Sunday, 8 December 2013

Writing from someone else's imagination

I have never written fanfic. I know a lot of people who write it, often as well as writing their own original fiction, but it's not something I've ever been tempted to do. Why? Because it's hard! Taking characters that came to life in someone else's mind and putting them into a plot that came from mine never seemed to work for me. I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Sherlock, all of which have stacks of fanfic written about them every day, but I have never written any myself. I have plenty of my own original ideas to be getting on with, I tell myself.

That's why, when I first heard about the Dark Crystal Author Quest, I glossed over it. I absolutely adore the Dark Crystal, in fact I adore everything Henson, but I didn't think there was any way I could fulfil the requirements of the contest. What they're looking for, in effect, is fanfic. There's the original canon and a timeline, with guidance material for authors taking part in the contest that helps to evoke the general time in which they want the novel to be set. I glanced at the website, but didn't think any further about it.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I saw a tweet about it and decided to give the site another look. This time, I read the background material in much greater detail and downloaded the author's resource document, and something marvellous happened. I found myself getting ideas! Ideas that fit within the canon and utilised the characters provided, as well as some of my own characters who appeared in my head. Ideas that made me really excited. Within a day or two I had a whole novel briefly plotted out.

So, I'll be one of the many people entering the contest. I have no idea of my chances, but that's not really the point of this post. It's more of a celebration of my excitement, of the inspiration I felt to write a story that's built on someone else's world. I've always wanted to write harder fantasy, and this has given me that opportunity. Even if I'm not successful, I'll probably still put what I've written online as Dark Crystal fanfic, and use what I've learnt to begin world-building for some detailed fantasy of my own creation.

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