A chronicle of my quest to learn how to write fiction by writing a book based on the Harry Potter universe by J.K. Rowling. I'll move on to my own original work when I'm finished.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Insecure Writer and Taking The Plunge



Today is March's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.


What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

My decision to begin work on a manuscript that could, theoretically, be publishable at some point.

If you’ve kept up with this blog the last two and a half years, you’ll know I've been teaching myself to write fiction by writing a story set in Hogwarts, the school of magic invented by J.K. Rowling.  But while I've learned a lot about writing during the last 3+ years I've spent on that story, it's dawned on me that there is nothing wrong with learning about writing while working on something I can actually publish. In other words, I no longer plan on waiting until my fan fic story is finished before I start exploring my own story worlds.

Why am I doing this now? The answer, quite simply, is a matter of patience (or lack thereof). It’s hard to hear about other writers* querying and hooking up with agents when I haven’t even started writing anything that could be queried. Finding critique partners and beta readers can be difficult (and even a little embarrassing) when all you have is fan fic. (I already have two CPs who don’t mind fan fiction, but I could always use more.) And I can't imagine submitting fan fic for an excerpt critique. And the only way I'm going to solve these problems is by taking the plunge.

I've had a story in the back of my mind for over a year now; full of magic, castles, and fourteen-year-olds risking their lives in bizarre and entertaining ways. I attempted to write this story during NaNoWriMo last November, but I only hit 25k words before I conceded the outline needed massive amounts of help and shut everything down. But over the last several months I’ve reworked the plot and feel ready to try again. My new end of year goal?  Finish both the final draft of my fan fiction story and the first draft of my new story. My CP is going to be busy. Sorry Sher.

Deep down, I know that as long as I stick to just writing fan fiction, I'm settling for the safe and easy road.  I'll never have to query or send pages out to an agent. So if I want to push myself as a writer, this is the next step.
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BTW, for those of you looking for critique partners or beta readers, scoot right on over to the Falling for Fiction website. They've got a match-making service going on this month called The Matchelor. I'll definitely be signing up! 

*BTW, congratulations to Juliana Brandt.  I’m jealous in a supportive kind of way.:)

24 comments:

  1. Shades of Grey began as Twilight Fan Fic, perhaps your Hogwarts story can be adapted. Enough place name and characters changed that it will appeal to JK's audience without stealing her copyrighted ideas? Just a thought. And 25k in one month is a big accomplishment!

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    1. I've thought about that, but the story is so intricately wrapped around Hogwarts, it would be tough to do without making it obvious that it's a ripoff, and I don't think Rowling would be too pleased with that.

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  2. Good for you for pushing yourself. That's the only way to grow and hone your craft! I have faith you can finish your two projects - best of luck and get working!

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    1. It'll certainly make the next 10 months pretty exciting. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Good for you. And it's true, you have to write a book if you want to get one published. Best of luck! You can do it.

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    1. Being published is my goal. Might as well get started with it as soon as possible.

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  4. It is the next logical step, but that doesn't make the step any smaller. (And 25K is nothing to sneeze at, btw.) But yeah, turn those 14yo kids loose and let's see what happens. :)

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    1. Even now, starting on a new book seems daunting. We'll see how I feel in 6 months.

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  5. Sounds like a good next step to take.
    Best of luck to you.

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  6. Awesome decision. And everything we write makes us better writers and not one word is truly wasted. Good luck on your writing adventure!

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  7. Yay! I'm excited to see this new world!!

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  8. I think your plan makes sense. I often have more than one story in progress. You might find it nice to have two going... if you hit a road block on one, you can switch to the other. Best of luck to you.

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    1. That's definitely the plan. I tend to jump around between chapters even now, with just one story.

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  9. Good for you! Breaking out of our safe zones is terrifying, no doubt about it. And...I'll reveal a secret, I'm a huge fan of 50 Shades, which started out as fan fiction. You just never know what stories will tempt readers out there!

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  10. Ken, that's great! I wondered what was holding you back from working on both. I met someone at writer's conference who might want to crit with you once she's revised her opening. And that was just from hearing you wrote Hogwarts fanfiction. I'm excited for you.

    After critique group today, we had a discussion on story structure and decided that's my weakness vs. the plot. I keep leaving out important information that leads to a lack of tension. I think you can help me with that.

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  11. Time to step out and go for it! Sounds like you are ready to see it to the end.

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  12. I didn't realize you were teaching yourself to write using the Hogwarts world. What a great idea! I also think it's great your making the plunge with an original ms. Sounds like you've put in lots of hard work and are ready to move onto original stuff. Good luck!

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  13. Hi, Ken,

    Nice to meet you. FANTASTIC header!

    LOVE the whole HP world. Nothing wrong with taking lessons from a fantasy/world building expert. I sort have did the same thing when I wrote my first m/g fantasy novel. I did build my own world but I drew many of Rowling's insights into my work.

    CONGRATS on your world. IT sound AMAZING. Jump right in and get to it. You need to get your work into the right hands. IT's obvious you have a passion and TALENT for it.

    All the best!

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  14. Keep making plans to keep moving forward. Keep trying again. We learn a lot through the early attempts. I look forward to someday becoming immersed in your world :)

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  15. Love your blog design! I've always had a fascination with castles, so this site feels like home. I think it's awesome that you're leaping out of your comfort zone. I wish you tons of luck and creative mojo! :)

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  16. That's amazing you've put in the time to perfect your craft through fan fic. Eventually, our stories call to us, even at times we are least expecting them to.

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