From 2009 to 2013 I was an avid Fanfiction writer. For some people their reaction to the word “Fanfiction” is one of derision. I know because I used to be the same way. “Look at all these wannabe writers posting their pathetic daydreams online.” But in my years of not only writing but also reading fanfiction I’ve come across many magnificent pieces that are better than most published works I’ve read. In a paradoxical way, Fanfiction really is something all its own. Being the fan of Kung Fu Panda that I am, that is the fandom that took up most of my attention with reading but even more with writing. Determined to bring a character of my own to their enthralling Dreamworks world, I eventually wrote The Next Dragon Warrior Trilogy.
Jo was just a shy lonely badger living with his adoptive parents in the Valley of Peace when the legendary Dragon Warrior defeated the evil snow leopard Tai Lung. When the Jade Palace begins hosting kung fu training sessions, Jo takes this as an opportunity to finally make friends but also to possibly meet the great panda himself. But not all goes smoothly at the Jade Palace. A past animosity resurfaces and a rivalry forms and Jo is now having to work to keep from losing himself to his own desires.
My first ever novel length work started off like one of those “If I’m lucky I might actually finish this one.” It was after this that I knew I needed fanfiction. I not only finished this story but kept going after that….
One year after he is blessed with the title of being the second Dragon Warrior, Jo begins to find his training with the Masters more of a challenge. But after an argument with Shifu, Jo is now faced with a test that went unplanned by everyone. Out of the Palace, into the streets, in a fight to the finish Jo’s challenge will test everything he’s learned. And this time, he’s on his own.
He has his work cut out.
My second piece is where I felt some real growth as a writer, most likely because this one keeps my original character isolated from much of the established fandom. It brought in several new characters, locations, and turned out very different than my first one with a bit more grittiness. It also marks my first time experimenting with Arc Words, as well as some other techniques.
When Jo is invited on his first group mission with the masters to take down an undefeated kung fu warrior he’s enthralled, especially when he encounters his first experience with romance along the way. But Jo finds that he’s being shadowed by a mysterious wolverine of unknown origins and intentions. Jo begins to wonder if the wolverine seeks to protect him or something more diabolical. He slowly figures out that he and the wolverine are connected in a way he never imagined, but will the creature be of any help when Jo becomes the next target for this undefeated warrior?
My final chapter in the Next Dragon Warrior series is, unsurprisingly, probably my best written one. If TNDW is close to home and MTC a little out there, then TEOTW meets them somewhere in the middle, being a little closer to its cannon characters and background while still introducing new characters and settings. It also contains more pre-planning than the others with quite a few revelations in the penultimate chapter.
Fanfiction was something I needed. It was reaffirming to know that I could accomplish a larger scale of writing without abandoning it. Furthermore, it helped me hone my own skills, get into certain habits, and find my own grooves with my style. I’m proud of and very thankful to my Fanfiction. It’s help me come a long way.