Monday, January 08, 2007

Strange Feeling of the Day

You know how your day can have a certain feel, a certain air about it? Today is very strange to me.

First, it feels odd because it's raining and the weekend was so nice. I didn't start sleeping when I went to bed last night because someone was lighting fireworks (which is illegal in my state for individual people to have). Their light flashed through my window like crackling lightening. I'm still a little upset at my dad that he didn't tell us he was going to be out all night and didn't show up at home until about 1530 without even saying hello. And I'm planning on working overtime this week so I know my day is going to be a lot longer than normal.

I also seem to be dwelling on a book I just finished reading; Eldest, the sequel to Eragon by author Christopher Paolini. Yes, yes, I know I'm not in the target audience, but I enjoyed the recent movie based on Eragon and wanted to read it. I'm not impressed with this authors writing style, and I'm having a hard time getting past an inappropriate semi-quote from Blazing Saddles that just broke the fantasy feeling right to pieces. But if not expertly written (he does have his moments, I was much more impressed before he started pulling near-verbatim phrases from previous works, the Blazing Saddles one being the biggest affront to my fantasy-oriented mind) the story is good and gripping and strikes my imagination.

The surest sign of a good story (in my personal non-expert opinion) is when I start adding my own characters to it. I think fan-fiction has got to be the genre I write most often (though it's rarely shared, or even physically written, it's a just for me kind of thing). This is one of the things I do to expand what I want to explore as a writer. I can do this in another's world and not have to worry about what goes into creating one (the world, that is, and I do create my own worlds. My internal fan fiction is a tool and helps me work on other, less complex, aspects of writing.) I've done this since I was little with the cartoons I watched. Nothing ever comes of it and nothing is supposed to. I do consider it a compliment to the creators of the worlds I use. It means I can see their world enough to place a character in it myself. If there is one thing I have learned, it's that I cannot write it if I cannot see it. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say.

The problem with adding my characters to stories that are not yet complete is that their place has to be altered as the story progresses. Of course, the authors are not going to write to accommodate the character(s) I create in their world, nor do I expect them to. That would just be silly, and is not the point of the exercise. So, yes, I do have a character or two that I've mentally placed in Paolini's world. They have a story of their own, and they fit into the current action (to the limit of my own knowledge of it). The further I read, the more I've had to change my part of the story. This presents a challenge that adding characters to complete stories doesn't face. For something that's already done, like Star Wars (excluding the myriad of published fan fiction that I don't involve myself with) it's a simple matter to work my characters into what's already happened and develop their story from the unknowns of what happens next. For works in progress (like this one and, say, Harry Potter) the characters I create and their purpose and role in the story are being constantly changed and modified to fit into the author's still evolving world. Herein lies the challenge. The longer I have to develop my own tales before the actual story moves on, the harder it is to make them fit (I get attached to my characters even when they're not in my worlds). But what I do get are stories that don't work for the world they were created, and then can disregard them, remember them, or expand them into a world of their own. This is the point of the exercise. One of the tales I'm working on now is a direct descendant of one such internal fan fiction.

So, I'm lingering on the tale I just read because, well, it was good. And I have to know how it ends. And Eldest ended in such a way that I don't want to expand my IFF because I know a lot will need to be changed when the story moves on. (Write, dude, write!) I don't intend to get a child story out of this one. Sometimes they can be moved into their own universe and sometimes they can't. Most of my IFFs don't amount to anything, but parts of them can be used. And don't think for a minute that everything I write came from one of these little things I do.

I wonder how many of you are reading through this wondering where to send the white coats!

I suppose this means that most of my day has been and will be spent in another world. That's going to account for most of the weird feeling about it that I'm getting right now. The main story I'm working on is moving nicely, but I've come to a place where I won't be able to continue until I finish the map. All of my stories have maps. When creating a world, it helps the writer to see it (and remember it and not change it halfway through) and I've learned that it also helps the reader to keep your world straight. If it wasn't for this overtime, I'd be busy mapping! Oh, how I wish I wasn't at work right now!

3 comments :

Willow Goldentree said...

I like to read how your brain functions...it's very interesting. *wink*

psst...can we read some of your Harry Potter fan fiction? You can say no, it won't hurt my feelings. I've never considered doing fan fiction, but I'm also not a fantasy writer. I write in the current world (I guess my mind is just not suited to do otherwise- at least for now) and next time you come to visit you can read some. It would be fun to get your opinion too.

Fyrecreek said...

lol, I was wondering what you would say about this particular prattle! I'm not crazy, honest! Actually, I had an acting teacher once who said that something very similar to what I do when I work through these IFFs is a valuable skill for an actor to have. Bonus!

Hmm... well, to share them with you, I'd have to actually write them down on some form of media that's accessible to someone other than just me (as my memories are!). The difference with the EverQuest stuff on The Secret Bookcase is that they have been written down! I'll see what I can do. I started that one after book 4 though, and it's some pretty cool stuff if I do say so myself, but does not at all fit in the way the story has progressed.

I guess one of the benefits of this is that, if I don't like how things end, I can just mentally write it myself! No 'Misery' threats from me!

Willow Goldentree said...

:-) What a nice compliment from your acting teacher! All they ever told me was, "Pay attention!" and a few other things, but this is your blog not mine and you really don't need me to retell that part of my life.

I actually forgot to mention I enjoyed reading about what a weird day it is for you too. (Look at me, I just finished writing you 2 PMs on the forums and I'm still writing you- I have got to go make dinner). I've had those days when you kind of wake up and don't really feel like this is your life or something is a bit awry but you just can't put your finger on it.

And I'm sorry to hear about your dad.

I think I would definitely enjoy your Harry Potter fan fiction much better than the crap I've run into while looking for something else. Some of those kids disgust me. But no rush, I know what kind of a busy schedule you have.