Hey all, it’s Dani again.
Most people have a story about how they came to follow the career path they’re on, a moment when everything seemed to click into place. Though I can’t remember the exact moment I started creating fantastical tales, I know that my imagination has usually been fairly overactive.
One of my first creative writing endeavors (that I can remember anyway), had to do with my fascination with a certain middle grade book series from my youth. It’s funny that I have such difficulty writing fanfiction now, though I enjoy reading it, because I started out with writing little adventures with the gang from Animorphs.
I totally added myself into the story as if I had been with them the whole time, as if hanging out with Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and eventually Ax was just a part of my normal life, as if I could turn into any animal I touched and could help to fight off the invading alien race of Yeerks.
These little stories have been lost, most likely destroyed during one of my rare cleaning periods, but I still remember that I at least enjoyed them. Of course, knowing how much my writing ability has grown, I also know that these stories were also probably terrible. Still…about a year after I finished with that period, I started writing down my original ideas. Granted, I still went through some fanfic-esque moments. I know I at least had a period of imitating Power Rangers, LOTR, X-Men, etc.
Overall I can say that being raised as a geek and loving these fandoms has only increased my desire to create new worlds and to follow my many characters through their adventures, their loves, their losses, everything.
So, where am I going with all of this?
Well, I spent a number of years around high school/early college looking down on the idea of writing fanfiction. I stupidly forgot about how that all shaped the writer I had become, and believed that inserting an original character into an already existing universe, was for those who couldn’t come up with a complete world.
Like I said…stupid. I’ve read blog posts and newsletters and essays from famous published authors who indulge in writing fanfiction and it made me take a new look at the idea. It takes a great deal of love for the topic, as well as skill, to write fanfiction. You have to know the source material, whether you are just inputting a group of original characters into the world, or if you plan to take already existing characters on an original adventure. There is a lot of time devoted to studying the mannerisms of characters, the terminology used to describe creatures, magic, etc. Basically fanfiction takes a lot of work.
Nowadays, I use fanfiction as a way to jump start my original writing. I write with a friend of mine and we each have an original character and a canon character for whatever universe we are writing in (for example: Supernatural and Chuck). We then take turns writing, adding a couple thousand words to the story before sending it to the other person. We do quite a bit of talking and planning where we think our story will go, because we try to abide by most of what has aired on television, and only alter things a bit so we can fit our OCs into the story.
It has really helped to improve how I look at character interactions especially, because sometimes my partner will throw me a curveball, and I’ll have to figure out how to keep going with the story.
So if you love a particular show or movie or book series and want to try your hand at fanfiction, go for it. And hey, there are even some authors out there who have sections on their web sites where they link to the cool fanfic they find. So, who knows, maybe your fanfic could show up there someday too.
I would be interested to see what stories fans would come up with in my Project Death universe. It could be pretty cool.