Fiction Writing: Child vs. Adult

My very first computer was one my mom and dad had discarded because it was a few years out of date. I had used it for a awhile before that to check email and surf anime websites and to write the occasional middle school paper. I was just getting into the upswing of the anime lifestyle at the time: watching the afternoon showings of Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Dragonball Z, and for many more years than I should have, Pokemon.

At school, I got top grades, but it was more because I was a perfectionist than a decent writer/reader. I loved to read books, but I tended to read them all too quickly. I was quiet and withdrawn, and at the time had only one friend. Who wants to be friends with the wacko who imitates Charmanders on the school bus?

It’s approximately at this time that I stumbled upon the illustrious FanFiction.Net. I was in anime heaven. There were literally millions of stories to read; not only that, but I had the honor of letting the authors know that I enjoyed their hard work by clicking a button called “review.” All of the stories were based on characters and worlds that I was already acquainted with. So what if the grammar was a little odd sometimes? These were stories written by amateurs, with the sole intent of being written for their (and by extension, my own) enjoyment.

After I’d read about three hundred stories (and no, I am not joking), I began thinking about writing my own. So began my foray into story-writing, which would last me throughout more than a decade. I still cringe to even look at my very first story, a Dragonball Z fan fiction about a little girl named Angel. I will leave it at that, because I don’t want ya’ll’s eyes to bleed reading it.

I wrote it in basically a month, sitting down at my computer from the time I got home from school until about one or two in the morning. I was constantly thinking of new ideas, writing them down so that I wouldn’t forget. The plot meandered all over the place, because I had no idea what an outline was back then. I started on another story right after that, and kept going and going. Most of the time, I didn’t finish what I started. The ones that did get finished are still posted on that amiable website under my assumed names. A handful of them still receive reviews occasionally, mostly from kids between the ages of 12 and 16 who don’t know that my early work sucked.

Over those years, however, I managed to develop and hone habits that would carry me on through high school and into college. My writing skills increased phenomenally. My reading skills, too, but to a lesser extent. I learned what a character was, how to give him or her more than just a pretty exterior and clothes of my own imagination. I learned to give him a scar and a story with the scar; to give her a unique name and a reason that her mother insisted upon it at her birth.

I learned to give Jirkle the half-demon a rubber ducky tattoo from a drunken night out, after which he would continually call the woman he secretly loved his “Ducky.” I learned to give him a womanizing personality that is more endearing than annoying (though Ducky wouldn’t say so!).

I learned to outline my stories before I begin, to touch it up as I go along to give the story a solid foundation on which to stand.

Now, as an adult, I write for my continued enjoyment. Unlike those early years, however, the ideas aren’t flowing freely onto the computer any more. I’m more cautious about what flies from my fingers. Sometimes I wish for those carefree days of bliss, where the only reward I ever hoped for was a review from a fellow writer.

I’ve grown some thicker skin, too. The regular fiction world is a harsh place, though I would argue that since my time there the fan fiction world has gotten a lot more so. Now there’s Canon to deal with, on top of the grammar nazis and flamers and idiots. I still delve back into that world through Harry Potter fan fics, because I adore what they can do with such a simple story. At least with regular fiction, most people are trying to help you avoid embarrassment.

Glasgloria

I may have mentioned somewhere along the line that I enjoy writing fiction. Just as much as I love to read it, in fact, though in recent years I’ve slacked in both areas because of school. Recently, though, I began hashing out a new story and it’s really revitalized my love of fiction in general.

The story itself centers on what some might call a VERY controversial topic: faith in God and questioning that faith in the face of adversity. Some might call it a “good” theme to center a fictional story on, but I’ve added a twist that will make some fundamentalists go a little… berserk.

You see, the story centers on a young Christian woman (tentatively named Faith Doubtit) born and raised in a Christian family. She is accidentally transported to Glasgloria, a world where the gods reign directly over various groups of people. I’m basing Glasgloria heavily on Wiccan ideals because there is some magic involved. The question really is, can this girl’s faith in her one, supreme God, who she has never seen or heard, remain intact when there are real, touchable gods right in front of her?

Now you see the controversy.

The world itself has five “visible” gods, who reside over various parts of the land, and a sixth whose actual whereabouts are unknown. The five gods represent earth, wind, fire, water, and heaven, and each one controls various aspects of the world. The fire god, for instance, is in charge of “lighting” the world, and the heaven god in charge of keeping it high to let everyone have light in the day. Since this “world” is technically underground, there is no sun, no stars, and no moon; everything is based on what these semi-powerful gods are capable of doing. Part of what keeps Faith skeptical of them is the fact that they have limitations.

Part of what I am basing this on is scientific research into the human psychology, which has found that human “belief” is part of what makes the universe “bend” around us. It’s what makes the placebo effect (a medicine working because a person believes it will work); what makes a short Buddhist man capable of taking a bamboo staff in the gut without flinching, claiming not to feel pain. The sheer belief that a thing will work, and the stronger held that belief by a larger number of people, the more real it is in the real world.

It does bring up the interesting question of if God even really does exist. I choose to believe He does, though, not because I’ve seen him or heard him, but because I believe on faith alone. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

But now you have a relative understanding of my most recent undertaking.