Today I’m going to talk about my favorite WIP.
I’m one of those writers who loves first drafts, and basically never gets to a second draft. I have two WIPs that have made it to draft two: this is one of them. It’s my favorite story to write and has the most lively characters. The world in my head is so expansive that I’ve started two spinoffs (last year’s Camp NaNo novel, Quest, is one of them).
The first story I ever wrote, the one I started drafting when I was twelve, is Fate. I was heavily inspired by Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic Quartet. I loved the group of four friends who found one another at school and found out they had incredible magic. As it turned out, I had three really close friends and I really wanted to be able to use magic. It was perfect – I figured the only way I could make that happen was fiction. I’d read plenty of books and written short stories, why not a novel?
Twelve year old me was adorable.
It became readily apparent that I was ill-equipped for this task when I was twelve. Not that starting every chapter with something like “I, Princess Jessica, ran down the palace steps, eyes streaming down my cheeks” isn’t perfectly splendid, but I needed some writing classes. Don’t worry – I’ve had them since then! But the other thing I needed was a pinch of originality. At best, what I was writing back then was fan fiction. I had nothing real to offer the world, just an imaginary universe in words where I could be something more than I am.
Which is, again, adorable, but not very sensible.
I needed something different, something that the world has never seen before.
Every since I realized I was trying to re-write my favorite fantasy stories starring me and my friends, I’ve been afraid of writing something too familiar. It’s hard, too. Back in 2013, Nathan Bransford posted an article titled “When It Feels Like There’s Nothing Left to Be Written” that addresses this very issue.
I’ve managed to turn my story around so that this WIP is not a copy of Tamora Pierce’s work. Really, I could never hope to be as brilliant as her anyway. Never. But I still live on the edge of fear of unoriginality. As YA fantasy grows more and more popular, it seems like all the ideas are being gobbled up. I often find myself in a place of doubt – that “why bother?” state.
Then beyond unoriginality, there’s plagiarism. That is a scary word. I see quite a few different instances of individuals wanting to sue because they feel a character in a book is based on them and either shows them in an unflattering light, or, more commonly, feeling a character has been based on them without permission.
Am I the only writer out there who finds herself Googling her character types and plot ideas to make sure I’m not accidentally copying anything else?
I do this all the time with Fate, because it’s my favorite story and I really don’t want to lose it. I have other ideas that I kinda know are a little too derivative (I have a story about a girl who jumps in and out of movies… don’t think I can ever publish that) but I’m always afraid that someone else will write my story.
Anyone else? Just me?
Today’s Book Blogger Hop asks:
Which book do you wish you’d written?
Short answer: Definitely Inkheart. Every time I read the book or watch the film, I’m positively enchanted by how clever it is. I want to read characters in and out of books!