Fan fiction has a strange place in the realm of ‘real writing’. To say that it isn’t real is like claiming remixing isn’t music or that what I do on at a club is called ‘dancing’. It is reader fantasy. It is the big “what if?” that we take after we have seen a movie or read a book that didn’t give all the answers we wanted.
I spent a good portion of time doing fan fiction of sorts. I was a part of the ‘hunter list’, which was an email list for White Wolf’s Hunter: the Reckoning. We posted stories about what our characters were doing, interacted through email and wrote. We wrote. At one point i was posted 1500 to 3000 words a day on this list.
And in that time I learned a lot about myself, about writing. I learned that I love an audience. I found the restrictions (and there were restrictions, this is a roll playing game with RULES after all) to almost be freeing. How do vampires work? Are there ghosts? Can my character survive a conflict with a werewolf? These things were answered. My job was to write the story inside of this box.
Admittedly this is different from the type of fan fiction where you deal both in the world and the characters that are there. I feel i’d have to turn in my geek card if I didn’t have an idea for a Star Wars novel, or a Star Trek serial. Now we are talking about not just the setting, but also the characters that belong to someone, or some-corporation. As a writer, how do you work under the confines of Han Solo, or Mickey Mouse, or Harry Potter? How do you work where there is already a canon, and you are, well, just dreaming?
Does it matter?
Fan fiction is beat up on as immature, or unprofessional, or what not. Is it? Sure, why not. Just as we draw things we see, or just as we sing songs during karaoke, we are still practicing art, even if it is with the greater help of someone else. It is a stepping stone, sometimes one that people stay on, but a step none-the-less. How many writers started out by saying “I wonder what happened afterwards…” and even if we didn’t write it down, those thoughts shaped into plots and characters, turning into afternoons with legos and transformers, or friends with swords and jungle gyms.
I found myself back in fan fiction recently. I started having dreams, vivid dreams that I would write down each morning of fantastic adventures across time. I was bemused at first, curious as time went on, and then it happened. I got the fever, the urge, and my figures found a keyboard and I started to write. Still the dreams came and still they fueled me.
Doctor Who is something I came to much later in my geekedness than I should admit to. Sure I’d heard of this dude with a long scarf, but it wasn’t until a few years ago I’d seen even one episode. SInce then I have consumed and consumed, wearing out my Netflix streaming with Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, and David Tennant.
Now I have these dreams, now I have these words, what should I do with them? I am not going to stop writing them. I had been in a lull, in a bind, this awkward place where the words just weren’t coming. Sure you force yourself, but those are the ones that get left behind I find. These words, these tales of a Doctor that showed up in my dreams were not forced. They just start as I place my hands on the keyboard.
So I am going to post them, episodically, of course, here. Not for fame or glory, but to share an adventure with some friends. I hope they are as much fun to read as they were to write.