Finally! At last I’ve finished writing my first foray into Fan Fiction. Actually this was my first real foray into creative writing of any genre. I started the story, The Terrors of Loneliness, in March and wrote a total of 20 chapters…averaging two chapters a month. Not exactly prolific but by my standards it’s fantastic!
The first story I have any memory of trying to write was about a family of hedgehogs. I don’t remember the title but I can see the first page clearly in my mind. Very carefully using a pair of compasses I filled each corner of a page of A4 paper with a quarter circle. I then proceeded to draw pictures of the characters about which I intended to write. I cannot draw…I never could, but even at the age of 10 or 11 I was something of a perfectionist. This meant I spent a very long time on my drawings trying to make the best of a bad lot, and spurred on no doubt by the knowledge that if I stopped drawing I would have to write something. Goodness only knows what my teacher thought of my efforts; I never did write the story…I think I managed a few sentences and then gave up. You see I hadn’t planned my story. I’m sure it was explained to me that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but all I knew was that I wanted to write about a little hedgehog who wore blue dungarees and lived in a hole in the ground with his parents. I can see now that as a plot that didn’t have a lot going for it!
Realising that drawing was simply not a skill I was ever going to develop, when given the option of writing or drawing for our RE (Religious Education) homework, I always opted for the writing option. RE classes were known as being an excuse to doss around and do no work. Homework was always the same; read a particular passage from the Bible and then either, draw a picture, or write about it in your own words. I believe I was the only child in that class to choose the writing option. Of course here, a plot was already provided. You just had to rewrite the passage using different words. Let’s call it creative copying! I got good grades for RE…but then so did everyone else!
My creative muscles were flexed a little further when studying for my GCSE‘s. For those unfamiliar with our education system, these are exams I sat aged 16. In Integrated Humanities (your guess is as good as mine) we were tasked with creating our own children’s book. This was in the days before everyone had personal computers and access to desktop publishing so we had to do it all by hand. I’m sure the book I produced still exists somewhere, possibly in my parents’ house. It was by no means a masterpiece and as it was aimed at very young children, only had a sentence or two on each page accompanied by a picture. It was about a group of farmyard animals including Percy the Pig and Suzie the Swan (are swans farmyard animals?) but the rest escape me. I know there was an accident involving a pond and the story had a moral behind it but it was never going to be a bestseller! I got around the drawing issue by opting to draw only part of those animals I found particularly difficult to illustrate, so it was full of heads and tails but few complete bodies! Because the pictures were cartoon-like and because I spent so long doing it, the end result wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t great.
I studied music at school and part of that meant writing original pieces. I had to produce three for the final assessment; however, as it was a music exam, the examiners were only really interested in the music. I chose to write songs and therefore needed lyrics. I managed to write complete lyrics to two songs but then relied on a friend to write lyrics for the third. I did try…but I found writing a complete song really hard, and it showed…
Hundred pairs of eyes on me
Don’t know where I should be
Don’t know where I belong
Confused I sing this song
Confusion never ends
People staring through mist
What is this future I have risked
Standing on an empty stage
But confusion’s like a cage
And then there was…
I can’t last another day
If this feeling’s gonna stay
I can’t live for nothing
If there’s nothing there
If you would just impart
A few words to my heart
‘Cause even when I see you
You make the silence real
Living without your laughter
Living without your tears
Living without your kindness
Living without your fears
I knew I wasn’t wanted
There was someone else I knew
But I’m hangin’ on and waiting
Hangin’ on for you
The thing I notice about these lyrics is that apart from anything else, they don’t really make sense! But I can forgive myself for that…I had no life experience to provide inspiration. When I wrote these I had never even had a boyfriend! All the best songs are inspired by love and life and I was lacking in both.
As I’ve got older, the lyrics have improved but I’ve never managed to write a complete song since. I pondered over this little excerpt for years but am still no closer to writing any more…
You’ll always be my sleepless dream
The delusion of my day
For when I fall asleep at night
My dreams just fade to grey
Anyway, I got through school without doing any further creative writing and then went to University. Doing a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science leaves no room for creativity and while I did continue my attempts at writing songs with the help of my trusty guitar, I never got anywhere. It has only been in later life that I have had an urge to write properly. I even started on more than one occasion but failed to get past the first page. One attempt involved me writing about a real holiday romance but inevitably trying to put it down on paper only proved one thing…there was no romance to write about!
Making friends on Twitter, as mentioned previously, opened up a whole new world to me…and that world was the Richard Armitage fandom. The first thing I wrote was inspired by someone I met online. It wasn’t fictional but was about how I felt about that person or rather, their on-line persona. I only shared it with a couple of friends as, although it was largely humorous, I rather laid myself bare in it. Their comments actually made me think more seriously about my writing abilities. I then discovered Richard Armitage fan fiction and wondered if maybe this was my way in. With fan fiction you have a ready-made character…potentially, even some partially made plot lines. Seeing what other people could do….some good…some bad…some phenomenal…I decided to give it a go.
I chose to write about Lucas North. Spooks (or MI5 in the US) was a programme I had avidly watched since the very first series and having fallen for Lucas I was horrified by the events of series 9. He deserved some real romance I thought. I was pretty sure I could write about love, but I was unsure about the Spooks side of things. I worked out how to start the story and knew vaguely how I wanted it to end but I had no idea how I was going to get there. Having an idea about how to end it was a vast improvement on the hedgehog story but I still had no plot. Unperturbed I started the story and when I reached a natural end point for the first chapter, I realised I knew what I wanted to write about in the second. This “flying by the seat of your pants” style of writing might not be recommended but 10 months on it has gotten me to the end of a story of which I am very proud.
I’m under no illusions. One story does not a writer make. But, I am spurred on by the positive comments and support I’ve received. Posting stories on Wattpad is a bit like taking part in a popularity contest but I am encouraged most of all when someone whose writing I admire takes the time to read my story and post comments.
The Richard Armitage fandom is full of talented and creative people and I am privileged to be a part of it. It is my intention to write more and hopefully sooner or later, I will start with a plot. One thing I can say with absolute certainty…I will not be writing about hedgehogs!
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