionpress now there is Wattpad. I frequented it regularly for a while, soaking up more fantasies and more writings but, even there, I found more stories that I couldn’t read than stories that I could. There were a few gems, some of which, like the story on Fictionpress, I still go back to read. As I’m a member and during my active days followed a few choice authors, I still get emails telling me who has updated what, which brings me to yesterday.

Yesterday, before I sat down to do my own writing (I took my own advice, see below post, and it really did help – such a good writing day! Ahem.), I checked my hotmail and for some reason decided to open one of my many Wattpad emails. Something I haven’t done for a long time. I am so glad I did.

Finvarra's Circus by Monica SanzSaid email introduced me to Finvarra’s Circus; despite my rather intense clown-fear, circus stories intrigue me. To me the circus is like something out of another realm which pops into ours every so often to give us a taste of what could be. (It is an aim of mine to see an oriental circus, one without the conventional clowns.) Myself and my creative partner-in-crime, Dress.Simple, are slowly creating our own circus. More on that later, when we embark on the next character, whoever that might be.

I was caught.

I knew DistantDreamer, as she is known on Wattpad, was an author that I appreciated. It had been at least a year since I had read one of her works and if I liked it then I would definitely like it now. I was right. Finvarra’s Circus is wonderful. It has a familiar archetype but a brilliant taste of originality especially with the use of Machina, who, I am happy to say, had/has a vivid picture in my mind. I felt what the characters felt and I saw what they saw. The story isn’t finished and while I tend to prefer reading a story once it is complete to avoid having to wait to find out what happens (impatience is my curse) I couldn’t help myself. I read all of the available parts and am now waiting eagerly for the next one.

I’ve not had an internet read grab me this tightly for a while so it is refreshing to have it. It’s something I would publish and I would buy if published. There is a certain power in posting work on the internet. There is little limit to the amount of people that can see it and this story has been seen by a lot of people. I hope it gets seen by more.

For the book world, the internet is magic. The internet allows authors to connect with their readers, readers can comment on chapters and authors can reply. This can be a blessing and a curse, there will always be bad comments. But there will always be good comments too, with any work, it is nice to feel it is appreciated. Tumblr is also a good tool for this purpose, more published authors are making accounts and communicating with their readers through the ask function. The internet is making the bridge between the author and their fan-base smaller and that can only be a good thing. Authors can market their works while sat on their sofas, surrounded by whatever messes they might make. (Not that all authors are messy, of course.)

Taking a leap back a few paragraphs, back to the circus and the wonders therein, my next read, between new chapters of the above, is to be Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and my next book purchase (when I can afford it and if I can resist the pull of Roth’s Insurgent until closer to the release date of the third book) will be de Quidt’s The Toymaker. After that, I am not sure. I need more circus-based fiction. Preferably of the young adult persuasion.

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*10/10/12: I have since found the author of said story and it has sadly been taken off of the internet.

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