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Dr Win

Switching from Fanfiction to Original Fiction

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I gave up.  


It was not until very,  very recently that I realized this happened.  A friend asked me if I had written.  And I said no.  I mean, I do the November thing.  And I write fanfiction.  It has been about five years since I have written, really seriously written anything of my own.  

Now, fan fiction is a great starting point and I won’t say anything aganist it because I still do it.  It dawned on me that JKR has a story that is twenty years old and it is, after all, her story.   Not mine.   How long will I be hiding?  Will I ever start writing or am I settling?  A moderator on a different forum told me recently I am not a good writer, and this is thus why I hide behind fan fiction.  


This person was half right.  I left the forum, of course, but I realized Rowling was in her late twenties.  Her story is 20 years old.  If I am not going to write, truly give it a go, then why did I want to write in the first place?   Why am I trying to fit a square in a circle?   It needs to get on paper.  That person was right.  Rude, ironically, but whatever.  Truth is truth.  So, I am attempting a hard look at my life and doing this thing.  Will anyone read what Anne Lamott calls my shitty first drafts?   


No.  I am not a good writer.  But I have a newfound whatever and I am putting pen to paper and telling myself not to hit the Delete button.  Starting with short stories.  


Baby steps, baby steps.  

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On 9/10/2017 at 11:20 AM, PaulaTheProkaryote said:

So I'm now at this weird part of my writing where I feel like all I want to write is original fiction. I think I've written like one or two pieces of fan fiction recently (recently being like this year :facepalm:) and I'm struggling to maintain both. Did anyone else switch from fan fiction to a ton of original fiction? 

I did, I did a cold hard switch at one point in my life.  I honestly hadn't been writing that much fanfic at the time but I was like "Why am I wasting time on fanfic when I want to write original?"  So I did a hard switch.  It was easy at first I did a lot of work a lot of growing and kept up with RP (helps me to write daily and think about stories uniquely)  Then I hit a wall, a nasty wall of crippling self doubt where I loathed everything original I had.  It locked me up on writing hardcore.  So I looked at my life, looked at my writing and realized that I liked it when the words didn't matter when it was okay if it was crap that I was writing.  Thus I returned to fanfiction, starting with a re-write because no new ideas just making better what already existed and get some real feedback and have fun.  It finally knocked some things loose.

Now that things are loose, my fanfictions are few and far between now.  I'm slow to update anything.  I post a few original short stories here and there, why?  I'm back at the original fiction thing?  Do I have a lot? Not really but I'm working on an outline (new thing for me) and developing a whole world of my own not just fitting a story into real life (like my murder mystery).  I am having a blast though doubt rears it's ugly head from time to time but that is where fanfic comes in.  Practice the writing get some feed back feel better and then keep working on that original.

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My particular struggle with writing OF (and I have tended to swing between OF and FF very frequently because of this) is that I seem to lose my ability to write with both style and snappy characterisation. Everything becomes 2D, representing what I want to fit in to the story, rather than the characterisation and style I've developed within FF. And the minute I pretend to myself my main characters are just next-gen OCs, suddenly they become 3D again and I have ideas springing to mind rather than being worked for.

Maybe it's a confidence thing - having spent so long exploring the world of HPFF in particular, and The 100 and Percy Jackson after that, we all know the ins and outs of the worlds pretty well, and what's been overdone etc. 

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Here’s what I have noticed after giving this a serious push for two weeks.  


I can breathe again.  I am not stuck within the confines of trying to make something fit into a world that was created years ago. I can create a world, especially since I am aware of my weaknesses and know that new, undiscovered weaknesses will follow.  I really feel as though I am meeting myself again.  It has been years since I have written- really written- and I forgot that person.  


Is it an awful first first draft?   Yeah.  Am I terrified about sharing my first drafts for the first time? You bet.  Will anyone read it?  No. JKR wrote while she was depressed.  You have these characters who are your sole invention in your head.  I can’t wait to get off work so that I can peck away at a word processor.  Scrivener is my new best friend.   


Harry moved on.  So should I.  I have recently come to this whatever moment in my life.  I haven’t had something that was mine in ages.  Will I come back to fan fiction?  Maybe.  Bu5 if I don’t try to do this dream or goal, am I a writer?

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Yes.  I'm writing some OF and it's incredibly LONELY because who wants to talk about my world or my characters in my world, or, you know, anything that I have to explain because it's all in my head?

I've set aside this summer to finally get some OF started, and I joined an OF writing site for some accountability, and I'll be playing more in this subforum too, because my main fear is that I won't finish and I'll be so LONELY doing all of this.  The challenges on this site and others are a main driving motivation for me to write.

So... turning problems into opportunities... I made a short list of OF short story contests (mostly free or under $10 to enter) with semi-close deadlines (the first one is July 15th, and the last one is October 15th) and I'm going to enter them.  It's not going to be the same.  I won't get feedback or 'reviews', and unless I place or win, I'll never know what anyone thought about my stories, but I'm going to submit, because I have to start somewhere.  

That's the most frustrating part.  If the contest says I can't post it online, how am I going to get a wide array of feedback to make my drafts better?  I have a novel-length story as well, but it's not going up until I have a better handle on things like... where does the story begin, and who exactly is the story about?  In my head, I have characters practically dueling each other for the Main Character position.  These guys don't even behave off the screen. 

Meanwhile, I'll be posting some of those temporarily at HPFT for feedback (but some of them I can't because posting online would disqualify them as 'unpublished') and see where it goes. I'm going to treat this like a habit.  Get into the habit of original fiction, and then see if my novel decides to come out and play.  

Well... that's my plan.

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