Near the end of 2014, I downloaded a free copy of a video game called Dragon Age: Origins. It was part of a promotional giveaway by Electronic Arts in order to promote the newest installment of the Dragon Age series that was launching during the holidays that year.
Needless to say, I became hooked. The rich character-driven story-lines and the myriad of player options drew me in. Yet, despite the various choices, and their subsequent consequences, in the game, I yearned for more. So, I began writing my own stories set in the game. I became a fan fiction writer.
I’m not sure which I have more passion for now; the game or the writing that was inspired by it. I fell in love with writing and the more stories I wrote, the more I began to play around with how to write and write well. I started exploring more and more “alternate universes” and I began to build my own worlds to throw these characters into.
Eventually that evolved into creating not only entirely unique worlds, but also unique characters. That’s how Coffee-to-Go came about. I had an idea for a “Coffee-shop AU” story, and I decided to write it entirely based on characters I created, rather than using known characters I’d been writing in my fan fiction. The idea for my next novel could also easily have been written as a fan fiction story, but instead I’m creating unique characters for instead.
I think I’ve finally evolved my writing enough to branch out and leave the safety of the world of fan fiction, where there is a built in fan base ready to read whatever fan fiction writers put out there. That’s not to say I’ll never write another fan fiction story (and truth be told, I’m currently working on one). However, I knew earlier this year I needed to grow beyond that and start producing my own original writing if I was going to continue to write long-term.
I’m very proud of how my first novel turned out. It may not be the next Great American Novel, but I think it’s a good, entertaining story with a couple of characters that I completely fell in love with. I hope my readers do as well.
What is your opinion regarding fan fiction? Have you ever read any? Do you think it’s a good sandbox for new writers to play in as they begin to develop their writing skills?