It All Starts with Fan-Love

Many a writer has a trunk full of bad fan fiction. They couldn’t help themselves. They loved the story, the characters, or the world so much that they didn’t want their experience to end. Instead of letting go and moving on, they chose to create their own adventures in someone else’s sandbox. It’s that drive, fan-love, that pushes many writers to start our own creative journeys.

While fan-fic has a bad reputation, the communities that form around fandoms are a great place for the young writer to get much needed feedback. Everyone has a good time and there’s nothing on the line but a little ego. The important thing isn’t that these first works are original or ground breaking, but rather that they exist at all. They are only the first steps.

I’ve said it before, writers must first be readers. By consuming the works of others, we develop our love of story and spark our imaginations. Eventually, that passion grows into a burning desire to make something of our own.

As their skills progress, young writers can often become disappointed by the quality of their original fiction. After all, they look down at their efforts and up to the works of masters they admire. The truth is by that point in our careers, our good taste exceeds our abilities to produce. It will take years yet of practice and rejection for our skills to catch up to the point where we are publishable.

Many, if not most, will quit before that ever happens. The rest who push on will often draw strength and inspiration from a few favorite stories, using their example as both challenge and guide. The secret that most forget is that our favorite authors had to struggle just as hard as we are now. Ultimately, it is our desire to continue the creative conversation that pushes us forward as writers.

During my fourth sequence, On the Shoulders of Giants, I thought and wrote about the authors who have shaped my journey as a writer. In this sequence I want to change the focus a little. Up until now, I’ve been trying to connect with fellow aspiring professionals. Over the next twenty weeks, I instead want to reach out across the Internet to my fellow fans. I’ll revisit some of the stories that helped shape not only Nathan the writer, but also Nathan the person. As you read my thoughts on my favorite stories, I hope you share your own with me. Let’s geek out with each other and hopefully grow from the shared experience.


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