Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tying Up Strings

I've confessed before that I got my bug for writing by first writing fanfic. Regardless of the legal grayness involved in borrowing other people's characters and worlds and using them in your own creations, I still think fanfic is a great way to test your writing wings. Not to mention the ego boost it offers if you prove good enough to earn some positive feedback. For the fledgling writer, a bit of back patting is as essential as a good dictionary and word processing program to get you going. Heaven knows there's far too little of it once you enter the scary world of publishing.

My appreciation for fanfic not withstanding, I haven't written fanfic in well over a year and half now. All of my creative energies are focused on my own, original stuff, and the voices of those favorite characters no longer speak to me loud enough to be heard over the din of original characters. I pushed them as far as their pre-established universe (and the readers of associated fanfic) would allow. When I started adding my own, new characters to the old character's stories, new characters who I fell in love with even more so than the originals, I knew it was time to break out on my own.

But in doing so, I've left some loose strings. Particularly, I began a fairly lengthy story that I didn't finish. I put all the players in position, sent them into a deep chasm of problems and conflict, only to leave them flailing about with no light in sight at the end of their proverbial tunnels. No HEA. No resolution. Only a message promising to finish the story. At some point.

Even worse, I posted as much of this story as I had written. I put it out there and some people came and read. And then I left them high and dry. The worst thing a writer can do to a reader, and I'm guilty.

Every once in a while a reader will enquire when/if I plan to finish it. I feel huge amounts of guilt when this happens because I don't blame them for feeling abandoned. I dragged these folks on a dark ride and have left them there. It's like watching a television show that leaves one season on a horrible cliffhanger, only to have it be cancelled while on hiatus with no resolution.

So I'm thinking I should pick up the pen again on this one. I should finish it and close the box. Get those characters out of trouble, satisfy those readers that stuck with me, finish what I started.

Except, it's been 18 months since I worked on this story, and those characters aren't talking to me anymore. Those scenes aren't playing in my head on endless loop. I've tried everything to get it back. I've reread what I've already written, hoping to get back in the mood. I've looked over the snippets of scenes that I'd gotten down before I became distracted by other things. I've spent time in the shower, thinking it over. Nada. I'm about to dive into the DVDs, hoping if I watch some episodes I'll find those voices again. Hoping.

Because when I sit down with the laptop, I don't want to see that file on my desktop any longer. I'm ready to move on. Guilt free.

Other voices are calling.


J Gatsby said...

As long as your writing, the readers will forgive. In fact, I'd wager that they'd rather hear a new voice then a filtered one.

meljean brook said...

I've done this -- I have one fanfic out there I'd LOVE to finish, I get e-mails about it...but I just need to take it down. I keep thinking (telling myself) I'll have time to work on it, but I just won't.

I do leave it up hoping to guilt myself into taking those extra couple of minutes a day that I'm blogging or whatever to write a page, so that it does eventually continue -- but it hasn't happened yet. And it won't anytime soon.

Makes me sad, because I really love the story. It just can't be a priority right now.

Lynn M said...

That's it exactly, Meljean. I really loved the story when I started it. Wrote like a fiend for weeks because the words just spewed out of my head. I started posting bits of the story before I finished it, which was a big mistake. I took a break from writing it, used up my buffer, and now I just can't get back into the flow of writing it again. I've lost the momentum.

And every once in a while I get a bit motivated, but then something comes up that distracts me away. At this rate, I may never finish it.