Skipping Ahead

Well, now it’s almost Christmas, and now it’s almost time to reminisce in time for New Year’s. NaNoWriMo is over and I’m sorry that I haven’t updated at least one more time, but I’ve kept putting it off and then stuff happened in life and now… I’ve written 32,330 words this NaNo which is about 2,000 more than last year. So while it wasn’t a complete success, I’m not disappointed.

savingdanvers1This year’s NaNo was mostly about fanfiction for me. Fanfiction and Supergirl (or Supergays, as I tend to lovingly call it). I’m neck-deep in the evolution of Alex Danvers’ character, I just love that tiny gay bean. And I’m so close to watching again from the beginning, just to be able to explore her more thoroughly. She’s one of the few aspects of tv that didn’t disappoint (so far) and I hope Supergirl will keep up the good work. I watched a lot of Arrow this year, some The Flash, the pilot of Legends of Tomorrow, but Supergirl is my favorite DC show to date. And I may have jumped the Marvel ship completely, because they don’t invest enough time or money in their female heroes (cancelling Agent Carter, seriously?).

I’m a fan, I tend to get invested. And it affects my writing as well. At the moment, writing fanfiction is a sanctuary, a safe place.

But, of course, I’m always trying to find my own characters and story lines. I’m currently thinking about another YA series I’d like to write. It’s post-apocalyptic stuff and I guess it fits well into current times, with political leaders showing how little they care about people… and I’m prone to seeing all the bad stuff and imagine how it all will end. Also, I love the genre. Aside from horror, it might be my favorite. I’m rereading Legend by Marie Lu and The Hunger Games series might be next.

Apart from that, I also started revisions on Halfway Home. It’s been lying around for a year now and Halfway Home.altcoming back to it is strange and wonderful. I still love the characters so much and I think it’s a great story. It’s all romance and fluff, but it makes me hopeful at the end of a year which saw little of that. I hope I’ll be able to finish it mid-January.

Today’s winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. I’ve been awake since three a.m., so it won’t really be a short day for me, but I like sitting and working when nobody else is awake and by 8 p.m. I’m usually pooped enough to go to bed. The next two weeks will see a lot of family time and food, but I hope I’ll get some work done – probably in the form of fanfiction. I haven’t decided on anything I want to write next year, but hopefully it will be more productive than 2016. Hopefully, it will be more of anything good than 2016.

The Sweet Smell of That’s-not-so-horrible

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You know that couple in your circle of friends that’s almost sickeningly in love with each other? You love them together, you actually kinda ship them, but at times you also enjoy one without the other.

That’s what reading and writing are to me. They go best together, but at times you want to enjoy one without the other. Just, with reading and writing, it’s just not the same.

There are times in my writing life when I have absolutely no motivation to read – and vice versa. The text flows, I’m happily tapping away with no additional stories filling my head and possibly distracting me from my own. It’s all good. Until I start reading again and find out that it makes me a better writer. My vocabulary expands, my sentence structure improves, I’m almost not entirely horrible.

So, a couple of days ago, I picked up Libba Bray’s The Diviners and it’s so good. I love the setting, love the premise, love love love the way she writes. And find my own writing lacking. Why can’t I write like that? Why isn’t my story-telling prowess this juicy, this delicious? Well, because I’m not Libba Bray, of course.

Each writer is different, tells differently, considers different parts of a story to be important. There are differences in quality, of course, but different readers enjoy different writing styles, find different aspects of a story important. A friend of mine got bored with Rowling’s Potter a little, because she repeats certain aspects of the wizarding world, while I find all bits and pieces wonderful and worth repeating if it’s in Rowling’s narrating style.

Difference is what makes literature (and life) so exciting. So, I’m going back to my document after having read a couple of chapters of The Diviners to continue my own story. And, yes, I struggle with phrases, I curse the grammar, I pull my hair and doubt my talent, but I still love the process. A process that will hopefully make me a better writer.

Fanfiction

Let’s talk a little bit about fanfiction, because I know some of you guys are just visiting this page for my fanfics – I see it in the stats and I love it. It’s how I came to writing, and I’m still doing it, though not as frequently as I’d like.

Okay, for those not familiar with the concept (really?!): it’s when you sit down to write stories on an already existing text, use the setting, the characters, and stuff, make that world your own. This also works with the life of celebrities, though I’m not engaging in that. But I engage in plenty of the rest.

Since I’m having a hard time writing this year, it’s actually a good thing Pitch Perfect 2 came out when it did. It inspires me, not the movie per se, but its characters. I’ve written quite a lot about them two years ago and I’m just getting started on it again. It’s good, it’s familiar, it’s easy (or easier).

You probably think: it should be, someone else has done all the work for you. In part, that’s true. You take existing characters and existing settings and just play around a little. And then there are tropes and memes which also help you along. Yes, the blonde and the brunette is one of those. There are actually standard phrases for different character constellations, things that they usually do, a way to do it right.

As said, I’m writing Pitch Perfect again. The story is called Six Degrees of Queer, and it’s kind of a reflection on thoughts and discussions that are important to me right now. The title also reflects on how strange I feel writing again, because it’s like learning it anew. Sometimes you feel so out of it that you have to go to a familiar place and retrace steps. That’s what I’m doing right now. And it’s still slow going.

I started writing fanfiction when a friend in the Xena-fandom said, hey, you write such beautiful poetry, think you can actually write a story, that would be great. So, I started writing for our favorite dynamic duo. That was in 2001, an eternity away. Needless to say, I loved it, though it was for a small community, it being in German.

Then there came some years when I didn’t write fanfic and then came Pitch Perfect and it all came back to me, vividly so. And it’s indeed like playing. Others have outlined the setting and characters and you can just delve in. I’m grateful for the fact that there are people out there who share this special place, the fandom. And I’ve had about 99.9% great feedback, people liking, being enthusiastic, asking me when I’ll continue (yeah, I know there are some unfinished stories and I wish I could get back to them today, and I’m sorry that I don’t).

Fanfiction is a great gateway writing experience. If you want to start somewhere it’s good to start where there are people who appreciate it, who cheer you on. It’s also a good place to read, to get to decide, what works for you in way of style, tropes, pairing, whatever you’re searching for. And it’s not shameful to indulge in fanfiction, even if there’s classic literature out there you haven’t yet read. Fanfiction is a part of literature, maybe it’s amateur writing, maybe some of it is really bad (then again, so is 50 Shades of Grey, and that’s been published [yes, I’m aware that it started out as Twilight fanfiction]), but you can learn from bad writing at least as much as you can from brilliant writing, maybe more. And you will also find stories that you’ll love and come back to every once in awhile, because it already contains something you love – a part of your favorite show/movie/book/etc.

If you don’t know where to look for these stories or where to publish them: fanfiction.net is a good place to start. It’s an extensive library with all kinds of fandoms represented. You might also want to check out Archive of our own (short AO3 – archiveofourown.org), especially when you’re a writer and want to have your work preserved for generations to come.

Hope you’re having a good week, lovelies.