Book Balls, Fan Fiction, & Other Endeavors

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

Today is the last day of my vacation. Yes, I took a vacation because the low-level but persistent stress of 2020 gets tough to deal with, and fortunately, I’m in a position to actually have and use some of that accrued time.

I kicked off my vacation with the #FCPLBookBall, a virtual library fundraiser where you make a monetary donation to the library to “attend” and then just sit and read all day. It was, in a word, glorious. I highly recommend curling up someplace quiet and comfy with one of those “10 hours of ocean waves” tracks from YouTube running in the background. Since I can’t go to the beach this year, this was the closest equivalent, and it actually worked very well:

Books, pillows, tea, candle, cat, soothing ocean waves in the background… Time to settle in for the #FCPLBookBall! ^_^ #bookworm #amreading #ILikeToParty #AndByPartyIMeanReadBooks (2020-08-15 @kvclements)

I’m going to have to try to do something like this once a month or something, a dedicated “Read & Relaxation” day. It worked wonders to help calm and recenter myself. (Also, Saturday August 22nd was the Ray Bradbury Centennial, and there’s a Read-a-Thon of Fahrenheit 451 available to stream until September 5th if you want to check it out!)

As always, I had high hopes for getting a bunch of stuff accomplished over the course of ten days, but that did not quite happen. There are still plenty of tasks left undone, but the main purpose of pausing to reflect and think about my next creative move did come to pass. Some of you may have read my last entry, which was a bit of an existential crisis. (Thank you to everyone who has shown support; I really appreciate your kind words and likes!) I’m not out of that particular woods yet, but I have been contemplating the questions I posed to myself. I even have a fresh notebook dedicated to “Creative Directions” where I can talk to myself about these questions. And after some pondering, I decided to run an experiment.

Back in my early college days, I wrote a ton of fan fiction. Most are still stuck in limbo with only a few chapters complete (I do plan on finishing them, I promise!) but there were two that I did complete: a Final Fantasy VII fanfic called Hidden Light and a novelization of the video game Okami from the main character’s first person POV called Okami Amaterasu. What I’m currently doing is going through and polishing them up in preparation to have them printed. Not in a for-sale sense because that would be illegal and unethical, but just to have a physical, bound copy of the story for myself. I want to see if that scratches the “I want to be published” itch in a way that satisfies me without going through the stress of agents and all of that. Not quite self publication, but something akin to it. For Hidden Light, I also want to commission some illustrations for the different chapters, since I have some very specific imagery I’d like to include and also want to try to support artists during this time as best I can.

It might seem weird to focus on fan fiction first, especially fanfics completed between three and six years ago. But having never printed anything before, I’d rather run this experiment with a derivative work rather than an original. (I also only have one original completed so… work with what you have.) Right now it looks like Barnes & Noble: Print on Demand has a pretty safe, reputable, and reasonably priced option for the venture. If this experiment does fulfill that need to “see my work in print,” then I may decide to focus on doing this for my stories until I have enough content, mental capacity, and fortitude to return to the arena of agent-hunting and traditional publication. Heck, I might try self-publishing with something original and see if it works. And I do still plan on trying to write and submit short stories to online magazines. But novel publication is a bridge not even in sight at the moment.

Right now, I want to get back into writing with a closer, more tangible reward in sight, one that doesn’t place as much pressure and expectation on me. Editing Okami Amaterasu has been fun; I’ve been sitting on the porch every day this week with my Chromebook and a cup of ice tea working on it. Revisiting my fanfic also got me to download the HD remastered version on my PS3. I absolutely love this game, as evidenced by the fact that I’m playing it for a third time. (I’ve already completed it twice on the PS2.)

As a result, creativity is stirring, although it may take the form of editing and fan fiction for a while before fully returning to original work. But that doesn’t really bother me. As long as writing and storytelling evokes more fun and interesting than dread, I can work with that.

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