I can't write fanfic -- everytime I try, it's
(insert descriptive synonym for garbage)!

I think a lot of people are intimidated by writing stories.  When they read a story they like, they think that the writer sat down at her computer, thought for a bit and then started to write a perfect beginning.  Then she added to it, moving forward until she reached a wonderful end. 

They are impressed at the twists and turns, and how it all ties together.  They figure that since they can't think of a whole story like that, that writing is out for them.

Bullshit.

The truth is, that while many writers do work from outline, very rarely do they follow it to a tee.  The characters have a funny way of exerting themselves at the oddest moments, and suddenly, you're heading in an unexpected direction.

Plus, a lot of those twists and turns are added after the first draft is done.  It's always a good idea to have a trusted friend or two to edit your finished story (or chapter).  Not only can she point out the difference between 'there' and 'their', she can also offer ideas and suggestions.  I personally think fanfic would dry up to a trickle if IM and email were suddenly taken away!

The bottom line is, you can't write anything halfway decent without writing a lot of what writer Anne Lamott calls 'shitty first drafts'.  If you expect to sit down and write beautifully, nine times out of ten you are going to be in for a real disappointment.

So...relax! Have fun with it.  Experiment and don't be afraid to make mistakes.  And whatever you do, don't worry so much about it being perfect.  To quote from the novel 'The Thorn Birds': perfection in anything is unbearably dull.  I myself prefer a touch of imperfection!

 

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