Or vice versa.
I’ve been spending rather a lot of time browsing fanfiction, either rereading favorites or discovering new gems (and sometimes inverse gems as it were) in my favorite fandoms. Of course, there’s been a certain amount of writing fanfiction as well.
Which is where the blessing that’s a curse in disguise or curse that’s a blessing in disguise comes into play.
See, when my mind has shut down and refuses to brain, fanfiction is a kind of lever that lets me slide back towards other writing. So much of the heavy lifting has already been done, whether in the original work or in the assorted fanons surrounding the work. It’s easier than trying to handle world-building and the right amount of description and characterization and and and and and… (Yes, I’m a closeted perfectionist and yes I do suffer the perfectionist’s bane of if I don’t try I can’t fail at it whatever it happens to be)
The flip side of this is that without practice skills get rusty. What used to be a deft touch with characterization starts to have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It becomes impossible to weave subplots around the main story (and this is from the uber-pantser herself, which should tell you exactly how crappy my plotting can get if I’m not writing well), and the less that’s said about the description and other bridging pose the better.
So, both blessing and curse. It’s still better than not writing at all, and more to the point, fanfiction readers can be helpful to gauge whether or not what you’re writing is able to interest readers, something that can be challenging when you’re trying to write things you want people to pay for.
Although, when it comes to “what will interest readers”, the amount of flailing, angsty drek out there proves that Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap) is both accurate, and probably optimistic.
That does not excuse me from dipping my writerly toes into the Harry Potter fandom with a title that’s guaranteed to give someone hives attached to a cute little piece of silly fluff in which an infant Harry Potter uses necromantic accidental magic to a) banish Voldemort, and b) bring his parents back to life. It’s intended to be nothing more than cute fluff, and taking it from baby Harry’s perspective means I get to have all sorts of fun about it, since baby Harry doesn’t know words like “soul” or “body”, and he’s really worried because his parents have told him he’s not allowed to fix things unless they say he can…
Leaving it to the reader to wonder just what kind of undead abominations have followed the siren call of “Hawwy fix!”, of course.
This is what happens when normal brain service refuses to engage.
Fear it. It will get worse.
(Oh, and have a picture of Buttercup with Midnight behind her in the kitty bed)
Okay, this I seriously want to read, because it sounds hilarious.
It can be found at https://archiveofourown.org/works/30048507#main (not formatting for linkage – just copy and paste)
Somehow it still came out as a link. Every once in a long while, WP is helpful…
Indeed. It just pays never to assume that it will be.
I’ve mentioned before my recent obsession with an epic fantasy/mythos/xianxia thing I’ve been reading. Xianxia is a genre about kung fu wizards.
I’ve been talking about it too much, so briefly: One of the wizard powers in this one is called a physique. There is one flavor of it with some really OP effects, at the cost of having a peaceful life. Explicitly described as a curse that is a blessing, or a blessing that is a curse. A couple of the really powerful (or at least mid tier) kung fu wizards in this story have gone to a lot of trouble to get these, a bunch of young kung fu wizards have acquired some, and I’m on the edge of my seating waiting to find out what will catch fire and explode next.
“Screams, flames, people fleeing for their lives… My work here is done.”
It’s definitely better than not writing at all, which is where my brain was fairly recently. It’s like exercising – sometimes if you’ve taken a bad spill it’s better to do gentle stuff while everything heals, then worry about getting back into full form.
In related news, allergy symptoms, especially the headaches, suck mightily.
Preach it. Tree season, grass season, ragweed season, natural gas heat season….
(Yes, it’s possible to be allergic to the additive in natural gas. I am. Augh.)
Oh, I sympathize! That would utterly suck.
For me it’s primarily oak pollen. Once the oaks stop generating tons of pollen, I settle down to normal levels of allergy (as opposed to needing to spend the whole day doped to the eyeballs on allergy meds, which is the case most of April until early June).
Oaks get me too. They bloom over months down here….
One of these days I need to officially find out everything I’m allergic to! But it might be too scary….
Please for the love of Og … post? Please? Somewhere? That sounds fantastic!
And yes, I agree that focusing too much on fanfiction can dull the sharp edge of other writing precisely because so much is already done.
Doesn’t stop me from writing/reading it, though. *evil grin*
Cheers and hugs!
See upthread for the link – and yes, it’s way too easy to get into bad habits after too much fanfiction. Even though it can be a whole lot of fun.
Oh, that was as much fun as I hoped!
It may be a “bad habit,” but it brought smiles to my face, and I thank you very much!
That sounds like a fabulous excuse to me. 🙂
Oh, good. I am in need of fabulous excuses!
…..why am I picturing hair tossing and sparkles while there are declarations of “Faaaabulous!” ?
I have no idea. Any iterations of “Faaabulous, darling” from me will be delivered with enough sarcasm to sink a ship.
Blessings disguised as curses make excellent plot devices.
They do indeed. Just as curses disguised as blessings (cough TV Tropes cough) make excellent time sinks.
I just finished “Coffee With Kali The Destroyer” a little while ago, and my brain said “go make furniture old man, before you turn to sludge!” so I did. But the title here is AWESOME.
Blessings pretending to be curses. Man, I’m thinking about that now. A blessing dressed up like a curse, fooling the recipient into thinking they’re So Very Screwed that they run off and do the right thing… or something…
Yes, I am thinking about that.
Also the Harry Potter thing sounds hilarious. I’ll be checking that out. Write On!
Well, more often than not doing something is an improvement on doing nothing, because at least then you are making things happen as opposed to letting things happen to you. And the Harry Potter thing was fun. I keep thinking there should be sequelae (all short) with necromancer Harry at Hogwarts Fixing Things, to the despair and frequent horror of his teachers (and the near heart attacks of his parents).
That’s darling! You need to file off some serial numbers and use it to build a world around.
That could also be amusing… And probably scary as all heck, since the whole “raising the dead” thing can have some rather spectacular oopses along the way.
“Wait, what do you mean a necromancer in Russia revived Timurlenk, and he offed Putin, took over the Red Army, and just overran Ukraine and half of Poland!?!”
I was playing with that a bit. In my universe (I have a universe? Woohoo!) while you can’t raise the virtuous dead, you -can- raise demons. But you shouldn’t. Such a very bad idea.
I agree with Pam, you could jettison the fanfic part and generate some characters for your kid sorcerer who “fixes” things that died. That could be sweet. AND you could get paid…
Okay, now I don’t feel as bad about wandering around AO3 late at night and ending up reading fanfiction for books/movies/shows/anime that I’ve never read or watched.
Sometimes the fan fic is better.
Yes, sometimes it is. Alas.
AO3 and Fanfiction dot net are two of the biggest time sinks known to fandom. TV Tropes is the third. We won’t mention the fandoms I’ve stumbled into via those…
It’s nice that I’m not the only one with this problem…