She discusses today the balance of fanfiction and original work - and how both bring reward.
With all the different guests on Clare’s blog, a lot of interesting topics are raised, and of course, due to the nature of our gracious host, a lot of them have to do with writing. I’m going to talk a little about fanfiction and the transition to original/published fiction, a feat Clare has succeeded in (and one day I will too! ^__^).
But first, fanfiction is how I met Clare. It was back in those days… of 2003, when the infamous, and now unfortunately defunct, GWYaoi.org website hosted a novella challenge contest for the Gundam Wing fandom (something about huge fighting robots or ‘mecha’, politics and people at war - all that we could see were the five handsome pilots). Together with another author, Clare and I were the only ones to participate. It was fun, but our bond deepened when we met for the second time, at the second novella challenge. Since then, we’ve been firm Internet friends and keeping an eye on each other through LiveJournal, encouraging each other and chatting on AIM.
There’s a lot of fuzz about fanfiction - a lot of people think it’s cheap, to use an universe and characters who have already been made up, and diminishing or degrading one’s talent by writing about pre-existing people and worlds. I think I was a fanfic writer even before I knew it, because I used my old ‘Suske en Wiske’ (Spike and Suzy) comics as a base to draw and write my first own stories. I felt frustrated sometimes when I read a book or saw a TV show and it ended differently or it went into another direction then I hoped for. I made up my own stories, and slowly but surely the characters I used as a template, developed into original characters, some of which I still use today.
I personally don’t think that writing fanfiction is cheap or diminishing one’s talents. It’s a hobby for a lot of people, and it’s fun exploring subplots or characters that were hardly touched upon in their original series and settings. Fanfiction and fandom in general have resulted into great friends and lots of fun stuff: sharing and squeeing about shows, speculating about character development, etc., etc.. but there’s a firm line between fanfiction and original fiction, of course.
You can take fanfiction only so far. The reason why someone starts to write fanfiction (just for fun, to explore subplots and characters, etc., etc..) hits a summit one day, sooner or later, and then what? The characters can’t stretch anymore, you have explored enough of what you want to write about, or the fandom itself isn’t just as interesting as it used to be. The universe and the characters aren’t your own. They’re not your creation, and there’s only so much you can do with them before it becomes out of character and people start to wonder “Hey, has this author seen the same show I did?”. Is that the time to quit your hobby, or try to find another fandom? Or go for publication with an original novel? With a world that you build yourself, which has unlimited possibilities and characters completely your own?
Far be it from me to say or claim that one kind of writing is better or worse than the other. Me, I like writing fanfiction everyday. Yet I know there’ll be an end to it, as I focus more on original fiction, trying to get published myself. Sometimes you reach that point when you have done everything with the characters you loved and cared for and it’s time to find a new thing, a new direction. You can learn a lot from writing, whatever method you choose. I liked the Gundam boys enough to participate in a novella challenge (Scary! People will judge my work), and writing fanfiction strengthened me in my belief that hey, maybe one day I can take the plunge and try to get published. Others have gone ahead of me, among them no one other but Clare herself.
I love writing. It’s what I did since I was seven and hammered stories out on my grandfather’s typewriter. Fortunately, I have a lot of this early work, and it’s great fun to re-read it and laugh out loud about the plot holes and the giant Deus Ex Machinas I was apparently fond of. I even have a story with the dreaded self-insert, only not a Mary Sue; I didn’t write a love interest for myself, I was just the cool kid. I will continue to write, fanfiction for as long as I like, original fiction with the goal to be published, a life-long dream.
Anyway you write, just write. Don’t let anyone hold you back and continue to grow. What started as a hobby, could be your future. And the world needs books, more and more books, to learn and to develop. Write on!
Her general Blog.
Her fanfiction Blog.
AND JUST FOR FUN...!!
"The best way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once." E. Joseph Cossman
Today's Daft Google Searches for 'Clare London':
"The Engineer as Landscaper and Cultural Warrior" Hmm...yes indeed :)
Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):
Jan 08 : Jessewave shares her love of bright, shiny guys but wonders - tongue in cheek - where the less shiny ones are!
Jan 09 : Anne Cain shares her books and some of her fabulous art - and also encourages us to show and tell!
Jan 10 : My latest release Upwardly Mobile is out at Amber Quill today.
Jan 11 : Author Lee Rowan discusses why love should not be a garotte.
Jan 12 : Author Jaime Samms loves writing short stories - and asks if readers prefer short or long.
Jan 13 : Author Erastes explains how and why she keeps submitting - and aims for the stars!
Jan 01 : The New Year is ushered in with the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder wonders whether following current affairs in our writing is delightful or just dates us.
Jan 03 : author Madeleine Urban describes how her characters hijacked her brain...a willing victim!
Jan 04 : author Theda Black describes how her writing has been influenced by everything from a bionic penis to the power of Pan.
Jan 05 : author Josh Lanyon shares some exceedingly good books with us and asks about *your* recent reads.
Jan 06 : author K. Z. Snow questions what all the fuss is about authors 'making shit up'.
Jan 07 : Josie aka 1more_sickpuppy compares her life and friends online and off.
Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ hotmail.com and I'll happily find you a space ♥
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.