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FFC #64 - Actions versus words

Posted December 24th, 2020 at 03:03 PM by TGRF
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #64

This is another of those entries I don't really want to write. I'm having serious second thoughts even now. But I think it needs to be said.


I've found that I can say I believe one thing, and then act as though I believe the opposite. I doubt I'm alone in this - just look at politics.

Jokes aside, for the past ten years I've believed that writing was 'my thing'. Eventually, I would write a bestseller and be 'made'. For five years, that belief has been true. Writing is what I was meant to be doing.

But around the end of those five years, something changed. I finished writing The River that was Red, a story I still consider to be my best work. Upon completion, I cast about within my mind for the next story.

You see, up until that point, there had always been a 'next story'. I didn't even have to come up with them. The concepts were just sitting there in my mind, orderly waiting in line to be written. With the completion of Red, that all ended. There was no next story.

But I was convinced at that point that I was meant to be writing. So I wrote the first idea that came to my mind, and turned out one of my worst fan fictions. And then writing started to fall apart for real.

Fan fictions started failing. I came up with A Chance, which I neither love nor hate. Horizon in Sight certainly had its moments (and I'll be honest: I think the first part rivals Red), but it also had serious flaws. Utgar came flying to rescue, but it was largely lackluster. During this whole time, more and more fan fictions were failing.

But I still refused to even remotely consider that I should turn my attention from writing.

So writing was stopped. It was shut off and I was forced to look at other interests and other options.

All of this I've told you about before. But here's what you don't know:

Somewhere within those six months, I came to the realization that I should switch my interest from writing. I said so, though perhaps not so clearly. But I didn't follow up. My actions didn't support my words. I said I needed to look at other interests, but I continued to pursue writing like it was the only interest which mattered.

I didn't really realize I was doing that until now. Now, I finally have what I wanted: I have a story, after six months of being unable to write. I'm inches away from writing it. By all rights, I should be excited to do so.

I'm not.

Don't get me wrong. I want to write it. It's just... my interest is elsewhere. In short, my actions finally caught up with my words.


It is clear to me now that my writing on this site was a path to The River that was Red. This doesn't mean that everything after it was useless and not meant to be. I've learned too much about writing to not use it, and I believe I will continue/return to writing in some form at some point. But I don't know when, where, or how. And this time, I know I need to stop worrying about when, where, and how. It's time I shift my focus.

Does this mean I'm stopping writing? No. In fact, I will probably finish writing Valkyrie. The outline is there, and it's a solid story. It's not perfect, but it's certainly the next iteration in my writing journey, and deserves to be posted.

What will change is my approach to writing. Since I began, I've always been focused on the next story. I put writing first on my schedule every day. The main thing I plan on is when my next fan fiction will be completed.

That is going to change. It has to. It's time I recognize the other opportunities in front of me, and allow them the same attention I've been giving my writing.

Writing will continue, but only as I get the urge to do so. No longer will I always be searching for the 'next fan fiction'. If I get an idea to write, I will write it. If I have no ideas, I won't write. It's as simple as that. And it's something I should have done five years ago.

I'm not signing off. I will still be here, and I'll probably still be writing. But it won't be the focus. The deadlines will be gone, the release dates will be unknown.

I intend to finish Valkyrie and post it, but it could be the end of January before I do. I currently do not plan to follow the story up with a sequel, unless an idea presents itself (which so far it has not). I will write only when I get a clear idea. For that reason, the next story after Valkyrie could be anything. By the time I get to the next story, it might not even be fan fiction. Time will tell. Watch my signature: I'll update it if I have an idea.

I think the lesson to be learned here is to keep an open mind. Focus is good, but never ignore a door opening because you think you have all the answers.

Keep reading. Keep writing. But more importantly, keep an open mind.

~TGRF, out, but not gone.

As always, TGRF wishes to remind his readers that no matter how sure he is that he has uncovered 'the truth', his interpretation of it might - and probably is - entirely faulty. Take everything TGRF says with a large does of salt, pepper, and garlic & herb seasoning. Best when served on pasta.
Posted in FFC
Comments 7
Total Comments 7


TheAverageFan's Avatar
This is where I've been at for a while now. When I force myself to write something it always comes out terrible. Inspiration is the only thing that can make me write, and when it strikes it usually strikes hard (random inclination to write what I'd been writing recently brought out 150 pages of progress out of nowhere). Anything that I can't bring myself to write just goes on the back burner, waiting until I can find a way to improve it.

Only problem is there's no schedule to inspiration, let alone any rhyme or reason. It has a will of its own When it does strike I certainly don't make any plans around it since it can vanish just as quickly. I guess that's why writers like me require an unrelated day job.

Posted December 24th, 2020 at 06:56 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
TGRF's Avatar
I'll frequently get inspiration which leaves before the hour is up. I've learned not to start taking notes until I've had inspiration about the same story several times in a row. That's usually a sign I've got something.

I don't know what inspiration tends to stick for you, but a lot of my stories are based around turning points for the character. Either the beginning ('This must be stopped!'), the middle ('I know now what I must do.') or the end ('There's only one way left. This is it.'). Those are the moments of inspiration which I remember, and which keep my interest throughout development. If the inspiration I have isn't charged with character emotion, I know it probably won't last.

Pure inspiration-fueled writing can be good, but I could never write a story based purely on it.

Posted December 24th, 2020 at 08:11 PM by TGRF TGRF is offline
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Well usually I got all that stuff planned out (preproduction being the easiest and most fun part of any project) - plot points, character moments, etc. Usually I'll either burn myself out writing over so much time or I'll hit a bump in the road that stalls progress. The inspiration is just something that hits me when I suddenly get a good idea that'll fix it, or a new moment or dynamic I hadn't thought of before that spurns my writing interest again. Either that or simply a renewed surge of interest on that particular story.

So I guess I usually rely on it to cover up the weakest aspects of my work: the parts that really need something. If you recall I often write around the basis of "I wanna see this happen", so sometimes the inspiration is that: something I could put in that would really liven up that portion of the story, something that no amount of preplanning could come up with.

~TAF, who doesn't write purely fueled by inspiration, but usually requires it to complete a project
Posted December 24th, 2020 at 10:17 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
TGRF's Avatar
Interesting. For me, inspiration is required to plant the initial seed of the idea, from which all the development flows, but it rarely contributes to the story at any point after that. I've gotten inspiration to fix something only like three times in ten years.

So I use it to get started, you use it to keep going, essentially. If we could just combine our efforts in some sort of hivemind, we'd be unstoppable.

Posted December 27th, 2020 at 06:41 PM by TGRF TGRF is offline
William099's Avatar
sssssooooo cool; how do you make the moving profile picture?
Posted January 18th, 2021 at 01:28 AM by William099 William099 is offline
William099's Avatar
Letting my daughter warm up her Heroscapers chops lol. That last post was from her!
Posted January 18th, 2021 at 01:29 AM by William099 William099 is offline
TGRF's Avatar
@William099 Lol, well it's a .gif I made in Photoshop.

Posted January 27th, 2021 at 09:56 PM by TGRF TGRF is offline
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