Today’s guest poster is the wonderful David Gouldthorpe, who discusses how he moved from fanfiction to original fiction. Enjoy 🙂
Over the past year, I’ve been establishing myself in the writing community more and more.
I’ve worked on my debut manuscript since last January, and at the date of me writing this, I’m eighty percent completed. In that time, I’ve already offered some guidance for other people first breaking into the writing scene.
One of the most common questions is, “How do I start writing?” Other than the obvious advice of “Just start writing”, I often share my own path into writing — through the world of fandom.
I first began writing in early 2013. At the time I made mash-up videos on YouTube, but I found that it often restricted me since I was reusing footage that already existed.
While talking to some good friends of mine, one of them brought up the idea of fanfiction. I still remember sitting down in my living room and typing out my first chapter.
I eventually concluded with thirty chapters of the safest, most derivative story I’m sure the world has ever seen.
I’ve since deleted that story altogether from the Internet… but I’ve still kept a copy. Sure it may not be a particularly good story – or hell, even decent. Yet it was my starting point.
From there, I wrote more and more. In retrospect, I realize now that it really helped me in the two main areas of fiction.
I had an engaging way to practice the craft of writing, and a way to dissect stories that touched me in some way.
I got to explore and see, why did this character feel right, while a different one didn’t feel as good? How did the world of this story get fleshed out so well?
Another benefit of fanfiction writing came from other fans. Because of the very informal process of publishing fanfiction, I got a quick turnaround from submission to feedback. I could upload a chapter in the evening and wake up to at least a handful of reviews.
It also taught me several difficult lessons, such as how to handle a bad, even vitriolic review. I also learned when I should heed critiques and when I should stick with my vision.
One of my favorite moments in my fanfiction “career” was in the summer of 2015. I had just finished up a long thirty-chapter story based on How to Train Your Dragon.
I still remember getting a message in my inbox, claiming to be someone from DreamWorks, saying that he wanted fanfiction authors to write shorts for their YouTube channel.
Turns out the offer was, in fact, legitimate.
Two of my short stories ended up being adapted for their channel, and I got paid for it too. That moment, when my writing was so good that someone paid me for it, has stuck with me ever since then. It’s an inspiration that I hold close and keeps me going.
I kept writing fanfiction up through the end of 2017 and ended up “retiring” from it to focus on fully original fiction.
However, I’ve been considering going back to it. Not only is it a good way to build a community, but it also is just flat-out fun! It was a way for me to experiment and discover my own writing style.
If anyone’s interested in writing, I’d absolutely recommend fanfiction as a way to build their skills.
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David Gouldthorpe works in human resources just outside of Orlando, Florida.
Born in Arizona and schooled in New York, he’s been writing for six years.
He is currently working on his debut novel “Fort Irving”, one chapter at a time.
“Fort Irving” focuses on Anna Alvarez, whose internship with SIDTE takes an unusual turn.
She’s paired with a super-powered dog for a marketing gimmick, and tasked with “crimefighting”.
But there’s another, more private mission handed to her behind the camera’s gaze. As local crime lords go to more extreme lengths, and as suspicions surface within the company, Anna’s internship might just end up going over her head.
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Big thanks to David for being today’s guest poster and sharing his experiences from writing fanfiction to original work. Please check out his link and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.