Other Writings

In Defense of Fanfiction

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

For those who don’t know, “fanfiction” (“fanfic” or “fic” for short) is essentially any fiction based on an existing work. People write fanfic for pretty much any show, book, movie, play, etc. you can think of, and they write it for any number of reasons. There are even entire sites that exist solely to provide a platform for people to post and share their fanfic.

Because fanfic is based off of copyrighted material, some people find it distasteful. While I don’t want to get into the whole debate here, I will say I’m firmly on the side of fanfic being awesome (assuming no one tries to make money off it).

Today, though, I want to discuss some of the writerly benefits of writing fanfic, and encourage all of you to try it!

You Don’t Have to Build the Playground Yourself

One of the hardest parts of starting a new story is that you have to create everything from the ground up. What’s the world like? Who are the characters? What are they like? Are there dragons? How do the dragons affect the political situation? DO THEY BREATHE FIRE? Etc. There are a million questions to answer before you get to play in your world and actually write the stories happening there.

With fanfic, all that work is done for you. The world and characters already exist. (The original material is called the canon, by the way.) You can jump in and play. Which leads me to point number two!

Exercise Your Imagination

Perhaps my favorite thing about fanfic is that people take the original material and mold it however they choose. You can move your characters to the wild west or outer space. You can explore a relationship between two characters who rarely interact. You can start a zombie apocalypse and see what happens! The possibilities are literally endless.

It can be incredibly freeing to take characters whom you already love and see how they react in different situations. It also encourages some intense critical thinking. It forces you to think deeply about these characters. You have to take what you know about them and extrapolate from there. I find it fascinating to see fanfic authors change characters in significant ways, but maintain their essence. It’s a terribly difficult trick to pull off, but wondrous when it works.

Read More

Alter Egos by Erin W.

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

This post comes to you from AYWI student blogger Erin!

Ever since I was little, I’ve wished that I could disappear into the pages of a book.  Not in a depressed or suicidal way, of course:  my dream was simply to become a character from a book and to step into her world, for an instant or a day or possibly a lifetime.

The first case that I can remember, and probably the most extreme, dates all the way back to 2002.  I was three, and I had just barely learned to read.  My favorite book was Outside over There by Maurice Sendak, and it featured a girl, Ida, her baby sister and their mother.  (The father, while ostensibly a part of their family, was “away at sea.”)  Today, I’m not quite so sure why I was so attracted to this book.  The writing is nice, and the illustrations are gorgeous, but, looking back, the story is kind of creepy  – Ida’s sister was kidnapped by goblins, who turned out to be naked babies themselves– and possibly not the best book for impressionable three-year-olds, but I loved it regardless.  I probably read the thing about a hundred times and ended up with it basically memorized by the time I was finished, but the interesting part is that I became obsessed with turning my family into Ida’s family from Outside over There.  I began to call my mom “Mama,” and I became “Baby” (unfortunately, Mr. Sendak neglected to name the baby).  And then, I ran into a slight snag:  Ida’s Papa was away at sea, and my dad quite obviously was not, so what was I to call him?  Well, my three-year-old brain figured this one out quite nicely.  Dad became Ida, and, in my mind, everything had worked out perfectly.  I began to call my parents Mama and Ida all the time, not just as a joke and not just at home.  My mom likes to tell the story of a Christmas party at my dad’s work, where a little boy had been chasing me around the party room until I finally jumped into my dad’s arms, screaming, “Save me, Ida!”  Needless to say, I was quite melodramatic – and delusional – as a child.

Read More

The Writing Journey by Erin W.

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

This post was written by AYWI student blogger Erin. 

I was a weird kid.  For one, I didn’t watch TV.  And, for another, I’d line up those freebie hotel shampoos and parade them across the bathroom counter, giving them names and leading them in fantastical adventures.  Like I said:  weird, weird kid.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like it’s my duty to point this out:  I might still be weird.  But, that, dear readers, is a story for another time.

Sorry, I digress.  And – wait, where was I?  Ah, yes.  Hotel shampoos.  This, I feel, was the first time I became a storyteller.  Since I didn’t watch TV, and I couldn’t read yet, I must have been positively starved for stories.  Really, then, what was I to do?  I had no access to narrative.  So I created my own.

My first real written story evolved during the summer I turned six.  It centered upon a rabbit, a character I reprised a few months later in a story about a garden, devastated by drought and then fire.  I doubt that either piece was especially poignant, but to me, they are proof that, even then, I was beginning to love writing, that the seeds of something wonderful were beginning to sprout into a magnificent garden, one that, hopefully, would not be forced someday to face a future drought or, even worse, a fire.

Read More

“Equinox” by Joey S.

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

Today, AYWI student blogger Joey shares one of her poems. 

Equinox

Leaves
have died. Today

I talked to a certain someone
about whether soulmates

exist, or just once in a summer
haze like the vanity

of spinning on
a swing expecting

to stay aloft. Now
the leaves have swirled.

We feel
the chill.

Read More

Do The Work

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

Today’s post was written by AYWI student, Kiera!

I remember when I first started writing (yes, my memory goes back that far!). My priorities as a writer were 1) Don’t sound ridiculous, 2) Don’t write anything I wouldn’t want my mom to read, and 3) Don’t sound ridiculous. I wanted to get the words out in some cohesive order; I wanted people to want to read or hear my work. More than anything, I wanted to grow. I wanted my next poem to always be better than the last.

The interesting thing about growing is sometimes you don’t realize it’s happening. Somehow over the years I started wanting to write for me. Wanting to get my stories out my way and if someone else likes it, that’s awesome. When what other people thought became secondary, I was able to do the work. Not just the work involved in the writing and the practicing, but the work required to be someone who stands for something.

Read More

Hi! I’m Jordan.

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

Hello all!

I’m Jordan and I’m interning for Atlanta Young Writers Institute this summer. As you may have deduced from the post that I wrote yesterday, I’m currently studying abroad at Oxford in England. For the rest of my time in the UK, I’m going to be sharing with y’all some of the things that I’ve been seeing and learning about English.  Hopefully you find it interesting!

Me in front of Blenheim Palace, where Winston Churchill lived.

Me in front of Blenheim Palace, where Winston Churchill lived.

Read More