How to Train Your Dragon
I don’t know where to begin with this one. I saw the last half of this movie one night – I’d come home from college and my mother recorded it with my nephew in mind. Just watching the climax of this movie, I HAD to watch the rest of it.
There was something magical about the ending that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The characters were charming, the ending was AMAZING, and the world was incredible. I set the whole movie to record, and that next weekend, I watched How to Train Your Dragon about 12 times in two days.
I fell in love with Hiccup’s character, with the whimsical world built around the Viking culture, and with the dragons, the characters, and everything. It had love interest, it had dragons, it had father-son plot, it had a serious plot line with comic relief characters; it had everything!
The plot, for those uncultured boobs out there, is simple enough – boy meets dragon, boy changes world. Hiccup lives in a small world where it’s Viking against dragon. When he befriends Toothless, he then sets into motion a chain of events that will change the world. In the end, the Vikings are riding the dragons instead.
Now – confession time. How to Train Your Dragon grabbed me enough that I fell into the world of fan fiction. Yes. I read it. I wrote it.
The first story I wrote from start to end was fan fiction. I had this feeling of accomplishment at the end – and I realized what I had been missing in order to be a writer. I had to be obsessed with what I was writing. That story gave me this sense of determination that I had never felt before – an overwhelming desire to see to the end.
I’ve written a number of fan fictions since that first one, and WOW has my writing improved. And, all the people telling me how much the enjoyed the things I wrote, how much they looked forward to updates, and how good my writing was – those comforts were/are really nice.
How to Train Your Dragon was a milestone in my creative life. It made me want to write worlds that were as vast and in need of exploration; characters that were as funny and heart-felt and badass; and a story that would inspire other people, that would offer the same sense of escape that I craved.
And yes, I’ve seen the TV series, the Netflix continuation of that TV series, the specials, and I’ve read the comics. I’m aware it’s a show aimed at 14 year old boys. Don’t judge me! I’m sticking my tongue out at you. Right now.
That’s another thing I loved about the movie – it was for everyone. It wasn’t some Disney-princess thing aimed at young girls, or the next Transformers aimed at boys. It had a wholesome, real-life plot at it’s heart. It had a ‘family’ center, one that anyone could enjoy. The entire series is Hiccup’s coming-of-age. And I do enjoy those. (Dragons, love interests, and jokes, too.)
4 thoughts on “Favorite Stories #2”
Fan fiction is an amazing thing for writers and readers alike! It takes away the pressure of character creation and major world building, and leaves you with the raw joy of telling a story. I’ve done it myself, and love bringing the same enthusiasm I had with that, to my own writing. I feel you when it comes to HTTYD! I read the books when I was a kid, and fell in love with the movies when they came out.
It’s such a great movie, HTTYD, and with a surprisingly good TV series spin-off that I absolutely adore too. The way the whole writing team clearly put so much time and effort into thinking things through, coming up with cool ideas, but presenting them in easily accessible ways, the many different issues inherent in changing the whole attitude of a society and just… So good!
Also, for years I’ve been calling fanfiction the Guild Hall Trade School for writers, as you can learn so much in a practical way by writing fanfiction, but the ability to lean on pre-existing works means that beginners don’t get out faced. You don’t need to try producing compelling characters, cool worlds and good plots all in one go, you can just borrow someone else’s characters and worlds first, then maybe borrow characters but put them in new worlds with new plots, and finally you realise that you’re confident to try going for all three at once!
The instant feedback, the way that you can try out a bunch of different styles easily, the ability to experiment without worrying about ‘Is this publishable?’ It’s such a good system to learn your craft in practical ways, I don’t know why we don’t celebrate it more!
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Thank you so much – I’m been so nervous that people are going to see me and think, “Oh, she writes Fan Fiction? That’s weird and uncool.” 🙂
Nonsense! I know fanfiction has a certain reputation, but it doesn’t do much that ‘published’ work and film and tv aren’t just as liable to do, and at leasr fanfiction isn’t asking me to pay to experience it! I love all the experimentation, creativity and the way that you have to actually engage with a work to write about it! You can’t just collect random trivia for fan-points, you have to think about those details and what they mean and then build something new out of them! So much more interesting…