Fangirl: Doin It for Herself – A Writing Journey by Rose B. Fischer

Fangirl title

Designed by Rose B. Fischer.

In post #3 I talked about a school writing project for which I had planned to write a He-man and She-Ra fanfiction. The story ended up being too complex, but I finished a version of it over the summer. My siblings and I acted it out as a play. We tried to sell tickets, but no one was buying. We invited people, but no one showed, including our parents. (Mom was called to work unexpectedly. No idea where Dad was.) I attempted a second performance, but corralling two kindergarten aged children into that was beyond my abilities.   Not a great start to my writing career. Oh well.

I loved the story. It was a series finale to She-Ra and the Horde was sent packing off of Etheria. The plot involved getting a bunch of secondary characters and minor kingdoms on Eternia to form a coalition to defend themselves against Skeletor while He-Man, Teela, and the rest of the royal family were occupied helping the Great Rebellion on Etheria. (Yes, I swear to God, I was nine and I was writing political fantasy.)

Within a few years, I lost interest in the MOTU/POP franchise, but I rediscovered it when I was in college in the early 2000’s. At that time, the Internet was still a baby and online fandom was mostly a collection of small personal websites housing trivia and lo-res pictures. There were also electronic bulletin boards that served as community platforms, but they were not nearly as complex and dynamic as what’s available today. I decided I wanted to get involved with MOTU fandom, so I went back to my idea from childhood and created a series called Defenders of Grayskull. My goal was to finish it before publishing, and the process of fleshing out, developing, and building a complex political and social landscape took years. I also wanted to create a more solid grounding for the science on Eternia.Magical world building wasn’t difficult, because I had 3 TV series and several comics to draw from, but science is an equal part of MOTU/POP. Scientific concepts are important to me as well, and I’m incapable of suspending my disbelief if the story has too much pseudoscience or junk science thrown in. That meant I spent a lot of time on research.

The plot of Defenders grew, reaching as far back as Randor’s childhood and extending as far forward as Adam and Adora’s grown children.   Eventually, I realized that what I was writing could be the next Robert Jordan epic–in the best and worst ways!   Meanwhile, lots of folks were publishing good MOTU fanfiction. I realized that Defenders of Grayskull didn’t have much to add. My story about the vanquishing of the Horde and what happened to the Royal family next was good, but it shared most of its elements with other, better fiction. I put it aside.

I considered returning to Defenders in 2009 when I realized that there just wasn’t much good MOTU fanfic anymore, but it wasn’t the right time for me to do another fanfiction epic. Today we have the promise of a new movie, and we have the Eternity War. I don’t know how either of those storylines will resolve. The DC comics seem much darker than what I would probably write. Yet, they both offer the possibility of closure to the arcs that I’m interested in. So, while I loved my story, I had to ask myself whether it was really worth years of effort. I was building minor cartoon characters who had essentially no depth into fully developed, three-dimensional players in a political fantasy drama. Did I want to do all for the sake of a hobby activity where there were already solid canon epics being produced? The answer was no. I realized that I was spending as much or more time writing King Randor’s non-cannon siblings and backstory for one-off characters as I was writing anything to do with the main characters. I hate when fanfiction authors do that, because if I’m reading fanfiction I want to read about familiar characters. So, I deconstructed Defenders and used as much of the political worldbuilding as I could to undergird one of my original projects.

***

Rose B. Fischer is an avid fan of foxes, Stargate: SG-1, and Star Trek.  She would rather be on the Enterprise right now. Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual.  She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. To find out more, visit her website or her Amazon Author page.

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