Friday, June 25, 2010

When Inspiration Strikes

I'm going to share something with you that may or may not come as a big surprise to those who know my cat is named Snape. I started writing five years ago, and my inspiration was someone whose name I'll never know. Let me explain.

I was hopping around the internet as I was wont to do with my evenings after work and I had the notion 'Hm. I wonder when book six is due out...' So, like any good fan of Potterverse, I hopped over to to find out. I browsed around some articles, and in the side bar was the line 'a great fan fiction story you should check out.' So, I did.

They weren't lying. It was pretty good. Not great, nothing to make me email everyone I knew, but pretty good.

But it wasn't done. At the site, they updated a chapter at a time and hadn't updated in over a year. This was disappointing. I wanted to know how it ended. Then, I swear, I have NO idea where this randomness came from, but I said to myself 'well, I guess I'll write one and give it my own ending.'

Up until that point, I was a poet. A bad one. I had written little things since I was a wee lass, but never tried to do anything more than five pages long. But something CLICKED in my head. I can't explain it. I started my story and wrote 52,000 words in six weeks. I didn't know how fan fiction websites worked at the time, so I posted the whole dang thing at once. Seven people read it.

At the time, I was all 'wooHOO!!! Seven people read my story and loved it!!!' *Cloud nine euphoria.*

I started a new one, and posted a chapter at a time this time. It became a beast. It was this epic tale of woe and heartbreak that capped at 250,000 before I said to myself, 'self, it's time you tried to write your OWN characters, don't you think?' I probably wouldn't have had the thought if not for my reviewers constantly saying 'why are you writing fanfic? you need to be writing stuff that you can sell.' I was all 'sell? no one would PAY for this tripe.'

Then I decided, 'hey, wth, why not?' So I started the story that became Lesser Evils.

I'm explaining this because I had a rather shocking moment yesterday morning. I saw an author had gotten a bookdeal on her three-part series, and the story line was remarkably similar to my fanfic. At first, I was pissed. I'll admit it. I won't say anything that will give away any of the plot or ANYTHING, because the truth is: it might be coincidence. People say there are no NEW ideas, just rehashes of old ideas, but that's not entirely true. Sometimes there ARE new ideas and when we read them or see them in a movie, it blows our mind. Remember the first time you saw The Sixth Sense?

Not that I'm saying my work is on the same calibre of that, but that's my point. My idea was a little out there, like me. So my first reaction was 'OMG, you hack! You totally stole my idea!!' But I calmed down pretty quick.

The truth is, even if they did read my story and drew inspiration from it, that's actually a good thing. It meant I inspired someone to write, just as someone else had inspired me once upon a time. Even if this person goes on to be a bazillionaire with their trilogy, that's cool. I would not be where I am today if not for the fanfic I posted. I would still be watching television every night or... yeah, I don't know what else I used to do before I wrote. I don't regret posting my work online. I needed the feedback and encouragement and I got it from other writers.

Which is why I'm not afraid to post my little shorts I share with you. Maybe they'll inspire you, maybe they'll just make you laugh. Either way, I did a good job, and that's all I ever wanted. I want to do a good job. Only, yanno, not where I work. I hate that place. :-)


Anne Gallagher said...

I'm glad you're so calm. I'm still reeling.

Christi Goddard said...

Well, I needed to find a silver lining or I'd explode :-) Being angry would only harm me, and I'm tired of letting things get me down all the time. I'll just keep writing and see if I 'make it' someday, too. :-)

Mia Hayson said...

I would probs WEEP into my tea if this happened to me, so not fair. But then again you are right and also I'm sure you're was better.


Everyone is inspired by something :)

JE said...

What a great post! It's nice to see how you got into writing.

You'll get your three book deal with the well-hung albino. ;-)


Christine Danek said...

I'm glad you found a way to deal with the anger. I would've been angry too. This a great inspiring post. I'll keep reading your stuff and when you get that book deal--I'll be buying it. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

Ha! I started out writing fanfic too. I actually did one little HP fanfic piece that i still love to this day

Matthew MacNish said...

I actually think that's pretty cool. I mean of course it depends on how exactly closely your plot/premise was copied but as long as it wasn't a direct rip off it's sort of flattering.

That's the trouble with fanfic though. I try to get my daughter not to write so much but she won't listen. Oh well.

Today's guest blogger is Tahereh AKA TH Mafi!

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss christi! sorry for what glad you got past being mad cause that just hurts only you. sharing what got you feeling like that is real brave. it helps to talk about stuff that gets you hurt and mad. just saying it is an inspire to keep going.
...hugs from lenny

Tahereh said...


this person for sure stole your idea???


Unknown said...

OMG go kill your muse right now that traitor (if he's to blame).

On a positive note, there's an award for you on my blog, go pick it up!

Terry Towery said...

Hunt them down. And kill them.

Or not. Your call. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiration, it's always great to hear what makes people start writing.

Also, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan as well, and I LOVE that you have a cat named Snape, that's beyond awesome!

-@Tessa Conte: Kill your muse, I love it!

DL Hammons said...

I don't have a problem posting snippets of my writing so that my fellow bloggers can get a taste of how I write, but I would never post so much that I would divulge an entire story concept/premise. There are more people reading these blogs than just the innocent community we belong to.

I'm just saying....

Theresa Milstein said...

Just came over from Tessa's blog.

I love that you have a pet named Snape. I'm a big Harry Potter fan. Those books were in part why I chose to begin writing seriously.

Alleged Author said...

That really stinks.

dolorah said...

Good for you Christine. I am inspired by what I read all the time, and it usually comes out totally different than what I read. Some characters have a way of making off with the story in thier own way.

Have a good week.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

You are big hearted. And wise. We each of us give inspiration in ways large and little to those around us.

See? You've inspired me to be kinder, more forgiving.

And no one can tell your story like you can. Take the true lesson from this lesson : YOUR idea sold. Another of your ideas will sell again. What has happened once can happen again.

Success is out there for you .. as long as you keep on word after word. Always in your corner, Roland

RaShelle Workman said...

Yeah, I'm reeling for you too. But, anyway. Hi, I'm RaShelle. I keep seeing your icon popping up, so I thought I'd come over and follow your blog or actually somehow I saw you on twitter too. The universe has spoken. LOL.

Lisa Gail Green said...

That's an inspiring story! Now you just have to sell your novel. IT WILL HAPPEN. At least that's what I keep telling myself. :) BTW I left you something at my blog.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Oh my. That's kind of scary. I'm such a dope I wasn't really sure what fanfic WAS. Yesterday I discovered that there's another person out there with my SAME NAME writing fanfic. Freaked me out. But probably not nearly as much as finding out someone made off with my story idea. Ouch. That hurts.

Is your kitty wicked and misunderstood like his namesake? :)
I love that you finished that story and found your voice. That's awesome!


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