Fans, Fiction, And Fan Fiction
In 2008, when Chris Colfer was offered a part written specifically for him--that of openly-gay teen Kurt Hummel on the FOX series Glee-- there were very few characters like his on network television. It was a risky role to take. "I was terrified, I was very, very scared," Colfer told host Ophira Eisenberg. He continued sarcastically, "But then I thought, 'oh, but what about the award potential?'"
These days, an openly gay character isn't as shocking. "It's crazy how different the world was back then," Colfer said. Indeed, a lot has changed since Glee, including Colfer, who's acting less and writing more. In fact, he's now a bestselling young adult fiction author. After the fast-paced and exhausting schedule of the show, becoming a writer seemed like a great idea. "A career where you can do most of it in your pajamas is very, very appealing," he conceded.
"I was so uninterested in reality," he said, recounting the early days of his writing when he'd act out elaborate stories with his action figures. "I used to try to play with my friends and they would always go off-book." Perhaps this is why Colfer chose to adapt beloved fairy tales in his young adult novel series, The Land of Stories.
Now in its sixth and final installment, the series was a long time coming. Colfer started writing The Land of Stories, or something like it, when he was just seven years old. However, he didn't "know enough words to make it happen." Luckily, he had his grandmother to give him constructive feedback. "Every time I'd finish a chapter I'd take it, I'd ride my bike over to my grandma's house and I'd give it to her. She'd grammar-check it, she'd spell-check it, and if she liked it, she'd put it on a pile on her table. But if she didn't like it, she'd [crumple] it up in front of me, toss it in the trash can, and say 'Christopher, you can do better.'"
The popularity of The Land of Stories series has only grown Colfer's devoted fan following. These interactions partially became another YA novel entitled Stranger Than Fanfiction,about a young celebrity who goes on a cross-country road trip with a group of his superfans. Inspired by this, Ophira Eisenberg led a game where she read our very own fan fiction. Colfer guessed with amazing accuracy what it was written about.
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