Something that you will most likely know about me if you know me in real life, is my passion for writing. Writing is my everything. It’s one of my necessities of life. If I go a day without writing, I turn into Grumpy from Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. So if I can help it, that doesn’t happen.
However, for the past three years or so, my writing has revolved almost entirely around one single format: fan-fiction. I love it. You can go anywhere with it. Let’s say, for example, that you’re an emotional wreck, sobbing over the final page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you’re not in denial about at least three deaths then I’m afraid I’m sending you to counselling. (Yes, I know it’s been 7 years. Let me wallow in despair, dammit!) But you can’t handle the fact that those characters never got their happily ever after, so you go back and rewrite it. You resurrect those poor souls who lost their lives in the Second Wizarding War and give them the happy ending that they always deserved.
Or, say, you ship (fangirl terminology) Romione or Hinny. They are you’re world, your OTP (more fangirl terminology), your gods. So you take a piece of paper and a pen, and you build their lives in your own words. You tell their story of passionate romance, heart-thumping excitement and adrenaline-filled adventure. And the best part is, they’re yours to play with. Your favourite character speaks the words you write, does everything you tell them to do. Or maybe you prefer Hermione with Draco (Dramione) and it’s up to you to tell their untold forbidden love story. You can even add characters of your own, building them out of nothing and slotting them into the wonderful fictional world that you fell in love with.
With fan-fiction, you can explore the uncharted lands of Middle Earth, have snowball fights in Narnia and play Quidditch at Hogwarts. And it’s not just books! Take a look at this website. There is fan-fiction for everything: TV shows, films, comic books, video games, professional wrestling – there’s even fan-fiction of the Bible (although that’s generally the weird side of the website – best avoided)!
Some people are strongly against fan-fiction, but they most likely have never tried it themselves. It’s understandable if you’re the author. Your writing is your baby. The characters are your children and the setting is your home. Personally, if an author has expressed a wish for fan-fiction of their baby to stop existing, then I’ll stay away from it. But I don’t see the problem. There are thousands of fan-fiction authors out there, and millions of stories. It is illegal to try to gain money through it, but I’ve never heard of anyone attempting it. Fan-fiction is a hobby, a method of writing practise. What better character practise is there than mimicking an already existing character?
And agents are scouting them out, too. More and more authors are being found through fan-fiction. Everyone has to be inspired by something, and as long as the fan-fiction is changed enough from the original that it is unrecognisable, then I don’t see any problem with it. If anything, I encourage it.
Now, my problem is that I have become so invested in writing stories based on existing stories that original writing has become nothing more than an acquaintance to me. For the past year, people have been telling me that I should be writing a book. I have been telling myself that I need to write a book. A proper book. A real, original, all-my-own book. But the moment I set myself up with Microsoft Word all ready on my laptop, an idea pops up. I wonder what life was like after the Battle of Hogwarts? I start writing. So if Angelina dated Fred and married George, what if there was another girl who the other twin liked? My fingers fly over the keyboard, rapidly channelling words that flow from my brain to the virtual paper. How exactly did James and Lily end up together? And before I know it, there’s another first chapter of a new Harry Potter fan-fiction.
A few days ago, I was offered a solution to my problem: motivation. A deal has been made. If I have a book published by the end of next year, I’m going to Disneyland. And would you look at that? No ideas. Blankness. This was almost a week ago and only today have the seeds of an idea begun to form. Scene one of my future novel is complete. From here, it’s onwards and upwards.
Disneyland, I’m on my way.