Fan Fiction

            Imagine loving a story series so much that you write your own takes on what the characters do. You imitate the settings, clothing, languages and behaviors of your favorites. You find Internet sites dedicated to the stories and submit your versions. Other fans love what you’ve done and so you write more.

            But it’s not just for fans of current stories, but even for fairy tales from long ago. How many versions of Cinderella, for example, have you read? Just about every culture has a Cinderella or Prince Charming. There are contemporary versions in which Cinderella is the rescuer or in which Rapunzel sits down below the window and calls up, asking the trapped prince to let down his hair.

            Your task is to take a known character and story and make it your own. Expand on the story by creating new situations and settings or by bringing an old tale into the present. Or maybe well into the future. Think about what technologies existed during the first writings and what you want your characters to be able to utilize.

            Make sure there is tension, that something happens that places your character in jeopardy. Use both narrative and dialogue. Include those all-important sensory details.

            Have fun with this one.

A Different Kind of Vampire

            Vampires suck blood out of their victims, right? But what if they didn’t? What would vampires need to stay “alive” then?

            Would it be possible for them to enjoy a nice, cold glass of milk? Perhaps with a dollop of chocolate stirred in? Or maybe they’d like hot chocolate with marshmallows mixed in?

            Your task is to think of an alternative that changes the vampire narrative. If they don’t need blood, then they won’t drain victims of blood, killing them. They wouldn’t change their victims into vampires either.

            Consider what a vampire needs to sustain itself. That means there should be something nutritional about what they consume. That rules our soda unless it’s accompanied by some type of food that provides the vitamins and minerals that vampires need.

            Once you’ve settled on a “food”, then create the scene and situation that shows the vampire procuring and enjoying the drink.

            Have fun with this one.

A Twist on the Familiar

            Picture a dragon. An ordinary dragon. What do you see? Flames burning down villages? Piles of hoarded gold? Dwelling in a darkened cave? But what if your dragon does not meet those requirements? Perhaps instead of shooting fire it spouts water that drowns entire towns or maybe it uses its ability to refill reservoirs? What if it can’t fly but struts through the countryside winking at villagers and befriending other magical creatures?

            Take a typical ghost. She haunts the upstairs of the Victorian house on the top of the hill. She floats about terrorizing guests of the B & B. She dresses in a white gauzy dress, her ballerina-shoed feet never touching ground. What if your ghost lives in a modern high-rise condo complex in a major city? She has a nose-ring and wears punk-style clothing. Her attitude is obnoxious and rude. Her voice is a high-pitched squeal.

            Your task is to take a mythical or magical being and make it your own. Choose a creature that you are somewhat familiar with, or spend a little time researching something from another culture that sounds interesting. Think of ways to make it your own. Choose a nontraditional setting. Change the characteristics as in the above samples. Alter the personality, food preferences, behaviors.

            Write the story. Establish setting first, then drop in your character. Make things happen that will startle your readers. You want readers to smile, to nod, to enjoy the story.

            Have fun with this.