Monday, July 25, 2011

Yes, Sweetheart, You Can Go Outside and Infringe Copyrights

Dear TJ, if you want to go outside and pretend you're Batman, go for it. (When you're old enough to engage in imaginary play and you actually know who Batman is.) I, for one, am not going to turn you in for copyright infringement. And, incidentally, no, I don't think you're wasting your time.

Every once in a while when I'm browsing online (read: can't sleep at 3am), I run across a fanfiction debate. Is it good? Bad? Legal? Immoral? And in all honestly, I don't get the big fuss.

I should confess, the second story I sold was, for all effective purposes, a Bible fanfic. (It was a short piece about Jesus as a nine-year-old.) But I've also written fanfics for stuff I couldn't sell -- contemporary books, anime, American TV, and video games. Why? Because I couldn't sell it.

Right now, I'm writing to get published. If I think something has publishing potential, I approach it slower. Post-Clarion West, I'm a lot more picky about the words I select. I don't have the massive write-first-fix-later frenzies I had pre-Clarion West. Now, I think my stories are coming out a lot better because of it. But, let's face it, writing frenzies are fun.

That's what I use fanfics for right now. Because they have no potential for publication, I can go into a writing frenzy all I want. I don't have to care all the things that slow me down when I'm writing it to be publishable. It's a totally different experience. I don't do it often, maybe once every other month, but I do it.

Do I think that aspiring writers still need to write original stuff? Well, yeah, if you want to make a career out of something, you have to practice. But I think you need to write for fun too, and if fanfics are your way of doing that, then go for it. (Exception: Your fanfic indicates a need for its author to see a mental health professional. In that case, stop writing it and go see a mental health professional.)

Besides, what exactly were we doing as kids when we were pretending to be Batman, and The Little Mermaid, and whoever else? We could've pretended to be teachers, or vets, or something we could actually aspire to when we got older. Because pretending you're Batman is fun. And sometimes, as kids and adults, we need more of that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Up at Night 2: Up at Night Returns

I seem to be delaying my blog posts one day at a time... ah, well. For part 1 of this epic adventure, see My Baby is Cunning and Manipulative.

So, the baby is keeping me up at night again. No, not crying. For the most part, he's moved past that stage. Or at least past the stage where he does it regularly. The little guy is now waking me up in the middle of the night giggling and talking to himself (or his mobile, it's unclear which.)

My guess is that the inciting incident (yeah, see that writing lingo there?) was the removal of the swaddling blanket. He was really getting too old for it and he just didn't seem to like it as much as he used to. But now he's got these things called arms that are no longer snug against his side and he isn't sure quite what to do with them. (Why his choice would be rub them all over his face and wake himself, I'm not sure, but that usually what he does.)

I am glad he's not wailing, but this is just so dang cute I can't sleep through it. Our best defense seems to be keeping him awake in the evening hours before bed. Sadly, this means interrupting his afternoon nap if it starts to run too long. But you do what you have to, right? (Insert me resisting a bad pun here.)

What I Learned About Writing: Why settle for the expected? Really, if something's going to go wrong, have it go wrong in an unexpected way. Your MC didn't oversleep because she was out partying. She overslept because she had friends visiting from Australia, and so she didn't want to be rude and tell them to go to bed when they felt like it was noon, so she stayed up until they felt like it was time for bed. Also, her baby was up giggling and talking to himself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Up and Down

Belated Happy Fourth of July. (JT slept pretty well last night, I thought local fireworks might disturb him. Turned out the only thing that woke him up was the fact that we decided to watch The Dark Knight after he went to bed.)

On an unrelated note, something has been on my mind lately, and I wanted to get it out. I'm subscribed to a number of agents' blogs, so naturally, I read a lot of success stories. And depending on my mood, I can read them very differently.

Some days I'm down. I don't want to hear about how awesome everyone else is doing. I don't want to read about every step that this author took to get that book in his/her hands, because it's only reiterating how many steps behind I am.

Some days I'm up. I'm thrilled to read a success story, because it confirms what I already know: you don't have to be famous, or be the editor's niece, or be printed in the New Yorker before you can sell a novel. You just have to write a good book. I love reading how wonderful Client X's revision of a manuscript is, because it motivates me to make sure my revision is worth reading.

So I guess the gist of this post is that if you're having a down day, don't worry, I've had plenty too. (Especially lately when my manuscript is out with beta-readers, so there's nothing I can do except wait.) Bookmark the success stories for your up days. Go get some chocolate. Play with your kid. Watch a movie (just don't wake the kid up.)