This is a six part series on writing. You’re find part 1 here. In an effort to understand the process of writing fan fiction, I interviewed several writers for pointers. Joining me to day is Hedgeypig. She is a talented writer who has written Guy of Gisborne fanfic but now has moved into the realm of original fiction. Here’s her blurb:
Hedgeypig is a hobbit sized, middle aged curmudgeon with a penchant for the outdoors, writing, film and sleeping. She’s been knocking around the Richard Armitage fandom in various capacities since late 2006. She even met the man in 2009 and squeaked pathetically at him like a terrified dormouse. At some point she may actually submit something to a publisher but don’t hold your breath.
J: How and when did you start writing fanfic?
H: Early 2007 shortly after the first season of Robin Hood had ended. I was inspired by the character of Guy. I’d seen other fanfic after joining the Armitage Army forum and thought I’d give it a go.
J: Was it difficult at first?
H: The hardest part is making that leap of faith to publish as you’re putting yourself out there. i found a good beta and that was a massive help as they can help with spelling, grammar and any major plot clangers.
J: Were you influenced by other writers?
H: Can’t say I was, no.
J: How did you improve as a writer?
H: I feel that simply the act of writing helps improve skills. Also talking to other writers. Alicat and Twiddle and i all beta’d each others work which honed skills in spelling, grammar and plotting. Just write down ideas. they might go nowhere and sometimes they lead to something else.
I have over the past couple of years taken an Open University Course too. I did Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing which was a real eye opener. With that you obviously have to move away from writing fanfic to writing original work.
I also read an awful lot.
J: Did you have previous training?
H: I wrote for pleasure but no one ever read it so putting my work up on the internet was quite hard.
J: What do readers look for in fanfic?
H: Ooh, that’s a difficult one. I can only say what I look for. I’m not keen when people stray too far from the character as written. I think with Guy many people wanted him to be good but he was fundamentally a deeply flawed character. Sadly the actual writers themselves seemed to have rewritten his back story several times which made the character very confusing. Much as they did with Lucas.
A good story, well plotted with the characters not straying too far from their on screen personas. Mary Sues are a complete turn off for me.
J: I know you write erotic scenes. How do you go about writing such scenes?
H: Bizarrely at the time Guy was a very fantasy inspiring character and as such I liked to envisage him in erotic situations. However I tended to find those scenes quite difficult to write and if I’m honest looking back find some of them cringe worthy. I have largely moved away from graphic erotic scenes although within fanfic they can be fun.
J: Would you write fanfic again?
H: Given the right character certainly but at the moment I’m working a lot on original work. My result for my Advanced Creative Writing Course was much better than I envisaged and I hope to progress the story further at some point.
J: Would you encourage fanfic writing as a starting point?
H: Absolutely. You have the characters and a lot of situations there for you as jump off points.
J: Do you have any advice for novice fanfic writers?
H: Try and stick to the character as written within reason. If you’re not then say so.
Don’t Mary Sue the character (make them unbelievably perfect) Not everyone thinks Richard is gorgeous for example so not everyone should think, Guy, Lucas etc are perfect.
Get a good beta. There’s nothing worse than trying to read a story that’s full of errors.
Don’t lose heart. It’s rare that someone will be unkind but some people may be critical. Constructive criticism is not a bad thing.
Don’t overdo the sex scenes unless you’re very good at writing them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t put yourself in the story. variations of your personality will most likely creep in but a character that’s definitely you may turn people away.
Be careful with Real person fic. ie writing about Richard for example rather than his characters. A lot of people don’t like it but I have seen it done. Gabriel Kane was undoubtedly inspired physically by Richard but don’t imagine for one minute Richard is anything like the miserable character I have created.
J: Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you.
H: My pleasure.
NEXT: An interview with GratianaDS90