When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me. I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own.
It’s been almost two weeks since the Story A Day May Challenge ended. I’ve had time to breathe, reread some of my stories, and prepared “Unsent Letters” for StoryFest, a weekend long blitz of fictional goodness – uh, I mean good fiction, because, while the stories might not be true anywhere but in the imaginations of their authors, the goodness of the experience is anything but fictitious.
This was my fourth #STaD challenge, but the first time I’m joining the story share. I’m really looking forward to it, because my characters and life filled up my time. I didn’t interact with other participants, nearly as often as I intended. That’s a recurring theme for me during any intensely creative challenge. I intend well, and start strong – then I vanish completely immersing myself in the meat of the challenge.
So I’ll be traveling around this weekend, visiting as many fine folks as I can, and reading, reading, reading…my support will be real, if belated.
Now, on to my personal assessment of the challenge…
Like last year, I opted to write Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction for my ongoing series-or-something-like-it, The IDIC Romance, exploring the inter-species relationship between T’Pol, a Vulcan scientist, and Charles “Trip” Tucker III, the Chief Engineer of Enterprise. Why these two?
I love them, and they keep showing me pieces of their lives, and insisting that I tell their stories…Trip’s usually a laid-back guy, but T’Pol has a temper. Not something most people would expect from a member of her species, but when that temper is roused -well, she’s expert in an impressive array of martial arts, and Vulcans are stronger than humans…Ergo, the lady with the ears wins by a sandslide….
- Enterprise offered these two complex, textured characters, and a relationship that grew bit by bit, in fits and starts – but it didn’t delve deeply into their inner realities – and that’s exactly where I most love to play. So many story ideas come to me, filling in the gaps between scenes and episodes; backstory; some that dig into what’s beneath the surface of a televised scene; some just stuff that Trip and/or T’Pol show me, and insist is true, even if it never made it to the screen…I can’t resist them and their stories. I don’t want to.
- Because the characters are established, I have to operate within the parameters of the systems I’ve been presented. I can’t just make things happen just I want them to. And, even though the last episode was epically disappointing (I consider myself a diplomat, so I won’t say more), I can’t make things – even wrong things that make no sense – unhappen.
- Playing in fandom means playing the hand you’re dealt. I have to respect the integrity of the characters and the canon, to play fair. More than that, I need to be true to the spirit and nuance of every scene I use or reference…I’ve been known to watch a two minute segment twenty times in a row, attending not only to dialogue and plot, but body language, intonations, positions, movements, and background. I don’t want to cheat on my characters -whether I created them, or someone else did. If I’m not going to enhance their stories, I shouldn’t play with them publicly (uh, wait, that didn’t quite sound right, did it?). It’s one thing to take all the liberties I want in private – but, for sharing, they deserve better than for me to use them for my own gratification where anyone might see them compromised.
- All that practice noticing and protecting their integrity – it transfers to the rest of my life – my writing life, and beyond. Studying them gives me the practice and the instinct for studying others – as fodder for my writing, and as a means to more fulfilling interactions with people of the non-fictional variety.
So I come to #STaD to stretch my boundaries and to challenge my imagination. And I come back to Enterprise, to Trip and T’Pol, again and again – because they have stories to share, and because they fascinate, intrigue and compel me – and, through giving myself to them whole-heartedly, I learn more about the craft and art and discipline of writing, and about life, too.
Want to read my Story A Day 2015 stories? This link will work, for now, and I have this new blog page under construction; eventually, it will have links and useful information for every IDIC Romance story. For now, it’s got links for this year’s challenge stories, in rough, sketchily-edited form, with a rating and a brief summary. I’ve organized the stories into categories, and chronological order within the series. As stories are revised and/or submitted to fan fiction sites, I’ll update their entries.
It should, hopefully, allow visitors to select stories that will please them! And, as always, these stories are free, offered with love, as a gift to pay forward the delight that I’ve gotten from these two! =D
Do you have favorite characters? Have you ever played ‘what-if’ with their lives? Joined a challenge?
Are you looking for something fun to read this weekend? You can find many stories, in many genres, by up-and-coming authors, right here at StoryFest – including, of course, “Letters Unsent”.
So what are you waiting for? Come on in, the reading’s fine! =D