What I (Haven’t) Learned About “Fun Fiction”

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I really miss writing fan fiction.

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved… I was going to say comics, but let’s keep it real – I loved all of the “male power fantasy” genres. I loved comics, but I also loved action movies. Pro wrestling. Both heavy metal and gangsta rap music at various points. Video and role-playing games. First run syndicated adventure TV shows and the network kind. If it was the kind of thing your typical teenage boy was into, I would be all about it because no matter how complex or intellectual or “deep” I think I am, I am at heart your typical red blooded straight American male. I may be beta more than alpha, I may have gotten into sports later in life than most (if you can call my teenage years “later”), but at the end of the day, I loved cars and pretty girls and violence just like every other straight kid my age.

I just consumed it differently.

Not too differently mind you, because while not every kid my age isn’t into comics like I was (more on this shortly), they’re usually into something. Like I said, some kids get into sports and actually go on to play (real or fantasy) or coach. Some draw. Some build things with their hands. Whatever it is, every kid has something, and for me, it just happened to be comic books more than anything else. How we express our fandom may different though, and since writing was one of the things I was good at, I wrote. I liked writing new stories about the comic book characters I loved. And I miss it.

Now to be clear, I did it a LOT. Like once comics surpassed pro wrestling (which I basically just grew out of) as my primary entertainment whenever I had free time, I wrote pages and pages of fan fiction on reams and reams of paper. It began purely by accident. For some reason, it seems that not only did I like to write in terms of thinking of stories and putting them down on paper, I liked the act of writing period. At one point, I got Michael L. Fleischer’s Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes and enlisted my sister’s aid in writing down all of the characters, summarizing them, and putting them into categories. Why? I don’t know. I also used to make little index cards for every comic book in my collection too, and put them into file boxes. Why? I don’t know. But after doing stuff like this for a while,  I started playing role playing games with my friends and using my favorite comic book characters too. Me being me however, I would do it up. I would pretend like what we were verbally playing was going into fictional comic book titles based on those characters. Since RPG adventures are typically called “quests” for example, I imagined we were creating a comic book called Beetlequest, which ostensibly all of our quests with the Blue Beetle would go into. From there, I started making “checklists,” like Marvel Comics used to do to advertise all of their titles, that often had a one or two sentence summary of what would happen in that comic. I started writing those, only not just for the quests we were doing, but for imaginary titles using secondary characters that I would spin-off from the quests. Why? Again, I don’t know. But the more I did that, the longer the summaries got. And before you knew it, I was writing fan fiction with all of my favorite comic book characters.

And I loved it.

Now you may be thinking that this is the height of nerd activity, and while I wouldn’t argue against that, keep in mind that I believe doing this is what eventually broke me into comics. Once I started doing this I started getting letters published in comics on a regular basis, and by the time I was in college I had sold my first (and to date only, *sigh*) comic book story, that was published. The letter writing skill may have helped with that, and it helped me even more when I started freelance writing other stuff on a semi-regular basis, making actual (meaning significant amounts of) money. So while it may have illustrated why I didn’t lose my virginity until I was into my later twenties, it also gave me the ability to get my passion and talent to pay off.

And I really miss that.

Now is it the money I miss? Well, not exactly. What I really miss is something I’ve decided to call “fun fiction.” See, when I was writing all that fan fiction for all of my favorite comic book characters, I didn’t get blocked or have days where I wasn’t in the mood to write. I didn’t self-criticize or revise or worry about anything. Whatever I felt I just wrote, each idea feeding on the other, until I would come up with stuff that was ugly, but still halfway decent. It has been my belief for some time now that if I combined fun writing with my newfound ability to outline and revise, I could get back into writing the way I really want to, and perhaps do something I really enjoy, and I think should be doing. But I can’t seem to get it back, and for the life of me, I don’t know why.

I mean, when you think about it, it’s not logical. I could write about anything! I still watch the same kinds of shows. I could write fan fiction for those. Or if that didn’t appeal to me, I could do it for the same comic book characters I did in the olden days. I could do it for Star Trek, like everybody else does(I was late to that party too). James Bond. I could turn myself and all of my friends into characters and fan fiction out action adventure movies or TV shows. Or comics. Or whatever the Hell else I wanted to! But for some reason, while I can fantasize myself to sleep the way I always have, ever since I was a child, I can’t seem to just fire up the computer or pick up pen and paper and just write for the fun of it. And I don’t really know why.

I know all of these blog postings thus far have come to some logical point or conclusion but sorry kids, I don’t have one for this, as that’s kind of what this is about. The messy way this blog posting looks (with the exception of the fact that I’m still going to reread and revise it because as I said, that’s just how I roll these days) is exactly what I wish I could do, but not about life in general. I want to tell stories. With characters. And using my imagination. Then take the best ones, polish them up, and do something with them. We live in an era where I could save all that stuff (the original fan fiction was written on like discarded pieces of paper I just grabbed and started writing on, that’s long since been lost and likely deteriorated), fix it up, make it shiny, and let the world see the real me, in all of my nerdly, witty, fun glory.

I just don’t know how to anymore.

 

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Author: As California

Freelance writer, organ transplant recipient, Toastmasters Advanced Communicator Bronze and aspiring movie producer who lived in Southern California from 2000-2017, and is dying to go back

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