GUEST – Abigail Falanga – Glorious Boundries

Today, I’m glad to have author Abigail Falanga to share her insights on how the boundries of fanfiction can help you become a more creative writer!

Abagail falangaFrom Abigail:

Confession:

I don’t read fan fiction.

I don’t even write much fanfic any more.

Anyone still reading?

Good. Because, whatever my failings in the fanfic regard, what I have written has taught me so much – about writing and even about the world.

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GUEST – Brianna Tibbetts – Fan Fiction and Your Creative Drive

Today, I’m glad to have author Brianna Tibbetts to share her insights on how writing fanfiction keeps her productive in her own writing!

From Brianna Tibbets:

Brianna TibbettsWhen I discovered fan fiction was a thing in 2011, I didn’t think I’d ever want to write it. I read it on occasion, mostly to fill in holes in character development left behind by existing franchises I loved, but I couldn’t have imagined writing it myself. Then, in December of 2012, the BBC show Merlin ended. I loved the finale, but felt distinctly unsatisfied. There was so much I wished had happened, but none of it would ever be addressed, because the show was over. So, I wrote my first fan fiction to get it all out of my system. Less than two hours later, I had five thousand words about two of my favorite characters on my laptop screen. Writing fan fiction was much easier than I’d expected.

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GUEST – Author H.A. Titus – What Fan-fiction Taught Me

HA Titus - headshotContinuing my series on the benefits of writing fan-fiction, today I have my first guest. H.A. Titus is the author of Forged Steel, a short story contributor in such anthologies as Avenir Eclectia, Different Dragons II, and Quickfic Anthology 2. She’s also a contributor to the New Authors Fellowship and an online friend I’ve known for a long time. Today, she shares with us some of the lessons she’s learned while writing fan-fiction.

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My fanfiction journey

fanfiction3Today I’m kicking off a series of blog posts about the benefit of writing fanfiction. I have some amazing guest bloggers coming over the next month to share their experiences and thoughts on the matter. But before they do, I wanted to share with you my fanfiction journey.

I’ve been a published author for nearly ten years. My first novel was published in 2011, kicking off a four book series that I would complete in 2017. When the final book dropped in December of that year, I didn’t realize how much of an emotional drain it would be on me. Those books, that world…that character…had been a part of my life for more than just the eight years it took to publish the books, but an additional three years before that as I wrote and polished that first one. If you invest in anything for over a decade, you will invest in it emotionally.

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Dear Anne #7 – Finding Inspiration

Dear Anne,

ideaToday I want to talk to you about finding inspiration. The truth is, the firing of the synapses in your mind will only take you so far in the creative process. Your brain needs a database of inspirational input in order to come up with truly creative ideas. Think of it as putting things in a hat. If you need an idea, you simply reach into the hat for one or two. But if there are only a handful of mundane daily things in your hat, you’re not going to get a lot of great ideas to work with. So you have to fill your hat with as much random junk as you can. Pull two or three things out of the hat, and suddenly your brain has a spark of creative genius.

This is what it means when people say you have to practice being creative. Being creative is not something that just comes randomly to especially creative people, but it comes to those who have stock-piled a collection of random things that they can draw upon to be inspired in their creativity. If you don’t make it a habit to keep your collection up-to-date, your creativity will begin to stale.

So where do you get these random things that fuel your inner creative genius? Here are just a few places…

1. Other stories. Reading and watching movies are great places to find unique ideas to put into your hat. It’s okay to be inspired by other writers…chances are they were inspired by other writers too. There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). The inspiration you have from other writers will come out differently with you than it did with them. You’ll have a unique spin and a unique story, even if certain elements might have been inspired by another story or movie. Take all of these stories, especially the elements you like the most, and put them into your hat.

2. Observing life. Sure you live life. You see life. You talk to people. You do things. But are you really observing what is happening? Do you listen to the subtle nuances of a conversation? Do you look for possible hidden meanings in a word or phrase? Do you speculate on the secret thoughts behind a look on someone’s face? Do you notice the variations in shadows on the wall? Do you lay on the floor or turn your head upside down just to look at things from a new perspective? Do you wonder about sounds you don’t recognize? Do you see weird things while riding down the road and try to figure out what was going on? Do you ask the question “why?” about anything and everything, not to get the real answer, but to give your creative mind a chance to fabricate an answer true or not? Never forget to take time to observe life. Watch it with all the analyzation and wonder you might new movie…always wondering what might come next and always trying to predict the most outlandish outcomes. Everything you see, everything you hear, and everything you speculate all goes into your hat.

3. Dreams. Yeah, I know. Cliche, right? But don’t knock it. Some of my favorite scenes in my books were inspired by dreams. In fact, I have an entire book in my “To Write List” that was almost 100% inspired by a particularly vivid dream. Dreams are when your brain is at its most creative and random. You might be able to use whole dream sequences or maybe just a small impression, emotion, or snippet of conversation. The point is, put these things in your hat and pull them out whenever you need inspiration. When you first wake up, take a few moments to try to remember your dreams. Think about details. Think about over-arching plot lines in the “story” of your dream. Think about the emotional affect it might have had on you. And if necessary keep a dream journal to write them down.

4. A dictionary, encyclopedia, or text book. You’ll be surprised what learning something new will do for creativity. If you read an article about the early Aztec Empire, you might find something there that you can put into your hat. Maybe a certain word in the dictionary has a sound that rolls off your tongue in just the right way to give you inspiration. Maybe a definition gives you the insight to tweak an idea a different way. As boring as it may sound, plain academic studying can sometimes inspire you in big ways. Learn random facts about history, learn new words, and put them all into your hat.

The bigger your hat the easier it is to find the right spark of creativity at the right time. Practice creativity, stock it with plenty of fuel, and you’ll find all the inspiration you need.

-odk

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