The Benefits of Fanfiction

Anyone who has consumed a significant amount of media can tell you that there are no original ideas. Most stories merely borrow ideas from their predecessors. The fact that most stories can be categorized into a handful of core concepts proves that everything has already been done before. And yet, people keep writing stories. Part of what makes a story original is how it mixes its influences to create something new, even if the foundation is recycled. Then, there's fanfiction. Some stories are told so well that the characters and settings are adopted wholesale into a different author's new work. While this form of creative writing could be considered intellectual property theft (especially if the stories are sold without consent from the original creator), it can be used as a stepping stone for writers who want to improve their craft. Alternatively, experienced writers can find the weak spots in famous stories and re-write them to fix plot holes and character inconsistencies....
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How to pivot as a writer

If 2020 has taught me anything, it's how to be flexible. It's quite difficult to predict what will happen in a year, let alone one with such a massive global event like COVID-19. Fortunately, writing is a solitary activity, so writing new stories isn't terribly difficult when I'm forced to stay home. Unfortunately, this pandemic has been such a historical moment that it's difficult to ignore it in anything written in the present day. While I had plans to write a rather dramatic story set in the real world and in present times, I'm now considering moving it out a few years to gain some distance from COVID. Hopefully, this whole mess will be done by the time I start writing this book, and I'll have a bit of hindsight to help mold the characters and plot. So far, I've already gained a few key points that I want to integrate into the story that will certainly be familiar to anyone...
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Pretend Politics

I just turned 35 a few weeks ago. According to the Constitution, since I am a natural-born citizen of the United States, I am now eligible to run for President. With the latest Presidential election upon us, I thought I’d take some time to figure out what I would change if I were running this country. There’s clearly a lot that could use some improvement. One of the challenges of identifying what’s wrong with any situation is how easy it is to focus only on the symptoms instead of the root cause. One of the most memorable television shows I watched growing up was Connections. This PBS show that aired in the mid-1990s would take random objects/themes and show how they are all interrelated. I loved how these elements of “cause and effect” revealed how interconnected our world is. Nothing is truly isolated. As a scientist and writer, I can explore hypothetical situations. Granted, many of these scenarios rely on my knowledge...
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