advice

All posts tagged advice

Fanfiction is important, and here’s why.

Published April 2, 2018 by authorbebedora

When I started writing fanfic, I had no idea what I was doing. My writing style was nowhere near what it has since become. (I look back at those early pieces and shudder at my formatting and dialogue style!) I simply wrote because I loved a video game so much that I wanted to give the characters new stories.

And so I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I honed my skill. I got great reviews from readers who loved what I wrote. I expanded into other fandoms, consistently improving my craft.

Then, one day, I decided to go for it. Write original fiction. Now I have a novel under my belt, with two more to come to round out the series. I’ve queried agents. I’ve put my name out there in the hopes that someone will want to put my words into print.

And you know what? I have fanfic to thank for that.

Writing fanfiction gave me confidence. It gave me ample time to find my voice. To learn to edit. To format. Made me realize that there are readers out there for every genre, every type of story imaginable.

The reason I bring this up today is pictured below. The story in question was finished in 2015, after over a years’ worth of work. And even today, I still get reviews. (Side note: to anyone writing just to get reviews…DON’T. They are the icing on the cake and you should be writing because you enjoy it and it makes you happy.) This comment left me speechless. I actually teared up. To hear someone reinforce to me that I am indeed a good writer, and that I’ve chosen the right path is amazing. We all need to hear it every once and a while, especially when we’re having days where our characters don’t cooperate, our plot bunnies are out of control, and the writer’s block is at terminal velocity.

Fanfiction started me. Made me the writer I am today. I don’t write it as much as I used to, but it’s never far from my mind or my heart.

 

sitd review

Advertisements

Inspiring Kids Is The Absolute Best

Published February 20, 2018 by authorbebedora
Just returned from lunch with two new second grade friends! They invited me back to show me the stories I inspired them to write in my last visit, and to gab about writing! Seeing their excited faces totally made my day.  (I spent an hour last month chatting with my son’s former second grade teacher’s new class about being a writer. I brought one of my hard copy edit MS, my maps, my outlines.  They were so impressed that I wrote it ALL BY MYSELF.  😉 )
Let me tell you, these two young ladies have both come up with incredibly complex storylines, and one even has her book already planned as part one of a series! Their ideas, their imaginations–unbelievable.
There are days where I scream and cry, feel like I’m not cut out to be even trying this writer business. Days I want to give up. But then I meet kids like this. Their eagerness, their determination, their sheer joy in creating something fantastical–reminds me one of the reasons why I do what I do.
Yes, I write to entertain readers. Hell, I write to entertain myself. I write because I enjoy it. But there’s another aspect, one that I think might be overlooked–and shouldn’t be. It’s important to think about how your writing (and your attitude about writing) affects others, especially young people. A visit to a classroom to talk to kids about writing a book turned into a wonderful opportunity to mentor young writers. Their questions were great, and I think they genuinely loved what advice and encouragement I had to offer. I left that classroom feeling so wonderful, so fulfilled. To think that I could inspire two young girls to go out there, give it a try, and see what they could come up with was thrilling.
If you’re given the opportunity to mentor anyone in whatever field you’re in–DO IT. You never know how much it means to someone until you see the look on their face, hear the excitement in their voice. The next generation is out there, and they’re eager for someone to show them the ropes, to let them see that whatever they desire to be or do can be achieved–and has been achieved. That there’s no limit to the incredible potential they have within themselves.
I’m looking forward to our next visit in a couple months, and I can’t wait to see how much progress my new friends have made on their fantasy books.

Fanfiction–a writer’s best weapon.

Published May 10, 2017 by authorbebedora

I recently came across a Mythic Scribes article about the importance of fanfic for a budding writer, (article linked below), and I couldn’t agree with it more.

We all know that fanfic gets a bad rap sometimes.  Sometimes it’s warranted, most of the time it isn’t.  Yes, there’s some badly-written stuff–but there’s a lot of really well-written, quality pieces.  There’s  PWP (Porn without plot)–but also a lot of fantastic erotica.  Strange pairings?  Weird crossovers?  Killing characters?  Check, check and check again.   And you know what?  That’s okay.

//small rant coming// Fanfiction is a safe place for people write what they want.  So many times, I see others talking stink about “this piece or that piece”, about how the pairing is awful, the plot is bad or it isn’t edited properly.  While some of it is true concrit, sometimes it’s nothing more than readers (or other writers) bitching about someone’s piece just because it isn’t exactly what they like–or they’re just being assholes.  The stories might not be what you’re comfortable reading, or might stray into territory that makes you cringe, but at the end of the day, there is an author behind it that is proud of their accomplishment.  Sometimes fic authors, especially new ones, don’t understand the finer points of beta editors, peer feedback and the difference between being trolled and being given real advice.  It’s our job as “veterans” to help them out so they don’t get discouraged and quit. I’ve seen too many authors get flamed for no good reason and get fed up and leave their fandoms.  You can be an honest editor/reviewer without being cruel.  //rant over, now back to the topic at hand//

Fanfiction is so important for readers and writers alike.  There are people out there who might read a story by their favorite author and be inspired to write their own.  Authors meet friends through their fandoms–and those friendships sometimes turn into lifelong partnerships.  From a writer’s perspective, fanfiction is so helpful.

When I began writing fanfic many years ago, I had a very contrasting writing style from my current (and I think) permanent one. My outlining techniques were nowhere near what they are today. My editing process was completely different. Had I attempted to write an original piece then, it would have NOT been up to par.  Writing fanfic helped hone my skills, made me more confident and gave me the courage to tell myself, “You can write that goddamn novel, lady!”

Writing, no matter what type, helps so much. It boosts not only skill level, but confidence as well. Even with one completed novel in the editing stage and its sequel started, I still write fanfic. Why? It’s fun. It’s a great distraction when I’m blocked or in a pissy mood. And let’s face it, I’m the hurt queen and well, that Episode Ignis DLC will probably be the end of all of us.

To anyone who has ever said fanfic has no purpose and that the writers aren’t legit, I say, “suck rocks.” Yes, there’s some PWP and tentacle smut, but…whatever twirls your ticket, I guess. 😉  To all my fellow fic writers–keep it up!  You never know when you might decide to leap into the original fiction pool!  But if you don’t ever want to try your hand at original fiction, that’s perfectly acceptable.  Because your characters will always be there for you, ready and waiting for you to either be nice to them…or hurt them.  *looks innocent*

 

https://mythicscribes.com/miscellaneous/fanfiction-can-help/

Overcoming “The Block.”

Published April 28, 2017 by authorbebedora

writers-block 2

 

There hasn’t been an author in history that hasn’t fallen victim to IT at one point or another.  Sometimes it only lasts for a few hours, sometimes it’s months.  I’m talking about the dreaded…

…WRITER’S BLOCK.

We’ve all been there, most likely more times that we’d care to admit.  “The Block” can come in many forms.  Words that just won’t come.  A brain that won’t relinquish the great ideas you *just know* are in there.  Headaches.  Exhaustion.  Tantrums.

Whatever form your block takes, it can be crippling–and downright depressing.

My worst case of the block came about two years ago.  I had decided (like a crazy person) to undertake two multi-chapter Star Trek AOS fanfics at once.  It started well, and I was able to switch back and forth between each seamlessly.  I made regular updates on each story, much to the delight of my readers.  But then the beast appeared.

THE BLOCK.

I had completed the first of the two, having neglected the latter piece because I could feel the block creeping up on me.  When it came time to work in earnest on the second fic, the block ate me alive.  I think it was a mixture of being burnt out from undertaking two stories at once and juggling stay-at-home-mom life.  I would stare at my screen, cursing James T. Kirk and the goddamn Enterprise with every fiber of my being.

I knew something had to change.

So I stepped back, something I had been telling my beta clients to do for years.  For six months, yes SIX MONTHS, I let the piece in question sit.  I didn’t look at it.  I didn’t think about it.  It was dead to me.

Now, I’m a woman of my word.  I promised my readers–and myself–that I would finish it.  And I intended to.  But, if it were to be quality work, I knew I needed to give it some space.  And you know what?  One day, I opened the current chapter back up and finished the story without another hiccup.

Then, last month, the beast crept up on me again.  I had completed my first novel, and was waiting for edits to start coming back.  I decided that it was a great time to start on the second book of my trilogy, since the characters and plot were still very fresh in my mind.  My outline had been completed for months, and I  thought I’d just fall right into it with ease.  Boy, was I wrong.

The tone of my second book is decidedly very different, and the characters are in much stranger places in their lives than ever before.  I completed about a quarter of the first chapter, and then…NOTHING.  I stared at that puny little blurb of a chapter for a good week.  I began to hate it.  It made me angry.  The frustration gave me headaches.

So, I took my own advice yet again and walked away.  I wrote super angsty, brooding, gory fanfic.  I played video games.  I went to a few baseball games.  I watched SO MUCH TWIN PEAKS.  And you know what?  After two weeks, I opened up the outline, added a few things and was back in business.  Just like that.  No ease-in…it just happened.

People often ask me, “What’s the best cure for writer’s block?”  So, here are my tips for surviving that-which-terrifies-authors.  (Not as much as query letter writing terrifies us, but pretty damn close.  *shudders*)

  •  STEP AWAY.   This is the absolute most important piece of advice I can give.  The more you force yourself to look at and/or work on your piece, the worse the block is going to become.  When you’ve been staring at the same thing for days…or weeks…with nothing flowing, your brain becomes bogged down.  You exhaust your creativity.  Your mind becomes jumbled with both doubt and frustration.  The words you might end up creating while forcing it will more than likely turn out to be garbage.  I’ve been there…and seen it happen to fellow authors.  The block can consume you, and turn you into a self-doubting zombie.  Take a few hours, a couple days…hell, even months.  Remember, I took a SIX MONTH hiatus from a fanfiction piece.  Whatever you do, don’t go back to your work-in-progress until you’ve taken some time away from it.  You’ll be glad you did…and regret it if you don’t.

 

  •  WRITE SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.    I find that when I’m blocked, I naturally fall back into fanfiction.  (When I was writing fic, I would blog when I was stuck.)  A change of literary scenery can sometimes be all you need to get the creative juices flowing again.  If you have a blog, write some new posts.  Make your subject matter about something completely different than what’s blocking you at the moment.  Write a poem.  Write fanfic.  (If you’ve never written fic before, give it a try!  Find a movie/TV show/video game that you love and give the characters a new story to play around in!)  My last bout of the block came when Final Fantasy XV had taken over pretty much everything in our house.  The stories came easy–and so very, VERY angsty–and it was just the distraction I needed to let my mind recover a bit to be able to get back into my novel mindset.  (Poor Ignis…)

 

  •  LET A TRUSTED PERSON SEE WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN SO FAR.    Sometimes, all you need is a second set of eyes to give you a new perspective.  Now, I know that letting someone else see your work isn’t always an option.  Some people are protective of their pieces, whether it be for plot reasons or nerve reasons.  But if you have someone you trust and value their opinion, let them look.  Which brings me to my last point…

 

  •  BRAINSTORM  WITH SAID TRUSTED PERSON.  Like I said above, sometimes a new pair of eyes looking will give you just the motivation you need to light a fire under your ass.  When you’ve been staring at the same content for so long, writing about the same subjects for what seems like forever, everything starts to meld together.  You may have an issue with a plot point that just won’t come together, a character that refuses to cooperate.  Continuity errors and flow issues might not be easy to spot.  If there is someone you trust to give valued critique/suggestions, go to them.  Yes, you might not always like or agree with their ideas, but it gets your mojo working again.  Your gears start to turn once more, and you may find yourself cranking out chapters like wildfire again before you know it.

 

Writer’s block sneaks up on us all.  It’s a bitch.  It’s relentless.  It’s mean-spirited and rude.  But it doesn’t have to be the end of you or your work.  Hopefully, some of what I’ve offered can help someone, somewhere.  At the end of the day, no matter how long it takes and no matter what means you employ to make it happen–I promise the block WILL go away.

And when it does, you’ll be back to your old awesome self once more.

 

Motivation, schmotivation…

Published April 23, 2017 by authorbebedora

For the last month-or-so, I’ve been struggling with finding the mojo and motivation to start writing my second book in earnest. I had completed about a quarter of the first chapter and then hit a wall.

I tried everything to get my spark back. Took a break from the novel. Wrote a few fanfic pieces. Watched A LOT of Twin Peaks. A few days ago, I opened the chapter again, and NOTHING.

Today, with both husband and boy playing video games on different levels of the house, I decided to tempt fate and try again.

Twenty minutes later, the outline has been fleshed out even more and I think I’m ready to jump again. Granted, it’s only twenty minutes of work, but when I haven’t made that much progress on this series in over a month–I’ll take it.

I’m going to reiterate advice that I give a lot to my beta clients (and friends!): If you’re blocked, if you’re finding your motivation gone and your drive to write waning: STEP AWAY. Maybe it’s just for a few days, maybe it’s a month or two. (I even took a six-month hiatus from a fanfiction piece years back.) It really, truly does work.

[[Oh, and a note about this poor, ignored blog:  These last four-ish months have been a rough go and I haven’t felt much like blogging.  You can thank the political situation of our country for most of that strife.  But, I’m back now…with a book at the editor and another started, so here we go!]]