Although I’ve partially covered this subject in my articles about emotions and creativity and geeking out about your stories, I thought that it was worth devoting an entire article to it. The only problem is that there isn’t really a word for what I’m trying to describe here and the specifics of it probably vary from person to person (since it’s fairly subjective), but I’ll try to explain it as well as I can. Hopefully it’ll at least make some kind of sense.
One thing I’ve noticed with all of my favourite computer games, films, novels and comics is that they have a certain quality to them. When I read/play/watch them, it almost feels like they’re a second home of sorts. Like a kind of sanctuary of sorts, another world which I can visit.
For me, works with this quality often also seem to have a very unique atmosphere too – it can be either futuristic, gothic and cynical or it can be kind of warm, loving and intriguing. Although it’s usually a combination of the two. They also, always show the world from a slightly different perspective too. They sometimes, but not always, have LGBT characters. They’re also works which I feel I can relate to as well. They often involve magic or sufficiently advanced technology. I could go on for a while……
Anyway, if something has all or some of these qualities then, chances are, I’m probably going to be a lifelong fan of it. Ok, let’s be honest here, I’ll probably fall in love with it.
The fact is that you probably have your own version of what this quality is.
But, if you’re not sure, then go and look at all of your favourite films/novels/games/comics etc.. and try to think about why they feel so special to you, why they fill your with a warm glow whenever you experience them and/or why they seem like the coolest thing in the world. Then write down a list of your answers to these questions.
Ideally, your answers should be general qualities which can apply to any story rather than just descriptions of particular parts of your favourite stories. For example, if you really like a particular character then try to think why you like them. What is it about that character which really appeals to you? What general quality about them or general thing about them? Is it their personality? Their sense of humour? Their fashion sense? etc… Just try to think of it in terms of general qualities.
Ok, now that you have your list of general qualities which make a story something that you really love – just try to include them in your own creative works. It’s as simple as that.
Just make sure that they are your own creative works – writing fan fiction can be fun, but for something to really express the unique blend of qualities which make a story feel special to you, you have to make it yourself. I mean, there’s only one of you on the planet.
The fact is, you won’t end up creating something which everyone will love. It probably won’t be a lowest-common-denominator mainstream story or comic. But, more importantly – you’ll end up creating something which you love. You’ll end up creating something which feels meaningful in the way that a lot of more mainstream things don’t. You’ll create something that is uniquely yours which you can share with the world. And, best of all, the people who really love your works are probably like-minded people. If you have fans, then they’ll be cool fans (and, remember, “cool” is what you personally find to be cool – not what the media tells you is “cool” at the moment).
Yes, some of this stuff is fairly obvious – I mean, most writers/artists tend to make things in the same genre or style as the stories they really like (it’s an almost instinctive thing). But, I hope that this article helped you to improve this process or at least clarified a few things about it.