I’ve been more active on Fanfiction.net in the past week than I have been in the past year. The reason?
I finished Draft #1 of my first original novel, began on Draft #2 and began planning a new novel. In the process of planning the new novel I realized it doesn’t fire me up the way it did when I first got the idea. And I’ll give away some secrets at this. I wanted it to be a retelling of a classic, Rumplestiltskin to be precise. I’ve been trying to get myself riled up enough to at least write the prolog, and failed miserably.
Upon pondering, I’ve found the reason behind this indifference.
I don’t know the people in the story. I don’t what makes them who they are, what motivates them and what sets them off. I don’t know anything about them, not even their names. And I can’t write about them if I don’t know them.
So, my subconscious did a backflip toward my humble beginning. Writing fanfics.
Sounds rather amateurish, doesn’t it? I know. But I’ve found the exercise to be really helpful. It has gotten my juices flowing. And helped me realize what exactly Anne Lamott meant when she said in her book Bird by Bird:
Just don’t pretend yoou know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t. Stay open to them. It’s tea-time and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.
So, now I know. Maybe it’s not too late to salvage that retelling. I won’t know till I’ve tried.