Allison Wilcox is a freshman at Shawnee Mission East and is a page designer. This is her first semester on staff. Outside of Harbinger she plays tennis and enjoys hanging out with friends. Read Full »
Graphic by Meg Thoma
It’s 3 a.m. and junior Jessica Moore is sitting on her bed, meticulously checking her story for spelling and grammatical errors. After proofreading, she posts her story – a romantic fanfiction – on Tumblr.
Just after she hits click, she’s on to the next, checking her DM’s to see what her next story.
Moore has found a love for fanfiction. She crafts stories based on games and TV shows and now makes money off of them, up to $150 for a single story.
Moore’s fanfiction stories are based off the DM requests from her 2,135 followers – comparable to the average 500 for other accounts. She writes mostly romance stories about existing characters from TV shows going on adventures including defeating dragons and searching for lost golden treasure
“It also kinda helps me live vicariously through characters,” Moore said. “I’m probably never going to go beat up a dragon but I can kinda live through the characters doing that and experience it for myself.”
But Moore wasn’t always sharing her fiction online. Her mom, Jill Moore, wasn’t totally sold on the idea in the beginning.
Moore finally talked to her mother, Jill Moore, about setting up her own fanfiction account on Tumblr.
“I was a little skeptical,” Jill said. “From a parental point of view I was worried about safety and so we set up an email account that doesn’t use her name and a separate PayPal account that doesn’t have records to her name or location.”
Moore has been posting her fanfiction under the username “hypno-rose” since her freshman year. The name came to her immediately when she was watching a TV show and the show portrayed a screen of roses that seemed to hypnotize her.
Within the past six months, Moore’s account has gained over 1,000 followers.
In order to keep spreading the word of her fanfiction, she uses hashtags such as #writer, #writingcommunity, #commission and many more. This way, more people find and read the stories she has written.
In addition to writing fanfiction about Miraculous Ladybug and Disney characters, she also likes viewing other user’s work. Two of her favorite accounts are “bullysquadess” and “thelastpilot.”
Not only do these accounts write their own fanfiction, but they post writing tips which help Moore. “Show don’t tell” has been their most helpful piece of advice; now, Moore creates vivid images for a reader to imagine with her words, rather than telling them exactly what a scene is like.
Once Moore realized that people were interested in her fanfiction through all the compliments she had received, praising her humorous writing style, Moore realized she could make money off her stories.
Different usernames will direct message her through Tumblr and ask her to write about characters from “Grey’s Anatomy”, “True Blood”, and “The X-Files,” to name a few.
They will then negotiate a price. Moore charges $5 for every 100 words and gets her money through PayPal when she posts the completed story. Her stories are often 2,000 to 3,000 words. After writing for commission for three months, Moore has already made over $200.
“I like that it kinda gives me independence from my parents,” Moore said. “I used to ask them for money a lot and I definitely don’t need to do that now.”
Without all of her support from her family and teachers, Moore would not be nearly as successful as she is on Tumblr. One of her teachers in specific, English teacher Amy Andersen, has helped further her writing.
Before she posts, Moore seeks out many opinions. Whenever Andersen can find time to edit a paragraph or two in between editing ninth grade English essays, Moore appreciates it. Moore sends her pre-work to Tumblr friend “writersoffice” too, who spends one or two days critiquing and polishing Moore’s work.
Andersen says that Moore is an incredibly talented writer and a “rockstar.” Her favorite piece was a story about a girl named Serena who saved a castle ball from a dragon where Moore went above and beyond.
“She designed and sewed costumes for the characters in her stories, and it was amazing,” Andersen said
Ever since Moore had Anderson as her creative writing teacher, she has been able to critique her work, even though she is no longer in her class.
In addition to Tumblr, Moore also shares her stories in print, such as East’s literary and fine arts magazine, The Freelancer.
Moore submitted two pieces, both highly-rated on Tumblr, which will both be published in this year’s Freelancer after being accepted.
Moore’s work is spread across the country – even to the small town of Billings, Montana.
Moore’s grandfather lives in Billings and prints out each of her stories and runs them all across town showing the librarian, who continues to show more people so that everyone in the area knows the name, Jessica Moore.
Moore said that even if the demand for fanfiction ever drops, she still wants to continue writing and explore different genres to write about, whether it’s ghosts in the supernatural world or Greek goddesses in mythological stories to keep improving her writing skills. Her top goal is to graduate college and become a professional writer.