Tag Archives: fanfiction

I’m sort of doing NaNoWriMo after all

In October I started writing some fanfiction as a means of giving myself space to think about my novel. This month, I restarted the fanfiction story and added aliens, which I completed at 16,000 words after three days – my biggest daily output in years. It was fun and silly and all about a core character relationship developing across frankly absurd circumstances. There’s a type of relationship I love to explore in my writing, in which advertisaries must work together against a common foe, and the scene I started with, combined with an alien invasion, gave me a chance to write just that.

Then I realised that the only parts of the story that actually involved the original show it was a fanfiction of were the setting, the opening scene and the characters’ names. After that point, well, obviously there are aliens, but that wasn’t the only difference: my two key characters were the one I created and the one who had died in the source material (and in any case was only in about three scenes in that). Other significant characters were original too. The fanfiction part was really an ignition point, and provided a shortcut to remove the need to create a setting from scratch so I could dive right into the story.

So on the 22nd of this month, I started writing a new version, with a new opening scene that ended how I wanted it, but began a little differently. I’ve made a few tweaks both for story reasons and to distance it from the source material, but the general idea is the same.

I’m now over 12,000 words in, so I decided to record my total on NaNoWriMo anyway. Originally was going to be continuing the novel I was working on last month, which wouldn’t be in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, so I didn’t feel it was right to sign up. Since I have started a new story, and been writing a lot more per day than I usually do, I’ve decided to use NaNoWriMo after all. I don’t expect to hit 50,000 words, both because I’d need to write as much each day until the end of the month as I have in total over five days and because I don’t think it will end up even half that long when it’s finished. It’s really more about recording my progress somewhere (my One Million Words spreadsheet hasn’t been updated in about a year) and challenging myself to finish the story within November.

This story and the fanfiction that it spawned from have really invogorated me. I haven’t written this much in a long time. I’ve gone from averaging around 400 words per day to regularly exceeding 1,000 words and, a few times, writing over 3,000 words in a day. I’ve been waking up and going straight to my manuscript to write, without even making coffee or checking Twitter first (yeah, I know, right?!). I’ve written in my notebook when away from my PC, and typed up as soon as I’ve got home.

It’s so nice to feel so excited about what I’m writing, without having to slog over it and work out complex networks and interwoven plotlines and detailed worldbuilding.

Progress Report: One Million Words, February 2016

This month I’ve written 20,028 words, with an average of 690.6 words per day. This is a slight decrease compared to January, but I’ve had a fair few days over 1,000 words – and others down around the 300 words mark.

My current total is 154,823/1,000,000, or 15.5%.

That’s about two novels worth since July, though it’s largely been in short stories and attempts at them, and different versions and chapters of Kell’s Adventures.

This month, after I finished writing the latest version of Kell’s Adventures chapter 1, I took a little time to be indulgent. First I spent a few days writing a silly time travel story involving warning people about the imminent sinking of the Titanic (can you guess what I’d been watching documentaries about?) It was fun, but I had no plan.

Since then I’ve been writing fanfiction, as outlined in my recent post Delving back into fanfiction. But as I stated in that post, I wasn’t willing to dedicate more time to it than this month. That has now come to an end. Maybe on days I’m stuck I’ll jump back into it for a day or two, but for the time being I’m focusing on bigger things.

While I was writing that story, I was working on another: Horrible Monster. I’ve been working out the plot, the characters, the connections and the motivations. I bought a notebook so I could work on it while I’m not at home, because carrying around a PC is a little tricky, especially in a handbag that can only barely fit my Kindle. So I’ve made some progress, worked out a few bits I wasn’t sure about, thought about what I wanted the ending to be and how to get there, played around a bit with the world.

Tonight I started writing it. I dare say the title – and the nickname of the eponymous thief – will change. That’s an element which goes right back to the dream where the whole story started, and is now one of only two surviving elements from that dream (the other being the core element: a law enforcer chasing down a thief). Anyway, I finally got one more thing worked out and was ready to begin, so rather than mess around any more with the fanfic, I thought it best to dive right in, and I’m fairly happy with the result. Might need trimming down a bit, but the essence is there.

The plan for now is to continue working on Horrible Monster for as long as it takes. This is a novel-length story and now I’ve got things sorted out I want to capture it while I can. Assuming 80,000 words when it’s finished, and February’s rate of writing, it should take me 116 days – a little under 4 months. Of course, that ignores possible blips, days when I’m struggling and write something else instead, or move over to another story entirely for a week or three. But even with that, it’s something I should be able to manage by the end of summer.

In the meantime, yesterday I came across an opportunity for writers living in the west midlands (or possibly just the West Midlands, with capital W and M – the county rather than the region – in which case I’m not eligible, as I’m in Shropshire) to be featured in a radio show or podcast. I sent off the Dragonbane story I wrote before Christmas, since I’ve always felt it’s better spoken than read. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be asking my lovely fiance Matt to read it aloud and I’ll soundcloud it for all to listen to. If it does work out, I’ll probably take some time out from Horrible Monster to write more short pieces – or try writing them alongside HM.

So for March it’s likely to be a lot of Horrible Monster progress. Kell’s Adventures is taking a back seat at the moment. My passion for the project has dried up rather. More thought needed.

Writing reboot progress report, 13 May 2014

Here’s the thing: I’ve always got another story inside me. Not in an abstract, “if this doesn’t work I’ll think up something new” sort of way. No, this other story is solid and already in existence to some degree, and it’s been there for years, at the back of my mind. It is the fanfiction which formed the seed of Fiarra’s story. There’s not a huge amount that survived intact beyond the core theme. A few characters, altered to different degrees, were transferred over too. But writing this story, Fiarra’s story, hasn’t made that old fanfiction which I started writing when I was 18 go away.

Part of the reason I’m writing this story is to exorcise the old fanfiction, to get it out of my system, to finish it in a form I can be proud of, a form I can share and, who knows, maybe even sell. It was to truly and honestly explore the theme that I thought the source TV show failed to explore, in a manner which wasn’t restricted by the TV show – by its characters, its tone, its progression. I wrote the fanfiction because I felt a certain character, who’d switched sides midway through a series-long conflict, got off too lightly, or at least too easily. And I started writing Fiarra’s story because the fanfiction was too restrictive and at the same time too difficult to bring to a conclusion that felt like the end, because it stemmed from a source which didn’t have an end at the point I wanted to end.

Every story I’ve written since 2009 has brushed on this key theme or the framing for it in some respect. At first, I didn’t even realise it. It was really only in 2013 that it twigged what the common factor in everything I’d written for years was, and where that had come from: the fanfiction. So I decided to write this theme deliberately, and it took a few false starts, mostly involving keeping elements of that story that really had no bearing on what the core of what I wanted to say was, because I thought those things were important. It took til September to get the right setting and a false start in November before things finally started to fit together earlier this year to enable me to write this story and finally exorcise this demon, this fanfiction that’s been hanging over me for eight years.

Except it’s not exorcised. It’s still there, in the back of my mind. It’s almost instinct now to think of the name of the character who inspired Laik when I’m trying to think something complicated through, or fall asleep, or escape reality. He’s almost like the ghost of the fanfiction, haunting my thoughts until I can lay him to rest by telling his story through different eyes. And maybe, when the story is finished, this ghost will pass on to the next world and I’ll find a new story to write, or a new ghost to haunt me. Or maybe not, maybe I’ll never shake the habit.

That’s why I write. I don’t write because it’s fun or because it passes the time or because I think I’m gonna make oodles of cash someday – though that would be nice. I write because there’s a story that needs to be written, a ghost that needs to be exorcised and the way to exorcise it is to put words on paper, and finish the story.

Today’s music is White Horse by Phamie Gow, from the album Road of the Loving Heart.

Thoughts and Plans:

Today I need to make Fiarra hate Laik.

Starting writing 21:10.


Finishing 22:04 at 1,507 words total for tonight. Things really got flowing once I knew what I was doing, and giving Fiarra a hellish day that tires her out is fairly easy. I’ll have to think of more things for her to do for the rest of the day that involve plenty of exertion in the heat of a hot summer’s day. Messages delivered, that sort of thing. Messages delivered to several different locations all around the place. So fun times tomorrow. And good progress today that makes up for the shorter / less productive session yesterday.