The Confessions of a Writer

Been tagged to do this by Niina at Northern Chapters so I figured I would give it a go.

d7a3e-writing

Rules of the tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.


 

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I aspired to be many things as a kid from a vet to a nurse to a pop star, all the usual little girl ambitions. I wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the pack at the time and had no interest in anything remotely academic. It took a teacher pointing out I was good at writing that something seemed to start to click in my mind. I did start writing but the switch wasn’t fully turned on though until I discovered the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. After that, everything clicked into place.

What genre do you write?

I gravitate mostly to fantasy and crime with romance sub plots in most of my stories. Family drama, social commentary and thriller also make appearances in a few of my stories, something that didn’t hit me until a tutor pointed it out. I have attempted forays into the science fiction genre but they rarely work out well to be honest.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

I’m working on my magic school story from July Camp NaNoWriMo. Anyone who follows my blog will know it started just from an idea after a failed sci-fi story and has continued since then. The story revolves around a teen girl, coming from a dark magic family involved in criminality, trying to escape and be different. Not sure what I will do with the story later. We’ll see.

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

The first story I chose to write was a fan fiction based on Flint The Time Detective, about one of the detectives called Merlock Holmes and his daughter. It never was finished and is absolutely awful, with stuff borrowed from the Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura, Lord of the Rings and the Malory Towers series to name but a few. It did have the first version of the school my FMC from the above answer attends so it was not all bad really.

What’s the best part about writing?

Creating new things and exploring the world through the written word. One day, I want to explore the world myself, not just through stories.

What’s the worst part about writing?

Hitting a wall in the creation of the first draft then editing and rewriting. Ugh! Necessary but still hate it.

What’s the name of your favourite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well).

Oh! I have no idea! I love characters like Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third from the How To Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell because he’s not your typical hero, and Hermione Granger, because she was smart and her description is very similar to how I was as a kid. Those sorts of characters appeal to me.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

I tend to write in the evening most days because it is the only free time I have available to me in a typical day but I do prefer to write and work on an afternoon. I’ve run my errands, had something to eat and drink, checked the news and e-mail, etc. I can just sit and write (and watch some YouTube and television). It’s a routine that was developed at university and has proven the most productive.

Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?

I did Professional Writing at university (or college as it is in the USA), with the idea that it would set me up not just for writing in general, but was applicable to other jobs too. I’m not working as a writer in any capacity at the moment sadly but I do have ideas and career plans that relate to writing, even just part-time.

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?

Has to be grammar mainly but the others drive me up the wall too, especially if it is in a document or something that you would expect to be correctly spelt, punctuated, grammar checked and formatted correctly.

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

It’s actually a philosophy quote by Confucius that applies to every part of life: “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” In other words, keep writing!

What advice would you give to another writer?

I hate the advice write what you know. You could write about everything you know very easily and quickly and end up stuck. I prefer the advice write not what you know, but what you would like to find out about. Write about the things that you want to find out about. The world is a big place so explore it!

What are your favourite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

My friends are usually my first port of call for help but I also follow a lot of Tumblr prompt and advice blogs, such as Write World and Writing Cafe, as well as seasonal picture blogs that have some stunning picture ripe for prompts, Rayne Hall’s Twitter (her books are brilliant too) and love using Seventh Sanctum.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

Love to read, watch a lot of TV, films and stand up comedy, like Call The Midwife, The Big Bang Theory, How To Train Your Dragon 1 and 2 (I love Toothless!) and comedians like Russell Howard, baking and chatting to friends.

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

This year has to be Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud! Second in the series with a cliffhanger to match the first book, The Screaming Staircase. I am in love with this series!

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Has to be Kingsman: The Secret Service. The church scene! The church scene!

What is your favourite book or series of all time?

It changes but I do default to Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah. Mah weaves a beautiful story of a girl playing her part in World War 2 in occupied Shanghai with wonderful teachings from Chinese philosophy and culture.

Who is your favourite author?

My all time favourite is JK Rowling as she is also my heroine.

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Mostly just to write, as I haven’t been in a place to do so for a while due to life. More focused goals are to hopefully get my second NaNoWriMo win and to keep writing my Camp story.

Where else can we find you online?

Aside from here, my main ones are Tumblr and Twitter but you can also find me on NaNoWriMo.


 

Finished! I am tagging Kit from Where Landsquids Fear To Tread, Lizzie from mylittlebookblog, Diane from Tales from Baggins Bottom and Charles from Legends of Windemere. Anyone who I haven’t tagged but would like to do this, go for it!

Advertisements

Fan fiction: Is it a good thing?

This post I was going to do, not last week but the week before but because I have been waiting for replies on Google Plus (got nothing back) and due to life getting in the way, I have had to delay writing this. But since it is now obvious that I am not about to get anything from Google, I figured I might as well get on with writing it.

Warning: I may ramble!

I write fan fiction. I like to write it. It’s fun and sometimes, when I have writer’s block or I am just generally a bit stuck on another piece of work to get on with it, I turn to fan fiction just to chill out and work on something that doesn’t necessarily require me to think.

Personally, out of all the shows and games and books I read watch and play, I tend to always fall back to Digimon fan fiction, based on the two original Digimon Adventure series’ and the movie. I have written copious amounts of Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children fiction (looking back on that, it is horrible! And my OC is a dreadful Mary-Sue!), my first few stories include an unfinished Flint The Time Detective story over on FanFiction.Net (that is even worse than the Advent Children stuff!) and I have written the odd Doctor Who flash fictions (they were written more recently and are not too bad) but I always seem to return to Digimon.

Why though? Why Digimon? And why write fan fiction at all?

I recently got thinking about these questions when, once again, I found myself writing a bit of Digimon fan fiction during a period of writers block.

For the Digimon question, my brain quickly decided that it was because the world of Digimon is enormous, with just the first two series (and the movie) alone. It is wide open and that there must be many more digi-destined and digital stories still to tell. There are so many possibilities that the world almost leaves itself open for fans to come up with their own stories and imagine themselves in that world. Who would be my Digimon partner? And what could the world teach me and my partner?

I believe that other shows and books (mostly!) also offer these opportunities, like Pokémon, Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series and even maybe Miss Cackle‘s Academy for Young Witches from Jill Murphy‘s Worst Witch series. (Doctor Who and Flint probably doesn’t fit in with this but hey! These shows are about time travel and Time is a big ball of wibbley, wobbley, time-y whimey…STUFF!)

These worlds are large, the locations lend themselves to these sorts of ideas and allow fans of the shows to insert themselves or an OC (Original Character) of their making into the world and create their own stories.

For a new writer, this sort of set up, a set world, set characters, etc. is excellent and allows the writer to get right into story without having to worry about explaining much. Friends of mine who I spoke to whilst researching this noted that there is a lot of bad writing out there, set characters going out of character (sometimes simply because the writer is unable to write that type of character and some terrible abuses of the original owners work. This is always going to happen unfortunately.

I have seen others discuss this and I know others say that fan fiction is not good, it’s cheating, it’s not respecting the owners, etc. but I feel these reasons are complete utter rubbish. So long as there is respect and attempts at least keeping characters intact then I don’t think there is an issue. For new writers, who are just starting to learn their craft, I think fan fiction is great. Because it is new writers, there can be allowance for bad writing and some justification for the characters going awry from their original intent.

I also agree with something a friend said about writers bringing their own ideas to fan fiction. The friend said that writers often write the stuff the show/book/game writers never thought of and writing the things that they think should or should have happened. The example the friend gave was of the show Supernatural. I do not watch this show so I am just going on what the friend said and what I have seen on Tumblr. Apparently, fans just want Sam and Castiel (is that right?) to hug. This is the subject of a few fan fictions.

Despite not watching Supernatural, I do agree, as I said, with the friend’s point. I know in the Digimon fandom, there are some fan fictions of what happened to Wizardmon after his death, particularly as they did not like the idea that his data was not sent back to the digital world and he did not reconfigure there.

So why write fan fiction?

I believe people write it to express their love of the show, give their own opinions what should (or should not!) have happened and to give new writers a platform to begin, learn and develop their skills. One other friend of mine also noted that new writers might not feel confident enough initially to begin writing their own new, original material and need some where safe to begin.

I agree with all of this. I started writing fan fiction when I started writing. I had only just had it pointed out to me that I had a skill for writing, I had no idea how to develop my skills, where to start, how to come up with ideas or anything. I had not been taught any of that. I was completely and totally new.

Writing fan fiction gave me solid boundaries, set characters, rules, locations, etc. and allowed me to start writing and learning. I was terrible at the start. I rarely completed any stories, mostly because I didn’t understand about at least having an end point and some form of idea of what was going to happen in the middle. As I got older, I learned more, started completing stories, began dipping my toe into the realms of original work (inspired by games and films) and exploring new genres. I also started exploring older themes, with my fan work starting to burgeoning on into young adult audiences, including relationships, sex and infidelity. It is only more recently have I started getting into the middle and deeper end of swimming pool as it were and working on my own completely original work but even now, I still go back and I still write fan fiction.

Why?

Because it is FUN!

I write Digimon because it was the second or third anime series I really got into (the others being Pokémon and Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura) and I still love the idea of being a digidestined with a Wizardmon as my partner. Yes, it sounds ridiculous. Yes, it sounds childish. But you know what? I don’t care.

I love fan fiction. It is a great starting point. An excellent platform for new writers to begin and develop their craft and, for older writers like me, it is nice just to go back and write stories about the shows, films and games I love, especially when it is combating the effects of writers block or being stuck on an original story.

*I would just like to say thank you to everyone who responded when I requested their views about fan fiction and why people write it. Some of their views are included in this article and I am very grateful for them.