I once tried my hand at fan fiction. You can see some of the results on the front page as the old posts rotate beneath my books. It was going well, I saw the world in front of my eyes, I liked Luna, the main character and the story was based on an incompleted work, giving me the opportunity to fill in the blanks.
I never finished it. Why?
It wasn’t mine. It was based on the Diamond Dogs album by David Bowie. He had intended to create a musical, based on George Orwell’s 1984. He never got the rights, so it never happened.
Hunger City was about Halloween Jack and his rollerskating gang. Bowie created a storyboard but what I’ve seen doesn’t really make a story. When Bowie died in Janyary 2016, I was devastated and work on my then work in progress, Blood and Rain, halted. I saw no point in continuing. His death delayed that book a whole year. I still needed something to get my feelings out and I started writing Hunger City.
In this story, I went with a female protagonist. She lived in a post-apocalyptic world where the Diamond Dogs (a gang – not real dogs) go after the mutants living on Burgess Hill. She finds an old book with Bowie photos and is fascinated. His world is so different from hers.
This leads her to Hunger City, where she meets all sorts of characters, including Halloween Jack himself. The city is dark, the characters shady, an unfortunate soul hanging from a dead street light, the good time girls ready to please.
One day, I stopped working on it. Didn’t know how to end it and went back to work on Blood and Rain. Never returned to Hunger City. I could have easily come up with an ending, but I never did. Now, almost four years later, it feels the moment has passed.
Fan fiction feels different. Even if this story is all mine (I never used any action from Bowie’s story board drawings), except for a few character and place names, it doesn’t feel mine. It feels like I’d have to ask Bowie’s estate or fans for permission, like I would have to be careful not to offend anyone. I’d be writing for Bowie fans, not my readers.
It is quite possible that I’ll revisit the story sometime in the future, resurrect Luna, but she would be getting her own story in her own world.
I don’t think I’ll be doing fan fiction. Ever.