No one can spend very long discussing science fiction and fantasy with me without soon discovering I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, especially the first two. The third one, Mockingjay, is a bit of a mess, as I’ve said on my Goodreads review of it. To me, the best thing about the books is that they address the question of class exploitation – rich versus poor or for that matter rich versus everybody else – which is also one of the things which I seek to address in my fiction, especially my Young Adult Dystopian novel Discarded Faces and its sequels. Also, I’ve been fascinated by Dystopian fiction since I read 1984 by Orwell at the age of 13 (perhaps a couple of years too soon), and it’s a real thrill for me not to have to explain to other people what a dystopia is.
Like most other people above the age of twenty, I only found out about it after the movie came out in March 2012. When the film came out, I was recovering from surgery and couldn’t sit up for long enough to watch a 140 minute film, so I read the first book instead.(The first novel, Hunger Games gave its name to the trilogy as a whole.) I bought it on Saturday, April 8 and finished it on Monday, doing almost nothing else except eat, sleep, and do the necessary regimen for my recovery. I saw the film on Friday, May 4, and after that I read the other two books before the month was out. I enjoyed Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and I’ve already mentioned my response to Mockingjay.
That said, reading the entire trilogy in April and May 2012 threw a monkey wrench into my creativity. In May I had a lot of trouble motivating myself to write Mistress of Land and Sea, the sequel to my fantasy novel Mistress of the Topaz, because I didn’t want to write anything but Hunger Games fanfiction, especially in an effort to clarify or make sense of the events in the third book. In June I gave up on my own novel and surrendered to the urge, producing fragments of several different HG fanfictions.
By August, I was beginning to wonder if maybe I should sue Suzanne Collins for kidnapping my muse. Toward the end of the month, I realized my creative sidetracking into Hunger Games fanfiction was a productive thing. I took some of the non-canonical characters from my fanfictions and incorporated them into the upcoming sequels to Discarded Faces.
In September, I was now over my Hunger Games obsession and ready to return to writing my own work. I resumed work on Mistress of Land and Sea, while outlining the Discarded Faces sequels. I now understand that what I was struggling with in the summer of 2012 was a form of writer’s block. I fixed it by working on a different aspect of my creativity, fanfiction. The fanfictions which Collin’s works have inspired will probably never be published, but they did their job. They jump-started my creativity. Suzanne Collins’ lawyers have one less thing to worry about now.