Wednesday, April 16, 2014

04/16/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope that a majority of my sentences make sense today. That guy I live with (that is the title he gets right now) is sick and was up most of the night, which means that by proxy I was as well. Very few letters put together look like words to me, but I was with it enough to get stuff from Teefury, so that must mean something.

Let's say you go to a movie (yay!) and see a character that you think is awesome (like Loki) and while watching this awesome movie you start wondering some things about a story you're working on. You know that people tend to latch on to current things in pop culture, and then suddenly it hits you; what if they'll think you're just bandwagoning (it's a word, right?) and trying to bank on the awesome or success or something else. Then there is a wave of panic as you start wondering if you should make changes to your story or even a specific character and then crippled by anxiety you wonder if you should keep working on it at all. That is what we're here to talk about today.

Now if you don't go through this, then I am actually quite proud of you. There are certain genres though where this is a problem. Write a modern fantasy story where your main character just happens to be some kind of spell caster and people are going to assume you are trying to make a new Harry Potter of Harry Dresden. Switch to high fantasy, and depending on the message that's being delivered they are going to assume it's either Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. So for space opera, it's Star Wars. Never a new Star Trek, which I always find weird, it's always someone trying to make the next Star's strange to me. You're seeing this now in a similar way with the surge in YA novels being turned into movies. Everything's trying to be the next Twilight Saga (for some reason) or Hunger Games (this makes slightly more sense to me, even if it's child murder). The point is this is something that you need to be prepared for, and this is how I'm doing it.

In my series, the second half will involve characters that are descended from various pantheons. Some will begin trickling in starting in 'Through the Broken Mirror' but they will be, for the most part, in the last three books. Now I've been working on these since...whenever I was working at Verizon, which I think was 2010-ish? 'Daughter of the Shackled King' was originally put into a notebook, and the main character is descended from Loki. Since then the Marvel movies have started and Tom Hiddleston has started existing (I know he existed beforehand, but shut up). There were also the Percy Jackson books, but they focus primarily if not exclusively on the Greek pantheon, so they only half-count. The point is what I'm preparing for is a bunch of people trying to call me out saying that I am trying to ride on someone's coat-tails. It makes me sad because I would like to think that Lily is a fair original character, as are the other Godlings, but that won't stop people from making those accusations.

If this ever happens to you, my first response would be to ask if they've read your book or not. That will set the stage for the rest of the conversation, if there is one. Sure you have the people that poured over the Harry Potter books obsessively trying to find the places where JK Rowling 'stole' from other books, but I actually don't know how frequent something like that happens. I would be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't guilty of a knee-jerk reaction like this. I'll admit to doing it myself, and I haven't read the source material, but having it put out in front of me I can quickly say that one thing looks like another with the serial numbers filed off.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's going to happen, but you shouldn't let is bother you or let that necessarily stop you. Now if you finish up and discover that your character is a copy/pasted version of the Gunslinger except Rowland is now Rolanda, then there may be a problem. However, if you make a character that finds out they are living in a supernatural world with vampires, werewolves, and they are trying to adjust to life in that world, don't just assume everyone's going to say you're 'ripping off Twilight' instead make it your own because it's probably better and more interesting. Not everything is a ripoff or an homage, but we are just so bombarded by everything that we've come to assume that nothing is original anymore and look for things that are similar in even new things. That's why agents typically won't take on new authors or try new genres or story ideas, because familiar is safe. It's why the trailer for Divergent feels a lot like Hunger Games (it really does, only Hunger Games is way more orange) at least to me.

Just keep working at it, don't worry about what they say. Sure I think Tom Hiddleston's Loki is badass awesome (so awesome) but that's not where I got any of Lily's powers or personality from. She's a descendant of Loki, not the actual God, and that book was written (technically correct) before the first Thor movie came out. That is my argument for her. I would actually say he's more like my character in our Saturday game than anything else...Anyway, not important. People are going to accuse you of a lot of things, because people are jerks, especially when they are trying to find a reason to start an argument or not like something. Don't let them get to you, just enjoy what you're doing.

I hope that all made sense today. I will hopefully be back Friday barring how much sleep I am able to get and the amount of time I have in the morning. Next Friday there will be nothing, since that is the craft fair. For now I hope you all have a nice rest of your week!

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