Side Writing and Gratitude
I’m always curious what other writers are doing when they need a break from their stories. Currently my mind is torn between two worlds, the one of Alexis and Marked, and the other of Zmay and Beneath. Both are crazy different from each other, almost as much as my heroes are, and it makes it interesting at times to find any respite from their chaos.
Even when I don’t feel like writing for either Alexis or Zmay, I still want to write. And according to every workshop I’ve ever been to, and every pro-tip or piece of advice I’ve scrounged off the web from my idols, this is a good thing. A great thing.
Just write. When you feel it. About whatever you want. Just put it out there. You never know when something awesome might come from something utterly spontaneous and in no way relating to your other works.
And I go with that. Really. I do.
Granted, a substantial chunk of my short stories and the like end up in the burn book with Tina Fey pushing people, but I still do it.
My current side hobby is actually Twitter and RP; writing with others and firing off them teaches me to be flexible and go with whatever idea comes to mind.
The guilty pleasure used to be fan fiction. I know a lot of authors have differing opinions as far as fan fiction, and I don’t blame them at all whether they love it or hate it. For the longest time I’ve loved it. I read the quote that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and well, that just kind of stuck with me. Why? Because I felt so inspired by every other writer and what they’d created! I was both joyously happy for them and childishly envious that they had given life to something and someone so vivid it had become important and alive to ‘me’.
How great, how wondrous a storyteller that can make you care for the characters you’re reading about. I wanted to take those characters on more adventures, lose myself in the personalities and emotions of their relationships all over again. I wanted to relive the best parts of them as much as I could, and hope I was doing a decent job in the portrayal.
That was all it ever was. Indulging my love of the characters, the stories, the settings. Because back then, Alexis and Zmay didn’t exist. I hadn’t created my own characters, living in their own worlds. I hadn’t explored the nuances of their personalities and wondered how they’d cope when served decaf instead of regular, or if they think bagels are just boring donuts.
In lieu of having no characters of my own, I indulged my creativity with the characters and stories of other authors, and I can only say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for that. Thank you for making characters so wonderful they helped me further my writing, my skill, enough for me to find the voices of my own characters in the mess. Thank you for sharing your novels, those pieces of your soul, with the world and with me.
For a while, I absolutely hated the idea of my characters ending up in fan fiction. Why? The bloody awful ships that would indubitably pop up, the bastardized mythos and legends. The pairings that would make me head tilt and facepalm and yell at my laptop screen ‘no you pillocks, they hate each other!’. But that was before I thought about my own writings, my own beginnings, and everything those authors did for me as I found my footing on the creative ladder.
It was at that point that I told myself that to think or act otherwise would make me a hypocrite. And I do so hate me some hypocrites. If a single story of mine, a single character, can inspire others the way my heroes inspired me, I’ll not only be thrilled but humbled. Touched. Amazed. Grateful.
I think it’s part of the reason I want to be a writer; that hope that one day, my stories might help others in some small way.