Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting Back to My Roots


Write what you know; but write what you love.

I'm back to writing fan fiction.

I'm not sure why fan fiction irks people. I mean I get the whole the characters aren't mine. I didn't think up the canon story line, nor the relationships that have been developed up to this point. I'm not driven to write fan fiction for every book or series I read. There needs to be unfinished business for me to feel compelled to write something. I need a connection to the characters or the story. I think anything that sparks your creativity and your imagination needs to be fed in some way.

I'd gotten away from this for a long time. I can admit I felt ashamed to write fan fiction, to admit that all the hard work I'd spent in front of my computer was spent on writing something that wouldn't come to fruition. There is a stigma that gets attached to fan fiction writers. People think we're not creative enough to come up with our own characters. Or build our own worlds. Or that fan fiction writers only copy from others because they lack the imagination it takes to write. Writing is hard. Regardless of what you're writing. It takes dedication to write. It takes supreme attention to detail to write fan fiction and write it well. And I could defend fan fiction writers until I'm blue in the face and it won't change anything. People- readers and other writers- will think what they want to think. You can think I have no imagination. You can think I don't have the talent to build my own world, to create my own characters. You can think what you want to think, it's not going to change who I am as a writer. I tried so hard to change who I was a writer and as a creative mind. If I only focused on writing my originals, eventually I'd forget about writing whatever popped into my mind. It's not mine. I don't have the right to play with them. I don't have the right to think about them. And I don't have the right to give them a story. I am a writer. My fingers dance over keyboard keys and fill up blank documents. My imagination runs wild and comes up with stories that I didn't even know I was capable of dreaming. I'm driven to madness by characters whispering in my ear. I'm driven by my ambition to make the story come true.

I am a writer, regardless of what I write.

You see, to me, writing fan fiction is like playing with toys. When you're little, you're taught to share. You go to school, you have to share dolls. One person plays with the dolls and gives them a story. When those dolls are put back in the box and you take them out, you give the dolls a new story. For me, fan fiction is the ultimate gift of imagination. Not all the stories are blow your mind good. Not all the stories are considered canon to the true story line the author has put forth. But that writer who felt compelled to write. The dolls in the box get new life breathed into them. We don't claim to have made the dolls. We don't even really get to claim the story is ours. Fan fiction writers do it for the love. Not for the love of the readers- those readers are in love with the characters and that's what brings them to your story- but love of the original story that gave us the imagination, the love of the characters the author brought to life and the love of sharing.

Our love is the dedication we put into our work. Not unlike the writers who write original fiction. The dedication you pour into every detail, every story line, every plot and subplot. A fan fiction writer is a worshiper of your dedication, of your imagination, of your creativity. We don't write stories to over shadow you. A fan fiction writer couldn't over shadow the author whom we love. We write stories to honor your talent. To give thanks to you for inspiring us, for sharing your characters with us.

So thank you authors. You inspire me. I may never publish. I may never do anything in my life but write fan fiction. But I'm happy and you inspired that in me. To be happy is the greatest gift you can give to someone. That's worth all the money in the world. It's more valuable than anything I can think of off the top of my head. I don't want the notoriety that comes with getting my book on the shelf. Or the countless people you have to make happy to do what you love. All the guilt and doubt. I don't want it. I don't want that overwhelming fear pushing me down when I think about all the pressure I put on myself. I don't want to be perfect and remember all those rules and regulations. I want to write for me and not give a damn about anything else.

And once I was reminded of this, I remembered who I wanted to be. I want to be me. A fan fiction writer. An occasion original writer. An anonymous girl who hides behind a pen name and email. That's me.

So thank you for reminding me. Believing in me. Kicking my ass when I need it and trying to hug me when you think it's appropriate. You're amazing at what you do. I want to be amazing at what I do. You inspire me to do so and never judge me for it.

Fan fiction writers if you read this, never be ashamed. Never hang your head. Never give up. Your story is important. Keep writing it. Your a writer, no matter what anyone says. I'm proud of you. I believe in you. Just keep writing.


28 comments:

Marnee Bailey said...

I don't know why you would feel ashamed of writing fan fiction, girlie. I'm a firm believer that every single thing we put on paper helps us grow as writers.

I've written all over the spectrum. Lots of subgenres. All romance, but that's about the only constant. I'm not sure how other people see this but sometimes I get the impression that skipping around in genres signals lack of discipline. But I've learned a lot working in different genres. Every one of them has its own characteristics, things that make it popular or appealing.

And lots of now-published people started in fan fiction. I say you should follow your muse.

Anyway, go you!! Which story or movie are you spinning off of?

MsHellion said...

Aren't there several mainstream multi-published writers who originally wrote fan fiction? And maybe still do occasionally?

Hell, haven't we been talking incessantly about THE fan fiction author who changed the setting slightly and the names of her fan fiction and published--which, by chance, was picked on and then everyone had to go and buy it? Clearly writing fan fiction was something she'd never sneer at.

I think writing fan fiction is a way to write without the pressure of thinking you have to write something "good" enough to impress a publisher. You just need to impress your readership...or not. Mostly you're writing to impress yourself, which can be forgotten when you're writing original work and trying to remember a billion things to do to make it "publishable." I also think fan fiction characters might behave better than "original" characters; and you have more material to pull from if they're not being forthcoming. That helps. But mostly I think it's you don't have to impress anybody.

Also there is a need to right a wrong. *LOL* Seriously get Ranger and Stephanie together. (I'm not even sure you're still doing fan fic about them--you have probably moved on.) And someone needs to give Stephanie a brain.

Plus you can publish chapter by chapter and get feedback--which is immediate and gratifying. You can't do that with a whole original book. People aren't likely to read that. *LOL* Though it's possible you could make it happen. I can totally see you doing a Charles Dickens approach.

I used to write fan fic--before I think it was even really dubbed that--about the YOUNG RIDERS. I had a crush on the Kid, but I think I would have had a love interest with every one of those boys. :)

P. Kirby said...

I got my start in fiction writing fan fiction although I never-ever posted it anywhere. As of late, fan fics have gotten a bit more respectable, but when I started writing/reading about, uh, seven or eight years ago, there was a significant stigma, particularly among published authors. Periodically, a kerfuffle still breaks out between fan ficcers and some published author who cries foul, screaming that their work is being stolen.

Lately, I have a hankering to write in a certain fandom. Trouble is, my current original WIP has fannish origins. It's NOT fan fiction, but it was inspired by a particular character and I'm sort of self-conscious about that fact.

I guess I don't want to be seen as another E.L. James...unless the association automatically comes with her bestselling status. :)

Christie Taylor said...

Marn,

I lack discipline myself. Not only am I writing originals still, I'm writing in multiple categories of fan fiction, with multiple genres. Even with my originals I can't stick with one category. Kiki and Dex are RS, heavier on the S side. Cin and Uri are fantasy.

What got me back into writing my original purpose of starting to write was I promised someone a present if they completed their goal in April of whatever story they wanted. And that story was a Ranger/Steph story (Janet Evanovich, Plum series). And it had to be something I've started previously and not finished (due to whatever). And since then I've been writing Ranger and Steph again non-stop. I've also written Morelli and Terri Gilman. Tank and Lula. Junior and Jeanne Ellen (as brother and sister). I'm all over the place. Writing them again reminded me of the love I used to have for writing before it felt like I was struggling for words.

I've also finally written a sex scene for the first time in four years. That's like a huge relief off my shoulders. I thought I'd never be able to write one again.

Christie Taylor said...

I don't know of very many mainstream authors who were originally fan fiction authors. I know a lot of fan fiction authors who've self-pubbed with the same intent as the fanfic author who's got a book that's selling like hotcakes. They had a fanfic story, changed a bit of the setting and the character names and pushed it off as something else. I won't go into my personal feelings of this. I dislike it. That's about as much as I'll say on the matter. That would be like writing a Ranger/Steph story and smacking Dex and Kiki's names on the character. It's totally untrue to the characters personalities.

Though, Kiki would slaughter Steph on Kiki's very worst day. Steph needs some lessons in self-preservation. Bad.

Christie Taylor said...

And I'm signed into my damned gmail account. Totally forgot to sign out and into my Sin account. Sorry guys if you're confused on who I am. If anyone needs verification, you can take the undead monkey for a while. He'll do some verifying to your heart's content. *g*

Christie Taylor said...

P.K.

I think I feel a bit like that too. I feel like people will think I'm writing my characters to be like the category I like to write. And that's not my intention. All characters have their own personalities and sometimes those traits might parallel another trait with another character. But that doesn't mean it's copied. Real writers let their characters tell them/show them who they are on the page. I don't feel like I have much control over that. Regardless if that makes me sound like a bad writer or not.

And I definitely have no desire to seem like I'm copying after E.L.J. I've been writing fan fiction way before she ever came along. I've been posting longer than that. And I don't feel like she's a good representation of the writers who write fan fiction.

I think you should write in that fandom. I'll support you. I didn't feel like I could write Ranger/Steph for the longest time because of their relationship and how Kiki/Dex's relationship is in the beginning. While no one knows Kiki and Dex, they're mine, I still feel like if someone knew them, there would be a stigma attached to them that doesn't belong.

Marnee Bailey said...

Sin - I'm just glad you're feeling energized. That's the real point, isn't it? To enjoy doing this and feel like we're expressing ourselves creatively?

I mean, yes, there's a money aspect to it. But in the end, if writers didn't get something out of the process, I doubt most of them would do it.

Christie Taylor said...

I honestly don't think I ever want to publish. I'm just not as driven as most people. I don't even really write the fan fiction for the reviews. I haven't posted anything I've written this year. I just don't feel like it. I feel like if I can manage to write, and be happy with what I've created then really that's all I need.

MsHellion said...

It's totally okay if you don't publish--or even if you don't want to; however, I think you're probably going through a writer drought right now, where creativity, family support, and career inspiration are concerned. (I mean career inspiration in the sense that you don't go to conferences or take online classes that can refill the well and inspire your writing bursts. Remind you that you're a real writer, because you are a real writer.)

I think you're probably just a bit burned out and dejected at the moment. Yes? No?

Christie Taylor said...

Right now I feel better about my writing than I have in a long time. I think when I tell myself that to be a writer I need to have the ambition to publish, I get so overwhelmed. I don't know how I'd manage it. Personality wise, I don't do well publicly. I'd be forced to deal with people I don't know, don't like, don't want to get to know. I have no desire or ambition of what other writers seek. I just want to be happy. Content. And when you have a significant other who makes fun of the very idea of you sitting down to "write" and doing it as a hobby, it's really hard to think of being a writer in any other context other than secret.

My muse is on fire. If deciding I'd never attempt to publish is what keeps my muse talking, it's enough for me. I can have copies bound for GPS who says she'll die if I don't try.

quantum said...

After reading the early Harry Potter books some years ago, I delved into some relevant fan-fic. I think it was a trilogy called 'The Psychic Serpent' written by 'Barb'. It gave an alternative to J K Rowling's story but with the same characters and raised heat levels.

As I recall, the story made excellent reading and was well worth while, giving a lot of (free) pleasure to many readers.

If I had put as much effort into the writing as Barb had, I think that I would want to share it with interested readers. Probably setting up my own website to allow free downloads. If reaction was favourable I would probably self-pub on amazon to make it more widely available.

Sin, writing brilliant novels and not sharing with mankind is a little like the excentric genius who discovers the secrets of the universe and refuses to share through publication. I can understand the sentiment. If you are the only person on the planet who understands something, you might want to keep it to yourself for a while, and perhaps arrange to publish after death.

If your stuff is as good as I suspect, then you really should get the recognition that you deserve. You need recognition in this life!

P. Kirby said...

Tank and Lula.

Oh, I'd be all over a story with that 'ship! Love those two.

Christie Taylor said...

My dearest Q,

My stuff is terrible.

I really just don't want recognition. I don't want anyone to know it was me. If I was forced to go place and interact with people, I'd have to get a stunt double. The thought of socializing terrifies me. I don't even think if I turned on my business personality that I could get through it. I'm not even sure I could pitch an idea to someone face to face. I need to be a ghost writer for someone.

Christie Taylor said...

P.K.

LOVE Tank and Lula together. They just make sense. It pains me it's not canon. Anyway, once I clean them up, if you want, I'll email the little drabbles to you for the hell of it.

PS. What fandom do you want to write? Will you tell me?

MsHellion said...

I totally want to give you happy little yellow pills right now. And take a few myself. *LOL* Yeesh, woman. Your stuff is NOT terrible.

And Pixy would totally be your front. *LOL* In a heartbeat, she'd be your front. *LOL*

Christie Taylor said...

I'm pretty sure that GPS would knock me in the head with her wand and damage my brain. Then drag me around by my hair pretending to be a caveman and throwing me to the wolves. For the hell of it.

MsHellion said...

True. But unconscious, you would still not be required to participate. Which I think was your biggest complaint.

Christie Taylor said...

I would be sighted. This is a problem.

MsHellion said...

Again, this is one of those reality-philosophy things. If you're unconscious, does it count?

Plus, you're being dragged around by your hair and I bet you'll looked banged up. Nobody who actually knew you would believe it was you; people who don't know you don't matter.

I still win.

Christie Taylor said...

GPS is the type to tattoo my name on my forehead while I'm unconscious.

TerriOsburn said...

Sorry I'm late but I'm excited to say jury duty is finally over. Whoot! I could not have taken one more day of that, though we almost had to. Stayed late to finish up instead.

I don't see any reason to feel ashamed about writing fanfiction. There are writers who have 15 manuscripts under their bed. Many that will never be published. But every word put on the page taught them something. About structure, storytelling, characterization and a million other things.

Because you start with someone else's original world doesn't mean anything. You're writing what's in your head. You're creating structure, a story, moving the characters and the action. Every page of that is making you a better writer.

I also believe you're selling yourself short, but if you want to write for you and that's enough to make you happy, then that's enough. In the end, you only have to please yourself.

There's only one thing I ask. Never say never. You're young. Maybe in 5 years or 10 years, you'll want to put your work out there. Today you don't feel the ambition. Totally fair. Just don't write it off forever.

Marnee Bailey said...

Here here, Ter. Because I am not the only one out there who would love to read an original work by you. :)

JulieJustJulie said...

"I tried so hard to change who I was a writer "
Why would you want to change? Grow? Yes ... everyone needs to grow. There is a difference.

"All the guilt and doubt. I don't want it."
Who would? Honestly who would intentionally seek out guilt or doubt?

"I don't want that overwhelming fear pushing me down when I think about all the pressure I put on myself."
Then don't buy into the BS. Putting pressure on yourself is a choice.

" I don't want to be perfect..."
Who would? And the truth is no one is ever really perfect, so why worry about something that does not exist?

" ... and remember all those rules and regulations."
Rules are meant to be broken. Thats called creativity.
Now , if rules and regulations you are talking about how a professional writer behaves well ... you Are a profesional in RL. What makes you think that you wouldn't be able to live up to standards that you are already holding yourself to?

JulieJustJulie said...

“I want to write for me and not give a damn about anything else.”
And that’s a problem? Seems to me that the things you are writing for yourself (original and fanfiction ) interest others too.

“And once I was reminded of this, I remembered who I wanted to be. I want to be me.”
Again, that’s a problem? Seems to me that the things you are writing for yourself (original and fanfiction ) interest and are enjoyed by others too.

JulieJustJulie said...

"I want to be amazing at what I do."
You are.

JulieJustJulie said...

I want to be me. A fan fiction writer. An occasion original writer."
Then BE you, just think about Sharing your talents, okay.

" An anonymous girl who hides behind a pen name and email. That's me."
Darlin' I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you posted under the-real-deal. So you're not an anonymous girl who hides behind a pen name. Which is not to say that you are a grown woman who has enough sense to want her private life to remain private.

JulieJustJulie said...

"Which is not to say that you are a grown woman who has enough sense to want her private life to remain private."

Jeez, sorry this makes as much sense as one of my texts.

What I'm trying to say is: my take on the situation is you are not a girl, you are a grown woman who has enough sense to want her private life to remain private.

Can I just call in my answers Hellion? WTHhellion ... this ship needs an answering service ...