exploring the hunger games universe

Writing fan fiction is fun. You have your foundation already. You can stay in the la la land of your latest favorite universe. But it’s also hard. You can’t let your imagination take over too too much, because you don’t want to go against the already perfect and beautiful place of your dreams.

Not that The Hunger Games is perfect. Or that Panem is beautiful. But I’ve been living in that universe…practically. Kind of. Not really, except when I’m on Pinterest a lot or rereading the books a lot or just thinking about Peeta a lot. Which I do sometimes. :P

1. “I’m being so quiet as I walk down the hallway that it should be surprising that he hears me.”

The first line in a dystopian story. No idea what it was about. No idea who the characters really were. Then I thought, Oh, this should be set in District 13. Just a random idea that sounded satisfying. First thing I did with the scene that followed that line, was look for appearances for these characters. Headed to Pinterest.

This is what I found.

actress_hailee_steinfeld-wide

Hailee Steinfeld

Looks serious. Good balance of attractive and natural. Perfect for dystopia. Or Panem. So I went to a baby names site and found the unique but not-too-weird name of “Amori,” which means “industrious.” Cool.

I was feeling pretty good about this story by the end of the day. So I told my sister about it, and she was like, “So she’s going to end up with Gale?” Maybe not, but it gave me an idea. A lot of Mockingjay finds Katniss and Gale separated, and you have to wonder where he’s at all the time. The rest of the puzzle came together when I decided that Amori is from District 12. And she trained for the Hunger Games, like a Career. And she used her knowledge to help save people before the bombing in 12. Alongside Gale. The perfect beginning of a fictional friendship. ^.^

So. New beginning.

2. “I wake up screaming his name. Immediately I’m aware of the darkness of my compartment. The sweat covering my body. My displaced blanket.”

Sounds a bit like Katniss, right? I know. I console myself with the fact that Amori is, indeed, similar to the Mockingjay. And I will never hope to publish this work, because it’s set in someone else’s world. Oh, and by the way, she’s not screaming Gale’s name. It’s someone else. ;)

But anyway, I needed a prologue. Something that tells the story of the evacuation from 12.

3. “The quiet lasted an hour. I don’t even remember what happened exactly, except that everything was suddenly in chaos.”

But it didn’t flow. It was too vague. So I began to study. Rereading scenes of Mockingjay, making notes on how Suzanne Collins created such a masterpiece. How she made it so real, yet didn’t sacrifice the poetry of writing. How she didn’t waste words, but didn’t ignore flow.

And I knew I didn’t want to confuse the events of Mockingjay, which is, of course, when the story takes place. So I made a loose outline of what happens and the relative time span, and started filling in the blanks of Amori’s story, gleaning from both the book and Part 1 of the movie (which makes for an interesting mixture). I’m currently at a grand total of 3,622 words, and (for those of you who know what happens in Mockingjay) Amori is currently witnessing President Coin’s announcement about the victors’ immunity.

In short, it’s often times hard, sometimes confusing, most of the time slow going, and all the time just plain fun. If you ever want a project that’s more a test of quality than storytelling, then fan fiction, I think, is really good experience. Especially without the pressure of making it perfect, because I don’t think fan fiction can be perfect. Really, a lot of times it’s really just one big “what if” scenario set in a world someone else created. But I can now recommend it from my own experience. Wish me luck! XD

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