Writer Wednesday Welcomes P.C. Wheeler!!!

OK the day has come and I am bouncing over here! I’ve been waiting like For-Evah to post this spot! My newest gal-pal,fellow blogger and awesome-writerly type peep P.C. Wheeler is taking over my blog today and she’s writing on a topic that awes me. I’ve never had anyone like her visit here at Musings, and I have zero clue or ability to do what she does, but I’m going to let her tell you about that because, frankly,  she does it WAY better! Please welcome the funky, spunky, spicy, PC Wheeler!

The ‘F’ Word

When I look at a lot of writer biographies, I see how many began by writing down their stories as soon as they learned the alphabet. This is not my experience.

Since I was a child, I’ve always had an over-active imagination, and there have been whole compendiums of stories floating around in my head (usually starring myself as the main character when I was younger). I never thought to write them down. They were for my own amusement. Often, they were set in the same universe as the latest book I was reading, but I also created new worlds and stories for myself in my head and these could be quite detailed.

When I was a young teen, I got the idea that I would try to actually pen one of these tales. It was harder than I thought it would be. I lost interest after the first chapter. I never tried to write my stories down again.

That is until one day, as a young adult, I was surfing the web, as you do, and came across this strange phenomenon. Someone had written a story based on characters from a Star Trek TV series and put it up for all the world to see. And it was funny. It was the moment when a light bulb went on in my head and I thought, yes, I can do that, too – and I can do it better.

I had never heard the term ‘fanfiction’ before. I had no knowledge of the mires of copyright legalities or the stigma attached to it. All I knew was that here was something I could do and could do well. I penned my first fanfiction short story in less than twenty minutes and figured out how to post it online in less than five. It got rave reviews and I was hooked.

I could cite a whole host of reasons as to why I am a writer today, but truth be told, I would never have come to this point if it wasn’t for fanfiction. As someone with little to no confidence in their writing skills, I would never have been able to even start a manuscript let alone finish one under my own impetus. Fanfiction gave me the crutches I needed – a pre-made world and characters – to explore the art of telling stories, and it built my confidence as readers reviewed in an instant and feedback was encouraging.

I cut my teeth on writing fanfiction and in the process I learned my craft. Tom swifties?  Out you go. Book saidisms? Bye bye. Overly used adverbs? Well, maybe one or two of you can stay… or maybe not. Then, my writing grew to the point where I could no longer justify writing fanfiction. Other people’s characters and universes were no longer enough to satisfy that itch, but by that point I was well primed to let go of the crutches and venture forth into the new territory of what I call original fiction. My current work in progress, Resonance,  is nearing completion and I am excited to start with the revision process once I have the first draft out of the way.

One of the things I’ve debated as I’ve been building my platform on facebook, twitter and on my blog, is whether or not I should mention the ‘F’ word. It has not surprised me how many writers, agents and publishers look down on fanfiction and those who write it. I certainly can understand many of the reasons – most of them will shout ‘copyright’ or point out how much drek there is in fanfiction (I won’t disagree on that one) and that it only limits you as a writer.

I guess you could call this blog post a ‘coming out of the closet’. My experience with fanfiction has, for the most part, been a positive one. All I can say is, do not dismiss those authors who had their roots in that world. There are authors published out there who have dabbled in the world of fanfiction and they certainly aren’t any worse off for it, and many of those authors are also not afraid to let people know about their so-called dark side. If, as an author, the thought of fanfiction about your own characters leaves a bad taste in your mouth, think about the rabid following of fans that are inspired to read and write fanfiction of your work. They’ll buy every book you ever write and beg for more. Tastes a little better, now, doesn’t it?

To learn more about P.C., stop by her blog Tea and Magic. And OF COURSE don’t forget to follow her on twitter! @cillaclare


9 comments to Writer Wednesday Welcomes P.C. Wheeler!!!

  • Julie Ann – thank you so much for featuring me on your blog for Writer Wednesday. I feel honored! If anyone has any questions about fanfiction, I will endeavor to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

  • [...] In my post, I talk about how I finally figured out that I was any good at this writing stuff, and the slightly controversial topic of fanfiction. Please head on over to Julie’s blog to read my post: The ‘F’ Word. [...]

  • I think fan fiction is fine to write (especially for getting started), sure there’s a lot of fan fic crap out there – but who cares (it’s all in good fun). Anything that makes people think “I can do this” should be celebrated.

    I have one question about fan-fiction. Some authors have taken a stand against fan fiction and don’t allow people to use their characters (and this has led some fan fic sites to take down certain people’s work). Do you have any thoughts on this?

  • Austin, I have always thought that it is important to respect an author’s wishes on this point. If you truly want to write fanfiction on their work, then keep it private. If you want to put your stuff out there for others to read, there are so many authors who have no issue with it or even encourage it, pick one of those.

  • I’ve read fanfiction from TV shows but never any based on books.
    I think it’s a fine way to practice and improve your writing as long as you respect copyrights.

  • Susan, most fanfic writers like to publish their writing online but will acknowledge the author as the originator of the universe or characters and will not except any payment for such works. This probably falls into gray area of copyrights, but most authors find it harmless as having a fandom community (of which fanfic is typically a big part) is a huge benefit and creates sales. It is when fanfic writers try to make money off their writing that most authors feel a line is crossed – and will pursue legal ways to recoup their losses (and I wouldn’t blame them if they did). It is only the most clueless of fanfic that would consider crossing this taboo line.

  • I used to write a lot of fan fiction. I still write it from time to time, when my own worlds have driven me to writer’s block. I’m a little different because I never really published my fan fic online. I used it mostly as a method to relax, clear my mind, and still keep writing. Almost all of my stuff is still somewhere on a hard drive, written in notebooks, or extremely rarely published on random websites.

  • Priscilla, You have opened up a whole new world for me. I had never heard of Fan Fiction before…or Slash Fiction or Femslash…etc. I just had to go and look these genres up. The whole concept is rather foreign to me…especially since I’ve never been a fan of SciFi, cult films, or anything closely related. I”m not into fiction much anyhow and that may explain how I missed the whole movement.

    Let me just say that I’m so glad you are writing other things now ’cause I’m very fond of your writig. Wait a minute!…I guess you might say I’m a Fan PC.:=)

  • @Annikka Cool! I think it’s a great way to hone your craft and experiment with different techniques.
    @Nancy, if you’ve decided to take a peek into the sub-culture that is fanfiction, I advise caution! There are mires and mires of crud out there, but many hidden gems as well. In a way, the fanfic culture has been going through for years what the self-publishing culture is just starting to experience. How does one find the quality amid the quantity when there are no gatekeepers? Anyway, I am flattered that you are a fan!

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