Hi Gang! Craig with you today. I’m making notes on July 4th as I watch the Hobbit trilogy on television. I’m going to take the time to turn this into the post you’re reading today. I guess the topic has to be somewhat related to fan fiction.
There are a few sites, like Wattpad, that provide an outlet for fan fiction, and I think it’s a fine place to hone your skills. Since, I’m watching Smaug, what would you do if given permission to write in another author’s world?
Honing your skills is one thing, but continuing with existing characters is dangerous. I have no idea how someone thought up expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy, but it wasn’t a great idea. Profitable, no doubt, but not better than the original material. That helps focus the post. Anything along this line will be compared to the original.
There are copyright, and in some cases trademark, issues to consider, too. Let’s say you find a clever way around those, and your fedora wearing hero, Colorado Jones, gets to have new adventures. Those tales will always be compared to the source material.
We should take inspiration from everything that came before, but we need to create our own characters, environments, and adventures. This is hard. I’m the first one to admit it. I have multiple storyboards going on at any given time. Sometimes they take years to coalesce into a reasonable story. By having more of them, I increase my odds.
Balance this against the opposing idea that there’s nothing new under the sun. Conspiracies, government corruption, epic battles, and more have all been written. Where is the sweet spot that you can place a fresh story?
Pick apart those things you read and view. Make notes. What did you like about them? What fell flat? Not repeating errors is a good step to finding your way. Keep your notes, dwell upon them. When something else occurs to you, write it down. It could take years, and this is why I have so many partial projects mapped out.
Study history. There were incredible things that actually happened. One of those events might turn out to be your plot. Make notes. Things that happened in ancient China can be duplicated into a space opera. Maybe the European Refugee Crisis from 2015 would make a great kickoff to your epic fantasy.
Study the news. This may sound odd, but people don’t really change even though the times do. Some jerky politician might be perfect for your futuristic science fiction piece.
Those notes will come together. I promise. You might find a plot from history, a modern character or two, and something right from the headlines for technology. One day, you’ll look at it and find a story staring you in the face.
It takes time. It won’t happen tomorrow, but if you dedicate a few minutes to it every day, it will come together. What you’ll have will be your own creation and not some kind of fan fiction. Inspiration, not duplication, looks like the overall theme today. Took me a while to get here, but you have some worthy concepts.
Let me hear from you. Would you ever borrow the spirit of Molly Weasley to create your own character? Have her start a biker gang to drive invaders from her post-apocalyptic homeland? Perhaps follow the patterns of Joan of Arc to base your plot and locations? If so, you might have a good grasp of this process.