All My Best Writing Starts Out as Fanfic

I am scheduled to give you a flash fiction today. It’s not going to happen.

About a month ago, I discovered the TV show Supernatural, and immediately became obsessed [0]. All of my non-work, non-sleep time has been spent catching up on the glory of all things Winchester. There’s eight and a half seasons just in canon, and I haven’t even started looking at fan sites yet.

The upshot of all this is when I sat down to start outlining a flash fiction, the only story screaming to get out of my head was a Supernatural fanfic. Which I will not publish, post, or allow to see the light of day. Ever. Don’t ask. But I’m writing it anyway, because it needs to be written.

The truth is, all my stories start as fanfic. Worse, they’re the most horribly self-indulgent, wish-fulfillment, Mary Sue-riffic kind of fanfic. Take every trope of bad fanfic, and it’s probably there. It’s frankly quite humiliating, which is why I refuse to release it into the wild.

I’ll write it, though. I’ll write it to get it out of my head. I’ll write it for the daily discipline of writing. I’ll write it to hone my craft. I’ll write it because it’s making me absurdly happy. I’ll write it because it is naked, and raw, and true.

And someday I will take it apart and use the pieces in something that is completely mine. I’ll never be able to use the name Winchester, or an iconic classic muscle car, or making deals with crossroads demons [1]. But I’ll be able to write the secondary characters I’m finding. I’ll be able to write a Wild Hunt emerging from a crystal cave in the mountains of northern New Mexico. I’ll be able to write three teen boys, drunk for glory, and thoughtless for it, too [2]. I’ll be able to write a Model 1913 Patton saber as an iconic weapon for a lady. I’ll be able to write the role of quartermaster in the war between good and evil. I’ll be able to write business cards sporting titles such as Senior Combat Folklorist [3] and Research Teleologician. I’ll be able to write a dog with sacred symbols marked in the brindle of her fur, where after you chant a blessing over her, drools demons to death. I’ll be able to write a hero who says, “I’m not saving you this time. You’re just going to have to suck it up that terrible, terrible things are going to happen to you because you are stupid and you make bad decisions.”

These things are mine. They’re only inspired by intellectual property theft. This is how the creative process works for me. I steal stuff from other, better writers, edit out their characters and voice, throw it in the mixmaster with a couple dozen other similarly hijacked ‘verses, sign my name to the bottom, and there it is. An “original” piece of art.

[0] Yes, I know. I’m way late to this particular party.
[1] I am stealing one idea—using LARPing as a practical training in urban fantasy combat skills.
[2] They are provisionally named Kenny, Kyle, and Kartman—Kenny dies, of course.
[3] Hat tip also to Charles Stross on this one.

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