I found out a couple of weeks ago that my play, iFamily, didn't get anywhere in the Playmarket competition. Being realistic this isn't so surprising, as there were a lot of plays submitted and many, I imagine, would have been from people who do this for a career. But still, I couldn't help but feel a bit down on it. The other option is to apply for a Creative NZ grant but then I have to include a detailed budget and all kinds of things I don't know about. That means I'd have to teach myself all of that and find a director all without knowing if anything would come from this effort. But that's the reality of creative endeavours, right? I guess I've been spoilt by being in the advertising environment, which is such a unique intersection between creativity and the corporate.
In the meantime, to help get me out of my creative slump and to prepare me for the online soap opera I want to write this year, I'm trying my hand at yet another thing I've never tried before - fiction. It's tough! Very different from copywriting. I've found the perfect outlet though. Fan fiction. Around 3 months ago I discovered Fan Fiction.net, and my life hasn't been the same since. I'm going to bare my soul here, and tell you that I am a dedicated pop culture enthusiast, an avid TV critic, and more specifically have an fanatic relationship with the characters of Naomi and Emily from Skins Generation 2. So when I found a website full of stories about these two, I developed a level of obsession that is usually only achieved by the teenaged and the insane. I love the concept of taking fully-formed characters that we already know so well and placing them in different situations to explore how they would act and react. The sign of a good fanfiction, to me, stays true to language patterns and values of the characters, but pushes them to their outer boundaries. They live on, beyond the limitations of the official TV show, as circus aerialists, close protection officers, famous american actors, hotel owners, teachers, hostages... whatever people can dream up .
Fanfiction also parallels the format of the online "soap opera" I want to write, which will be told entirely through online media. Readers subscribe to the story and receive emails in their inbox from the characters. It's very voyeuristic. Fanfiction is similar in that you subscribe to stories or authors you like, and as new chapters are posted you receive an alert in your email inbox. Each alert is SO exciting. That's what I want to achieve with my online soap opera. I only call it a soap opera because "online novel" isn't really right. I need to invent a new name for this method of communication. I don't believe it's been done before and I want to be the first. However there is a lot of functionality to work out.
But back to fanfiction. Another reason I love it is the sense of community it brings me. I imagine this is much like the pre blogging, pre social media days where fans of a particular thing (Dungeons and Dragons comes to mind) would share thoughts and tips in online forums and chatrooms. You come to "know" the story authors by the comments they write before each chapter, you recognise reviewers, too, and can respond to both. You're brought together with people from around the world by your mutual love for something.
Today my story was reviewed by one of the most prolific writers of Skins fanfiction, her pen name Hyperfitched. 'Hypes', as she is fondly referred to by those in the inner circle, is a young circus aerialist in Britain who writes to the most amazing standard. How she hasn't already been snapped up to pen the next season of Skins I don't know. My point being, she's a fricken' circus aerialist!! Internet, you astound be with your ability to connect people from the most disparate backgrounds! Hypes has chosen to set her fanfic in the circus - because SHE is in the circus! As they say, write what you know! And the characters fit as naturally in this environment as if that is the purpose they were originally created for. My my, I do love writing, and I do love the internet. What miraculous things can be created when the two intersect. Some say the internet only creates a false sense of community, but it feels more real to me than many of my interactions with people in the "real" world.
So, I'm up to Chapter 3 of my fanfic, called "Letting Go". It's full of angst, overblown descriptions and the hyper-emotion of teenage life that I have never really grown past. My poor ego is so tied up in this story, but so far the reviews have been lovely. This is unusual for the internet environment, but fanfiction.net seems to attract nicer people for some reason. I'm totally hooked on the rush.