I am happy to say that as of last week, I finished my second fan-fiction : ) Naturally one would assume I would be ecstatic that I finally finished a 38 chapter story that took well over ten months to write and I was.
My writing journey began back in...November of 2006. Xanga had been quite popular for a while and I finally decided to get an account. By that time though, Facebook was beginning to take over the internet, but I wanted to write, not connect with people. Little did I know that Xanga and my love of Narnia would do both.
Almost a year before, Disney's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe had come out and I once again fell in love with the world of Narnia. We bought it when it came out on DVD and I was watching the end of the movie where the grown-up kings and queens were about to head back to the wardrobe when I had this sudden idea, "I'm going to write a story about Edmund." And thus began my first entrance into the world of fan-fiction and writing with my story "The Beloved and The Just: A Narnian Love Story"
I had only gotten Xanga for the pure reason of posting my story online. If people read or not made no difference to me. I was writing for the passion not the glory. And I loved it. I loved studying and researching the books, developing the characters, watching movies for inspiration in my writing, all of it. In a couple of months though, people were beginning to head to my site to read my little fan-fiction.
I actually met my best friend because of my site and my story and we've been friends for almost 5 years now. My site was becoming very popular, my story was generally well accepted and people liked it so I kept on writing. Not to say there weren't a few purists that were less than thrilled by what I was doing, but I was able to smooth even that over and not give up on what I loved.
After 8 months I had finally finished and I was so happy. My first finished story and I swore I would never write another fan-fiction again! Almost a year later I created my account at fanfiction.net and put my story there with the intent of keeping it safe in case our computer crashed and my files were lost.
Once my story was safe I began to get reviews for it. I was quite surprised; I had no intention of putting my story there for reviews, but they were coming none the less. Then I realized that Prince Caspian had come out that spring and so there was a renewed interest in Narnia and I was glad that people were enjoying it (and crying as well).
Afterwards I left the site alone for quite a while; checking in on it now and again. Then in late 2009 I went back to my site and started to reread through my story. I realized that there was some major editing that needed to be done. It looked like a disaster. So began my reconstruction and editing of my story. It was long and hard and fun. I had missed writing and I had missed Narnia, but I now had a job and was too busy to write.
I was still getting reviews for it and several people had asked for me to write an ending chapter from Edmund's POV (the story originally ended with his former wife's POV). I had planned on it, but was so desperate to get my story done, that I just decided against it.
After two years though I thought that I would finish and so I wrote the extra chapter. Suddenly that old love and fire came back inside of me. It was almost like seeing an old friend again. Letting my thoughts becoming concrete and real was incredible. Then I went and saw The Voyage of The Dawn Treader and that was the clincher for me. I wanted to go back to Narnia and I wanted to feel that freedom again. So I decided to write another story.
I had left my job that I had been working at for almost two years, leaving me free to write. I had intended to have my second story "A Love Unknown & A Grace Unseen" to be about seven or eight chapters long. After writing my first two chapters I knew that wasn't going to happen. My main character, Brielle Glozelle was the reason for that. She was originally going to be a secondary character, but as I worked on her back-story, I began to delve deeper and deeper, making her more and more the lead. Eventually the story became completely about her.
Reviews were beginning to slowly come in with the end of each chapter and I was thrilled. People loved it and begged me to keep writing. I was finally getting a taste of white it feels like to be a possible successful author and that is a downfall. I began to lose focus of writing for the love it and writing because people loved it.
Writing, especially successful writing can be a double edged sword. It's all wonderful when people say they love your story and you get a mountain load of reviews, but what happens is you become too dependent on the audience and not what got you there in the first place, passion. So when you write a chapter and no one reviews then you feel like you failed, you weren't good enough.
My title might seem a little odd, but think about it. Every page in a story has two sides (except if it's on a computer, but that's not the point). On one side the hero can tell a maid that he loves her and then in anticipation you turn the page and found out he's left her for someone else and she's heartbroken. That's a little dramatic, I know, but that's how I feel when I'm writing. My "hero" becomes the people that review, my audience and when they don't review, for whatever reason, I feel like a failure.
When I write for myself though, when I let my imagination soar and my passion run through my words, I feel freer than a bird who has been let out of his cage. I can do what I want, say what I want, and not worry about the anyone's opinion. I don't feel bound to deadlines and the anticipation of others. That's what I feel right now as I type this post.
I think most authors go through this. J.K Rowling said that when she finished "Deathly Hallows" she was afraid that people wouldn't like the end and many people might be disappointed. She shouldn't have to say that! That's almost like saying, "I'm going to let some old friends into my home that I've built and that I love, and they may not like how I raise my children or how I cook my food."
Stephanie Meyer said that the reason she started writing "Twilight" was because she wanted to write a story with no sex, drugs, drinking or language. Over time though she said that she was being pressured by her readers to put more sex into the story and so she obliged and has now allowed it into the movies. A terrible thing for someone who has so much talent and is going so far. Fans are great and it's always nice to have an audience, but I cannot be a slave to them.
I'm writing this because when I finished "A Love Unknown & A Grace Unseen" I was hoping for a lot for of reviews. Well...as of right now I only got two. They were wonderful though and I appreciate those who were gracious enough to write back. I was disappointed though, because I thought I would get all these great reviews and feedback. Then that's when I realized that I had lost focus on what my main goal was for writing the story in the first place. To simply enjoy my love of writing and not to be distracted by others.
Someone might think me selfish for saying I write only for myself, but it's my gift and it brings me happiness. So if I go down a road where I only use my gift to satisfy other people while I become worn out and anxious, then what's the point of using it?
That's why people in in the media burn-out overtime, because what they loved became what they had to do. They traded passion for glory. It was never enough, you're never good enough. You conform to society and its ways.
What I'm getting at is we all have gifts and we all have talents. It's just how we use our talents that determine how good we are. If I use my gift for only entertainment for the masses and I'm kept in a box with rules and regulations than I've failed. If I use my gift to inspire the mind and move the heart than I've done something right.
I have had many people tell me that my stories have inspired them and that isn't a review or praise it's a still small voice telling me that my gift was well used and not wasted. When you are able to use what you have and what makes you happy and inspire those around you, then chances are the next page might be a happy ending for you and a hopeful beginning for someone else.
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast.
And when I run I feel His pleasure."
And when I run I feel His pleasure."