Friday, 11 January 2013

Fan fiction and a babe in the woods

Like a lot of young people, I wrote fan fiction through my teens.  Many people sneer at it but it’s actually a brilliant way to learn the craft of writing.  Through writing a Matrix fan fiction (unfinished) and an X-Men fan fiction (one finished, one unfinished) I learnt something about characterisation and plot. 

The trick is to get into the head of someone else’s character and plotlines and then bend them to your will.  These skills can then be transferred into your own plots, characters and general ideas to create your original piece of fiction. 

There are no original ideas, as such.  Every idea has already been used.  Originality, therefore, can only be defined as taking an idea and making it your own.  Fan fiction is a blatant but highly useful stepping stone towards this.

It can also be incredibly successful.  Take 50 Shades of Grey for example which started life as a Twilight fan fiction.

I don’t write fan fiction anymore.  At least, not physically.  My fan fiction lives in my head, in fantasies and daydreams and it is there that characters and plotlines are born.  But recently my fingers have been itching.  With a new obsession brings a new passion to write.  Rather than get bogged down with creating new characters and plot and beginning on a fictional take that could potentially take years to complete when actually I have two novels on the go already and a whole bank of ideas just waiting, I decided to give in and fan fic it up.

I have decided to share it with you because of an unwritten New Year resolution to put up more fiction on this blog.

So this is it, my 50 Shades of Hobbit (sounds like a gruesome crime thriller).  It will not be completed, it is purely an exercise.  To cure the itching in my fingers and to get these voices out of my head so that I can concentrate on my own babies.  But maybe, just maybe, this will one day turn into something original…

Here is part 1 to the introduction.  Part 2 will follow on Sunday.

The Babe in the Woods

A scream interrupted Radagast’s investigation of a spring bud. He stood still and listened. The scream turned into a cry. An infant’s cry. He turned and looked back in the direction of his house. It had been a long time since he had heard the cry of an infant, but there it was. Loud, clear and coming from the direction of his home. Wearily he moved through the long grass, around the tree trunks, peaking through the branches as his house came into view. There was no one there.

Breathing heavily, eyes wide, Radagast searched the perimeters from his hiding position. The cries softened for a moment before erupting. Birds flew from the tree above Radagast’s head.

‘What in the world,’ he murmured to himself. He took a deep breath and gripped his staff with both hands. Lifting his left leg, he took a large step forward. He stopped. He listened. The crying was incessant. There was nothing for it. He took large steps, brandishing his staff, until he reached his front door. His licked his dry lips, his hands trembling and making his staff shudder.

There was no one there.

‘Hel-hello?’ He called out, mindful of every noise. When there came no reply, Radagast looked down and saw a thick woven basket. Inside the basket was a blanket and peaking out from underneath the blanket was the head of an infant. The head was red faced, eyes crunched up, cheeks wet and mouth screwed as it screamed and screamed. ‘Oh.’ Radagast bent to get a closer look. Straightening, he looked around. He and the baby were very much alone. ‘Well then, who left you here?’

The baby’s crying ceased and two large blue eyes gazed up at him. After moments of Radagast doing nothing, the baby promptly screamed and wailed.

‘Alright, ok, hush now.’ Radagast leapt into action. He bent and picked up the basket, nudging open his front door and carried the baby inside.  Placing the basket softly on his table, he stopped and stared once more. What did one do with a baby?

‘I’m terribly sorry about this,’ he told it as he gently manourvered one hand into the basket. He felt around the baby’s shape looking for a note or a clue of the child’s parentage. ‘Aha!’ He pulled out a circular object. A ring. A ring of thick iron. He flicked his fingernail against it and listened, holding it close to his ear.

‘Are you a dwarf?’ He asked the baby. The infant heaved in deep breaths, tiring from screaming. ‘My, my. Why all the crying?’ Radagast asked. ‘Maybe you’re hungry.’ He turned towards his kitchen and stopped. What did babies eat? He turned back to the child. ‘No note?’ He asked.

He gingerly lifted the baby and searched the basket.

‘No note.’ He placed the baby back. The infant watched him and Radagast was held momentarily by those large eyes. ‘Well now, let’s see. What do newborns eat.’ He trundled into his kitchen, shooing away a mouse from the worktop, nibbling on a piece of bread. Radagast picked up the bread and looked back to the baby.

‘Milk. Newborns have milk.’

He turned back, passing the bread back to the mouse who took it with a squeak. Finding a bottle half filled with milk, he made his way back to the basket.

‘Milk. Fresh today.’  Placing a drop of milk on his finger, he offered it to the baby. The child made a small noise and Radagast took it to be approval. He didn’t have a bottle from which the baby could suckle, so took to using a clean cloth, soaking it in milk and squeezing gently into its mouth.

Once fed, the baby pulled a face.

‘What is it?’ Radagast leaned over the baby as it began to splutter and give a small cry. ‘Oh, no no no. No more crying.’ He picked the baby up and gave it a small bounce. The baby burped and then gurgled triumphantly. ‘Ah. I see.’ Radagast grinned at the newborn.

Well that was the first problem dealt with. Now, what to do with the child.

In the absence of a note, Radagast placed the baby back in the basket and sat in a chair to watch and think.


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