Delve into the Depths

My mother was telling me the other day how – of the two stories her students wrote for NaNoWriMo last year that she actually read in their entirety – both were more or less rip-offs of other media.  Apparently she expected her 13-year-olds to be writing more original fiction.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I started writing – and for several years afterwards – I ripped all of my favorite things off.  Lemmings (the old computer games, especially Lemmings 2: The Tribes), Mighty Ducks (the animated ducks from space version), Sonic the Hedgehog, Rainbow Brite, any books I liked, Star Trek – I took and incorporated these into whatever I happened to be working on at the time, whether it was designing computer games based more or less on every SuperSolvers game ever or creating a fashion book for Dorothy and Ozma that, in the end, spanned well over five hundred pages.

And even when I graduated to original plots and characters, there was still the old Mary Sue issue to deal with.  I thought I was being smart.  I never had my self-insert be the main character, but the main character’s best friend, so said main character could talk about how lovely and pretty and smart and funny, etc., etc., et al.  her best friend was.  It wasn’t until I had been writing for years that I figured out that this was not something attractive in a story.

So I told Mom to give those kids a break.  They’re kids.  It’s probably their first story.  And if they stick with it, they’ll learn, and if they don’t learn, well, hopefully I’ll never have to read their writing.

Speaking of which, can I interest you in this alternate universe Victorian Era Star Trek story?

I kid.  No, really.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sargemarcori on 2010/08/11 at 8:25 PM

    Yay, a blog!

    I started the same way. I think an awful lot of us do.

    Reply

  2. Posted by wonderer on 2010/08/12 at 10:21 AM

    Absolutely yes. Mostly I wrote Star Trek stories (with more-or-less original plots*), but I also remember at least two short stories that were utterly and completely ripped off from other authors’ stories. They probably weren’t the only ones. One of them got read on the radio. >._>

    Reply

    • Posted by wonderer on 2010/08/12 at 10:22 AM

      Wha? It ate the rest of my comment. Here it is:

      The Trek story I thought at the time was the best? It exposed Garak’s backstory (this was before it came out in canon), which turned out to be surprisingly Arthurian.

      My first novels — written at about the same age as your mother’s students — were all Trek. The next one was the usual Tolkien phase. The one after that was a mashup of Starfleet Academy with the serial numbers filed off and my own high school. I didn’t start writing truly “original” novels until university. Can’t recall my short stories as well, but the progression was likely similar. I’m with you: if they keep writing, they’ll get there eventually.

      Oh, and I would so read that. >_>

      Reply

  3. …I do not even want to think about some of my early works.

    Reply

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