Monthly Archives: August 2011

What I Learned About Writing From Writing Fan-fiction- Lesson #1

Posted 30 August, 2011 by DLWhite in Writers Write 2 Comments

I recently read a blog post where an author wrote about his disdain for fanfiction (I’m not going to link the post because I don’t want any trouble, man).  He really, really dislikes it, and not just because some of it is really, really bad. Granted, he meant fan created stories based on novels like like Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. His perspective is understandable, given that some authors don’t want their work fanfic’d (I heard, for example, that a particular romance author will string you up by your fingernails and I don’t know about you but a) I’d never fanfic one of their novels and b) I need my fingernails to type!). If I was a published author, I wouldn’t want a “bad”writer messing with my characters, either.

He said (paraphrasing) that it was lazy and and unimaginative to borrow a world and put those characters in different situations than the author intended– and frankly that is why I never did a REMIX, where people take your stories and do exactly that: put your characters in different situations, with your permission, even changing the story line and outcome. If I wanted it written that way, I would have done that!

So how can I feel that way about my stories but still write fan fiction?  Well, for one there is a difference between ficcing a fantasy story in which the author has worked hard to create an alternate universe, such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, etc and RPF.  RPF (or Real Person Fiction) borrows the public image of a person and writes them in fictional situations.

I’m trying to make that sound the least creeptastic as possible. Trust me, it was hard.

Since the persona is public and writers try very hard to maintain the “us & them” (i.e. there are some things we just don’t touch) wall, there really isn’t a ‘world’ to borrow, except the one they ‘work’ in. If they’re an actor, a singer, or have some other public job, that tends to carry over into stories because that is what is familiar to fans.

I read his post and nodded along and sure, I understand his point. He also admitted to never writing any fan fiction and except for a few bad apples, never really explored the fan fic world. Of course, down here in the amatuer ranks, there are good writers and there are “Uhmmm,  I don’t understand the point of the story, and have you ever heard of punctuation” writers.  I remember when I discovered fiction based on my favorite member of a music group and  feeling like it was pretty creepy and I refused to even entertain the notion. Then I wanted to see if I could do it. Three years later,  I am still writing.

Why?  Because it taught me some things about writing.

That post about an author’s hate dislike of fan fiction brought to mind the bad fic I’ve read and how I’ve tried to avoid being that writer that people avoid. It also spawned an idea  —Writing Lessons Taught by Fan Fiction.

A simple Google search will net you authors who got their start in fan fiction. It’s great practice to hone your skills, to cut your teeth on something you’re really interested in. The more you write, the more you learn about writing, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve asked a few of my fellow writers at various story archives to weigh in on this topic with any lessons they’ve learned along the way. At the end of the week I’ll compile and post them as, hopefully, a long list of things that writers can look forward to learning from writing fan fiction.

Lesson #1: Fan Fiction is real writing.

We create original characters, backstory, an effective arc, plot, setting, dialogue… the whole bit. There is no script to mimic.   Typically, stories carry a character in name and a few recognizable characteristics. The rest is invented and whether the story is 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 words, it is a new creation. Words appear on paper and from beginning to end, tell a story. That’s writing.

And that isn’t fake.

Fan Fic writers don’t write for publication or money or notoriety. We’re not trying to sell a book or hook an agent or find out how to get published. We write purely for fun, for recognition, and to be part of a community. And, if you have talent and can weave a great story, you can achieve a small following of people who read and respect your work and offer honest feedback and criticism. It’s a built-in critique group and, over time, this singular focus on writing alone  is what builds better writers.

Stay tuned this week for more lessons from Fan Fiction’s Knee. If you are or know a Fan fic writer, I hope you’ll pass along this week’s posts!

Are you or have you ever written Fan Fiction? What are some of the things you learned from writing it? 

Sunday Snip- Friday Night Poker Club

Sunday Snip- Friday Night Poker Club

Today in my romp through my archive of posted work, I came upon a story I tried to write a few years ago but it didn’t take off. I got one good chapter and never wrote anymore. It was actually my first attempt at an Alternate Universe story and it was meant to continue around to the lives of all five members. What I got of it was okay. Maybe someday I’ll finish it or give it to someone who could make it work. This snip is from Friday Night Poker Club (fan fiction): A short time later, headlights lit up the living room as Justin pulled into the garage. “That’s my cue, I guess,” said Paul. “Oh, you– you don’t have to go. Justin’s cool.” “I know. I just… I’m beat anyway and I want to get my beauty sleep for tomorrow night,” he said, giving Lance a quick wink of an ocean blue eye. Paul and Justin passed each other on the way out, exchanging pleasantries toward each other. “You look like a teenager, with that slapass grin on your face,” said Justin. “You get some?” “No. But I got a date.” Lance shifted his weight from foot to foot, grinning like a fool. “A date?” asked Justin, whipping around to face Lance. “Like, in public? Like a date, date? A pick you up, take you to dinner, go somewhere romantic and hold hands and kiss so people can beat you up and I have to murder people, date?” “You’re so protective. I learned my lesson the last time. Paul isn’t out. He wants to stay that way. I respect that. We’ll go eat and catch a game at UCF. It’ll be fine. Okay?” Justin’s frown was set like granite. His jaw twitched and his eyes were dark and the vein in his neck throbbed. “Just be careful, alright? I can’t handle another episode like last time. Neither can mom. Just promise you’ll be careful.” “I will be […]

Writing Wednesdays 8.10 – Ya know what??? Nuh uh.

Writing Wednesdays 8.10 – Ya know what??? Nuh uh.

Hi folks and fellow writers! It’s another Wednesday, so it’s another day to talk about Writing- where we are with our WIPs and what we’ve discovered during our writing journeys. After a long bout of avoidance and procrastinating on easy stuff and doing everything but working on my novel, I finally pulled out New Project. And ya know what?   No wonder I can’t get past my current point. There’s nothing there! Nothing good, anyway. It’s an info/backstory dump. The story starts in the wrong place. Doesn’t go in depth enough. And doesn’t make the reader care a tiny bit. Yesterday I threatened to delete the whole thing. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am going to start over, using what I have as a base. I think, though, first I am going to do a synopsis, which is an overview of the book, told in 3-4 pages.  If I can’t get my act together enough to write a synopsis, I can’t write this entire story. I really fear that I haven’t thought this out enough. I get to a certain point and think. Well, now what happens? I read books and I see beats of action, information, dialog, everyday events and I think……….where does that come from? How did the author plan that out? If I think about the longest. story. evar, I had an end result in mind.  I had certain things that had to happen in order for my end result to make sense. I also had to show a long stretch of time, to build up not only tension, but believability. I couldn’t have my characters fall in love in chapter 3… I just don’t believe it happens that way and I roll my eyes when I see it.

#SnippetSunday- 8/7: Rescue Me (Part Duh)

#SnippetSunday- 8/7: Rescue Me (Part Duh)

I have no idea why I named it that, except the decision that my female MC, Gabby, needs to make is such a no brainer. Duh. Here’s a snippet from that story, which will be posted in its entirety at the fanfiction archive and my personal archive. “Your mom, she’s okay?” “More than okay. It was just me and her for a long time, you know? She put herself through nursing school, put me through school. She made it work.” “She must have given you your spunk.” “If that’s what you want to call it, yeah. I’m proud of her. When I graduated, she went back for another degree. And then she married one of her doctors, so…” Gabby stopped to laugh. A knowing smile broke across his face. He nodded. “So she’s doing just fine, huh?” “Just fine,” she said, nodding back. “So your… stepdad? Is he a good guy?” “He’s the best thing to ever happen to her. He’s why she’s always after me to date and meet new guys. She wants me to be as happy as she is.” Gabby snorted a laugh. Like she could subscribe to the fairytale her mother tried to plant in her head. “You sound like you don’t think that’s possible. People find love everywhere. Anywhere. You never know.” Even on the Sunset Strip. Wait. What?  Et Voila. I hope you’ll read the rest later on today!

Writing Wednesday Writer’s Meme

I don’t have much of an update for Writing Wednesday so I decided to do a meme. It turned out to be kind of fun. I feel like I would learn so much from other writers just by reading their answers.  I stole this from here. THANKS!   What’s your favourite genre of writing?  –  I write adult fiction, some erotic romance, some fanfiction. How often do you get writer’s block? – SIGH. Quite often. I don’t know that it’s Writer’s Block per se, but I get to where I want to write but I don’t have any story ideas. And then once I get a story idea and try to work it out in my head, I convince myself that it’s stupid and it doesn’t get written. Most if it is that I really expect a lot of myself, knowing full well I will not live up to the expectation, so I see myself trying and shake my head at myself.  How do you fix it? – Time. Reading. Force. Sometimes making myself do a couple of prompts breaks something.