I've been toying with a story for some time, but haven't written fan fiction (or any fiction) in almost 15 years, and quite frankly I'm conflicted about how to begin. I was so uninhibited when I started writing fan fiction as a young teen. I'd just wait for my parents to turn in for the night (our computer was in our kitchen!) and I'd just start writing. The concepts of narrative arc, character development, the art of dialogue, showing not telling, etc. were foreign to me. Most of what I wrote was garbage, but I took great pleasure in the process and actually published a few stories to Organa-zation.
Now that I'm a well-read, well-educated adult who takes great pride in craftsmanship and has a profound respect for good writers (professionals and fan fiction writers alike) I'm paralyzed. I've never written more than a 10 minute read and surface level smut, but this story is long, dark, and complex. I've never written anything beyond a missing moment, but this story is AU and will require me to articulate a completely new post-ROTJ universe. Should I begin with a synopsis to help myself plan the structure for the story? Should I start fleshing out my AU before focussing on the specific story within that AU? Should start writing all these little snippets of dialogue and vignette moments that I have floating around my head? What if my desire to include those bits prevents me from allowing the story to develop more organically? Clearly I'm overthinking things.
I desperately want to find my way back to that place of pure creative pleasure I found in writing fic so many years ago. I suppose I'm appealing to the expertise of those of you who have taken on the challenges of long fics, AU fics, dark (Leia) fics, and/or have overcome overthinking and a long hiatus from creative writing.