clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fan for Life

At left, a lovely Kawasaki electric fan as photographed by Sasihinka and provided to wikicommons under a very generous license.

I was asked today about "fan fiction."

I gave an enthusiastic endorsement.

Nobody started out as Tolstoy or Hemingway. Even Leo and Ernie.

You need to tell stories, master you emotions, have a sense of what you can accomplish on the page and what you cannot. How do we learn these things? We write.

So fan fiction borrows a world and characters largely formed by other writers' efforts. What of it? It isn't like we all don't have a vampire (Thanks Bram) or a zombie (hat tip to George Romero) or a ghoul (Mr. King, Mr. Poe)  hanging about in t he short story (or longer) pile.

Somebody asks me about fan fiction as a way to develop into a writer and my answer is that there are no two paths the same but for the pen, the pad, the keyboard, and the time alone in your own head churning out a mess you will fix later. If that mess is Harry Potter, well. Have some Hogworts for me.

So, after dispensing this sage advice which boiled down to "whatever," I thought about some really horrendous ideas for fan fiction premises. I share some here.

Armageddon - the big budget boom "oilfield in space" Bruce Willis vehicle. Say they don't blow up the asteroid in the nick of time and the astronauts watch two pieces of the rock crash into the planet while they float around in an introspective space junket. Write on. [ For $5 extra, bring Bruce back from the rock. He made it out).

The Beverly Hillbillies - practically writes itself. Jethro and Drysdale are indited in a white collar Madoff-scam and go on a cross-country dash to avoid prosecution. Write among yourselves.

G8 (or G7, today) - The leaders of the economic club of "haves" get together without their spouses or reporters at various locations around the world. What we hear about as "economic talks" are alternately: world anti-alien efforts; hot tubs, taco bar, and marathon poker games with bets like "The Ukrane" ; or the world's most elite book club (but they still do the stuff book club participants do ... namely, not read the book). Write, write, write.

Vogon Cultural Appreciation Society - In the world of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe (Douglas Adams), write about the Chicago PR firm (pre-explosion) hired to promote Ishtak Nuembumanzer's folio of spring poems. No pressure. The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance of the sales number the team can produce. Yes, for $5 you can use publisher math (like anyone knows how THAT works, anyway).

Dilbert's Guide to the Galaxy - the characters of Scott Adams in the world of Douglas Adams. Cheap, I know. It was lying on the floor and I just picked it right up. I'm like that. Write anyway.

Harry Potter, suburban wizard. The great flaw in my mind of the whole Potteresque world is that the magic folk just blend in most of the time. Maybe that isn't a flaw. Remember Salem? Didn't go well for the witches. Cool tour now, though. So, give Harry a job in middle management, a mortgage, and a son who thinks pops is just "weird."  Or, make him a junior high history teacher. That ought to be fun. Put the school in , oh, Texas. West Texas.

Sunday Night Mysteries. Put the crew of your favorite detective shows together in Chicago. Columbo, Castle, Magnum P.I.,  the blonde from "The Closer," Sherlock - the annoying one (okay, pick any of the recent ones) and they form an agency. Give them government sanction if you want. They solve cold cases. Ice 'em down.

You see how the game is played. Character, setting, premise: write.

 How hard can it be? Really?

Hey Buddy - How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

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