Writing Exercise: FanFict

Writing Meme created by Erin Penn

Fan Fiction

Or FanFic as most of the writing community calls it, is often sneered at by established writers who conveniently forget the origins of their writing development. Yes, some of the early work between age three and fifteen had originality, but much of it sprung from books read, television watched, and movies experienced. I know I had lots of stories dance in my head based on the Wizard of Oz, and even more from the Marvelous land of Oz which introduced Ozma of Oz. As a teen, Star Trek, the Next Generation, was my go-to for inserting myself into a narrative.

Why FanFic? Because worldbuilding is hard, and these worlds have been created. A reader falls in love with them, and what else is one going to do when the author stopped writing stories for the world. I love inserting myself into these wonderful layered worlds to live a little longer after the book is done and the show is over.

Side-note: Self-Inserts are great for expanding on writing skills initially, but they are not ones to share on FanFic writing forums in general. FixFic (correcting an error in the story, at least in the writer’s opinion, or making a better ending), Shipping (two characters who are not together in a relationship in the story but are for the FanFic), and Crossover (two or more fan universe mashup) are more widely accepted than Self-Inserts. This goes back to the developing writing skills (a writer knows who they are and therefore doesn’t need to work as hard for character development) and the point of FanFic (spending more time in the universe and its characters). Feel free to write Self-Inserts but keep those to close to the chest. Other expansions in all their glorious subgenres can be shared on the appropriate FanFic sites.

FanFic has been around for a long, long time. How many versions of Camelot exist? People loved the mythos for over a thousand years and have been adding to it all the time. Every movie made from a book or existing story is a FanFic by the director.

Now the question is: do establish writers attempt FanFic? All the time. Some of it even is contracted such as getting a novel published in the Doctor Who, Star Wars, or Star Trek universes. Also joint sandboxes are everywhere for playtime like Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Series and John Hartness, Monster Hunter Universe. People make a living translating screenplays to novels.

An excellent vlog series on FanFic has been created by Jill Bearup – the first episode is: Virgil was a Homer Fanboy, the history of FanFiction part 1. If you like it, you can continue down that rabbit hole for a while (updated 11/12/17 – she is now up to seven episodes).

The takeaway I want you, dear writers, to have is: FanFic skills are valuable. They can make money writing screenplays or novelizing them. They let you explore worldbuilding in an existing world: what pieces are needed to create world robust enough to hold up to expansion and how can a world be layered enough for other people to want to live there.

WRITING EXERCISE: Write a FanFic flash – more than 100 words but don’t kill yourself. What made this world robust enough to support your FanFic? What made you want to expand the mythos?

READING/VIEWING EXERCISE: What is the most recent story you daydreamed about in a FanFic sort of way? Why?

***

In Men-in-Black 2, Agent J needs Agent K’s skills, so Will Smith’s character pulls Tommy Lee Jones’ character back into the business and restores his memory. At the end of the first movie, Agent K became Kevin Brown again and is reunited with his love, and they marry. The second movie has him willingly accepting being back to monitoring aliens because he wasn’t able to cut it in the real world and the woman who had waited decades for him, divorced his psychotic ass.

Dang, I loved that scene in the original film. It added so much to his character, to the world. Things flow out and in from 45-second scene.

And the screenwriters of the sequel WRECKED IT!

My FixFic starts in the same place as the sequel. Kevin Brown (Agent K without memories) working in the post office, the love of his life no longer in the picture.

After being deneuralized, Agent K walks away and keeps walking. Focused, determined. Much more his old self than the pale imitation Agent J had found at the post office. Agent J prances after his old mentor, asking questions about memory without a single reaction until he offers Kay a ride to wherever he is going when they pass a black sedan. Kay freezes, turns around, and demands, “Keys.”

“Still working on one word answers, huh?” Jay pats his pockets and pulls out the keys.

Kay grabs them and walks around the vehicle to the driver side, getting in. Protesting, Jay quickly climbs in and buckles up, closing the door as Kay pulls away from the curb. “Be careful, Zed upgraded the cars in the last four years. Do you even know how to drive? Did the deneuralizer fry you? Come on man, talk to me.”

Already on the highway and going way over the speed limit while weaving in and out, Kay looks over at Jay with disdain. 

After one quick drift between cars, Jay screeches, “Watch the road. We can talk later. In the meantime, let me tell you why Zed had you recalled…”

At headquarters Agent Kay walks right by the guard in the vent room, Jay nearly running to keep up. But being Jay, he looks over at the guard and winks as they get on the elevator. “Heck yeah,” he nods at the guard who stood, looking flabbergasted. “Kay is back in business.”

The elevator door closes but doesn’t move.

Jay looks up, talking to the ceiling. “It’s okay. Agent Kay is being brought in just like Zed asked–“

“Override Candy-Delta-<shrill-click-click>-Hamburger.” Kay interrupts and the elevator moves down.

Striding through the terminal, Jay continues to jabber and run after his silent, steadily moving partner. Around them, a ripple of beings stop and stare. Most continue on their business, but moving slowly, their heads and eye stalks swiveling to follow the two agents.

Kay takes no notice. Stopping only when reaching the crow’s nest, where Zed is standing, opening his arms. “Welcome back, my frie–“

A right hook stops the Men-in-Black leader, lifts him off his feet for a second, and drops him to the floor. He looks up at the returning agent, who is rubbing his knuckles.

“You could have saved her.” The accusation grinds out of Kay’s soul.

Zed nods, rubbing his chin. “You know the rules.” He moved to stand up. “I leaked the information as quickly as I could when I found out, but too many changes, too many jumps in technology.” He shook his head; Zed’s pompous starchiness left him sagging against his desk. His eyes watered. “I wasn’t fast enough.” Zed dropped his eyes before Kay’s dead stare.

“Two months. We had only two months.”

“At least you had that much.” Zed whispered back.

(words 475; first published 2/28/2017)

(And back to the regularly scheduled movie already in progress.)

Same end situation – Kevin working in a dead-end job, not fitting in. Same loss of love. But we got to keep the emotional payoff of the first movie, and Kay comes back as not so much as helpless in the real world but broken.

This is the FicFix I want for the movie. Men-in-black is a wonderful mythos covering multiple comics, movies, and urban legends. I think this would make it better.

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