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Short Stories: January 02, 2019 Issue [#9310]

 This week: Fanfiction: Inspiration and Practice!
  Edited by: Jay (*still* away for a while)
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Fanfiction: Inspiration and Practice!

Fanfiction is complicated, but here's an argument in favor of fanfiction to practice storytelling and inspire yourself!

Have you ever written any fanfiction? Have you ever read a fanfiction story--or one you suspect might be fanfiction with the serial numbers filed off? *Laugh*

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Letter from the editor

A new year is upon us, and I'm all about finding new ways to think about my craft as a writer and editor. This year, one of the things I want from my work is a stronger sense of enjoyment from the craft itself, finding things to write that make me excited to write again. Especially since I'm hoping to take more editing work this year; I'm finding in my first few years of professional editing that it saps some of my drive to create new work, so I have to cautiously find some new sources of joy and imagination.

Enter: fanfiction. I'm not here to give you the long and storied history of the craft of fanwork, I'm just here to talk about some cool ways to use it to expand your own writing skills.

The nice thing about fanfiction is that it's not any less legitimate than other forms of fiction. Yes, there are limitations to what you can do with fanfiction, but even if publication is off the table for fanworks, they can still be a way to draw in new readers--through posting on blogs or other fansites, or even right here in your Writing.Com Portfolio! Fanfiction has been around on this site from the beginning.

One of my favorite things about fanfiction is that it removes some of the perfection pressure that I get from work for publication. I can focus on using existing character details instead of needing to invent them all from scratch; I can think about ways to mesh personality types in new ways without having to think too much about the abstract. I can choose to make up an alternate universe for the characters I love, or I can choose to create new stories in a setting I love, or some amalgamation of all of these elements. I can play with overused tropes or revise bad plotlines to write what I think might be a better ending... It forces me to think differently than I do about my original fiction, and I think that's helpful, important stuff. Good exercise when one is stuck in a rut and needs a nudge.

A group of my friends and I all did a fanfiction exchange this winter as a sort of holiday gift that wouldn't require any additional spending or clutter, and we were all surprised by how varied and fun the various stories were. The rules we set were simple: we each filled out a form with likes and dislikes, favorite characters and stories--once the assignments were passed out, it was a fun challenge to work with the parameters we were given. Even though we had initially set out to write gifts just to be shared with the original recipient, each of us enjoyed the stories we got so much that we all ended up sharing and passing every story around!

I think my takeaway from that experience is that there is a freeing, cathartic aspect to fanfiction as well--it was wonderful to have a space where we could write beautiful things for each other with some expectation that they were meant for a specific, interested audience--it also added some pressure before all the reveals, but once we had unmasked the writer of each fic, the result was a lot of work we could all be proud of, in our own ways.

Have you ever written fanfiction? Or even just incorporated little bits of some other story that you love into your own work? I think it's important to know what your influences are--and it can be really fun to play with them, even if it's just for a short piece you never show anyone else. Find a story or a character or a world that has always captivated you, and see if it can't lead you to some new stories, when you're not sure what else to write. Who knows what you'll find?

Until Next Issue,
Take care and Write on!

Editor's Picks

Short Stories for your reading enjoyment this issue:

Blue  [13+]
When a woman calls to surrender her dog, Roxanne comes to the rescue.
by Charity Marie <3 Eyestar

 The Wishing Tree  [E]
Wanders and wishes in the autumn of our lives
by fyn

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

 The Island Of Dr. Ellington  [13+]
A Man Senses Danger On An Abandoned Island (Daily FF Winner)
by Angus

A New Beginning  [13+]
A war veteran finds a way out from his self torments.
by Kotaro

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

 Search for Hope  [13+]
Oi searches for hope in a time when there is none.
by Schnujo

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Word from Writing.Com

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Ask & Answer

Feedback from "Room to Grow

Stik's on a Boat! writes:
While I haven't really posted much here in a while, I have been writing. The pattern that I've noticed in many of my works (finished or not) is rather specific: strong female characters who know too much. They deal with daunting secrets that much of the time aren't theirs and don't trust people enough to gain enough allies. When they do, they actually tend to reveal their information in rather dramatic/traumatic fashion. That said, the way that each character reveal the information has changed a bit over the years. Up until the last six or so years, the ladies have been bent on destruction when they choose to reveal the information they have. Nowadays, they are more willing to make these revelations to protect others. I'm not sure how or why that transition occurred, but at this point I'm just going along with it.

I know what you mean, about the motif shifting. I have a story I've been trying to tell for a really long time, and it seems to hold the same general contents, but the shape is rarely the same.

Osirantinous writes:
Hi Jay, this NL resonated with me a bit because I've recently just realised that a lot of my romantic pairs of characters are cut from the same sort of cloth in terms of one being young/one being older (and as I get older I find that my characters have to be older because I start thinking anyone in their 20s is not mature enough to fit my 'older' character mode. Anyway.... I've got at least four of these pairs and there are other similarities too, yet each character is very distinctly individual. Perhaps that's why it took so long to notice the 'theme'. I'm not going to change it since it seems to be working. As for evolution of process - I'm not sure I've evolved. I've always written to inspiration, started wherever the characters tell me to start, and generally don't finish anything. I always find most joy in the 'journey'. Novels anyway. Short stories are 'new' to me, having only really come to them when I joined WDC. I'm not sure I've even got a process for them yet (bar lengthening them out into novels) but I find I can barely write them unless I have just the perfect inspiration-thumping prompt.

I definitely know what you mean, and I think it was a similar discovery in my own work that led me to that observation. Relationships in particular have a way of repeating themselves and I wonder how much of that is human nature and how much of that is our imaginations writ large.

Quick-Quill writes:
Yes, I find I have the same problems. I don't know how to make them act differently. It's a challenge to make them mean or nasty. I can make them DO things that show them in a bad light but the other is hard. I'm going to try to break the mold by writing something for the Dec What a Character contest.
Scrooge deconstructed.

That sounds like a great way to test your skills--good luck in What A Character, and I know what you mean in terms of having trouble writing nasty characters... though in my case I think I struggle more writing the nice folks. (I will kindly ask the peanut gallery not to speculate toooo hard on what that says about me. *Laugh*)

Questions or comments? I would love to hear from you!

All the best,

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