Oct 15, 2022
6 mins read
When I reached $10 I had a goal to write a long article about why I write this unofficial novel. I am delighted to tell you that that goal is now reached.
When I watched White Collar for the first time, the last episode had already been aired without me knowing about its existence. One of the things I decided to do when I got my own household was not to get my life hung up on when I had to be home to watch a TV episode.
It was the time before the Internet and certainly before streaming. TV aired at specific times and if you missed that time you might find it aired one more time at some odd hours a day or two later. I grew up having certain programs to watch and certain hours. And also had to skip what I wanted to see because someone else wanted to see something on the other channel.
How it was possible that the only two existing channels could send so much interesting at the same time is quite a question when you look back.
Well, anyhow, my attitude meant I did not watch TV series. From when I was twenty to I was forty or so, I had little clue what happened in that world.
Then our children convinced us to get a specific streaming service to the household.
And I found Lethal Weapon had turned into a TV series. I was stunned that TV series could be good. The shows I knew had more or less one-story-episodes, finishing where they started. They were mostly American sit-coms and a few youth dramas like 21 jump street and Fame. Lethal Weapon had a thread passing from one episode to the next. The actors were also much better than I remember.
I read more on the subject and learned that TV series no longer was for second-rated actors who never would be good enough for a movie. I learned that actors like George Clooney started in TV. I thought Johnny Depp was one of the few exceptions. Things can indeed change in twenty years. Now people moved from feature films to TV instead.
So, Lethal Weapon's second season ended and the streaming service suggested White Collar instead.
Now, most people get upset when I say this, but I checked how it would end before I started. Why? Because I did not want to invest my interest and my time in a show that does not hold all the way. Lethal Weapon (spoiler alert) was ruined after the second season. I don't mind knowing the end unless it is a mystery story. I did not ruin White Collar by reading how it would end.
I loved the pilot of White Collar. This was the TV show that I had been looking for all my life. This was what I had tried to write myself, in essence.
I have always, for some reason I don't know, been fascinated by the difference by the role and the person, and the conflict this could lead to. And what could be more interesting and full of tension than a cop being friend with a crook?
I am not alone in these thoughts in any way. There are plenty of films with this conflict. Few have succeeded in my opinion. Why? Because in most cases the role is left behind for the person. I find it far more interesting when someone do their job, the job they believe in, and put their friend behind bars.
Peter Burke did his job.
What also made me love White Collar was because Neal Caffrey respected Peter Burke for this. He expected his friend to arrest him.
On a more serious note, I think it is important to respect people doing their job. A policeman cannot be affected by friendship or dislike, even if the person behind the role is. I have zero understanding for people who get angry at a specific handler when this handler followed the rules given. Get angry on the rules, fine. Complain at the authority and the government, sure. But when people leave their jobs at authorities because they cannot stand the hate and the threats, then we are in serious trouble.
So, I respected Neal for not trying to get favors and for his respect in Peter.
I devoured White Collar as fast as I could and then suggested it for the family, so I watched it again.
So, why the fan fiction?
I have always been writing, for as long as I can remember. I have written self-published novels, I have scripts that turned into short films, but I have also written fan fiction. The fan fiction was just for myself. I used known characters as a shortcut of sorts to try different ideas.
For some reason I don't remember, I found White Collar fan fiction on the Internet. I thought some were good and some not and soon I wrote a missing scene myself and published it on fanfiction.net.
The response I got was overwhelming.
I mean, I wrote novels, my own stores, and I can't even give them away for free and find readers. And suddenly I had more readers than I ever had.
I am one of those writers who want to be read.
Now I had readers. Hundreds of them. People telling me I got it just right, asking me for more. I would be a huge idiot to leave it because it was not "real writing".
Even if the story is not mine and I cannot sell it, the writing is real. The effort is still the same as for any writer.
First I figured I just go for the missing scenes, but then I got the idea, inspired by a fan fiction chapter about the arrest and interrogation, to write story from the beginning, including what happened before the first arrest. An extended version of the Forging Bonds episode with the pilot following.
And from there I just continued.
Some things annoy me that did not when I watched, like 'how did they get there?' and 'is it a new day?' but I can still watch an episode with the same satisfaction as before.
It happens that I get questions how far I will take this project. My plan is to do it all the way, write my series of novels to the end of the White Collar series. I have done a calculation on how long it will take me, and yes, I should write two chapters a week instead of one to not feel horrified. But here's the thing: I do earn money on other writing these days. Not on my novels, may they rest in peace, but on fantasy roleplay adventures.
If it had not been for my White Collar project and for COVID forcing me to work from home and have more free time not sitting on a bus every day, I would not be where I am to day.
I know not all my chapters are as good as I wish them to be. But that is one thing that I have learned about my writing these past years: write, rewrite once, proof-read, and then let it go. Don't dwell, don't linger, and most of all: don't be afraid. Nothing will ever always be perfect.