“I know what I’m gonna be when I grow up,” my thirteen-year-old-self declared. “I’m going to be a soap opera writer!”
The revelation spread throughout my body, my eyes wide and heart fluttering. It was a career choice no one around me shared, definitely not on any of the what-are-you-going-to-be-when-you-grow up quizzes. I had no idea how to proceed once the declaration was made. I wished for the goal instead of working towards the destination.
I let the dream fizzle as fear of
failure success intensified. But I kept writing, always kept writing. For I didn’t write for profit, fame, or critical acclaim; I wrote because it brought me joy and fulfillment. During my high school study hours or when I finished my classwork early, I’d whisk out my notebook and let the story ideas take shape.
Long before “shipping” and “fan fic” were added to pop culture vernacular I was doing both. There’d be a particular TV pairing which captured my attention and interest, and my creativity ached for an outlet. I’d imagined scenarios as to how the story would play out. What would the characters say? If the couple was broken apart, I’d wonder what could/should happen next to bring them back together. The words flowed out as though my Drama Muse sat beside me refilling the ink.
I’ve written fan fiction/spec scripts for over 25 years and yet I’ve never published a one. Call it “fear” or “low self-esteem” – I now know that embarrassment held me back from sharing this talent. Some of the doubts were as follows: I do not own the shows or characters. Does this make me seem like an obsessed fan? Am I wasting time writing others’ stories instead of drafting my own? Would people laugh at me?
Even now, as there are multiple online outlets dedicated to sharing “fan fiction”, I hesitate adding my stories to the list. I read the works of fellow writers who “ship” the same pairings as I do and have discovered real gems; authors who capture the tone, dialogue, and character traits of the show they adore. I can completely visualize the scenes as they depict them and feel a shared comraderie with like-minded word artists.
The “fan fic” stories I created over the past three decades remain some of my proudest creations:
· Bailey and Sarah reuniting years after the Party of Five finale
· Many differing versions of Peyton & Lucas’ romance (One Tree Hill)
· Liz and Jason complicated history and miscommunications (General Hospital)
· Sonny & Brenda (enough said)
· Filling in time gaps for Emily and Jack, especially his reaction of her S2 finale revelation (Revenge)
· Eponine’s “ghost” mentoring Marius’ teenage daughter (Les Miserables)
The possibility of sharing any of the above still makes my stomach do flip-flops, but I’ll never stop writing them because one artistic creation inspires another. I write about TV, film, and theatre but until now stopped at actually posting examples of my dramatic writing passion.
I’m closer than ever before to pushing past my fear and perhaps in the next few months I’ll share some oldies and recent inspirations: Rory/Logan (Gilmore Girls). I’ll keep writing, always writing, whether it be via fan fiction, poetry, genealogy, or Young Adult fantasy.
*Check out some of the fan fiction sites I’ve discovered and share those you know: FanFiction.net and Archive of Our Own *