I wrote Acclamation for the Museslash fandom. It was easy, but at the same time not; Museslash was and is a strange, beautiful beast that was born from that thorny place called RPS and grew into its own. By the time I started Acclamation, the fanfic writers that made up the fandom were trending toward Alternate Universe fics that would become the standard. A/Us were everywhere. A/Us continued to proliferate. Basically, the challenge was taking two templates with tertiary characteristics and a few traits to insert as shout-outs, putting them in a story together, and everything else was a free-for-all.
Writing in a fandom like that was challenging. It became a constant battle of nerves. It was also different from any other fandom I’d ever been in. While it was welcoming and caring, open and close-knit, it was also fiercely competitive in its own unusual ways. The more I thought about it, over the years, the more I realized that this was because of the fact that 98% of the fics produced for the fandom were 1) A/U and 2) long-form. Perils come with attempting either category, but when the two meet, especially in a fandom like that, the expectation becomes more dire. It goes beyond “write my ship” (there was, overwhelmingly, only one ship), “write my kink”, or “write them in-character” (because there wasn’t true character. There was no canon that didn’t feel skeezy. It was fucking RPS, everything was conjecture and nothing was universal). The only mandate was: write the best. That weird, thorny, subjective word: best.
Best is something we conflate far too often with “most popular”.