So That’s Where Ideas Come From

Normally I’m not a fan of fan fiction.  My attitude has been, “If you want to write it, fine, but don’t expect me to read it. ” (Okay, a lot of the time it’s been “If you want to write you should do the work and create your own world, your own characters.” I tend to be an elitist snob.) But there is a story thread in a popular series that has always bothered me; earlier this week, as stress relief from end of term studying, I started thinking about how I would resolve the problem.

After a couple of days of random ideas at random moments, I realized that I really wanted to write the story that was developing. I had fallen into the fan fic trap.

This morning I shared the idea that I had with my daughter, who has been troubled by the same story arc. We bounced ideas off one another,  going deeper and deeper into our idea.  Eventually we decided that over the summer we would collaborate on the story,  which had developed enough to either be a series of linked short stories, or a novella.

As we continued to talk happily, ideas that wouldn’t work began to occur to me; ideas that were unsuitable to the world and characters of the “broken” story arc, but still very interesting. 

It happened quickly.  The ideas that were unsuitable swirled in my head, attaching themselves to story fragments, free-standing characters, and scenes I had written without knowing where they belonged.  Suddenly I saw MY story, my world.

Obviously it’s influenced by the series that inspired the fan fiction.  But the influence is in the theme, not the characters or setting.  Many other books, movies, and even current events are influences, too, It’s a story from my world, influenced by the things that matter to me.

I still plan to write the fan fiction with my daughter; it’s a fun idea and doing it together will make it more fun. But the best part is that when I gave myself permission to play with favorite characters and scenes from my favorite authors I unlocked my creativity, and found a story of my own.

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