Thursday, December 11, 2008

On writing...

Why do we write--those of us who feel compelled to do so?

Some enjoy the process. Some have stories in their heads that they have to get out. Some want to see their name on a book cover.

My interest in writing began with fan fiction. Not so much the writing at first, but the reading of it. When we first moved to Texas, money was tight. Too tight to buy books, and I sped through the local library's offerings pretty darn quick. My husband suggested I go online and find fan fiction--we had been watching Star Trek: Voyager at the time and that's what he suggested I search for. So I did. And I found a lot of stuff--some good, some not so much.

Then I discovered the TV show JAG and fell in love. I watched all the shows (re-running on USA Network) and moved on to JAG fan fiction, which I devoured like a hungry lion. As I read, I discovered some really good authors. And a lot of crap. Once I finally read through all the really good stuff I could find, I realized how discerning I was. Most of that probably came from the fact that I am a reader anyway, having read hundreds of books in my life. So I had a standard on which to base my determination on what was good and what wasn't.

And I finally decided that I could do better. So I did. I've written many a fan fic in several genres over the years. Looking back on those early fics, I can see how my writing has improved. Not that I'm up there with Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele or Tom Clancy. And I also know that I struggle terribly with certain aspects of creating a story.

But I'm a competent writer. I'm somewhat anal about spelling and punctuation, and I know there's always room for improvement on descriptions and such, but it is all a process. (As a side note, I'm listening to a Danielle Steel book in audio format, and let me tell you, her writing isn't perfect either, but she's Danielle Steele and can get away with it.)

All this blather to say that yesterday I posted a short JAG Christmas fic to a (JAG) message board I visit. Today I went back and found a dozen or so messages letting me know how much these various people enjoyed my story--and that they hoped I'd write/post more. Very feel-good & ego boosting. And I'll admit--it's immediate gratification. Better than slaving over a 350 page manuscript for months and months that may or may not ever see the inside of a bookstore.

So do I continue to pursue publication when I can get what I need from posting fan fic to a message board? I know I'll never be a Nora or a Danielle or a Tom, never make much money at this endeavor. One never knows, but I'm realistic--looking at my life and what's truly important to me. Writing is a hobby at this point. One I'll continue to pursue, and I immensely enjoy being around other writers and talk craft, and I enjoy learning about the craft. But when the frustration of not being able to string together a series of rising conflicts makes me want to throw in the keyboard, isn't writing fan fic and the immediate feedback I get a better investment of my time? And most writers will agree that any writing is better than no writing...

Well, I'm off to look at my 2009 budget and then maybe I'll work on a fic that I started a while back.

Read any good fan fic lately?

1 comment:

L.A. Mitchell said...

I've never gotten into fan fic, but I know many who adore it. I think the reason I blog is to satisfy the immediacy of publishing something, getting my thoughts "out there" and hearing the feedback. That leaves my more patient self to focus on the novels.

Good to see you're writing. Any writing is good, is it not? :)