Do I Still Know How To Write For Fun?

Susan and I have been talking about writing for fun lately.  She talks about needing more fun in her life in her post today, and it got me thinking about myself.  She mentioned this weekend that she thought I should write some fan fiction.  Which spawned a really interesting discussion of fan fiction, but that’s not actually what I want to talk about.

I have never at any point in my life had any inclination to write fan fiction.  I almost never read any unless somebody sends me a link to something truly awesome (like this Star Wars fan fic about Han and Leia that Susan sent me for Star Wars Day–it’s adorable) because so much of it is…well, bad.  Unlike Susan, I can’t turn off the critical editor and I   DO still mind if the prose is a mess and there are typos and errors and comma splices and all manner of purple prose.  All that aside, I’ve never felt compelled to write it because God knows, I have enough of my own ideas, so I have no need to co-opt the characters or world of anybody else.

But that still leaves the issue of when the last time was I wrote something purely for fun.  That would probably be pre-graduate school.  Because in graduate school was the point at which I started taking writing as a career seriously.  Which is not to say that I didn’t have fun writing all the things I’ve written in the last seven years, but none of it was written purely FOR fun.  All of it was with an eye to publication, to improving my craft, learning more, getting BETTER.  And it’s not like those things are mutually exclusive from fun, but all of those things change my mindset about writing.  And it makes it a lot more likely that I see something purely for fun as somehow a waste of my limited time.

After Susan’s suggestion about writing some fan fic, I was wondering if I might write something purely for fun and throw it up on Wattpad.  Something that isn’t planned and plotted to the nth degree and isn’t for ultimate publication.  Just for fun.

And even writing that made my eye twitch.

The idea of pantsing something…ON PURPOSE, is almost enough to give me hives.  Dear God in heaven, HOW did I ever do this all the time?  I can’t even fathom that anymore.  I think, at the very least, I’d have to have the structure and one of those brief bullet point outlines before I started.  It’s my security blanket…

Ultimately, I have no idea what I’ll end up doing.  I’m finishing Riven first and foremost.  And after that…we’ll see.

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6 comments

  1. The idea behind the fanfic suggestion was that you can’t own it, so it can’t be for publication in the sense that we think of it. Which is probably a bigger thing for me than it is for you in terms of just do something. I’m at the point where every decision I made has to be checked against the past that’s out there and weighed against anything I might want to do in the future. But with someone else’s world, you can just go in there and play in a way I don’t feel free to play in my world right now.

    And I’d like to observe that I’m most critical of me, and then of for-profit books, and can’t just let myself turn off the analysis and enjoy them, but I’m much better able to turn it off and just enjoy what’s presented when it comes to fanfic. With books, I expect a certain level. Other things, my standards aren’t so harsh. I think you hare less picky overall, but apply those standards across the board.

    1. I’d agree with that assessment. I have a minimum threshold of quality I insist on if I’m going to spend my time reading something. My students’ papers suck up what VERY limited tolerance I have for crap writing. It’s probably no coincidence that as I’ve learned more about writing and craft, I’ve gotten exposed to more and more students who simply can’t put together a correct sentence, so my patience has thinned on being willing to tolerate that kind of crap in anything I’m not REQUIRED to read.

  2. I used to write fan fiction when I was a pre-teen. And maybe some when I was a teenager, I don’t remember the exact time frame. But I always had to be in it. I was the main character, and my love interest was whomever was my main heartthrob at the moment. One I remember in particular was about the TV show “Emergency” because I had a big crush on Johnny Gage (played by Randolph Mantooth). When I became an adult, I felt like fanfic was, well…juvenile and immature. (Please don’t throw rotten tomatoes.) I can’t seem to get out of that mindset. I guess it’s just me.

    You know, come to think of it…maybe it would be fun to just BE juvenile and immature for awhile.

  3. Do you read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, Kait? I’d highly suggest it…he writes in exactly this way (and he writes the stuff people write fan fiction from…lots of Star Trek stuff under his belt, among other things). He has publishing and writing posts that are very enlightening. http://deanwesleysmith.com

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