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.