I suppose there are many reasons for this. The cliched ones immediately come to mind. To express myself; to explore the human condition; etc. And while those are true, and apply to me as much as anyone, there are always even more mundane reasons than that.
Basically, I'm a huge nerd with stories to tell.
It all started with an animated series that captured my imagination. I was thirteen years old, and I watched a new show that would change my life forever. This series was called "Gargoyles," and it was magnificent. The epic stories, the character development, the layers upon layers. At my young age, it opened my eyes to what storytelling was all about. So much so that I began by writing fanfiction.
Now, many people look down their noses at fanfiction. It has a bad rap for being wish fulfillment fantasy with no grasp on keeping established characters in character. Fanfic authors are seen as people who piggyback on the creations of others, and demonstrate surprisingly little understanding of who the characters are, and what they would do. Not to mention the appalling lack of spelling and grammar skills.
The people who say that... are right. 99% of the time. But, there are jewels out there. Some cut their teeth on fanfiction and learn how to develop characters and weave tales worth telling. Some go on to become successful writers themselves. Others choose to stay in the world of fanfiction, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I like to think of myself as one of the talented people, even though I am incapable of looking back on some of my earlier work without cringing. Mostly in the fanfiction series, "The Gargoyles Saga."
I've dabbled in other "Gargoyles" fanfiction since leaving TGS, all of which I am infinitely more satisfied with. But, it was a learning experience. I learned that you need to give and take when working in a collaborative medium. But I also learned the dangers of too many cooks, and not a single guiding vision to keep order. Which is why my independent fanfiction is much more satisfying to me. You see, I wanted to write the characters from the series, not what some other fans turned those characters into.
So, once a year, I'd submit a story to the Gathering of the Gargoyles' annual anthology. I submitted a nice character study on the villainous gargoyle, Demona, to the "Eye of Odin" Anthology. I got a little more ambitious with my "Grimorum Arcanorum" story, but was far less satisfied with it.
Then came the "Items of Enchantment" anthology, and I had a terrific story in mind, but life got in the way. I was distracted by film school, as well as developing my first original story. A screenplay. That became my top priority.
I do not regret abandoning fanfiction. It had its time and place in my life as a writer, but I prioritized and ended up falling in love with my original creations. First and foremost, "The Cleansing," which I have already blogged about.
But, that final fanfic kept screaming and kicking for me to tell it, and ultimately, I finished it. I didn't originally intend to, but I've learned not to ignore my muse. I also figured, if I'm quitting fanfiction (except for the occasional short drabble), why not quit on a story that I am truly proud of? And so I did.
The story in question is titled "Rhapsody," and can be found here:
At the Gargoyles Fan Website
Pick your poison.
In any event, I am also proud to say that series co-creator and supervising producer, Greg Weisman has, over the years, become a friend of mine. He taught me more about storytelling than I think he realizes, and continues to be an inspiration to me.
I wouldn't be here now if it weren't for him. Thank you, Greg.