Danielle Paige

In this week’s episode Grant and Brooke talk fan fiction—finding inspiration in well-known stories or the stories of others and why reimagining old stories is such a thriving, and more important, fun(!), genre of fiction writing. Guest Danielle Paige launched her writing career with a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz in her Dorothy Must Die trilogy, and her most recent graphic novel, Mera, is a reimagining as well. Here she shares about getting her start, her writing process, and what the payoff is when you rise to your BIG idea.


Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dorothy Must Die series, the Stealing Snow series, and the graphic novel MERA Tidebreaker. In addition to writing young adult books, she works in the television industry, where she’s received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City.

The Takeaway: Use Fan Fiction as a Writing Practice

Think of a story you love, fiction you’re a fan of. Brainstorm possible plot paths—an alternative world scenario, or variations on characters. Hang around with these ideas, and travel through portals with them. See what emerges. We want to share with you a quote from Hugh Howey, who said: “I used to liken fan fiction to writing with training wheels. The idea was that one could learn to pedal and balance and eventually discover that they didn’t need the extra wheels anymore. The writer could take them off and create their own worlds. This analogy is still partly true, but what I found while writing my work was that the training wheels get in the way more than they help. They catch on lampposts and bushes. They make it so the writer can’t lean and steer the plot where it needs to go. The original work limits with its history and its established facts.”

So think about taking the training wheels off, and taking your fan fic off the rails, or onto new rails. Don’t stay within the confines. Reimagine what might be and then go out and write it.

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