Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Writing, fan fiction and getting over oneself


I’ve made fun of fan fiction writers for a long time. Mostly this was due to the more extreme behaviours and subject matter tackled at the edge of the hobby, but I realize now it might have been a defense mechanism on my part as well. 

Even though I get paid to write non-fiction for a living, I’ve spent a good long time avoiding writing anything fictional, at least in prose form. If I think about why that is, it probably boils down to fear. I’ve written a few screenplays for short films, but prose is an entirely different beast, and  think subconsciously I always regarded fiction writing as the pinnacle, the place i probably wasn’t good enough to even attempt. 

The only way to break that cycle is to actually write some fiction, and the easiest entry into that milieu is through fan fiction. Knowing full well I’d probably get called a hypocrite, I pressed on regardless, and put together a little tale involving the Fourth Doctor, Y2K, and homicidal computers. 

I published the story, Metal’s Eve, on Archive of Our Own, the leading fan fiction repository. Much to my surprise, nobody has looked askance or raised an eyebrow at me. Instead, just under 200 people (so far) have read the story and I’ve received two “kudos,” which is basically the equivalent of a Facebook like or a favourite button. 

In fact writing this fanfic has been enormously encouraging, and I’ve been writing original stories and submitting them to various anthologies, as well as trying my hand at comic book scripting. I’m still interested in filmmaking, but the older I get, the less appealing it is to tackle every single aspect of the production process. Comics, by contrast, only need a writer, a penciller, an inker, a letterer and maybe a colourist. Prose only requires the writer, and that’s probably the direction I’m going in as time goes on.

As stories get rejected or accepted, I’ll post links to them here. Watch this space!

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

5 Responses to “ Writing, fan fiction and getting over oneself ”

Mick says:

Please observe my insulted face when you left out “letterer” on the list of things required to make a half-decent comic. People forget it or tack it on as an afterthought or think “surely I can do it myself” far too often; that’s how we get crap comics.

Side note: do you want comments and/or critique on your fanfiction (and/or original writing), or just to free it into the world and see what it does?

Warren says:

Edited! Sorry about that, it was an honest mistake. Letterers are of course a vital part of the process, and I share your pain. As a video editor, I’m often confounded that people tend to just forget that part of the process and assume the actors willed the piece into being by some sort of magic.

Btw I bought Richard Starkings book on lettering and it is a corker. Have you read it?

Warren says:

Oh, and yes, please do comment and critique. I can’t get better, and therefore publish, if I’m making the same mistakes over and over again.

Mick says:

Yep! I own that book myself, and it’s been very informative, if a bit dated. I use it largely for style ideas, but it’s still one of the best lettering books I know of. (Also, for more general comics creation, I highly recommend Scott McCloud’s books.)

Warren says:

I have Understanding Comics, and I also have Will Eisner’s book, ” Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative.” Filling my brain with learnings!

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