Progress Report – January 2017

Progress Report – January 2017

January 2017 ended up as yet another quiet month for Star Trek fanfiction writing.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing. Because at that site, the forums were removed due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, nada!

However, at this time, I have no replacement. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on, I continued to post The Point is Probably Moot.

Finally, on Wattpad, I posted the end of Ohio. And then I started to post You Mixed-Up Siciliano. And on the @WattNaNo side of things, I added How to NaNoWriMo.


See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I continued to edit The Real Hub of the Universe. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. As a result, I have been working on outlining a sequel and I will also look to line up a group of beta readers.

Prep Work

Because You Mixed-Up Siciliano already existed in draft form on Wattpad, I next created a draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells. And that turned out to be Spring Thaw.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

As always, sometimes the muse just takes a vacation. And that can be extremely frustrating! I ended up working for three separate companies and that, of course, made me rather busy indeed. Furthermore, I wanted to take something of a break. The Real Hub needs editing and beta reading, and that means I need to take any changes into consideration before I can really get started on the sequel.

In addition, do you like this page? Tweet it!

Finally, you can find me on .

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 0 comments

Progress Report – December 2016

Progress Report – December 2016

December 2016 was another month where I posted only older stories. Because I was busy with finishing up this year’s NaNoWriMo project, I could not work on new Star Trek fan fiction.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing! Because Russian spammers continued attacking, we decided to take the forums down. However, the good news is that I will be reposting as blog posts. However, this meant the read counts ground to a  screeching halt and I won’t have a good way to check them. By making this change, Temper was left unfinished on that site. And as of the writing of this blog post, the replacement does not yet exist. Hence postings will become even more curtailed.

And on, I posted the end of Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain. So then I was able to start to post The Point is Probably Moot.

Finally, on Wattpad, I posted the last of A Long, Long Time Ago and then segued into posting Ohio.


See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

This month was all about finishing the November 2016 NaNoWriMo book, The Real Hub of the Universe.

Prep Work

I spent some time getting prompts together for the @WattNaNo profile on Wattpad. The idea is to make next year easier. Hence as I think of prompts, I just add them. And I have been asking other people to help me with making the prompts. However, the real issue is getting someone to post the daily prompts during November, when I am slammed.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Between finishing the NaNoWriMo book, podcasting, blogging for two podcasts, the wedding blog, the nursing blog, and my own health management, there was simply no time for fan fiction! Oh, and I also looked for work. In addition, I was saddened to learn my one-time collaborator, Justin Miller, passed on.

So do you like this page? Tweet it!

And you can find me on .

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, 0 comments

Progress Report – December 2014

Progress Report – December 2014

December 2014 was the holidays and more.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | December 2014

So I was rather busy. Hence it was a good month to add stories to context. And that was just as well.

Hence I added the following stories to In Between Days context: Linfep Linfep Linfep, About Nine Months, Faith and Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

In addition, I added the following stories to The Times of the HG Wells context: Where O Where; and Dishing it Out.

Plus I added the following stories to Hall of Mirrors context: The Conspiracy, Gilded Cage, That’s Not My Name, It Had to Be You, Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

To respond to a prompt about family and provide a little holiday story, I wrote Eight.

Finally, on the G & T Show website, I added Smash Your Dominion and Wider Than the Sargasso Sea. In the Gentle Slash topic, I added Red and A Perfect Note.


So on the 12th of December, Untrustworthy was published!!! It’s been quite a wild ride.Untrustworthy

Ten stories have over 4,000 reads and over 50 reviews. So see the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked on The Badge of Humanity, the third and (presumably) final story in the wholly original Obolonk trilogy.

Prep Work

I worked on the jespah site, modernizing it. And I am really happy with it now. I also spent a lot of time on promoting Untrustworthy, requesting reviews, etc. I was even interviewed!

This Month’s Productivity Killers

I was published! If course this was a fantastic reason to not be writing fan fiction. I also worked on wholly original work so that kept me away from fan fiction writing.

Work! I started working as an SEO Specialist, too.

Like this page? Tweet it!

You can find me on .

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 0 comments

Progress Report – November 2014

Progress Report – November 2014

November 2014, I wrote for NaNoWriMo. Hence this was the second Obolonk book, The Polymer Beat.

Posted Works

So I continued posting Reversal on Wattpad and The Three of Us on up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | November 2014 And on the G & T Show forums, I posted Across the Universe and began to post Hold Your Dominion. Also, on Ad Astra, I unexpectedly got an idea and added Gratitude, yet another take on Lili killing She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time.  Hence I added that story to the In Between Days Collection, along with Bomb(e), Dishing it Out, Flight of the Bluebird, Red, The Decision, and Theorizing.


There are over 75 stories with (combined) at least 10 reviews and 1,000 reads. Of those, 17 have at least 20 reviews and 5,000 reads, and three of those have 50 or more combined reviews and 10,000 or more combined reads (Intolerance, Reversal,  and Take Back the Night). So of non-Star Trek stories, three of the six posted (I’m not including Untrustworthy or the Obolonk stories in this group) have over 100 reviews, and two of those have over 6,000 reads (Revved Up and The Social Media Guide).  Revved Up has over 30,000 reads, which makes it the second-most read individual story after Reversal on Ad Astra, and third-most read when you count combined reads (Together beats it with over 31,000 combined reads). So see the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I spent the month doing NaNoWriMo! I added over 50,000 words to The Polymer Beat, which is the second book in the Obolonk trilogy, and finished the story. This was also a productive effort for other reasons. Because I could put together many stray loose ends. These became a preliminary outline for the third book, The Badge of Humanity.

Prep Work

I spent some time splitting up Everybody Knows This is Nowhere in preparation for posting it on

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Apart from NaNo (technically not a productivity killer at all, except that it kills non-NaNo productivity), the main issues were schoolwork and looking for work.

Like this page? Tweet it!

You can find me on .

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 2 comments

Progress Report – February 2014

Progress Report – February 2014

February 2014? Oh. My. Gawd!


Progress Report – February 2014

On February 4th, I learned that Untrustworthy had won Riverdale Avenue Books‘ first-ever NaNoWriMo competition! So they sent over a contract, and I signed it! I AM GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!!!

Stop the Presses, Part II

Revved Up is going to be featured on Wattpad, starting the second week in March!!

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | February 2014

First of all, on Wattpad, I finished posting The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat. Also, in response to a request for valentine poetry, I put together the three sonnets from Intolerance and called it The Golden Lady and the Knave. Plus I combined Complications and The Best Things Come in Pairs into a short story for Valentines’ Day and called it Loving the Alien.


Furthermore, I posted the two TOS Mirror Universe stories, That’s Not My Name and It Had to be You, as one work, called The New Captain’s Woman. Because these smaller groupings of stories seem to get the best reception, I added the four slash-type stories, under the general name, Future Matches. So those stories are Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation, The Way to a Man’s Heart, There’s Something About Hoshi, and There’s Something Else About Hoshi. And in order to add to the read counts for the Gina Nolan universe, I started spinning out Hold Your Dominion, which will also include Good-Bye.

To round out Clockworks: Times of the HG Wells, I added Calendar Turning Event #3111, Mirror Masquerade, Paradox, kes7’s Survey Says …, Stocking Stuffers 2013 (Auld Lang Syne only), and Meeting of the Minds. Hence this finishes up context for the time being for that series. For the monthly challenge, which is about the origins of holidays, I posted Legends.

In addition, for Valentine’s Day, I added Finnan Haddie to Archer’s Angels.

On, I continued posting Flight of the Bluebird.

On the G & T Show forums, I finished posting The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat. I also made a promise to post the Emergence series next as there was interest in it. I decided to begin with Intolerance, as that is essentially a prequel. This is the M-rated version of that story.


He Stays a Stranger made it to 10,000 combined reads! On TrekBBS alone, Reversal went over 5,000 reads! See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked on the wholly original story, The Obolonk Murders. I started a wholly original short story, Truth in Advertising.

Prep Work

I worked on the website and brought the lists of wholly original fiction and Mirror Universe stories here to the blog. I shared my big news with pretty much everyone, too.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

In addition, I continued at school at Quinnipiac University and that naturally took up a great deal of my time.

I was also genuinely bowled over by all the attention I got from getting a publishing contract. So I’ve been livin’ the dream.

And I’m still shoveling snow.

Progress Report – February 2014

This isn’t me, but it could be

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 2 comments

Lessons from Fan Fiction

Personal Background

Lessons? Yes.

I have been writing (with considerable time off), in some form or another, for the past 4 1/2 decades, no exaggeration. My initial writings were crudely drawn images in old calendar books that would have otherwise been discarded. Inevitably, they were all about more or less the same thing – anthropomorphized dogs going on adventures.

I used to own (many of them used to be in my parents’ house) little plastic farm animal toys.



Plastic animals

Many of these came from my father’s business trips to Munich, and they were fairly well detailed. When not drawing picture books, I would play act stories for these toys. Usually, it was some sort of journey.

The toys still exist, but the old calendar books are long gone, in some landfill somewhere (they were discarded before recycling was really mainstream).

As a teenaged girl, I had diaries, but all of those are also gone to a landfill. I did not get back to writing anything resembling fiction until my senior year in High School, when I had an AP English teacher who encouraged such things. I took Creative Writing in college, and a Law School boyfriend also encouraged me to write. Then I set it all aside until maybe 2000 when I did some short works and then started writing fan fiction in 2004.

After a few more short works, I set it aside until 2010. Ever since starting up again (with Reversal), I have written something pretty much every day, whether it’s Star Trek: fan fiction, wholly original works, blogging and/or fiction outlining.

Lessons Learned (in no particular order)

Write to keep writing

While I suffer from writer’s block, just like every other writer, I suffer from it less than I probably should, because I make an effort to write nearly every single day. This keeps it all going.

Take and Keep Notes

I have a large timeline for fan fiction, spanning a few millennia. I have other timelines for wholly original fictional universes. These are kept with MS Excel. Timelines are incredibly useful, as you immediately know things like ages, and if character lifetimes overlap.

Fiction Stacks lessons

Fiction Stacks

I keep wikis (more like informal detailed outlines, as I am the sole contributor) for all major series, and separate ones for wholly original fiction. These are for world-building, and they contain everything from character heights to birthdays to naming conventions for various items. It’s all decided once and the references are at my fingertips.

I also keep a list of plot ideas, which also contains possible titles, species ideas, possible character names, etc. (Eriecho was originally going to be Klingon). This ‘parks’ new ideas so that I can concentrate better on the story I am trying to finish.

Don’t Throw Anything Away

Character names from 1986 have shown up in fiction written in 2011, no lie. A quarter-century later, and in a different universe, the names still work.

Your Work Should be Shared

I belong to several writers’ groups online, both for fan fiction and for wholly original work.

Fan fiction in the making lessons

Fan fiction in the making

There are a lot of people who are terrified of sharing their work with others. These are not people holding back because it’s work they want to try to have published. They just plain aren’t ready to share anything.

And that’s unfortunate, as their work can stagnate with no feedback. Fiction isn’t meant to be hidden away, locked in a drawer somewhere.


Constructive Criticism is Gold

English: Crystaline Gold lessons

English: Crystaline Gold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone providing constructive criticism of any sort is fantastic. Being told that I need to define a character better, or provide more details, or that a scenario is not credible – any and all of these criticisms makes me a better writer. Learning to take constructive criticism graciously was an enormous lesson for me.

Destructive Criticism is Dirt

While not everyone will love what I have written, I’ve learned to separate critiques into constructive and destructive, and can tell the difference.

Vermont dirt, up close. lessons

Vermont dirt, up close.

There are those who go into reading a fan fiction who are biased against a particular series, or character or character pairing, etc. They might dislike a certain plot point (e. g. not everyone likes time travel), or they just might dislike all fan fiction.

Most of what these folks say is not worth reading, or repeating. Fortunately, I haven’t run into too many of these folks in my travels.

As for those who engage in personal attacks, they should be blocked without a second thought. No one needs to be trashed in order to be effectively critiqued. Ever.

Do Your Research

In one of my first-ever fan fictions (There’s Something About Hoshi), I misspelled MACO as MAKO, and a reader corrected me. At the time, I was overly sensitive and felt it was petty. I have since come to realize that of course this person was correct. They were only trying to help me get better.

Pay it Forward by Reading and Reviewing Others’ Work

Sitting back and expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting of reading and reviewing is pretty selfish. Writers, of course, should take care not to steal from each other, or plagiarize. But the building, nurturing, and sustaining of writer communities means that you, the writer, need to also become the reader, and the critic. Always be a constructive critic.

Practice and Edit

Not writing does not make you a better writer. Only writing, and reading, can make you a better writer. So do both.

Don’t Crowdsource Your Ideas

I see this a lot, where potential writers, terrified that they have a bad idea, ask their peers for a judgment about whether something is a ‘good’ idea.

This is bass-ackwards. Instead, writers should be writing. Their ideas are, likely, perfectly fine. Why do I say this? Because most ideas are fine; it’s their execution that demonstrates quality, or the lack thereof. Consider the following story idea.

Kafka lessons


A suddenly disabled man is late for work one morning. Ignoring his new infirmity, he tries to go to work, as he is the sole supporter of his mostly ungrateful family. When they become, by necessity, more independent, they abuse and neglect him and, unappreciated, he eventually dies. They go on without him.

Don’t know that plot? It’s Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, easily one of the top 100 (if not 50) works of fiction ever written. Ever!

But that plot summary isn’t too promising, eh? It’s in the execution where Gregor Samsa comes to life.

Your ideas are fine, except for the idea that you need others’ approval before you can start writing. Nonsense! Write anyway.

You’re Better Than You Think

Unless you are out and out plagiarizing someone else’s work, there is probably someone out there who will like your writing. That leads to my next point.

Find Your Ideal Audience

Sites which cater to, say, only Star Trek: Enterprise will not appreciate Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction as well as sites that focus on it. That may seem obvious, but it’s a point that people sometimes seem to miss. If your work isn’t being read, try other sites. You might do better elsewhere.

Fix Your Technical Problems Before Posting

Always look over spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word choice (e. g. make sure you are using the right words, and they mean what you think they do), and grammar. A few stray errors are fine, but try to fix most of it before posting. This is a courtesy to your readers.

Not Everyone Wants to read your entire Saga

Readers’ time is as precious a your own.

Busy lessons


Their not wanting to read your entire 10 million word saga is less a reflection on your abilities (or their love of your work), and more on their own busy lives.

Expecting your audience to read your entire saga is a discourtesy. You are not being respectful of their time. Respect their time by mixing in some short stories as most people can find the time to read something less than 10,000 words (even better, less than 5,000).

Compete With your Peers

This ups your game considerably. Put yourself out there, and don’t expect to win. Competitions are also a great way to get more people to read and review your work.

Keep Track of your Stats

You don’t have to be as analytical as I am, but it pays to at least have a handle on what’s popular, and what isn’t. These findings will probably differ from site to site, and having objective data means you’ll have a better idea of whether a story will go over well or poorly at a particular site.

Use Your Time Wisely

We all have lives, so writing time often has to be rationed. Determine what you want and need, and how well various sites satisfy those wants and needs. Do an informal cost-benefit analysis – does a site offer ease of posting? Better critiquing? A bigger audience? A better-matched audience to your work?

Build a Readership

Book reader lessons

Book reader

When I learned I was going to be published, I told pretty much everyone in my network. A lot of people said they were excited about potentially seeing my wholly original work in print. This is not only ego-gratifying, it’s also, potentially, a source of reads (and even sales) and reviews for professional work. I’m not saying to become a writing mercenary.

Rather, cultivate and nurture your most loyal fans.

That doesn’t just mean being kind to them (which should be a given), and thanking them (another given); it also means listening to them. Do they want to see more original characters? A new horror story? More time travel? Do they think your last book dragged in the middle? Take them seriously. They are really trying to help you succeed. Let them.


I have come a long way from picture books that I showed to no one, and stories that I left to rot in a trunk and are no more. Fan fiction has improved me as a writer, and has taught me to believe in myself. It has led me to becoming a published author. I owe it a lot.

Thank you.

You can find me on .

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Inspiration-Mechanics, Meta, 6 comments

Progress Report – November 2013

Progress Report – November 2013

November 2013 was my first-ever NaNoWriMo!

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | November 2013

Because of NaNoWriMo, I mainly did not post. However, I did continue spinning Take Back the Night out on

I was also persuaded to answer the monthly challenge on Ad Astra, which was about remembrance. I wrote and posted In Memory of Kelsey Haber, and I responded to a weekly challenge about headlines with the Rona Moran-centric Gossip gossip.

In order to see if it would be a good place for some more of my less-popular works, I decided to add my two related slash stories, Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation and The Way to a Man’s Heart to The G and T Show’s Forums.
Progress Report – November 2013

Also, in order to see if it made any difference, I added three wholly original stories to Wattpad, There is a Road, The Dish and Revved Up. As expected, the first one in particular did better than my Star Trek fan fiction stories. That site is, it seems, better-geared to completely original fiction, mainly because their fanfiction section is so overwhelmingly dominated by One Direction fan fictions and the tweens and teens that write it.


For individual read counts, the following stories have 20,000 or more on one URL –

For individual read counts, the following stories have 10,000 or more on one URL –

All of these were accomplished on Ad Astra.

In addition, the following stories have between 5,000 and 9,999 reads on one URL –

Combined Read Counts

Apart from the others at over 5,000 reads for just one URL, the following combine to 5,000 – 9,999 reads when you consider all postings’ URLs –

WIP Corner

Progress Report – November 2013

I worked on Untrustworthy, my NaNoWriMo story, and got to 51,000 words on the fourteenth. So I decided to see if I could publish it, so I’ve been keeping it offline for now.

I also worked on a much older wholly original story, The Obolonk Murders, to see if I could finish it and get it into publishing shape at some point.

Prep Work

I created and maintained an Untrustworthy wiki.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

NaNoWriMo! Plus I continued looking for work.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 1 comment