dunmurderin: (Combaticons!)
[personal profile] dunmurderin
Ok, so it's not so much a battle as it is me whinging like a whinging thing about why writing is haaaard.

I got to pondering about this the other night at work since I'm in the middle of working on both fanfics and original fictions at the same time.

In some ways, fanfiction can be easier (for me) to write than original fiction is. I have a tendency, when I write, to think in terms of scenes and dialogue and then go from there. In some cases, it's almost like I can see how the story is supposed to go and more or less just follow along. This seems to work well for fanfiction because all the grunt work of setting, characterization, theme, etc., has already been done for me.

With original fiction, I might start off with an idea for a scene or a character or a story but since I generally think in terms of science fiction/fantasy plots, I find myself having to do the grunt-work of coming up with the story world, characterizations, settings, themes, etc. Which is fun, don't get me wrong, but it can also be very distracting from what I want to do which is write the damn idea in the first place.

I'll usually start writing an original idea, but then I'll get caught up in having to figure out how something might work -- a character, an idea, a bit of the world building -- and then things will either stall or sometimes stop dead because I like for things to make sense and if they don't my brain gets all hurty-like.

Now, granted, the above also happens with fanfics but with fanfics, it's possible to go look up information about characters/setting rather than having to make them up and make them make sense. Need a GI Joe who can handle lasers? Five minutes on Google and I've got my answers -- and that's only if I don't go to the reference books I have at home. How does the inside of a Transformer work? Nobody knows, toss some techno-babble at it and we can move on!

But with original fiction, I tend to feel that the details are more important because I'm trying to create something that can stand on its own and that is consistent in and of itself -- maybe it won't be 100% documentary style realism but I also don't want suspension of disbelief knocking people out in the first couple of paragraphs. So, when the need to know the history of vampire hunting in my world comes up, I can do some research and reading about vampires and vampire hunting in this world and end up with a whole host of really cool catalogs but ultimately, how it works comes down to me.

Which is scary because like a lot of writers I'm horribly insecure about my own abilities. Fanfiction provides a scale against which I can measure myself -- did I stick close to the characters? Does what I wrote feel like it's at least in the spirit of the orginal? -- as well as a built in support group and no real worries because publishing is as simple as posting the fic somewhere.

With original fiction, I'm working without a net and measuring myself against myself and that, I think, makes me shy away from it. That and I'm actually hoping to one day get published for cash money and fiction writing is a buyer's market with fierce competition and the standards are a lot higher in some respects.

Of course, on the downside with fanfiction I tend to be self-conscious because the nagging little voice of "you're wasting your time" is always there in the back of my head warring with the sense of pride I do feel about my fanfics. I like my stuff, other people like my stuff and I've managed to write 90+ fanfics over the last three years -- actual stories with beginnings, middles and ends. Fanfiction made it possible for me to write about widowhood in ways that I don't know if I'd ever have been able to write about with original characters. For some reason, a little blue truck and a mute ninja made it easier to talk about one of the hardest things I've ever been through.

What's stupid to me about this whole self-conscious thing is that I know in my heart of hearts that I don't approach writing fanfiction really any differently than I do writing original fiction. I don't just load myself up with pop rocks and Coke and get crazy. I do the same kinds of research and revision with my fanfics that I do with original fics -- I once spent over an hour and a half researching a piece of information that amounted to one line in a fic just because I wanted to be as sure about it as I could. And for the record, you hyphenate anal retentive depending on context.

This isn't to say I'm giving up on original fiction in favor of fanfic -- or vice versa -- I want to finish both my novel *and* my GI Joe/TF fic because even in their unfinished states, they've got fans. And because they're both representative of things I love. Vampires and beating high holy hell out of the Combaticons, what could be more fun?

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