Tag Archives: fan fiction

Harry Potter Fan Fiction Changed My Life

Sometimes it’s easy for my to look at myself in the mirror and say, “What are you doing here, Albert? Writing? Blogging? You really think anyone cares about any of this? You’re not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. You’ve got diddly. Oh, and by the way, you need a shave”

But when I get discouraged sometimes it helps me to remember why I started writing in the first place. Last week, I talked about the moment that I realized that writers, all writers, were normal people, just like me, and if they could do it, I could do it too. But I didn’t tell you about how that moment happened.

Back then, I was a nobody working away at my local Walmart (I’m still a nobody working away at my local Walmart, so let that be a lesson to you about following your dreams.) I had just temporarily  transfered to the Hardware Department, where I was learning to mix paint from the lady who worked that department normally. And at some point between talking about paint and plumbing she happened to mention that she was a writer.

“Oh, yeah?” I asked. “What kind of stuff do you write?”

“Harry Potter fan fiction mostly,” she told me.

“Is it any good?” (Yes, I know. I am the soul of tact.)

“Why don’t you go to the website and see for yourself?

So when I got home, I did. And it was good. I went into it thinking I would find all kinds of misspellings and tortuously constructed sentences, but instead I found a story that was just as well written as some of the books I had on my shelf at home. It was a moment that changed my life.

I went back to work the next day gushing to this woman about writing and books and about how stunned I was at how good her writing was (still the ever-tactful one, that’s me.)

She shrugged it off, and said, “It’s not that big a deal really. You could do it.”

“But I don’t want to write fan fiction.”

“So write your own story.”

So I did. There were a ton of false steps and bad starts, but I finally got my head around the process, and over the course of several months I pounded out my story from beginning to end. I went back to that woman so often for advice and encouragement I’m surprised she didn’t lose patience with me and tell me to take a hike. But she didn’t. In fact, we’re friends to this day.

So when I say to myself, “What am I doing? I’m just a peon at Walmart with his little blog, and his stupid stories,” I think back to the moment I was inspired to start writing. Imagine if that woman had said to herself, “This is stupid. It’s just a knockoff fanfic. No one’s ever going to care. I’m quitting.” If she’d done that, I might never have gotten my start in this wonderful and crazy world of writing.

So I keep going, if for no other reason than that I might encourage you the same way she once encouraged me. If I can inspire even one person to throw themselves into writing, body and soul, I will be able to say that I accomplished something meaningful. And that is as good a reason as any to write.

The Write Way to Love

It seems like every year I learn a little more about what it takes to be a successful writer.   You’d think they could put all this information into  a book somewhere, and for all I know, maybe someone already has. But for me some things have to be learned gradually.  And some things, no matter how often you explain them to me, I have to learn for myself.

I remember how badly this phenomenon used to frustrate my dad.  I come home and share some bit of newly minted wisdom with him, and he’d say, “I’ve been telling you that for your whole life.”  And he had.  But on some level hearing it wasn’t enough.  I needed to figure it out for myself.

That last bit was a tangent which I’m leaving in, because frankly I love talking about my dad.  In fact, in most of my fiction you’ll find a father figure that make some tremendous impact on the story for either good or bad, or even through his absence.  I think this is a reflection of the impact I feel my dad has had on my life.  And now we’re in another tangent.  So, back to the point.

What I wanted to talk about was the realization I had just a few weeks ago, that if I wanted to succeed as a writer, I was going to have to start treating my writing like a second job.  Now please don’t read that and think I’m trying to remove all of the fun from writing, because I’m not.  I write because I love it, and I believe I always will.  But sometimes I don’t feel like I love it.  Some times I’ll sit in front of a blank screen, and say, “Nope, not happening today,” and in the past I would get up and walk away.  But you can’t get up and walk away from your job.

Kristen Lamb said something fantastic in her recent blog about reaching your potential in the new year.  She said, “Feelings, LIE.”

There are times when all of us are not going to feel like writing.  The solution?

Write anyway.

Give yourself a small goal to accomplish.  Say, “I’ll just write two hundred words, and if things don’t get better by then, then I’ll come back to it later.”  More often than not, by the time two hundred words have planted themselves on the page, you’ll feel the creative juices flowing a little better.

But today’s blog isn’t really about writing at all.  See, I’ve been getting all gung-ho about this new philosophy of writing: getting up far too early in the morning, spending hours writing blog posts, and overall just getting serious about the whole thing.  So yesterday, when my wife asked if I wanted to go and do something with her, there was a split second where I thought, “But I have so much work to do on my writing.”

Except then it hit me.  Writing isn’t the only job I have to do.  I also have to be a husband.  And just like writing, sometimes I don’t feel like being a husband.  Sometimes I’ll stop and think, “What happened to that gurgley sweet feeling I had back when we were dating?  Am I doing something wrong?  Did I make a mistake?”

But love is like writing.  It may be fueled by passion, but it is perfected by hard work.  And just because I may not feel the passion every moment of the day doesn’t give me an excuse to stop working to be a better husband.  The relationship between me and my wife needs care and attention and most of all, time if it’s going to be successful.

Because feelings do lie.  And marriage, just like writing, is a job.  If I don’t feel like being married today, it shouldn’t matter.  Because this is my job.  And at it’s very foundation, love isn’t just a feeling.  It’s a commitment.

So if I’m tired or cranky and just don’t feel like doing the work to make it work, I’m going to remind myself that this is my commitment.  This is my job.

Otherwise I’ll just end up being the marital version of a bad fan fiction writer.


I’ve been working my way through the Machine of Death book, inspired and partly written by internet sensation and all around genius Ryan North, and…well I couldn’t resist. I had to write one of my own. I call it, Squash.

P.S. If you’re unfamiliar with the Machine of Death concept, check it out and get the Machine of Death book (available for free in PDF format) at MachineofDeath.net