Given the upcoming X-Files revival, I’ve spent a lot of time on Tumblr (way more than I’d care to admit as an employee of their indirect competitor), reading fanfic, and generally being a fangirl. It has me thinking about fandom, and my experience as a fan in the early years vs. my experiences as an adult.
Halloween was a bit of a non-event this year; I decided not to pretend to be Mother of the Year (who am I fooling, anyway?) and bought costumes for the kids rather than trying to home-ec it. Ellie wanted to be a ballerina, making it easy on us, since we knew she’d be starting ballet lessons and needed the gear. Gwen wanted to be a witch, so I went to Target and found a costume that was cute, relatively inexpensive, and should last through many dress-up play sessions long after the Halloween candy is gone.
The actual trick-or-treating was even more low-key; we hit up a grand total of six houses before the kids lost interest, then went to an old friend’s Halloween party, which proved more fun (for both adults and kids) than wandering the streets in pursuit of buckets of sugar. Halloween: Accomplished.
Ellie started ballet lessons last month, and so begins the phase of parenthood where we shuffle kids to and fro for various activities. She was pretty discouraged after her first lesson — she takes after her mama and doesn’t like to do anything she’s not perfect at — but after her second lesson seemed to settle in, plus she has a bunch of friends from school in the class. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with her social life.
We rung in the first of November with a massive winter storm that knocked out the power and dumped 21 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground. It’s not unusual for us to have snow before Halloween, but two feet is a local record. I haven’t recovered from last winter yet, so having fall cut short is not my idea of a good time. At least the kids were thrilled.
I’ve kept myself busy with writing…but not the book. I considered doing NaNoWriMo this month, but given everything else that’s going on decided against it. I don’t need another book right now. I need to finish the series I started, and stop getting distracted by vignettes and short stories. Although now I have this idea in my head for a Walking Dead/X-Files crossover fic…
Speaking of zombies, I’ve been walking more lately, thanks to the treadmill, The Walking Dead on Netflix, and Fitbit’s new Weekly Challenges feature. One of my coworkers started a work-week challenge, so I’m keeping a closer eye on my step count. Also, I’m a teensy bit competitive. And now I really want to set up the treadmill with a desk or shelf of some kind so I can walk while I work.
We’ve been mostly sitter-less for the last couple weeks, so my patience has been worn to a fine thread. I love my children, I really do, but I think a date night is in order very soon.
I’m 7 days into NaNoWriMo, and I’m having a great time. I’m already halfway to 50k, but I’m not patting myself on the back too hard for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, this is fanfic; I haven’t had to go through the process of creating too many new characters, or building a world, or a backstory. A lot of the heavy lifting was done by someone else before I started writing, and I have the luxury of playing with what’s already there. Fanfic is easymode.
Second, since this piece follows my previous fic, I was already in the practice of writing or editing every day, and had outlined the story (for the most part) and thought about it well before I started writing it.
Third, my inner editor has been bound, gagged, and locked in a closet. As such, what I’m writing this month will never be shared with anyone else in its current state, which really takes the pressure off. I did NaBloPoMo several years back, and it was hard. Knowing people might read what I’d write? Scary.
In contrast, NaNoWriMo is a free-for-all of words without worry. Grammatical errors galore, typos, repetitive phrases, a wobbly timeline, lack of context, plot holes galore–my current draft has all these and more. And I don’t care, because I’m getting the ideas down, and eventually I’ll go back and edit, and edit some more, and bring it all together.
It’s a different experience from writing the first fic, which was edited as it was written. I’m not sure I like the writing-without-editing process better, but it works for the purpose of writing fast. I’m not sure I would do it this way again, but it’s an interesting approach.
The month only gets harder from here; the end of November is busy with travel and Thanksgiving, so my goal is to get to 50k before I leave for London. Then I’ll try to spend the rest of the month re-reading and editing and filling in the gaps.
I mentioned in one of my last posts that I’m participating in NaNoWriMo in November, and I may be setting myself up for failure. Next month is ridiculous, schedule-wise, with each of us traveling for a week, and with Thanksgiving, and my tendency to edit as I write, I have no idea how I’ll reach the requisite 1,700 words per day. But hey, you never know.
Until a few months ago, the longest paper I’d ever written just barely crested 10,000 words, and it was a college essay for Canadian Studies about Pierre Trudeau; a fascinating guy in his own right, but not a particularly fascinating paper. I was known to drop college courses if the syllabus required any papers greater than 10,000 words, and I purposely chose a major that didn’t require writing a traditional thesis.
I’m hard-pressed to think of anything that interests me enough to hold my intrigue for 50,000 words, so the idea of writing a novel for fun seemed like an annoying way to spend my free time.
That said, I used to write all the time; poetry and short stories, plus blogging (before they called it blogging), but never anything longer than a few thousand words. That would require an attention span.
Speaking of things that do hold my attention, a few months ago I started re-watching The X-Files and reading the new X-Files Season 10 comics, and that got me thinking about the epic story arcs that show generated (and all the resulting loose ends). 2013 marks the series’ 20th anniversary (oh, hey, I feel old) so I’ve had this show on the brain, and I started thinking about a story.
I’ve written XF fanfic before, and hopefully it will never see the light of day, because I spent most of the stories thinking up excuses for the characters to fall into bed together. (In my defense, the sexual frustration in the first seven seasons is almost unbearable, even now, watching the show as an adult.) After a few nights of mulling over one particular plot idea, I got the crazy idea in my head to start writing fanfic again, this time with a storyline that doesn’t read like soft-core porn. I wanted to stay true to the original series and the characters, and follow up with the William story arc.
That fic is currently sitting at over 60,000 words. It still needs editing and beta reading and more editing, and I feel like I’ll be plucking away at it forever. But I did it, and now my life list is happy.
Write a novel(-length piece of fan fiction) — check!
I’ve outlined my ideas for the sequel, which I intend to be my NaNoWriMo project. Again, I tend to edit as I write, which is not great for speed, so I’m going to try to curb the urge to tweak every last word. I’ll try to write scenes as they come to me, rather than writing from beginning to end, then piece them together after the fact.
In any case, I’m happy to have a project to work on that’s different from my usual fare. If you’re writing this year, please be my friend on NaNoWriMo! I’m going to need all the motivation I can get.