Time for Part 3 of my story. In case you missed the first two parts, I’m currently in process of telling the story behind a “novel” I recently published online: a fanfiction titled Chaos and Control. Part 1 introduces the idea of the story, and Part 2 is about the planning that went into it before the actual writing began. Have fun reading the next part of the story!
Today, I’m going to talk about the long yet wonderful process of writing Chaos and Control. This was definitely my favorite part of the journey, and probably the one that taught me the most. Enjoy!
Part III: The Writing
A quick note before I continue: remember how I mentioned that this story came out to almost 150,000 words? Well, the first story I wrote with my original characters, Generation Beta, was just over 70,000 words, so technically that was the first novel I ever published. Still, I prefer to consider Chaos and Control my true first novel, because I put much more time and effort into creating it. Just thought that was worth pointing out.
OK, back to this topic. After coming up with the idea and planning the story for a few weeks, I produced a 14-chapter outline for the fanfiction I wanted to write. I set up a text file where I wrote a summary of each chapter, so I’d have a basic plan to follow while working on the first drafts. Finally ready to start, I set to work on my new fanfiction.
Fleshing out the Skeleton
Some of you may remember a blog post I wrote a while back on something I called the “Frankenstein Writing Method“. Well, I used that technique quite a bit while working on this novel. Before I even began writing the first chapter, I had already started putting together a collection of excerpts as they came to me, worded almost exactly the way I wanted to write them into the story. This helped me to keep a clear idea of the entire plot, and it reassured me of how much I had really thought the story through. Even though I was still writing the beginning, I already had a set vision of how I wanted the plot to play out. And that gave me the motivation to always keep going.
So I started writing Chapter 1. I wrote a prologue in the style of a sonnet to parody Shakespeare’s introduction to his play. After that came a paragraph to introduce the setting of the story. Then I jumped into the action, setting up a scene to establish the rivalry between factions and introduce the most important supporting characters.
After I typed out the last sentence, I sat back and smiled in satisfaction at what I had created. Although the work was still far from over, I was proud of myself for having stuck to my commitment this far. The beginning of a story is often the hardest part to write, and at least the first step was out of the way. Now to move on to Chapter 2.
Enter Romeo and Juliet
In some ways, Chapter 2 was even harder to write than Chapter 1. That was because the former was an even more significant foundation for the story than the latter. While Chapter 1 was an introduction of the town feud and my supporting characters, Chapter 2 was the moment I would introduce my leads, and however I wrote this part, it would set up the most important relationship in the story for the rest of the novel. This meant I had to handle this chapter very carefully, especially because the single greatest factor I wanted to stand out in my story was character development.
So I had to decide well in advance how I wanted to portray my own Romeo and Juliet. I wanted my heroes to grow with each other, but also be able to stand on their own. I wanted them to be lovable yet flawed, innocent yet passionate, idealistic yet wise beyond their years. I wanted them to love and want each other without ever actually needing each other. And all their growth would depend on how I first presented them in the story. Not to put too much pressure on myself, but I absolutely had to get this right.
Miles and Maria are introduced in separate scenes within the same chapter. Both of them are first seen distant and lost in thought, but neither one of them is actually depressed. They each interact with their respective best friends – Miles (Romeo) with Lily (Benvolio), and Maria (Juliet) with Angelica (the Nurse) – and it’s through these conversations that hints of the people they want to (and will) become are revealed. The most positive qualities of the supporting characters are also shown in this chapter, including Sonia (Mercutio) and Rex (Tybalt), to help establish the other relationships that would last throughout the fanfiction.
Satisfied with all my characters’ introductions, I could now focus on developing the heroes’ relationship over the next 12 chapters. So I did. The growth my characters experienced after meeting each other drove the plot in a powerful way that left me feeling extremely proud by the time I typed the final words on the very last page. But more on that later on.
A Long Journey, Surprises at Every Turn
Aside from being the most fun (funnest?) part of working on this story, writing it was also the longest part. Determined to finish my fanfiction no matter what, I worked on it every single day. I set a goal to write at least a page a day, and with most chapters reaching just under 30 pages, not to mention other projects I had to focus on, the writing process alone ended up taking me almost a year and a half to finish.
It wasn’t always easy sticking to this schedule. There were days when I barely had time to spare for this story, and others when I simply didn’t feel inspired to write. But I stuck to it anyway, because I knew it would be all the more satisfying when I finally finished the novel.
Yet what made the ride truly enjoyable was the way the story itself surprised me throughout the journey. Sometimes I felt it really wasn’t taking as much effort to write as I expected it to, because in a way, the characters were creating themselves. The further I got into the story, the greater their personalities developed, constantly sparking new ideas that I had never anticipated during the planning process. But this post is long enough as it is, so I’ll save the details for next time.
On a final note, I know some people might think I’m crazy for taking fanfiction as seriously as I do, and maybe I am. But as a writer who always takes her craft seriously, I fully dedicate myself to every piece I write, no exceptions. It doesn’t matter that it’s fanfiction; Chaos and Control deserved every bit as much love and care as I give to any of my original works, and I’m so glad I was able to pour my whole heart into this story.
This concludes the third part of the story behind my fanfiction. The next post will focus on the editing process and my excruciating attention to the details of my novel. Thanks for reading!
Note: If you’re interested, you’re more than welcome to read my story and even leave some reviews. I promise you don’t need to know too much about the Sonic universe to appreciate it. Reviews are positive, but contain spoilers! Thank you!