Stories in the Stars: Finding Creative Inspiration in Space

No Man’s Sky came out this month, ending a three-year wait for the biggest space exploration game ever made. Published by indie studio Hello Games for PlayStation and PC, the game is set in a massive open universe (read: 18 quintillion planets) that procedurally generates almost everything from star systems and planets to the alien lifeforms that occupy them. I haven’t played it myself yet, but I have been watching someone else play, and if nothing else, it’s definitely creative and makes for great artistic inspiration, in no small part for its representation of the endless possibilities in space.

No_Mans_Sky

So today, I’d like to dedicate this creative writing post to that someone special who keeps on inspiring me with his passion for space. There’s a lot of creative inspiration to be found out there in the Universe, so let’s explore! Enjoy!

Tales in the Sky

Since the time of ancient civilizations, human beings have been fascinated with the stars and the mysteries hidden among them. Early cultures associated celestial bodies with divine beings and used the study of the stars to understand the phenomena of Earth, making astronomy the oldest natural science in history. Constellations have been a big part of mythology and storytelling throughout much of history, while modern science continues to make a splash in nonfiction by unraveling the great mysteries of the Universe. Whether you’re an artist or a scientist, there’s always something exciting to find in the cosmos!

Zodiac_Constellations

The twelve signs of the Zodiac

The stars have always inspired me with their mysterious beauty. Sometimes when I’m feeling starved for creative inspiration on a clear night, I like to look outside at the sky and get lost in daydreams (nightdreams?) about space and all the amazing things that could be waiting out there in the Universe. I’m fortunate to live in a suburban area where there’s a good view of the stars at night (not as perfect as in unpopulated deserts, of course, but much better than in big cities), so I’ve had many opportunities to enjoy open skies with countless stars and bright moons, which often make excellent inspiration for poetry. So beautiful!

Stargazing is extremely relaxing, and an excellent practice for artists who either need inspiration to overcome a creative block or simply want to unwind after a busy and tiring day. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area without too much light pollution, I recommend taking the occasional break in the evening just to gaze up at the night sky. You may find it’s exactly what you need to spark your creativity!

“To Infinity and Beyond” / “It Came From Outer Space”

Mention “science fiction” and the first images that come to mind are usually alien lifeforms, spaceships, distant planets, and intergalactic exploration. With its continuing popularity from the old Star Trek series to the new Star Wars films and beyond, outer space often seems to be the poster child of the genre, and it remains one of the most well-known themes of science fiction today.

Interstellar_Poster

Theatrical poster for Interstellar (2014)

Science fiction is one of my favorite genres, and some of my favorite sci-fi stories use space travel as a major theme. Films like Interstellar and The Martian fascinated me with their use of real science to tell amazing stories, while The Force Awakens blew me away with its creative and exciting contributions to a classic sci-fi saga. A couple of the reasons I love science fiction are its infinite possibilities and its power to reconcile science and art, and some of the best examples of science fiction stories encompassing both these points are the ones with themes related to outer space.

Naturally, space-themed stories don’t always have to involve traveling outside Earth; sometimes it’s fun to imagine what would happen if space came to us instead. Alien invasions are another popular theme and often come up in lists of science fiction writing prompts. Outer space also contains plenty of dangers that could threaten life on Earth, making it a great source of inspiration for apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction as well. There’s no end to the strange things that could come from outer space; the only limit is the imagination!

With all the writing ideas it provides, it’s no surprise that space is such a popular theme in science fiction. After all, why limit your stories to Earth when there’s an entire universe out there to explore?

Exploration Beyond Earth

Circling back to the introductory topic, I’ve been watching my boyfriend play a lot of No Man’s Sky lately, and I have to say it’s been quite an interesting journey so far. Mixed reviews aside (because of course there was “too much hype” around it), the game does offer a relaxing atmosphere in which creative introverts like my boyfriend and me could easily get lost for hours. We’ve enjoyed discovering different kinds of planets and especially naming the strange creatures we find together, which has turned out to be a great exercise for me as a sci-fi/fantasy writer. Maybe I’ll even use some of those alien names for a future novel!

While it may not be everything it supposedly promised to be, my impression is that part of the appeal of a game like No Man’s Sky must come from a fascination with space in general and its infinite potential stories. These don’t have to be entirely fictional, of course; another game my boyfriend loves is Elite: Dangerous, a space exploration game which, despite being set over a thousand years in the future, is heavily based on the real Milky Way galaxy, even containing a handful of real star systems alongside the procedurally generated ones. He loves how relaxing it is to explore deep space alone, and in a 1:1 scale open world galaxy, he’ll never run out of space to discover!

Elite_Dangerous_Asteroid_Field

Elite: Dangerous screenshot taken by my boyfriend

From constellation mythology to science fiction to astronomy, space is full of inspiration for creative writing. Whether you’re a poet seeking that perfect verse in the stars or a speculative fiction writer doing research for your new novel, your next spark of creativity could be waiting for you among the stars. So the next time you find yourself at a creative block, why not take a break to explore the stories in the Universe? It’s the only other source of inspiration as infinite and boundless as the human imagination!

What about you? How do you find creative inspiration in space? Have you ever incorporated elements of space in your writing?

Video Games as Interactive Storytelling

Today’s post is dedicated to a special someone with whom I love sharing this interest. If there are two passions responsible for bringing my best friend/boyfriend and me together, they are definitely creative writing and video games. So this week, I’d like to share a bit about our experience with video games and how they appeal to us as a method of interactive storytelling. Enjoy!

Escape into a Virtual World

The major debate of their positive and negative effects aside, we all have our reasons for loving video games. As a writer, one of my personal favorites is escapism, the chance to slip into a virtual world and experience a different life for a few hours at a time. Though it’s true that one can already achieve this through other sources of fiction such as novels and movies, video games bring that experience to life in a way no other medium can. When the real world becomes too boring or stressful, sometimes it’s nice to step into the metaphorical shoes of a fictional character and take back control of life. And while that may not be the healthiest solution to our problems, it certainly provides plenty of creative inspiration.

Mario (Super Mario Bros.), Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Mario (Super Mario Bros.), Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Growing up, I enjoyed embarking on adventures with Mario, Link and Sonic the Hedgehog, following a linear storyline to ultimately defeat a major villain and save the world. More recently, I’ve slain dragons and undertaken quests in the fantasy world of Skyrim, which offers a much broader terrain in which I’ve gotten lost for hours on end. I’ve defied the very principles of physics in the action/puzzle game series Portal; I’ve battled rebel spaceships in the strategy game FTL: Faster Than Light; I’ve witnessed my best friend construct his own story through the choices he’s made in the sci-fi game  series Mass Effect; and we’ve both had our perceptions of reality challenged by the unique 2D/3D-crossover world of FEZ. From childhood to adulthood, my love for adventure games hasn’t changed, for not only do they provide hours of entertainment, but they satisfy my need to be told a good story.

Come for the Action, Stay for the Story

The Last of Us

Joel and Ellie (The Last of Us)

Lately, I’ve been watching my best friend play the remastered edition of The Last of Us, a sci-fi/survival/horror game set in a post-apocalyptic United States. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this game, including the fact that it had been awarded “Game of the Year” several times over, so of course I was excited when he offered to live stream his gameplay sessions for me. He warned me going in that it would be quite the emotional ride, and I have to say that so far, he’s been proven absolutely right. From the very first cutscene, the game sets up a tragic and at times horrifying sequence of events that is bound to touch the heart of any player willing to fully engage in the plot. Though I do enjoy watching the actual gameplay, I consider the highlight of the game to be the story at its core. As much in action as in narrative, The Last of Us is indeed a video game masterpiece.

While I will give many games a try for the promise of exciting gameplay, I’m prone to lose interest if there isn’t a gripping enough story to go with it. RPGs are my favorite game genre for a reason. Adventure is about exploring, gaining experience, overcoming obstacles toward a set goal and feeling accomplishment when the final mission is complete. And what is all that if not an interactive form of storytelling?

Make Your Own Story

Although video games tend to have a set storyline that a player is obligated to follow, there is the occasional game that offers the total freedom to explore and create your own path. The best example of this is probably Minecraft, a globally popular (read: 40 million players) sandbox game that many have equated with a sort of digital Lego platform. The reason? It’s pure creation. There is no story to follow, no boss to fight (unless you count the completely optional dragon battle in The End), no kingdom to rescue. The game simply provides an assortment of mobile creatures and all the building-block resources you need to craft tools, build structures, fight monsters and basically shape the continuously generating world however you want. It’s just you and your imagination.

Steve running away from a Creeper, the iconic monster of Minecraft

Steve running from a Creeper, the iconic monster of Minecraft

My best friend and I have been playing Minecraft together since the beta versions of 2011. I’ve long lost track of how many different worlds we’ve created and how many adventures we’ve had, but I’ve greatly enjoyed every minute we’ve spent creating together. One thing I love most is how the game brings out our individual characters: he’s more of an architect and an explorer, while I’m more of an artist and a farmer. Our playing styles may be different, but through combined effort, we’ve built cities, hoarded resources, survived monster attacks in the middle of the night and explored every terrain from the highest mountains to the deepest caves. In the world of Minecraft, we don’t need a predetermined plot to have hours of fun. We write our own stories.

Video games have their fair share of pros and cons, but when it comes to the creative aspect, they’re a unique source of inspiration. From writing video game fanfiction to finding ideas for original works, video games have been a big part of my journey as a writer, as they likely will be for years to come. And if nothing else, they make a great outlet for relieving the stress of a creative block!

Are you an avid gamer? Have video games ever helped you in your writing? What games inspire you the most?

Mario and Link belong to Nintendo. Sonic the Hedgehog belongs to SEGA. The Last of Us is a product of Naughty Dog and Sony Computer Entertainment. Minecraft is a product of Mojang. All official artwork is displayed for illustrative purposes only. I own nothing!

My First Novel?: Fanfiction as a Practice Run (Part VII- The Lessons)

At last, the time has come for the final chapter of my story. Wondering what you’ve missed? For the past several weeks, I’ve been telling the story behind a “novel” I recently published online: a fanfiction titled Chaos and Control. Part 1 is about the idea for the story, Part 2 is about the planning, Part 3 is about the writing, Part 4 is about the editing, Part 5 is about the publishing, and Part 6 is about the feedback. Have fun reading the last part of the story!

Part VII: The Lessons

In the interest of keeping this post brief, today’s topic will simply be a review of the lessons taken from my fanfiction that I believe can apply to the experience of writing a real novel. Enjoy!

What I learned from Chaos and Control:

Chaos and Control1) When an idea grows in your mind to the point where it starts to consume you, chances are it’s worth turning into a story. Don’t ignore it; embrace it, shape it, bring it to life.

2) Planning is important, but it isn’t everything. The skeleton of a plot and a handful of ideas are great to start with. After that, just write, and let the story surprise you as you flesh it out.

3) Serious writing takes serious commitment. If you ever want to finish that novel, work on it every single day. No excuses; just do it.

4) Well-developed characters will write themselves. When stuck, start writing purely from instinct and see where the characters go on their own. They’ll probably take the story in the right direction.

5) Editing takes just as much effort as writing, if not more. Do not assume your first drafts are perfect; it’s more than likely they’ll require a lot of polishing before they’re worthy of publication.

6) Your technique may change over the course of the writing process. Don’t neglect to revise the entire novel to make sure the style of the first chapters matches that of the last ones.

7) Details and tropes are fun to place, but they’re worthless without a strong storyline to hang on. The most important parts of the story should be the core elements of plot and character development.

8) Never underestimate the importance of marketing and networking. Your novel isn’t likely to draw many readers if nobody knows it exists.

9) Don’t be surprised if your novel doesn’t get as much attention as you’d like, but don’t be discouraged either. If your story can inspire one reader, then it was worth writing.

10) Not everyone will notice the details in your story, but don’t let that get you down. As long as you placed them well, someone is bound to appreciate them.

11) Know your audience and trust their opinions. Feedback from readers is invaluable not only for the current piece, but for any future pieces you may write.

12) The type of story doesn’t make it more or less special than the others you write. As long as you pour your heart and soul into it and receive a valuable experience in return, any story is worth writing.

This concludes the story behind my fanfiction. I hope you’ve enjoyed following my experience with Chaos and Control, and that you’ve found the story behind it as enlightening as I did. If you haven’t yet, feel free to comment with your thoughts. Otherwise, have fun applying these lessons in your writing, and best of luck with your own novels! Thank you 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!

My First Novel?: Fanfiction as a Practice Run (Part VI – The Feedback)

On to Part 6 of my story. Only just joining me now? Here’s what you’ve been missing. I’m in the process of telling the story behind a “novel” I recently published online: a fanfiction titled Chaos and Control. Part 1 is about the idea for the story, Part 2 is about the planning stage, Part 3 is about the writing stage, Part 4 is about the editing stage, and Part 5 is about the publishing stage. Have fun reading the next part of the story!

Yes, the story behind my fanfiction is almost over. Today’s topic covers the final stage of the process: the feedback I received on the novel. This was the point where I would finally find out if all my hard work was worth the effort, at least in the eyes of my readers. Enjoy!

Part VI: The Feedback

Chaos and ControlThe site on which I published Chaos and Control, FanFiction.Net, has a system that allows readers to post one (and only one) review on each chapter of a story. This meant that my readers would each be able to leave a maximum of 14 reviews on my novel, not including additional comments they might leave under a guest name. I was eager to learn their thoughts on every one of my chapters, as well as their opinions of the story as a whole.

In truth, only one person left a review on every single chapter, and that was the same person who had been supporting my work from the beginning. He’d already made his opinions clear to me directly, yet he was kind enough to also make them public. A few other readers left several reviews throughout the fanfiction, and though their comments differed slightly, there was one thing they all had in common: they loved Chaos and Control. And with a 100% approval rating from my audience, how could I not be proud of my work?

Glowing Reviews and Hidden Fears

I mentioned in the previous post that my story didn’t receive as much attention as I’d hoped, at least in the beginning. However, the attention it did receive was entirely positive, so for that I was grateful. Of course, I can’t say with any certainty how much of the Sonic fanbase is truly critical, but just the fact that readers were willing to take the time to comment at all was a good sign. At least one of my fears had been quelled: that no one would read my story.

The main reason I was afraid of not being able to gain an audience was the fact that I hadn’t been active on the site for a long time. I don’t just mean publishing my own stories, but also reading and reviewing those of other fanfiction writers. Because of this, I was sure almost no one on the archive would remember me, despite the popularity of Generation Beta and the 30+ members who had added my profile to their alert lists. In the end, I had to trust that my story could attract readers entirely on its own, and taking that into consideration, I suppose it was relatively successful. What I had to worry about next was exactly how successful my writing would be.

The Invisible Details

Meet Cream the Rabbit, Amy's best friend and one of the secondary leaders of Control. Her Gift is in Flight, and she has a minor role in the story.

Meet Cream the Rabbit, Amy’s best friend and one of the secondary leaders of Control. Her Gift is in Flight, and she’s a mother of 5-year-old triplet girls.

As a writer who puts a ton of thought into every detail of her stories, another of my biggest fears regarding Chaos and Control was that my readers would miss the subtle hints scattered throughout the plot. Would anyone recognize the constant references to the stars as a play on Shakespeare’s notes on fate? Would they notice the color symbolism in scenes like when the lead couple meet, where Miles (Control) is wearing mostly black with some white and Maria (Chaos) is wearing mostly white with some black (black being one of the colors of Chaos and white being one of the colors of Control)? Would they catch the foreshadowing clues that are briefly mentioned: Sonia’s secret fear of losing her Gift, the Chemistry test that Eugene aced, the knife Miles and Maria borrow from a building site they pass on their last day together, etc.? Would they realize that the moment Maria stops calling her father “Daddy” and starts calling him “Dad” is the defining moment when she finally becomes a woman? Some details function as plot devices, others are simply there to illustrate the characters’ development, but all of them are important to me, and I hoped they wouldn’t go completely unnoticed.

The most significant plot device appears in the middle of the story: a novel the students read for Literature class. This novel is important for two reasons: (1) it sets off the downward spiral in the second half of the plot; and (2) it hints at the course of events the main characters will possibly face for the rest of the story. The book is a parallel to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, telling the tragic story of teenage star-crossed lovers Ronan and Julia, whose forbidden affair in Renaissance-period circumstances ends in both their deaths. My hope was that readers would recognize this as an analogy to Miles and Maria’s story, though whether it was foreshadowing or simply a red herring (or both) would be revealed in time.

In fact, no one mentioned this novel in their reviews, which was disappointing to say the least, but they did seem to notice some of the other details I had planted. One reader took notice of the changes in Maria’s behavior in a later chapter, and another pointed out the synchrony between the lovers when they yell the same words at the exact same time, despite being on opposite sides of town. Although not every detail seemed to be noteworthy, I was happy that my audience was able to appreciate the story beyond the superficial theme of forbidden love.

Mary Sue, is that you?

Meet Tikal the Echidna, Rex's mother and one of the secondary leaders of Chaos. Her Calling is in the Mind class, though it's never mentioned in the story.

Meet Tikal the Echidna, Rex’s mother and one of the secondary leaders of Chaos. Her Calling is in the Mind class, and she’s one of the few pacifists of Green Hill.

If there’s one mistake on every good fiction writer’s list of worst nightmares, it’s the dreaded Mary Sue. No writer should ever aim to make their characters perfect, because with perfection comes boredom. Around the end of the writing process, I had become terrified that my Romeo might be perceived as a little too “good” in some aspects: too sweet, too selfless, too brave, etc. Yes, he’s supposed to be a hero, but his flaws also need to be apparent so he’ll be relatable. I had the same fears to a lesser extent with my Juliet, whose strong character development at least kept me confident that she would be likable; and I hoped my supporting characters would be appreciated for both their positive and negative traits, especially my Mercutio and Tybalt. I also wanted to avoid making my Paris “pure evil”; although he is an extremely unlikable character, I tried to make it clear that his personality is a product of his circumstances and not really his own fault. So the question arose: would all my characters come across as multidimensional as I’d planned, or would some of them fall flat?

Fortunately, my concerns seemed to be mostly unfounded. Both my lead characters were quite popular among my readers, and nobody expressed any dislike for the supporting cast. One person even claimed to be undecided on whether Miles or Sonia was their favorite character. Although my best friend thinks he should have been killed off, someone else expressed pity for Eugene, despite the awful things he does throughout the story (mostly in the last few chapters, *hint hint*). There was one review that stated the reader’s favorite part of the fanfiction was the characterization, and she liked how much thought I had clearly put into it. I even had readers tell me they thought my story was better than the original Romeo & Juliet! I’m not saying I would agree, but it was very flattering nonetheless.

Overall, I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished with Chaos and Control. Sure, it’s still not as popular as Generation Beta, and I highly doubt it ever will be. Maybe the chapters are too long (Chaos and Control averages over 10,000 words per chapter while Generation Beta never passes 5,000), or maybe Sonic fans in general prefer action/adventure to romance, or maybe the fact that the story takes place in an alternate universe just doesn’t make up for writing canon characters OOC and toward the background. Regardless, I managed to tell a story that I love and that my readers enjoy. For everything I’ve put into it and learned from it as a dedicated writer, Chaos and Control is a story that I’m pleased to consider my first serious novel.

This concludes the sixth and penultimate part of the story behind my fanfiction. The final post will be a brief review of everything I learned throughout this amazing experience. 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!

Sonic the Hedgehog and all related characters belong to Sega. All official artwork is displayed for illustrative purposes only. I own nothing!

My First Novel?: Fanfiction as a Practice Run (Part V – The Publishing)

Now for Part 5 of my story. If you’re only just joining me, I’m in the process of telling the story behind a “novel” I recently published online: a fanfiction titled Chaos and Control. Part 1 is the idea’s introduction, Part 2 is about the planning process, Part 3 tells about the writing, and Part 4 covers the editing. Have fun reading the next part of the story!

Today’s post focuses on the publishing of the novel online. After all the fun of writing and editing the fanfiction, I have to confess that this was the “dark point” of the story. Still, it was a learning experience like every other stage before, so I have no regrets. Enjoy!

Part V: The Publishing

Chaos and ControlBefore I finished the story, I thought about how exactly I would publish it. I decided to post one new chapter every Saturday; by posting once a week, my chapters would be spaced out enough to avoid being overwhelming, while still being consistent enough to keep my readers engaged. After that was settled, I needed an idea of when I would start publishing. By a stroke of luck, I noticed that at the pace I was writing, I would probably be able to finish my fanfiction around the release date of the new Romeo & Juliet movie. So for fun, I opted to post the first chapter in October. All I needed to do then was finish writing by September. And with all my hard work and dedication, that’s exactly what I managed to do.

Now you may be wondering why I consider this stage the dark point of my experience. The truth is that I had quite a few fears regarding this story, but the excitement of working on it mostly drowned them out during the writing phases. Once the fanfiction was done and ready to be published, however, they all came rushing back. What were they, exactly? Bear with me for a bit and you’ll soon understand.

The Debut of Chaos and Control

Here’s a fact I haven’t mentioned yet: Chaos and Control was not sent out into the world unread. Throughout the entire process, I had the support of my best friend to keep me going. After each chapter was written and revised once, I would send a copy of it to him, and he would later give me feedback on what he had read. Even though his comments were mostly praise, they kept my spirits up to the very end of writing. I was so excited about my story that I was happy to already have one loyal reader.

But when the fanfiction was done and the first chapter’s publish date was drawing near, my biggest fears kicked in: that no one else would read it, and if they did, that they wouldn’t “get it”. When I shared the story with my best friend, I was able to take the fanfiction directly to him and discuss all the ideas I had implemented into my work. I wouldn’t have that chance with my other readers. Instead, I had to trust that they would find the story themselves, and that all the details would come across the way I had planned. And I will say this much: that wasn’t easy at all.

If you write it, will they read?

When October finally came, I started publishing Chaos and Control. As promised, I posted one new chapter a week, always on Saturday in order to reach as many readers as possible. I was excited and nervous at the same time, but more than anything, I was happy to have finally reached this stage. All I needed to do now was wait for the Sonic fans on the archive to stumble upon my story. I checked my profile stats every day to see how many hits it was getting. Unfortunately, the results were rather disappointing.

Meet Knuckles the Echidna, Rex's father. He's one of the secondary leaders of Chaos, and his Calling is in Power.

Meet Knuckles the Echidna, Rex’s father. He’s one of the secondary leaders of Chaos, and his Calling is in Power.

I told myself that it was normal. My best friend assured me that the story would be more likely to get attention after a few chapters had been posted. However, after a month of publishing, the hits still weren’t as frequent as I had expected. I started to wonder what I might be doing wrong. Was the synopsis not interesting enough? Were readers turned off by the idea of a story starring fan characters instead of canon characters? Did they not care for Shakespeare or Romeo & Juliet? Were the chapters too long? I kept on questioning and doubting myself week after week, until suddenly I was struck by a horrible thought…

Nobody cares.

I didn’t want to think it. I had been trying to avoid it since before I posted the first chapter. But the more the story was published, the harder it got to stay positive. Even when over a third of the fanfiction was online, it wasn’t getting as many hits and reviews as I’d hoped. All the hard work I had invested over a year and a half was going virtually unnoticed by the only audience to whom I could present it, and that one thought hurt like nothing I had ever anticipated. So one Saturday night, a few hours after posting another chapter from the first half of the story, I did something rather embarrassing…

I cried.

I knew even then that I probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help myself. I was sad that a story into which I had poured my heart and soul wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. I was angry that terribly written amateurish stories were getting more reviews than my well nigh professional-level one was. I was frustrated that I was trying to market my fanfiction to readers who weren’t likely to appreciate it. But mostly, I was upset for feeling like I hadn’t managed to tell a story that others would love as much as I did. Although I knew it wasn’t true, I still felt like I had failed.

And then something incredible happened…

The Power of One

A few years ago, a reader (who for now I’m going to assume is female) left a review on Generation Beta telling me how much she loved my story and that I had a God-given gift for writing. It was one of the most uplifting comments I had ever received on that site. She left a few more reviews on my other stories, always encouraging me to keep on writing, and even though I didn’t publish fanfiction as frequently as I used to, I was happy to know she was following my work.

Meet Rouge the Bat, Angelica's mother and one of the secondary leaders of Chaos. Her Calling is in Flight, with a focus in stealth.

Meet Rouge the Bat, Angelica’s mother and one of the secondary leaders of Chaos. Her Calling is in Flight, with a focus in stealth.

Some time after I started publishing Chaos and Control, this reader came back. I received an email notification that she had left a review on the third chapter, and once again, it didn’t fail to lift my spirits. But there was an even bigger surprise in store for me. Later on, she replied to my thank-you message to tell me how she was really enjoying my story so far, and that she loved my characters so much, she wanted to draw them for me! I was so touched; it was the first time one of my readers wanted to create fan art based on my work (not counting the music my best friend had written for Generation Beta). I loved the drawing she made of my main characters, but even more, I loved the feeling of having made a difference in one person’s life.

Now don’t get me wrong; I was always happy to have my best friend reading my story, and if it had only been read by him, I still would have been content knowing my entire audience loved it. But the knowledge that a stranger had been so inspired by something I created was encouraging in a different way. I had reached out to somebody new, in much the same way I had reached out to the reader who would become my best friend with Generation Beta five years ago, and that was enough to make me believe Chaos and Control was a success.

So if there’s one thing I took away from the publishing stage, it was knowing the power one reader could have on my whole experience. My best friend continued to support me with kind words and reviews to the very last chapter, and I eventually gained a fair share of readers who all absolutely loved the story. But I was already happy halfway through sharing the fanfiction, because I had been reminded of how one person can make all the difference. Of course, there were other fears that had yet to be addressed before it was all over… but I’ll leave those for the next post.

This concludes the fifth part of the story behind my fanfiction. Next week’s post will focus on the feedback I received on the novel and what I learned from the reviews that readers left on my story’s chapters. 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!

Sonic the Hedgehog and all related characters belong to Sega. All official artwork is displayed for illustrative purposes only. I own nothing!

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