Fanfiction Friday: A Daddy’s Girl

I didn’t create these characters. A genius named Jim Butcher did. I’m just borrowing them for this writing exercise, and I don’t want to make money off of them. I don’t think I even begin to do them justice. I’m also not sure if I got the details right. I’m just hoping that I didn’t mangle this too much.

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Intertitle from the television program The Dre...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Daddy’s Girl

My name is Margaret Angelica Mendoza, and I think I may have killed someone.

Not on purpose, naturally. I am not THAT kind of crazy. I do not think am. At least, I do not think I am right now.

All I know is that I really wanted Davey Rossum to fall off his tree house, because he yells mean things at me every day and Mr. Carpenter says I should not get into fights. Mr. Carpenter is very nice, but he also does not see how evil Davey Rossum is, and how much he deserves to be laughed at. One always has to stand up for personal honor. That is what my Papa used to say before he…before he went to heaven. Honor your honor. I cannot do that without at least wishing my enemies ill.

I wished so hard that he was knocked right onto the street, with a car almost running him over. Thankfully, all the cars that would have hit him broke down. But I still do not know if he’s alive.

I’m in my room right now, curled up against Mouse. Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter have been whispering to each other for hours. They would stop talking whenever they catch me trying to eavesdrop. All I can hear from the conversation are the words “matter of time”, “she’s ELEVEN”, and “father’s daughter”. I do not think that they actually knew my Papa, so I am assuming that they meant my REAL father. The one I was told about when they killed Papa and Mama and took me somewhere dark. I had always wondered about him, but do not want to ask questions. I am not sure I want the answers. All I know about him is that he has many scary enemies and that he does not want to be found.

Something moves in the corner of my eye. It’s not dangerous. Mouse would have tensed up if it were, and he did not – he just stood up and trotted to the window, tail wagging. I peer outside, to the backyard, where I see a young woman with short, pale-gold hair, dressed in a blue and white dress. She looks familiar. It takes me a moment to realize who she is.

She tilts her face up at me, and holds her fingers up to her lips. She wants me to be quiet. Then she gestures at me to come and join her.

Mouse follows right at my heels as I sneak out.

“Hey, kiddo,” the woman says, with a wry smile. “Heard some interesting stuff happened here.”

“You’re Molly,” I blurt out. “They talk about you a lot.”

Her smile starts to look slightly pained. “I know. How’s…how’s dad?”

Mouse starts to nuzzle her hand, and she kneels down to stroke his head. I look from him to her. “Mr. Carpenter is great. He…misses you. They all miss you.” I look down at my sweater and tug it closer. It’s suddenly very cold. “You…you should come in and see them.”

She stops petting the dog, refuses to look at me. “I…not yet. That’s not what I’m here for.” She takes a breath, forces her eyes towards me. “I’m here for YOUR dad.”

I freeze, feel even colder. I hear Mouse bark excitedly, as if he’s happy to hear such news. “Is…is he okay?”

“He’s fine,” Molly murmurs with a smile. “Although he won’t be when he realizes that you can do what you do. He’ll worry himself sick, but he’d be too chicken to talk to you himself. It’s the way he is.”

I grind my teeth, then stop. “That is wishy-washy bullshit.”

She starts to crack up. It sounds a little like the twinkling of icicles. “Oh, you have no idea. I’d tell you stories about him, but I’m not sure he’d want me to do that yet.”

It takes a few seconds for her to sober up. “You don’t know it yet, but you’re a daddy’s girl. You really are,” she says firmly. “And that’s going to get you into a whole lot of trouble if you’re not careful.”

I narrow my eyes. “What kind of trouble?”

“All kinds,” she responds. “It’s like a family trait with you guys. You can’t help it. That’s why you have to know what to expect.”

“Which is?”

“Magic.”

I take the idea into my mind, and roll it around for good measure. “And how do I get that?”

Her hand folds over mine.

Later on, the Carpenters tell me that Davey Rossum will be okay. They hold me close and tell me not to worry, that it is not my fault. I see their eyes and know they’re worrying for me. For the first time since I was placed with them, I understood why.

“She misses you, ” I say. “Your Molly.”

They do not ask how I know. They just smile at me. I smile back and do not tell them that their daughter has become my godmother.

And that one day, I too will break their hearts.

Considering the Possibility of a Fanfiction Friday

Remember my birthday week, when I asked people to give me prompts? First of all: THANK YOU FOR THAT, MY FRIENDS! They were awesome ❤

Second: I realized that the results of most of the prompts I’d been given could actually count as fanfiction. And I loved writing them. I’d forgotten how much fun writing that stuff could be.

Third: Since I think that writing fanfiction can contribute to success, it occurred to me that I maybe I should do this on a more regular basis.

Hence, I’m considering the possibility of having a Fanfiction Friday thing for this blog. Not to be confused with the Fan Fiction Friday of Topless Robot, THIS particular FF Friday will just be my horrible attempts at fanfic (as if my horrible attempts at fiction weren’t enough). More often than not, they will be drabbles. Sometimes, they might be chapters of a longer-running fic. If I’m lazy, I’ll probably just throw in something short and silly like a poem or a song parody dedicated to my random fandom.

Of course, I don’t know if this is going to be a good idea. Given that I’m already busy with a lot of other things. And the fact that I’m thinking about this while I’m still high on cough medication.

I really suck
I really do.

 

What do YOU guys think?

Does Fanfiction Equal Success Now?

Within the next few months, we’ll be seeing the film adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s hugely popular book City of Bones. Not too long ago, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades series took the world by storm and inspired basically EVERYONE to publish extra-steamy novels. And of course, Neil Gaiman’s new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane is out this month.

What do these people have in common? They write (or used to write) fanfiction. Clare was known to have written Harry Potter fanfics, James basically turned her steamy Twilight fanfic into something that turned erotic fiction into the “in-thing”, and some of the short stories Gaiman wrote were CLEARLY fan-generated tributes to stories he loved (A Study in Emerald, anyone?). They’re also immensely successful. I’m pretty sure each of these people have earned millions of dollars over the course of their careers when you take the copyright of their original work into account (even if you could say that it’s arguable in James’ case).

With all this happening, I can’t help but wonder: does writing or having had experience writing fanfiction INCREASE your chances of succeeding in the book world these days?

Fan fiction in the making
Writing fanfiction often feels like I’m doing this. (Photo credit: Kalexanderson)

How it makes sense

Let me preface all this by admitting something that I am (for some reason) not exactly comfortable admitting these days – my gateway into the drug that is writing was fanfiction. I’d rather not get into why I don’t indulge in it or don’t tell many people about my connection to it these days; all you need to know is that I discovered my love of telling stories through writing stories inspired by characters and plots that I like.

This is where the first ingredient of writing success comes in. You have to love what you’re writing about, and love the fact that you’re writing it, if you want to make it as a successful storyteller. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but I think readers honestly feel it when you’re invested in the characters and the story. And seriously, who can be more invested than a fan? I say NO ONE.

The other thing that I think makes you more successful when you write fanfiction is the fact that you learn how to write for an audience. Creating fan-created work ALWAYS takes the audience into account, if only because the person creating is himself/herself a fan. In fact, you can’t help it. Fan work are made to be shared with a community of people who love the same thing, and the venue for sharing is often open to constant feedback. You can’t help but keep your readers in mind when you write fanfiction. I imagine that this carries over to when you actually start writing original fiction.

How the publishing industry (mis)interpreted it

I know I’m late to the party, but I just read about the Amazon Kindle Worlds thing. While the prospect of earning money through writing fanfiction is something that I find intriguing. I certainly feel like there are some fanfic writers out there who deserve to be paid for their labors of love (I’m looking at you, scriviner) – if only because I think they help PROMOTE the original franchises. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t find this approach inherently problematic.

Adi Robertson has detailed most of my concerns more eloquently than I could in her recent Kindle Worlds piece on The Verge. The creation of fan work is inherently organic and collaborative. Having looked at Amazon’s approach to this, I can easily see that this factor is NOT taken into account. The piece published in this manner will most likely be forced into being static. I’m also a little bit disturbed by the idea that any new element you put in there can be taken by the creator of the original work as his or her own in a rather uncomfortable “tit for tat” scenario “YOU’RE making money off of MY original creation, so it’s perfectly natural that I take some new concepts that you put in there for myself – without acknowledgement or royalties on your part.”

Don’t even get me started on the whole “Amazon owns publishing rights to your fanfic” thing.

Fanfiction DOES equal success – but not in and of itself

Until we could figure out a better system through which people can get paid for writing their fan work, the only good way to find success through fanfiction is to use it as a training ground for writing your OWN work. Get a better feel for what works and what doesn’t work for a target audience. Polish your capacity for writing dialogue, pacing, cliffhangers. Stay familiar with the feeling of loving the plots and characters, and find ways to apply those feelings to your original stories.

Craft, passion, and an instinct for marketing – these are the things that help writers make a success themselves. Under the right circumstances, fanfiction gives you the ability to wield all three effectively. For now, I think that’s the better way to approach this phenomenon of fanfic writers making huge careers out of being storytellers.