There’s been a story plot floating around in my head for quite some time now–at least a few years–but never did anything with. Not because it wouldn’t be fun or intense to write, or because is was a bad idea. It has survived so long precisely because I find it incredibly intriguing and emotionally intense. Exactly the kind of thing I like writing.
Why put it off so long? Sure, there are lots of Lupa stories I plan to eventually write, but this one has been one I kept wondering if I should entertain at all: it’s not canon. It’s so far from what I’ve established as believable canon the story won’t ever be able to get around it. I write non-canon all the time with my chatbox characters, but this is different.
I don’t know how most writers deal with non-canonical ideas for their characters. Clearly, I sometimes go down that path. Unlike writing different versions of an event, this can get one into more trouble. When you play around with ideas and seriously write pieces that would otherwise be considered canon, they can stick. It can stick so much more easily once they’re solid, on paper, and in your head. The latter is really the most dangerous part. Once it becomes part of the story in your head, your head can treat is as part of canon. You’ve devoted the thought and time to develop it. And I’ve started.
Writing started when I found a musical piece which brought out a particular character’s feelings. I don’t know, now, how things will settle out. The emotional payoff isn’t quite there yet in parts, but it’s the kind of thing you want to drip off the page. That’s interesting, and that was the point–the desperate sadness, the chaos of a character’s inability to reconcile one thing with another, a cosmic prank of timing.
Addressing difficult topics is a fascinating part of being a writer. Going into this, I had no idea how it would play out. Some scenes go in one direction, and the latest went in another. And yet, I wonder if I’ve taken that license because it’s not canon.
Sometimes there’s the idea that it can be more messy, a bit less believable, when something isn’t going to be part of the final product others may someday get to see. At times, pursuing such ideas let allow for the exploration of things canon may not allow. What will they do? Will pushing them in a completely different way reveal new things?
I suppose, ultimately, the question is will it benefit my understanding of the characters for canon? The more value the answer to that question has, the more likely I am to do it. That’s how we got into this mess.
If you do write out of canon, please respond in the comments. I’d really like to know what other writers do, and when/why they go further afield.