On frustrations and fanfiction

Summer’s roaring through me, filling my veins with fire and my thoughts with vengeance, but what it comes down to is the simple human desire to punch his lights out.

And so I do.

30,000 words.

30 sodding thousand words.

I worked out the other day that I’ve written over 200k words of Dresden RPG story, based around the world and game that I’ve played for the last year. Some of the stories have gone into the ‘canon’ game, some are side stories, and the one I’m currently writing has branched off into an alternate universe.

It’s not exactly fanfiction; it’s using a world similar to Butcher’s Dresden Files but with modifications. It’s using the magic system, the political groups, the ideas – but not the characters or the exact scenarios. It’s too close to fanfiction to be my story or world, but too far away to be true fanfiction.

I’ve ranted before about writing ‘useless’ stories, but I think the one I’m currently writing takes the cake. 30,000 words! That’s a normal length story for me!

I have wondered about using the writing for something – after all, it does progress through a series of character developments, and the plots do tie into each other. It’s good writing; it’s interesting, fun, and the stories do all hang well enough that they can be read by ‘outsiders’. I could publish on something like Wattpad or this blog, or even one of the fanfiction forums.

But…it’s also bound into the game; there’s a lot of in-jokes and details that come from the game, and would require quite a lot of editing to explain or remove those details and be read by someone who doesn’t know the background. It’s not true fanfiction, so I am limited on the arenas that would appreciate it. And, ultimately, I think it’s too personal. The stories use other characters – with permission – but that doesn’t mean I have any right to hand my thoughts and my use of that character to a wider world. I have no right to use a shared game world and a shared storyline. What it comes down to is that it’s not wholly my writing…and I’m not sure that I want to share some of the stories with anyone beyond the gaming circle.

So, frustrating as it is, I can’t use it. I’m – as you may have gathered – pretty angry with myself. I should be working on ‘real’ writing, useful writing. I should be writing GreenSky, Sloth stories, short stories. I shouldn’t be spending valuable time and thinking power trying to make this story work.


I love it.

It’s in my head. It’s in my heart. It’s coming out onto the page, whether or not I want it to. I started with a scribble-scene, just to get the damn thing out…and then it grew. My characters laughed and fought and travelled. And it grew. And grew.

And then I realised it had a second half, it needed finishing.

It’s now a full story at 30,000 words. My characters are chasing across Vegas and then Wiltshire, tracing a thief and a book, getting themselves into scrapes and out again. Dini’s learning how to use magic, experiencing grief and loss and pain, realising that the world has inevitably changed for her and there’s no going back. Her companion’s reluctantly learning that sometimes he does need to rely on other people, and that they won’t do what he wants – and that he can’t fight or fuck his way out of every situation. The world’s getting more complicated for both of them, and there’s darkness lingering even in the brightest sunshine.

I love writing it. Because I’m now in an alternate universe, I don’t know where this is going to end. I want to keep it slightly canon because it’s fun to tie it into our gaming world, but I don’t know what’s going to happen there either.

So…just gotta keep writing, I guess!

I laugh, spread my arms and spin out into the darkness with their colours floating around me. I feel like I’m falling, flying with the night around me and their shadows flickering, weaving and floating as I spin, dancing with the Little Folk to music that no-one else can hear…

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.