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The Other Side of Fear (40141 words) by gluedwithgold
Fandom: Supernatural RPF
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jensen Ackles/Jared Padalecki
Characters: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Christian Kane, Chad Michael Murray, Danneel Harris, Genevieve Cortese
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - College/University, Alternate Universe, Photographer Jensen, Writer Jared, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Homophobia, Coming of Age, First Time, First Time Blow Jobs, Love, Falling In Love, Boys In Love, Kissing, Frottage, Blow Jobs, Shower Sex, Schmoop, Punk Jared, Punk Jensen, Tattoos, Piercings
Jared has been waiting for years to get away from Texas so he can finally be who he really is. Jensen has been looking forward to finishing college and moving on with his life. When they wind up living together in the same dorm, they find out there's a much better way to live.
Lately I've been inundated with new story ideas. It seems every time I turn around I'm grabbing my fiction journal and scribbling down thoughts on some new plot or character combination.
I studied creative writing in college - growing up I was always writing stories, foregoing recess to sit with a notebook, commandeering my parents' old electric typewriter (I'm old - we didn't have computers back then!) and eventually going on to study writing, despite parental protest. Being young and immature as I was, I didn't really take advantage of that education. I didn't put the work in. I wrote, sure - I participated in all the workshops, garnered some skill from being critiqued on a pretty consistent basis. But I didn't take the opportunity to really learn storytelling like I should have.
After I graduated and the real world struck, I gave up on writing. Now, 20 years later (yeah, that long - I said I'm old - shut up!) I've reignited my passion for writing in a major way, and with my new maturity I'm working toward learning all those things I should have learned when I was in school.
And it's paying off. My dialogue has improved immensely, my characterizations are getting stronger, my descriptions more vivid. I'm starting to work imagery and theme into my stories and my plots are becoming more complex.
When I first came back to writing, coming up with ideas was a struggle. I'd get a vague image of a story - a lot of times no more than a sentence or two. I would sit down to write, and let the story unfold as I worked. The characters would come to life, conflict would emerge, all in front of the keyboard as I struggled to put one word in front of the other.
Ideas are coming to me left and right now - and they're becoming much more intricate. My latest one filled two pages of my journal, and incorporates a lot of the history of the protagonist (which will come out within the story, of course). This one hit me two days ago, and I've been filling in details since. Just a few minutes ago I was sitting here pondering what my secondary protagonist's character flaw would be. And it hit me - THIS is how you build a story.
I've had many discussions with my friends (dancing_adrift and non_tiembo_mala) about plot and how to come up with what actually happens throughout the timeline of the story. We're all learning to improve our writing, and plot seems to be the one thing we keep coming back to, that we keep struggling with.
What's happening for me (and of course, everyone's process is different, this may sound assinine to someone else) is that I start with a situation, a premise. Into that situation I put characters. How those characters interact, react, change, grow - that's where the story unfolds. So, what I'm learning is that rather than needing a specific series of events - A happens, then B happens as a result, leading to C happening - what really fuels my storytelling is character. The more fleshed out, the more real my characters are, the easier it is to throw them into a situation and let the events unfold. The more intimately I know the characters, the more logical it becomes to see what they would do, how they would react. If one character's flaw is a fear of commitment, when he meets another character and falls in love, that is going to create conflict for that character.
So, basically - all those exercises I was supposed to do in college, creating character sketches and biographies? They were right. It's useful. It's important. It's integral to storytelling. If I could go back in time and talk to my 20-year-old self, I'd definitely smack her upside the head and tell her to pay attention. Who knows, maybe we'd be published by now!
Now...I just need to sit down and actually write all these stories....
As soon as I learned to read as a kid, I started devouring books. Allowance? Spent at the bookstore. Library card? Always on my person (back then - now in the digital age when I can find reading material for free or download it instantly? Not so much. Yay internet!). I started writing then, too. As soon as I discovered the bliss of a good story my brain said "YOU MUST DO THAT!" I even made my mom concerned at one point because I would read the dictionary - just leading myself from one word to another, hungry for more vocabulary, more words, more story-building tools.
What is it that enraptures me so fully about reading? It's the stories. It's the worlds that draw me in, envelop me like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer on a cold winter morning. Characters that are drawn so vividly that I feel like I know them, I fall in love with them, I want them to be my friends. It's these places that exist in a different realm, places I wish I could step into and explore, live there for a while and see what new things I can discover, new characters I can meet, new stories I can unearth.
So much love for stories.
Lately I've been devouring fanfiction. I read good fanfiction, I read terrible fanfiction. Short, long, canon, alternate universe, general fiction, slash fiction, I read it all. I love reading it. It takes this world I love and takes it further, lets me continue to explore the characters and the world - or turns that world completely upside down to see in an entirely new way.
I learn from all my reading. The good stuff I read fuels my desire to be a better writer - I find myself in awe of the way a story is told or how a character is drawn, and I try to pick it apart later to find out just how the writer did that. I learn from the bad stuff too, by critiquing it, figuring out what makes it bad, how it could be better.
But most of all, I escape. I run away into a different world, because let's face it - ours can really fucking suck some times. So for the time I spend reading, I don't have to deal with this world - I can forget about all the hate and violence and struggle (even though those things still exist in the worlds I read in, somehow it's not so bad - somehow I always know it'll be okay in the end, and I can't know that with the real world). For a time I can immerse myself in someplace else, someplace where my mind is free to roam.
It's occurred to me that maybe I spend too much time escaping into fictional worlds. Maybe, just maybe, I should focus on the here and now a little bit more. It's possible that my real life could improve if I put a little bit of effort into making it better instead of running away from it. You know what though? Fuck it. I'm gonna go read.