My writing hiatus has inspired me to take a trip back in time. The subject of this scrutiny is not reserved for incomplete original ideas. It’s aimed right at something that has given me as much love as grief over the years. What I speak of is, friends, fanfiction.
Ah, fanfiction. I admit, I’ve got a love/hate relationship with it. I should love it more, considering it was a Final Fantasy 7 fic that helped cure me of my fear of sharing writings with strangers. It’s easy to forget the little things. As the years went on, and more of my fanfiction was gaining in popularity, I was beset by the sense that I think afflicts all creative types. I didn’t want to be known only for fics. I wanted to put all that passion and love for a fic subject into an original idea. This led me to semi-retire from fic writing (I say semi because I was eventually pulled back in thanks to Supernatural) so I could focus on my own stuff. It worked, too. I was able to see why original stories lacked passion versus their fan counterparts. I injected new life into all the characters, from Renegade to The Shadow Conflict to Lifeline and beyond. Fanfiction has helped me in so many ways, I feel rather silly for shunning it like I did. It has always been an exercise for me, something to keep my skills sharp. But at the same time, it made me feel like I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer. It’s a ridiculous assumption, of course. When you stop and think about it, all those assignments you did in English class or history was just your personal spin on events. Fanfiction embraces this core belief and lets writers run amok in established universes. So there is that.
Of course I know not everyone loves this idea. Best selling authors such as Terry Goodkind and Anne McCaffrey forbid their books from being given the fanfiction treatment. That’s their right. I’m the last person to call judgment on what a creator does with their creation. I’m also fairly certain some indie writers scorn the idea as well. Others, such as S.E.Hinton, embrace it. Word is she’s actually written some Supernatural pieces- under an assumed name, of course- but she participates in the fandom. I think that’s awesome.
My sister has often cited how I’d feel if someone were to take Renegade’s lead character, Simon, and write him in an unrealistic setting with a fan-created character. I’ve had readers throw suggestions at me about my fics, too. My response to those scenarios can be distilled to a shrug. Fans will take something different away from every media they encounter. If someone wants to write an over-the-top fic where Simon is a mere shadow of himself, so be it. Creativity is in my blood. To strangle it in others, despite skill level, is a crime in my eyes.
Fanfiction or original, my passion is for the writing craft itself. I have written great fics. I have written not-so-great fics (looking at you, Transformers fandom). My topics run from tragic romance to comedy to angst. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to maintain characterization, and it shows in the reviews I’ve received for those stories. These same reviews helped me to understand that while I might feel my stuff is lacking in certain aspects (mostly technical), it’s still hitting the mark. People don’t engage in group discussions over how accurately punctuation is used in a story. They talk about the story, the characters, and how it made them feel. And this is what it all boils down to, isn’t it? Because it’s feelings that will make a reader recommend something to their friends, family and everyone they meet. It’s feelings that will make them hotly debate character interpretations. It’s feelings that will make them complain how something can be so popular when its subject matter is questionable.
And yes, that was a thinly veiled jab at certain popular titles. But those titles are spot on in the feelings department.
I’m going to close out this entry with links to some of my favorite fanfic pieces I’ve written. All have a special place in my heart. Maybe they’ll find a special place in yours. If fanfic is you thing, of course.
Two Worlds -Voltron- The Voltron Force has sworn to defend Planet Arus from King Zarkon. But when Pidge’s discovery of five young girls coincides with Haggar’s new robeast, they must unite to see it stopped. (This also features the protagonists from my YA fantasy, The Shadow Conflict) Written circa 2007.
Behind Blue Eyes -Final Fantasy 7/Kingdom Hearts crossover- Two years before Sephiroth’s fall into madness, he was commander of SOLDIER, dedicated to nothing but duty. All that changes when he becomes romantically involved with the head nurse, Jeanette, and gains the interest of Professor Hojo. Written circa 2003.
Behind Blue Eyes: Famous Monster -Final Fantasy 7/Kingdom Hearts crossover- Having found happiness with one another, Sephiroth and Jeanette enjoy some time alone. It is not long before Hojo’s intentions are revealed, forcing Jeanette to flee Midgar to protect their son, Riku. Written circa 2003.
Behind Blue Eyes: Storm -Final Fantasy 7/Kingdom Hearts crossover- Jeanette raises Riku on Destiny Islands but ensures Sephiroth’s memory remains strong in his heart. Yet tragedy strikes, and Riku makes a promise to both himself and his mother: he’d find his father, no matter what. Written circa 2003.
Behind Blue Eyes: Atonement -Final Fantasy 7/Kingdom Hearts crossover- Sephiroth returns to take vengeance against Cloud, but is defeated again. It allows him to remember Jeanette, Riku, and the happiness that was his before madness struck. Written circa 2003.
Shadow of Fate Final Fantasy 7/Kingdom Hearts crossover- Set during the events of Advent Children, Sephiroth and Riku leave The World That Never Was for Wutai in the hopes of soothing the hurt from Jeanette’s loss. Soon after their arrival they are caught up in Kadaj’s scheme, threatening to drive them apart. Sequel to ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ series. Written circa 2004/2005.
The Harvest -Mass Effect- A month has passed since the end of ME2. Kaidan Alenko’s surprise visit takes a mysterious turn when both he and Shepard vanish. Garrus Vakarian must track them down lest he risk losing her again. Written 2010.
Reunited -Batman: The Animated Series- Set after the events of the Batman/Mr. Freeze movie ‘Sub-Zero’, Nora Fries, newly revived after spending years in a cryogenic state, longs to see her husband again and requests that Batman locate him. Written 2011.
A Night In Purgatory -Supernatural- When a freak wavelength zaps Dean from Purgatory to a post-Apocalyptic reality, he must ally himself with some familiar faces- plus a few, unexpected ones- in order to get back to his world. There’s just one problem: everyone thinks he’s Michael, and Castiel has been tagging souls on Crowley’s behalf for years. Set prior to season eight. Written 2013.