Fan Fiction as a Writing Tool: Part Deux

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I was supposed to post this last week, but I was detoxing from the awesome weekend I had in Charlotte, NC at the Authors After Dark Convention. That trip sparked a whole flurry of blog post ideas, but those are for later. This week I’d like to get back to discussing fan fiction as a medium for training your inner writer.

How can fan fiction be used as a tool?

The world, the characters, and all the intricacies of the story are already developed for you. Your only job is to use what is already there and run with it. No brainstorming, no world building, no character shaping. Just writing. This presents the perfect opportunity to test your writing skills, to expand them without having to do all the prep work we normally do as writers (well, most of us who aren’t true “pantsers”.)

All of us have read a book or watched a movie/TV show where we found ourselves unsatisfied with the direction of the story, the conclusion for example, or had an idea sparked by a specific scene or character pairing. Run with it. Use that spark of creativity to write a piece of fan fiction. It may just quiet the frustration you had about the show/book, or it could spark an idea that takes on a life of its own.

Once you’ve written it, what do you do next? Well, you could bury it deep in your hard drive or burn it as a symbol of acceptance. You can’t publish it…but you can. As I mentioned in my last post, there are sites dedicated to fan fiction. Fanfiction.net  and Archiveofourown.org are great places to post your fan fiction. Why would you do that?

Feedback. One of the greatest fears every author has is acquiring any kind of critique on their work. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Posting it for the public on either of these sites will prepare you for an author’s worst nightmare and most sincere delight. Reviews.

I’ve had two novels, a novella, and a short story published in the last year. I need reviews to market my books, but at the same time, I know I cannot please everyone and there will be those who leave me bad/negative reviews. This comes with the territory of being a writer. You take the suggestions, consider them, use the ones you know can improve your work, and then move on to the next project.

Posting your fan fiction for others to critique can be a daunting prospect, but it will help you hone your writing skills by taking the constructive criticism and suggestions left by readers. It will help you become a better writer, trust me.

Also, putting your fan fiction out into cyberspace will attract fans. These fans will then follow as you dive into publishing your own fiction…well, I know I would. There are some talented writers who only write fan fics. I would buy their book if the decided to take the plunge into writing/publishing their own creative fiction.

Fan fiction allows the readers to see and feel your style of writing, kind of like blog posts. Fan fiction is more fun and less clinical.

If you haven’t taken the challenge, then I ask you this time to write your own fan fiction. Pick a show, a book, or a movie that sparked an idea in your mind and write. Use their characters, their setting, and their world to write a scene as YOU would have written it.

Have a little fun and see where the wonderful, but dangerous, world of fan fiction can lead you.

Let me know how you do. Comments welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Kirsten

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A Shadow’s Kiss Book Tour

Hi Everyone.

I will be doing a book tour for the release of my medieval romance novel, A Shadow’s Kiss. Click HERE to pre order a copy.

Here is the link to the tour page. Fire and Ice Book Tours

I’ve pasted the dates the the blog links here for easy access, if you are curious.

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Master Schedule:

7/7 Fantastic Indie Author’s Interview

7/8 Romantic Chanteuse

Stop 2 Peace Love Writing

7/9 Book Skater

7/10 Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

7/11 Kay Lalone

7/14 Romance Novel Giveaways (Guest Post)

7/15 Coffee Books and Art (Guest Post)

7/16 Book Nerd Toledo (Review)

7/17 Rage, Sex, & Teddy Bears (Review)

7/18

7/21 The Cat’s Pajamas Book Haven (Review)

Thanks for your support and encouragement.  You can also log into my giveaway, starting on Monday, July 7th.  Click HERE: for the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

❤ Kirsten

Another One! A Shadow’s Kiss…Coming Soon.

I’ve been a terrible blogger.  Just down right, absolutely horrible. I have not posted in a long while and for that I apologize.

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But in my defense, I have been productive.

My second book is in the finalization process with my publisher right now and will be hitting the market on July 4th!

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That’s how I feel right about now.  A little goofy, a tad giddy, and all kinds of relieved. I’ve put the work into the story. Now it’s time to let that story shine.

I did a cover reveal last week…so I’m happy to share the cover with you here, along with a snippet from the story.

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Gorgeous isn’t it? One of the things that drew me to my publisher was their cover art.  They are dedicated to making sure your cover art is gorgeous and represents your book in a way YOU want it. ❤ Makes me so happy.

Now…would you like a teaser?  A taste of A Shadow’s Kiss….ehehehe.

Here you go…

Madeline spotted the archery targets near one of the tents. A line of bows and quill of arrows sat against the tent. While Evelyn had trained with her bow, Madeline participated in a lesson or two but only rarely since many disapproved of a lady indulging in such an activity. Her palm itched for the feel of the smooth wood in her hand, to feel the tension coil as she drew the arrow back. With a soft curse, Madeline picked up a bow and a single arrow. She glanced around and saw no one.

She was alone.

The wood slid against her skin, comforting and familiar. Nocking the arrow, she pulled the bow up and slowly drew it back. Her arms trembled at the pull of tension. Aiming at the target, she exhaled and released the arrow. With a solid thwack, her arrow sang true, striking just below the center of the target. Her heart raced as she picked up a second arrow. She aimed and sent it to join the first, but it hit too low again. Furrowing her brow, she reached for a third.

“Aim just above where you want to hit when shooting from this distance.” A deep, familiar voice rumbled behind her. Madeline spun around, the bow dropping to her side. Alexander stood with his arms crossed, his expression unreadable. “Here,” he said, stepping toward her. “Let me show you.”

Madeline stepped back as he approached. “I thought you left,” she stammered, her heart fluttering at the sight of him. His broad shoulders filled out the linen shirt, and his body wrapped in layers of plaid. She licked her lips. He appeared more dangerous now than he did when clad in chain mail and a coat of plates.

“Your brother, Angus, made a very convincing argument for why I should stay.”

Her mouth hung open. Before she could ask him what Angus said, he put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. Facing the target, she took a breath to steady her hands.

“What are you doing?” she asked as he stepped up behind her. His heat melted into her back, she wanted to sway into him, lean her weight against his body. But she forced herself to stand straight. He tipped the bow up.

“Nock your arrow,” he said, as he guided her fingers to position it. “Aye, like that.”

His breath caressed the side of her face as he leaned beside her. His left hand covered hers on the bow, while the light caress of his right hand guided hers as she drew the string back. Her heart raced, thundering as a storm of desire raged inside of her. His scent of leather and horse mingled with the highland air. She forgot to breathe.

“Now aim just above where you want the arrow to strike,” he whispered. Her eyes drifted closed. “Release.”

She let the arrow fly. It struck the target dead center. He stepped away. A small groan of disappointment left her lips as the moment ended. She turned to face him, not caring about the damned target anymore.

Alexander watched her, his lips curved into a hint of a smile. “With some practice, you could become proficient with a bow.”

Madeline put the bow back with the others. “Why are you still here, Alexander?” She sighed. Her heart ached at the sweet torture of him standing so close. She had resigned herself to her fate. She would marry the winner of the tournament out of duty and respect for her family name. Taking a deep breath, she faced him again. “Have you nothing better to do than torture me with your presence?”

“You wish me to leave then?” His eyes betrayed nothing, but his voice held a hint of regret.

“Aye.” She turned away from him. Why must he do this to her? What pleasure did he get from seeing her torn with indecision and sadness? For two months, she prayed he would take notice of her shy glances, her flirtatious smiles. Now she was promised to another, he spoke to her. How cruel could fate be? “Leave.”

I look forward to sharing the story with you soon.  🙂  Thanks for stopping by.

~ Kirsten

 

Words and their Wicked Ways

As an avid reader and dedicated writer, the power of words never ceases to amaze me. I find myself drawn to certain words and repelled by others. The sound of a word on my tongue can sometimes overpower the sound of it in my mind.  The cadence of the syllables wraps around me as would a lilting instrumental melody. The image it plants in my mind is like a brand, hot and powerful searing into my subconscious and on my soul. They create a balance that speaks to me on a level that goes deeper than intellectual comprehension.

I love words. I should, I’m an author, an editor, a reader. My love for words goes farther than just enjoying the story. It’s the power they wield over me. They make me laugh, cry, and rage.  They make me question myself and the world around me. What would I be without words? A blank page.

I’m always curious about words, where they came from, what they mean, and how they’ve evolved. Most intriguing to me is when a word can have multiple meanings, hinging on how they are used by the speaker/author.

What words strike you? The ones that make you grin when you read them, savoring the familiar feel of them in your mind and on your tongue. Shall I share my favorite one with you…

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What image did it put in your mind?  Did you imagine a villain, standing in the shadows his eyes blazing with fury?  Did you picture a witch or a warlock with a sinister smile playing on their lips?

Or did it bring something else to your mind?  A sinful thought? The desire to do something that you know is forbidden or that you promised yourself you wouldn’t do? What about using it to call something delightful or amazing?

The connotations of the word wicked can be positive or negative, depending on the context in which it is used. Both the good and the bad tangled up in one innocuous little word. This is why I love it so much. It’s the perfect representation of the connotations we give to words.

So tell me…what words do you like that have multiple associations?

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Do you challenge yourself as a writer?

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I had a conversation the other day with a writer friend of mine.  We both confessed to having a fear of our writing becoming stagnant.  She refused to become a one-trick-pony.  I agree one hundred percent.

She’s had more books published than me, but I understood where she was coming from.  I write historical romance and romantic suspense, but the nice thing is that both of those can be expanded to include a wide variety of fun time periods and adventures.  I can even write a historical romantic suspense!  The possibilities are endless.

But is that enough to keep my inner thirsting writer satisfied?  The answer is a resounding NO.

In college, my writer friend and I would challenge each other.  He was always brooding and jaded, so I challenged him to write something beautiful and imbued with hope.  I, on the other hand, was challenged to write something dark that did NOT have a happy ending.  We put the task before us to write outside of our comfort zones.

That challenge has stayed with me.  Write outside of my comfort zone.  Up to this point, I’ve taken baby steps with this idea.  But no longer is that the case. I wrote and published a novel and a novelette last year.  This year I’m upping the ante.

I promised myself that this year I would write more than I ever have before.  One project on that list was to write a stage play.  So I did some research and dove into it, ready for the frustration and uncertainty that comes with a new venture.

The idea for the play hit me out of the blue and it reflects a lot of me in it: a dash of humor, a healthy dose of romance, and a side of self discovery.  The notes came together quickly, as did the outline, but I was at a loss when it came to formatting the blasted thing.  Some helpful sites directed me in the proper format of a play, and let me tell you, it’s a pain in the backside.   But the project is worth it, because I think it has a powerful message.  At least I hope it does.

Again, that writer’s insecurity rears its ugly head.  While that fear is hovering over my shoulder, I brush it off and go back to it.  I can’t edit a blank page, now can I?  Write the bloody thing and then go back and perfect it, just like I did my novels.

While I set lofty goals for myself this year, you don’t have to take it nearly so far.  Challenge yourself to write something outside of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a short story or a journal entry.  If you never use it, it’s not a big deal.  But it pushes you to think outside of your self-prescribed box of tricks as a writer.

If you write romance, try horror.

If you write thriller, write literary.

If you write mystery, dabble in satire.

If you write horror, try something a bit lighter and family friendly.

The challenge is to write something you normally wouldn’t choose, something you struggle with personally.  It will not only help you polish your writing skills, but it will help you grow as an individual.

Like my mom always said, “How do you know you won’t like it if you don’t try it?”

So try it…and see what happens.  Good luck.