It seems like every time I prepare for NaNoWriMo, it feels like a different process. Hopefully it just means that I’m learning how to prepare better. When I decided to do NaNoWriMo in November last year, I decided basically a week before that I was going to participate but the good thing was that I already had a story in mind. For Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I tried to plan a bit more before I started. I wanted to make sure I knew an idea of what I was going to do. Though I didn’t have much of an outline, and I didn’t know much about the characters. As I wrote, I began to gradually outline to see where I was going. I really could see how the outline helped me reach to the finish line. So I knew for July that it would be best if I planned ahead. Though I still want to be open to the possiblity that my characters, and my plot might change as I write. It seems like I’m part of Team Planner, though I could be a Plantser*.
The two things I’m looking forward to this July are my birthday (July 3rd), and Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve decided already that I won’t likely write much on my birthday, but I’m still going to try to. Though the rest of the month I’ll be writing as much as I can. I’ll have time since it’s the summer, and I don’t have much going on, but I’m sure things will come up.
I’ve begun preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo by working on my planning through Scrivener. The program has been useful for me to keep everything organized from my outline to my character sketches. Though I’m still working on the outline and the characters, it helps that I have a place for everything. This is the first time I use Scrivener for a writing project, so it will be interesting to see how well it works while I write during July.
Other things I’ve done to prepare for the next month has been to clean my main workspace, looking through the NaNoWriMo forums, researching about outlining and preparing for a novel, and looking through the messages from NaNoWriMo (the website, Twitter, Facebook, blog, and our own inbox). It’s also helped to chat with fellow participants (especially friends, and cabinmates) who are also planning on what they are going to do in July. These things have prepared me to be ready for my writing adventure in July. The more that I’ve searched online about information relating to writing, I find that people have their own unique way of preparing and writing their stories. It kind of shows that we all have to learn what is best for us.
When I started June, I didn’t know that I would switch stories more than half way though the month. Luckily I still had time to plan on the story I decided on for July. It’s not a whole month of planning, but maybe it’s best that way because I won’t have a really detailed outline and sketches of the characters. Which gives me a chance to explore the story as I write. So what will I do for the next few days before the start of July? I will try to continue with my planning through working on the outline, character sketches, researching, and possiblity a bit of chatting.
The good thing is that I already know also what I’m going to do for my birthday, which isn’t much. I’ll likely spend my day re-watching a few of my favorite tv shows and/or movies. Hopefully during the day, whom ever can come we can do some writing sessions in between the viewing sessions. Then around 6 pm, hopefully more of my friends can go to Macaroni Grill. We’ll have dinner there, and cake, of course. Next to that, I’m not sure what else we will do. I guess we’ll figure it out as the day goes.
I’ve planned, and I feel ready for July. Now all that is really left, besides a bit more planning, is counting down. What are you going to do to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo? If you’re not participating, maybe you can still do some creative projects in July. Don’t let July pass you by without doing something creative. Trust me, it will be worth it.
Suddenly you don’t feel like any thing will work. You feel like you don’t have any talent. What’s the use, you think, everything has already been done before? So what if what you had planned on writing isn’t what you really want to do, especially for a whole month? How do you decide what to do? You’ve tried to journal it out, pray, talk to others, and even cry about it. Though the crying doesn’t last long because you know that it doesn’t bring a solution. It does sure make you feel a bit better, but not completely. This is when self-doubt creeps in. It’s the inner-critic, being really negative, trying to tell you that everything you’ve written or will write won’t ever be good enough. I wish I knew the solution to kick self-doubt to the curb. Where is this coming from you may ask?
Well, after my last post, things externally and internally have been making me question if I should stick with the story I have been planning so far for Camp NaNoWriMo. First of all, as much as I value fan-fiction, I don’t know how well I could write a Doctor Who story for a whole month. I feel like the main characters won’t come out right. Even though I’m creating my own characters, and figuring out the plot, I’m wondering if it would be best to just do an original story for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve done original stories so far for NaNoWriMo, and Camp NaNoWriMo. If I do decide to change my plans and write an original story, would I write a story I had planned on doing before but haven’t written it yet, or figure out a new one? I’ve been thinking about doing a new original story since I finished the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Then I couldn’t think of anything, and later I got excited about writing about Doctor Who. It’s not that I don’t want to write about Doctor Who, I just don’t feel as confident that I could do it justice. So isn’t it better that I realized that now, and during July? I think so. Plus I still have about a week left before Camp NaNoWriMo starts. I just wish I knew what to do.
I feel like I know, but some thing is stopping me from making a decision. Is it because I had already made a lot of plans for my Doctor Who story, and I’m basically starting over again with only a week left to plan? Or is it because have only a basic plot from a previous original story idea to work with, and nothing new? Just some thoughts that have been running through my mind since yesterday. I commented about this on the NaNoWriMo forum, and this is what stood out to me from the replies, “Maybe a different story (not Doctor Who) wants to be written and wants you to be the writer. Your uncertainty maybe the first sign that something better is going to come from your pen” and “The ‘basic’ plot does not sound basic or boring at all, at least to me! Go with whatever story you feel you should write but I seriously think it will end up being great.” Some thing about these words make me feel better. I may just need to think about it a bit more before make any decision, but I seemed to already be leading towards some thing more original.
Ah, fan-fiction… It’s something that I’m sure a lot of writers know about. How many actually admit to read, or even writing some of it? If you don’t know what it is, basically it is fiction written about characters already existing in some kind of media. It’s always interesting to imagine what stories we could come up with our favorite characters. Though I feel some times it can be seen as amateur. Some question the value of fan-fiction, especially since it’s not original work. Though I believe that it is important.
Fan-fiction might seem like a recent developement, but it isn’t. It has been done long before the invention of the internet, and some of it has been published. For an example, there are a lot of stories based on the character Sherlock Holmes, though the author who penned him originally has already passed way. Also how many Pride and Prejudice related books are published right now? I won’t even try to count. Plus there are tie-in novels for certain television shows, which could be like published fan-fiction as well.
So why would we feel that fan-fiction is amateur? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because we’re piggybacking on someone elses characters, and/or ideas? Though what is really original work? Since we’re part of the human condition, there really isn’t anything that is completely original. They are just shades of something that has been done before. Either way, authors have been split over what to do about fan-fiction since it multiplied with the internet. Some authors have tried to defend their copyright such as Anne Rice, while others like J.K. Rowling and Douglas Adams encourage fan-fiction writing. According to the Guardian, “Douglas Adams claimed that fanfic expanded his understanding of the parallel universes he’d created in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and that they increased his sales.” The Guardian mentioned in 2003, J.K. Rowling was “flattered people wanted to write their own stories” based on her characters, but on one condition – that they did not try to make money from their creations. Her stance was tested when fan/author George Lippert, wrote a continuation fic, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, based on the fictional son of Harry. According to the Guardian, “Rowling threatened legal action for infringement, but after much adverse press from fans she relented and allowed the publication to go ahead. Check out what Naomi Novik says about Fan-fiction being part of literary history in this video. She is a published author who has a passion for preserving fan-fiction online. Novik has worked with the Organization for Transformative Works to create an online archive for fanfic called An Archive of Our Own.
Though for fandoms, fan-fiction gives fans a way to explore the what ifs. It’s part of the community. As a fan of Harry Potter, I know how much the fandom really is important to keep the stories alive even after the last page of the book series. Though I’ve tried to write Harry Potter fan-fiction. I just couldn’t do it, but I liked looking around at other stories to see what fans would think up, especially now that the series is over. I have written more fan-fiction related to TV shows. It’s likely because that’s the fanfiction I read the most of. I try to write my own stories, as well as fan-fiction. With both, I’ve learned how to write, and how to improve in my writing. I can really see how much I’ve improved when I look at what I’ve written. I’ve always been interested in writing stories. I feel that fan-fiction helped bring an interest in writing a story, because I knew I could instantly publish and get feedback. It was something different from what had seen in school. I wish I had teachers who did the NaNoWriMo Young Writer Program when I was younger. I might have improved dramatically in my creative writing, as well as academically. Though I still had some great English teachers who inspired me to write, and recently some English professors too.
So what’s the point? Well, I believe that fan-fiction is a great way to experiment with writing. The world is already built, the characters are already introduced, and all you have to do is imagine the possiblies and write. There are plenty of writers willing to give feedback (especially on Fanfiction.net & An Archive of Our Own). Though don’t worry if you don’t get much feedback. A lot of people just like to read, but not comment. Be thankful for the comments you do receive, and the stats of how many people are reading your fan-fic. Though no matter what you do, original or fan fiction, it’s important to write, and have fun writing. That is the only way we can have a chance to explore, and let our voice be heard.
Another reason why I’m mentioning about this topic is because of my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I’ve tried to write an original novel last year in November. I completed an original novella in April during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo. This time, I want to write a Doctor Who novella. There are so many BBC books published on the show. I’ve really fallen for the Doctor since 2011. Though I don’t believe that I’ll ever get a chance to write a script for the show, or write an official BBC published book. I thought I would would still try, for Camp NaNoWriMo, and in honor of the 50th Anniversary in November. Since I won’t be able to write much creatively in the fall, since I’ll be going to Grad School. I thought July would be a good time. Plus I want to do something fun before I start school up again. Though I love being an English major, I don’t really enjoy the stress of essays and papers. Anyways, I’m a bit nervous and excited about my Doctor Who story idea. I’m trying my best to plan ahead. I’ve even tried out the 30-day free trial of the writing program, Scrivener. So far, I think it’s amazing, especially with the help of some tutorial videos on YouTube. I hope I can receive it for my birthday (July 3rd), or some time soon. I believe it will be useful for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, as well as my writing for Grad School. This program has helped me so far figure out a basic outline of what I’ll be writing, and create character sketches.
What do you think of fan-fiction? Have any tips, advice, or suggestions about writing my Doctor Who story? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
Now who wouldn’t want to write about this adorable man, who loves to travel in a blue Police box (aka the TARDIS) through time and space?