Sunday, June 22, 2014

On Writing: Fan-Fic Your Own Worlds

A fellow artist posed this problem on her blog:
I have GOT to figure out how to break fanfiction into fiction. Because, quite honestly, if it weren't for some of the names and locations I'm accustomed to using? I'd have me another setting that I could write as my own.
Darn that I started it in fanfiction, too... So much of my stuff just barely fits with what's already known in the games that they could easily be fixed if I could trust myself and my head to remember things.

And honestly, it doesn't bother me so much as pester me to pieces that it's not fully mine. I came up with the base ideas... and the characters there by myself...

So why is it so hard to break everything that belongs to the game in the fanfiction and make it my own?

My solution, though perhaps not initially obvious, is rather simple:
Seems to me you just need to invent your own mythology. Take a world that has all the things you need in it, come up with a rough history, and then write fanfiction of your own world. And when I say "invent" or "come up with," you don't need to write it down or set it in stone; you just need to get the ball rolling, and as you add to your stories, keep notes on the world and how even unrelated stories can enrich the world, so long as they exist in the same universe.

Consider also that there are no original ideas (any few that may exist are a negligible minority). There are, however, new takes on old ideas. You might find it easier or more profitable to look into the origins and mythologies that inspired the works that you're writing fanfiction for; go back to the roots, as it were. Those mythologies are generally public domain, so you own a greater portion of them than if you were writing fanfiction directly about something established.

Continuing on this thread, I will say that it doesn't seem terribly unusual for someone who is good at fan-fiction to struggle with original fiction, or vice versa. From what I see, it's actually rather common.

I myself struggle with fan-fiction (at least in prose form, less so in poetry), but think nothing of spinning a new yarn and spawning in some new folks to populate. Though it would certainly be a rough stretch to meld all my stories into one universe (or rather, one galaxy, solar system, or world), I suppose I could argue parallel worlds could do all the hard work for me.

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