Writing Fanfiction

Today I'm lucky enough to have a great guest post by the formidable Jason Pere. So without further babbling from me, here we go...


Greetings, My name is Jason Pere. I am an author based out of Eastern Connecticut. First of all I would like to express my most profound gratitude to E.C. Jarvis, for allowing me to use some of her bandwidth. I hope that you all enjoy my guest post about the very special genre of Fanfiction.

I will briefly tell you a little bit about myself before diving into the subject of what it is like for me to navigate within the imagination of another creative mind. I have some self-published and collaborative work out there in the literary world. My most recent accomplishments are my debut Dark Fantasy title “Calling the Reaper: First Book of Purgatory” and my first Children’s book, titled “Sir Percival and the Nightmare”. I write a lot of different material spread across all sorts of genres but Fantasy is my favorite kind of story to tell.

I am also a huge dork. I love all sorts of games, from video games to board games to card games. There is one particular card game that I should mention. It is called “Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn”, produced by Plaid Hat Games and created by the incredibly talented Isaac Vega (http://www.plaidhatgames.com/games/ashes). I was introduced to Ashes and the world of Argaia, where the saga of the Phoenixborn takes place, in the August of 2015. I rapidly fell in love with the game and I came to find that there was clearly a highly complex and developed mythos to the world behind the cards but alas virtually none of it was in the public realm. Instead of waiting for Plaid Hat Games to be a little more forthcoming with the story of Ashes I decided to take matters into my own hands a put my creativity to work. There was just too much raw potential for some epic plots, cultures, history and characters to develop. I could not sit idle. I just felt like I had to contribute to the greater story. I called my Ashes fanfiction, flASH fiction.

That is really where my love affair with Fanfiction began. Since last September I have posted a weekly fiction piece to the Team Covenant Gaming Blog, detailing my own imaginative goings-on in the world of Ashes (http://teamcovenant.com/category/ashes-rise-of-the-phoenixborn). It has been a wonderful experience and because of my stories I have been able to meet some new people, make some interesting connections, hone my creativity, pick up the odd fan or two and even influence a dorky hobby of mine. I love writing the stuff even when it’s a struggle for each line of text and I do not plan stopping anytime soon.

So, Fanfiction, what is it? How is it different from plain old fiction? How do you write it?  Well I will tell you my interpretation of what Fanfiction is. I think the genre gets a bad rap and when people hear the term Fanfiction, they immediacy conjurer up the image of some guy who is far too old to still be living at home, lurking in his parents basement, wearing a t-shirt for his favorite fandom and writing a new episode of their most beloved, yet long canceled science fiction space opera TV show. Yes, this type of diehard super fan exists but I will not fault them for being zealously passionate about something near and dear to their heart.

I think that we are all far more acquainted with Fanfiction than we realize. When I was growing up I knew it was pretty common for me to wonder what happened to the characters after the end of one of my favorite movies, or speculate, what if the protagonist had made some different choices. I think that is something that a lot of people wonder and fantasize about. Fanfiction is just a matter of writing those fantasies down. In its most simplistic state Fanfiction is about telling your own story within someone else’s world.

I think that there are two main kinds of Fanfiction. The first is reminiscent of historical fiction in a way. The author will have a clear point of departure. They will use certain elements of an established world and doctrine but make some radical changes from the principle lore. For example, an author of this sort of Fanfiction might dive into George Lucas’ Star Wars universe but postulate “What is Luke Skywalker had never met Obi-Wan?” They could go on to tell a different kind of space epic where Luke becomes the willing apprentice to Darth Vader and fights for the Empire. This sort of story borrows elements from another creator but it is unabashedly divergent fiction. The author of this sort of story will acknowledge that their concoction exists outside of accepted Star Wars lore. That being said, I sure wouldn’t mind exploring who Darkside Luke might have been.

The other sort of Fanfiction is a little trickier. This variety of storytelling is where the author writes material that could pass for cannon doctrine within the confines of a greater fictional work. This is what my flASH fiction series is all about. There are a lot of things to take into consideration with an approach to this sort of Fanfiction. The biggest thing to take into account with this kind of story is continuity with the principle source material. An author will need to make sure that their timeline and characters match up with what has already been established. The will also have to tackle the challenge of portraying characters in a way that allows them to stay in character. Someone writing Indiana Jones Fanfiction could not have everyone’s favorite archeologist come across a Boa Constrictor in his travels and keep his cool, for example.

It can be daunting to become the creative overlord of an established icon in a given franchise. A good way for someone else to play in another creator’s world without upsetting the landscape too much is to introduce some new characters of their own design. Using this technique helps a Fanfiction author interject some of their own personal flavor into the cannon doctrine while still holding true to established elements of the original material. Some new content is going to have to be introduced at some point in order to tell an engaging story. A Fanfiction Author will have to take some liberties and risks, it is just a matter of making them believable. For me good Fanfiction is a happy marriage of tradition and innovation.

I think that the best thing an aspiring Fanfiction writer should keep in mind is the fact that they are playing with someone else’s creative baby and that they should respect the fact that they are putting their hands in something they do not own and did not originate. I hope you enjoyed my little exposition on the topic of this underrated literary genre. I was a privilege for me to share my thoughts on the subject.


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Writing to market

Hello fellow authors, and newly discovered reader friends.

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post on writing. What with the launch of The War, and a few other things going on in the background, I’ve let my bloggityness slip (what? That’s a word…)

Anyhoo, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I have slowly come round to making a conscious decision to treat writing as a career move. What I’ve realised, however, is that this is a business. If I am to have any chance of earning a living through writing, then I need to shift my approach. As much as my steampunk series has had success, and as much as my erotic fantasy series is gaining traction, they will never give me enough return to jack in the day job.

The reason? They live in the realm of fantasy.

There is a reason that a lot of publishers won’t even consider fantasy novels. I used to think it was snobbery, and while I do still think that is part of the problem, the far bigger issue is profit. As much as there is a market for fantasy books – and a growing market at that – it is not a particularly viable market. If the publishers can’t make a profit in a sector, then they won’t even attempt to enter it. Have you noticed in bookshops, that the crime section often takes up a large chunk of the store, the romance section takes up another prominent position and then you get to the fantasy section and it’s teeny in comparison?

Trust me. It pains me – as a proclaimed fantasy author – to say that fantasy is nothing more than a poor kid nipping at the heels of the fat and wealthy genres. I want to take every reader who refuses to read fantasy and lock them in a room, force them to read some of the best fantasy fiction books until they love it or starve to death. Fantasy stories are my first true love, and that will never change. I will always write fantasy. However, in order to position myself better in the literary world, I need to broaden my horizons and my first adjustment in that regard is to attempt to write to market.

Which market, I don’t yet know. I still need to complete the steampunk and the erotic series and do a lot of research on the subject. Then I will make a choice. I know my strengths as a writer, and I know my limitations, but I’m fairly confident that I can adapt my voice to fit almost any genre. Perhaps for every big market book I write, I’ll allow myself a vanity project – a step back into the fantastical to appease the muse.

Above all, the key to success is to have the flexibility to adapt and change, especially as an indie author.

There is no shame in writing to please the masses; after all, we want to please our readers don’t we?

Write on!

The Underdog Genre

When I began writing my erotic romance book,  I started it for no reason other than I had this story in my head that wouldn’t go away. I viewed it simply as an exercise in writing with no intention of writing a whole book, let alone a series, and certainly wasn’t considering publishing. Well here we are several months later, the first book is out, the second is half way done and the series will be a trilogy – this damn story just will not go away.

What I have learnt since embarking on the next phase after the first draft was completed – you know the phase no-one tells you about, the networking, the marketing, et cetera – is that erotica is generally looked down upon by the literary elite. I tell my authorly friends that I’m publishing an erotic romance and watch their noses screw up in disgust. I know why. There are lot of badly written books in the world, especially when it comes to erotic works. It is very easy to write a bad erotic book with one dimensional characters (and that’s being generous) and a non-existent plot. Add to the fact that erotic books – in spite of having a humongous audience – are still seen as a guilty pleasure, a naughty taboo, something people just don’t admit to reading. Most writers who do publish erotica do so under a pseudonym. So for me to stand up and proudly announce that I’ve written one and stuck my name on it in big letters, people look at me like I’m mad.

But guess what folks? I’m not. I approached this book as with any other. I began first and foremost with the characters. I’ve said before that the thing readers connect with in a book is the characters. Not the plot, not the worldbuilding, not the situations – the characters. I didn’t even start to think about sex (even though there is a sex scene right at the beginning of the story), until I knew a lot about who my starring people were. Then followed the plot, which is born from the characters and their needs and desires, then the worldbuilding and so on. The sexy parts of the story are entirely relevant to the plot. This – I hope – is what takes my work, and any other good erotic story, and sets it apart from the plethora of ‘bad’ erotica out there.

Additionally, my approach to the actual naughty bits was considered. I avoided the overly graphic descriptions, any that you might spot are sparsely scattered and carefully placed. You can write erotica without being vulgar. Neither do I sugar coat it, I call a spade a spade, nobody gets ‘deflowered’ the sexy parts are sexy.

Am I still glad to have stuck my name on it? Absolutely. I stand by the work. I’m not ashamed of it in any way shape or form and if you think I should be then you are the one with the problem, not me.

Here’s to good erotic literature. It is looked down upon, sneered at and thought of as the underdog genre. Pushed to the darkest corner of bookshops (if at all) and condemned as poor writing for horny housewives by literary snobs who secretly like a good hard hump just as much as anyone else. Don’t discount erotic work without first reading one of high-calibre, and if you don’t know where to start, I can make a good recommendation ;)

Check out the look inside feature and see if you get hooked…


Write on!


Today I want to talk about genre. Traditionally there was a strict line for which 'box' a fiction novel sat in. Romance, Crime, Sci-Fi, Childrens, YA and so on. These days there is a myriad of sub-genre's, such as Steampunk or Gothic. If you look it up the list is almost endless.

When I started writing The Machine, it was based on a writing prompt within a Steampunk writers forum. Ergo, the setting was supposed to be 'Steampunk'. I'd heard of the genre but wasn't overly familiar with it. In my research as the book and series grew I found all sorts of references to guide the uninitiated. What surprised me most is how Draconian some of the "rules" seem to be as to what is and what is not steampunk. It started to make me worry, if I've written a book that will fit into a certain genre, what will happen if it doesn't tick all of the boxes? Will people reject it, or write shitty reviews because of it? It takes a certain level of balls to stand up to these worries and say 'fuck it', but really that is the only thing you can do.

Whilst these concerns still skulk into my subconscious at times, I have to tell myself over and over that it doesn't matter. If someone has a preconceived notion of what a certain genre book should contain and is unable to accept anything that differentiates from their expectation, that is not the writers problem. The story is what it is. If the writer spends too much time trying to add elements to a story that make it fit into an ideal box, then they are at risk of diluting the story for the sake of an aesthetic. 

So what if your horror story doesn't include vampires and werewolves. So what if your romance story involves LGBT characters instead of the 'traditional' type. So what if you don't fit perfectly into that little box someone else has built. Fuck them. Build a new box. Be brave, dare to be different and screw the naysayers.

My soon-to-be-published book, The Machine, is a fantasy/adventure/action/mystery/romance story set in a steampunk world. It ticks a lot of boxes but none of them with a perfectly centered tick, more-like a childish squiggle that doesn't stay inside the lines of the box. And I'm perfectly fine with it that way.

Write on!