It’s now officially September, and once again, time for From Fan Fiction to Fantastic Fiction over at Savvy Authors. I’ve always loved back to school season, even when I’ve been out of school for quite some time. Discounted school/office supplies (notebooks, notebooks, notebooks) are always welcome, but if I’m teaching my favorite online workshop, it’s even more appropriate. Even though it’s only the first of the month, and temperatures here in Upstate NY are going to be flirting with 90 for the next few days, I cannot tell my brain it is not yet fall, my most productive season, so when the chance to teach aligns with Back to School, I’m a happy camper…er, teacher.
It’s kind of funny calling myself a teacher. In another life, I did study early childhood education in college, but the most important thing I learned from those studies was that I didn’t want to pursue that profession. Nope, writing was going to be it for me, and really, I should have seen the signs. The way I couldn’t wait to run home from class and bang out a few pages of an “epic” historical romance novel on my electric typewriter. Dating myself here, I know, but that was state of the art back when the dinosaurs roamed. Diana R, wherever you are, I will always remember standing in the grocery store parking lot in Montpelier, VT, and feeling warmed down to my frozen toes when you told me how badly you wanted to visit the fictional European country in said manuscript (which now resides in a storage unit, where it cannot hurt anybody.)
That first novel was written before I even knew what fan fiction was, but in retrospect, the influences were clear to see. The story structure came from a favorite author whose epic historicals still hit the bestseller lists today. The hero was inspired, physically, by an actor on a show I wouldn’t miss for love or money, and the heroine had her start as a character I thought would be an interesting match for his character. Everybody got transported into a very vague version (alliteration intentional) of Tudor England (and fictional European country) and I threw absolutely everything I loved onto those pages. Angst, pathos, intrigue, star crossed lovers, and a love that would not bow, no matter what life threw at it.
Not much has changed in that last aspect, because writing those early stories, both fannish and not, taught me a lot about what elements go into a story that is mine, not anybody else’s. Tropes, types, and techniques are all useful tools, but the heart of the story comes from the writer’s loves. People, places, things, scents, sights, sounds, music, favorite books, movies, TV, even the whole shipping culture is a natural breeding ground for great romance stories. Sharing this journey with others always fills me with an extra dose of enthusiasm to put ink on paper and tell another tale.
Seats are still available, so hop on over to Savvy Authors and settle in; I’d love to see you there.