If you haven’t thought seriously about writing in a Kindle World perhaps you should. Fan fiction is not just for freaky people who dress in costume and wait on line for twelve hours to enter Hogsmeade at Disney World. It’s for everyone, including our own Indie superhero, Hugh Howey. But we’ll get back to Hugh in a moment.
My son and I play a texting game in which we rewrite Harry Potter and send the revisions to each other.
To me: Harry’s parents are alive and he remembers stopping Voldemort.
Me: Harry’s dad is a jerk and Lily falls for a less morbid and stylish Snape.
To me: Tonks and Harry have a love affair.
Me: Ron becomes hideously obese and flatulent. Hermione leaves him.
To me: Dudley and Harry become best friends. Harry takes him for a ride on his broom.
Me: Snape is nominated for the Sexiest Man Alive.
To me: Mr. Weasley dies and Molly Weasley marries Sirius Black.
Me: Snape tames the basilisk and it assists Harry in battling the death eaters.
I could go on, but I’m sure you see that in our Potter world no one has died and Severus Snape is elevated to godlike status. Part of my infatuation with Severus Snape is the flawed yet heroic character created by J.K. Rowling. Truthfully, I am a huge fan of Alan Rickman’s work. Years before he immortalized Snape I caught the film Truly, Madly, Deeply on TV and I was smitten by his voice and his unique look. Casting him as Snape was brilliant.
Sadly, Rowling has not yet granted license to Kindle Worlds to satisfy my obsession. If you don’t know about Kindle Worlds check out a past post of mine here.
Who is writing these stories for Kindle Worlds? Hugh Howey has taken on The World of Kurt Vonnegut with his story Peace in Amber. In doing research for this piece I came across an article Hugh wrote in Slate Magazine.
Lovers of the new and immutable novel may fear the end times, but ironically the end times themselves were a work of fan fiction. The four Gospels were written well after the times they describe, and each has its own take on similar events. (It used to bother me that the Gospels disagreed on so much. But then I discovered Batman comics and saw how often the Caped Crusader’s origins and backstory also changed over time.) Shakespeare made a career out of fan fiction. Wealthy patrons would request a new stab at a familiar story.
In the video link below Hugh explains more as to why he took the plunge into Kurt Vonnegut’s World. Communal stories have been around forever. In certain cultures the job of storyteller is a respected position in the community. The ability of storytellers to add their own enhancements and introduce new characters into an existing storyline, à la Kindle Worlds, is in keeping with this tradition.
Why should you, as a published or aspiring author, care about Kindle Worlds? The answer is simple. What is the biggest challenge faced by Indie writers? It is visibility, discoverability, or whatever word you want to use. I believe many books written by independent authors are as good as or superior to what is being promoted by big publishing. I am surrounded by authors who write great books. How can they crack the code that gets their work to the readers they deserve?
The answer is complicated and nebulous. It is foolish to fight against a giant like Amazon. The Amazon platform and its ever-expanding programs are the reason we can publish our books. Furthermore, there is no shame in building upon the story of another writer and adding a personal touch or two. Composers have been doing this for centuries. The ability to provide variation shows flexibility and creativity. It is a savvy move. Readers who discover a writer through Kindle Worlds will seek out other works by this author. After you have enjoyed a book, don’t you look to see what else the author has available? I do.
In a fan fiction world I would unite Severus and Lily.
“James is gone,” Lily whispers. “He cares more for Quidditch than for me and Harry. I’ve always known that if he had a chance to be a seeker he would leave me.”
“He’s a fool.” Severus places the beaker of polyjuice potion on the table. Could this be his moment? Could the angel he has worshipped since childhood need him again?
“Severus…” She brushes a stray lock of black hair from his cheek. Her hand traces the line of buttons on the tunic he uses as protection from the insults of his youth, from the world that has never been kind. She places her head on his chest. He will let her hear his heart beat, the rapid pounding confirming that she is his one true love. Always.
Hugh Howie talks about Kindle Worlds: https://kindleworlds.amazon.com/