Why Do I Write Fanfiction?

A Conversation Piece dragon smallGot to talking the other day with another writer and we got off onto why do we write fan fiction. Specifically UFO fan fiction in this case.

Why DO I write UFO fan fiction?

Because it’s there?

That’s only partially true. My first UFO fan fiction was written the summer after I discovered the show. There was so much to explore. There was Straker and his repressions and duty and honor and stuffy attitudes (I was 19, ok?). There was the earth to rescue. There were these mysterious aliens who obviously need a female influence to solve their problems. There was an entire universe to play in and not a lot in the way of ground rules.

Naturally, I needed to be filling the holes.

Luckily, the first three stories I wrote went the way of the dinosaurs, thrown out with the rest of the trash. I saved two things: Alex Scott and Colleen Robinson who are two very useful if somewhat over sexed characters who have shown up in a lot of other universes. Meanwhile, life, the universe and everything intervened, I stopped writing and got my Bachelor’s, fell in love, got married, had kids and suddenly rediscovered writing in someone else’s universe.

Uhm, no it wasn’t UFO. It was Hercules, the Legendary Journeys and a tertiary character named Salmoenus who got me back to writing fan fiction. Someday I will get Gift of the Lamia back onto electrons and posted somewhere. Then I discovered SG1 … Sam, Daniel, Teal’c and Col. O’Neil. That was fun for a while. But with ten years of show, and Stargate Atlantis and I will not even address that botched issue of Stargate whatsit which was sort of a mish mash of Voyager and the new Cattle car … I mean Battlestar Galactic with Stargate embellishes, there’s too much canon to run afoul of. So, I wandered off into Mortal Kombat Conquest (did you know I have a universe in which Jonathan Raven and Ed Straker are descendants of Rayden, Lord of Thunder, etc. etc. etc. No, not posted anywhere.)

From MKC I went to Raven and back to UFO suddenly. Ed Straker had matured greatly since I was 19. (What? you think the intervening 20 years or so might have matured me? Perish the thought. ). While Ed Straker probably had not changed much during the intervening time, my understanding of him has, and continues to evolve. Paul Foster became understandable and not just that annoying piece of hirsute beefcake they threw in to appeal to the teens and twenty-somethings. Alec, well, I always liked Alec. The rest of the characters looked better than they did when I first started.

Why is that? Well, I’m a more mature person than I was at 19. I discovered that there were wonderful plotholes I’d missed earlier that are a lot of fun to fill in. And I discovered I had an audience. Amazing what a little ego stroking will do for an author’s muse.

Truthfully, I write UFO fan fiction for the same reason I write in any universe, something strikes me about a character and I must explore it. (We’ll ignore the fact that my muse turns into a screaming shrew when she’s really hot on a topic, right?) Sometimes someone throws out a comment that “this or that cannot possibly be done” and I’ll head right over to my muse and throw together a short story that proves that actually, yes you can logically fit that concept or action or point in time into a story that doesn’t entirely screw canon. Then again, sometimes I throw canon to the wind and see what happens.

That is what so much of my fan fiction is: What happens if? What happens if Straker is stuck in his house with a sexy red head? What happens if a semi alcoholic immortal remembers Dr. Jackson fondly? What happens if an alternate reality swallows Ed and he has to find a way to rescue not only the alternate reality but his own? What happens if Paul crashes his plane and has to find his way out of a forest? What happens if …. and then I try really hard to answer that question. Admittedly, that’s what most fiction is about: the what if. But sometimes it’s really easier to play in someone else’s universe because the ground rules are already established. We all know …think we do … what Ed Straker is like. We all know what Ginny Lake is like and Ford and General Henderson and all the rest of the characters in UFO. But do we? There is canon and then there is the reasonable extrapolation of what the known character would do in a completely unreasonable situation: How would Straker handle a lovecraftian situation? How would Ford deal with a femme fatale who wanted to get to someone else through him? How would Ginny deal with being a vampire? How would Ford deal with being a vampire?

OK, so a lot of what I ask takes us out of the standard canon universe of aliens who need organs and humans who wish to deny them their supplies, since removal of said organs kills the humans involved. I don’t explore what the aliens want so much as who the characters we know and love are and how they will react to situations beyond mortal ken. UFO has a lot of room to exercise my imagination in and lets me try out various ideas with characters I already know. (Much easier than inventing all my own characters and backgrounds and worlds and etc.)

So, I write in the UFO universe because it hones my writing skills, it lets me explore various characters and expand both my universe and that of the characters I enjoy tormenting … erm … writing about.

And that’s why I write fan fiction.

It occurs to me that while I have answered the question of why I write UFO fan fiction, I did not address the occasional erotic or blatantly sexual scenes that crop up in my writing. And why Ed Straker seems to bear the brunt of my sexual escapades and inuendos. (Fey Queens, Caleb Moorecock …)

Oddly enough, I am not one of those writers who just throws in sex for the sake of sex, regardless of what it may occasionally look like. Admittedly, the Skulls of Xhia Khum would have read just as well without chapter two and initially was written around the chapter because my muse was screaming at me while I was not in a place where I could write erotica. They frown on doing that on university computers for some reason.

I did consider an orgy at SHADO HQ, but the conversations about what had happened and who had not indulged seemed a better indication of how SHADO was handling things than getting clinical with a number of characters who would have been sorely embarrassed by the investigation of just what was going on. On the other hand, the chapter that dealt with Straker illustrated how far he was straying from his normal behavior. That was important.

Mind you, I will admit that his interlude with the Sidhe Queens Mab and Titania just basically blew in out of now where; although it does oddly illustrate that Ed Straker will take his “duty” seriously, even if it suddenly takes a left turn into the Never Never.

So, are sexually explicit scenes necessary in my writing? Not most of the time. Red intimates that the lead character is not an innocent, but there is no need to follow him and the ladies who have helped succor him into the bedroom while he expresses his gratitude and caring. Alec and his ladies are not necessary to the understanding of his character; at least, not yet. Nor was it necessary to make Ginny Vamp’s sexual bravado and indulgence concrete. We all know what vampires are like in legend and in fiction; sex happens.

Will there be more sex in the SHADO universe in my writing? Probably. I can’t seem to shake the Sidhe out of Ed’s life. . Will there be a lot of it? Probably not. Anyone who has read Sorcerer so far knows that there was plenty of room to get detailed on what the bad guy is doing to his captive; but i eschew graphic rape scenes because they’re … well, they’re violence and not sexy. I’m really not interested in appealing to that sort of interest, thank you very much. (Someone asked if I was alluding to something posted on the Herald. No. I am talking about my writing only. I am aware that some of our writers have tackled this difficult subject with aplomb and dexterity because it is a very important component of their story. OK? OK.)

Sex and the single SHADO operative … oh dear, plot bunny ….

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