Anonymous asked: “Hi Lizard! I haven’t been writing for a few months. I got really burnt out because of this fandom I wrote for. I took a break, but now I want to start writing again, this time original fiction, but I’m struggling. I don’t really know why, but maybe I just had things that motivated me when writing fan fics, like I’d know where I could post my stories and that they’d get at least some readers.”
So I don’t have any personal experience writing fan fiction, but from what I’ve gathered, inspiration for fan fiction is kind of an engine of its own.
With fan fiction, there are characters that exist outside of yourself, characters that you can see other fan writing about and often at times you can see and revisit in favorite books, films, or television series. Because of this little fact, sometimes inspiration comes just a little easier and a little faster, because you can say imagine if these characters did this really cool thing – and then you’re off. No worrying about setting, character, or any of the other things that you’d have to make up all on your own. Original fiction is more demanding, if only because you are the one who needs to fill in all of the blanks.
I’ve never written fan fiction so I can’t really speak too much more to that. There’s an engaged community and readership that isn’t at all like original fiction. It’s really like comparing apples to oranges if you’re talking fan fiction readership to traditional publishing. They are different worlds. The essential writing process is similar in a few ways but then the process of publishing is so incredibly different that they won’t compare. There’s self-publishing as well, but that comes with its own set of challenges and is a discussion for another time.
With original fiction, you’ve got to pick a topic that you love. Something you can eat, sleep, and breathe for a few months at a time, because while writing the book, you will eat, sleep, and breathe that book. The characters are going to be stuck in your head. The setting is something you’re constantly exploring. And, the plot itself is hardly a mystery. It might feel obvious to you, but you’ll love it. It’s a story you’re fine to write and rewrite a hundred different times because it matters that much to you. That sounds crazy if you haven’t yet been there, but that’s how it ends up feeling at least when you’re in the thick of it.
This might sound daunting at first, but this is something that a novel can evolve into. For it to keep your interest and endure, it will have to be on something you’re that passionate about. My own novel that I’m working on now is not the thing it originally was. It’s nothing like the original story I’d started writing a little over a year ago. It’s changed, it’s become better and I’m entrenched.
Some writers I know (and know of) will build hype all on their own for their novel. They’ll draw the characters, make mood boards for them on Pinterest, and they’ll make playlists inspired by a character. This can help. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Another thing is to talk about your writing. This whole blog is a huge way for me to stay engaged with my own project. You need to talk about it to get excited about it and share the buzz with other writers you know and listen when they want to tell you what they’re working on. Being in a community can help so much. You cheer on each other and boost each other up. Think of your own work as a big deal if that’s what you need to fall back in love with it.
The last suggestion I have: read your work. From the beginning. Read it without criticizing yourself. Read it for fun. Note the things you love about it and try to keep going with that. Run with the things that are exciting about your own work. You can become your own biggest fan.