Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thoughts from a writer's diary

I'm an avid reader and writer (ahem... you can hide the sniggers there, people!:P) of Fan-Fiction.

And before people go tutting away to glory telling things like Fan-Fiction is so un-original, I'd like to tell them this; It takes a heck a lot more of creativity to actually write a good fan-fic. That's because there are greater number of constraints on the writer to stay true to the orginal writer's canon. (And no... it's not something that blows things up! Oye Ve! :D)

And well... ever since I started college, I'm finding it extremely difficult to actually update my stories on a weekly basis! But I do manage to sneak a chapter up every three weeks or so... And since I'm really particular about the way I present my story and how it unfolds itself, I tend to take my time in reading through the draft and making a million changes before I actually post it! And well... I was doing this when I came across some of my creations from the past (read: 'ancient' past) and it suddenly occurred to me how I have evolved as a writer!

Some of my oldest stories strike me as such immature ramblings of a child fantasizing about a world she so dearly wants to be a part of... a world where she doesn't have to sit alone and wile away her time to nothingness... a world where she's surrounded by her idols and they're actually her friends and treat her as their equals (I would positively die if Hotohori were to propose to me! Ai EƤrendil!).

And so, it's understandable that some of that unbridled enthusiasm leaks onto the story like how Orange juice stains your old Polaroids in a weird tone of Sepia.

I hope there are many other similar writers out there... and well... this post is dedicated to all you folks!

And for those who're about to let the world in on your first fan-fic, congratulations! It doesn't take much guts to actually start a story. But to actually publish it online, where the whole world can give you a piece of their mind... it's plain scary in the beginning! And it takes a helluva lot of courage to actually attempt this leap!

And here are some tips for all aspiring 'fan-fic' writers out there! (Please note that I'm no expert in the art of writing... I'm learning this art as I go. And well... sharing some of my pointers does NOT make me authoritative in judging other people and their writings!)

  • Don't worry too much about your chapters and how it sounds... if the english is appropriate enough! The main objective is to present a story and what's the fun in doing it if nobody understands what you've written! Sure that doesn't mean that typos and spelling mistakes are okay... but hey! Writers are human beings as well! And a couple of typos is not going to bring about the end of the world! But... when you write a story on Tolkien's Lord of The Rings completely in SMS language, believe me... unless it's a parody and a sarcastic dig on the present generation's dependence on the Mobile phone, you're not going to fool anyone!

  • Get the whole scene preplanned in your head. This is not the same as getting the whole story planned. You can have a skeletal plan all made up. And you can add interesting flourishes to the bold strokes. This really helps if you have a vague idea and are not sure where you're heading. You can always come up with brilliant sub-plots as you write! But the main plot has to be thoroughly thought out and should not be weak! And yep! That means you don't end up in some weird parallel universe and every single hot guy there falls head over heels for you - unless there's a greater plan!

  • A writer's journey as a...well...writer is quite akin to how a tree grows. The bark still has the rings from the past. And in the same way, each of the stories is a remnant of the past. And one should never forget these remnants. In my case, I marvel at how childish my plots have been and how my style of narration has evolved over time.

  • Never write stories for the sake of (positive) reviews alone! Sure! Getting reviews that praise you is always such an encouraging factor. But that's not the reason we write stories! We write to make ourselves happy. And well... nobody's going to spout out a classic on the first try. Criticisms are meant to help the writer. And as for the flames (read harsh feedback that hardly points out the mistakes)... no 'real' good writer/critic would flame another writer's work. So, if you were to get 'flames', you can always ignore them!
And if there's still doubts gnawing your mind, do let me know! It takes a lot of courage to publish one's works online. And doing that is always winning half the battle! So, go for it, my fledgling writer friends! Ganbatte!

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