This list is mostly for my own self reference, so I can come back and remind myself and hold myself accountable. I find I do...
At Leakycon we don’t say “I love you” we say “WE’RE WIZARDS WE’LL PARTY FOREVER TURN AROUND BRIGHT EYES HARRY I’M COMING HOME I...
Title: Ewoks, Homosexual Stimulation, and Captain Picard
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Topher Brink/Andrew Wells
Summary: Topher Brink and Andrew Wells meet at Comic-Con, and sparks begin to fly. Andrew’s totally smitten, but Topher refuses to accept that he’s not straight. Will Andrew be able to get Topher to open up before they have to go back to their separate lives? Basically, if you like adorable, nerdy boy slash, this is the fic you should be reading.
Read the first chapter here! If you like it, please add it to your favorites or something, because I probably won’t post about it after this.
I was scrolling down my dashboard this week, and I happened upon matthawthorneisamyth’s rant about fanfiction. I’ve heard views like his expressed many a time, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to express my views on the genre, and why I think it can be a very beneficial starting block for writers.
I will defend starting with fanfiction before moving on to original fiction until my last breath, because it is what motivated me to start writing. (Keep in mind that I used the word starting.) I have always adored trying to paint pictures with my words, but as a young child, I was completely incapable of creating characters with which to play. Performing this task, on top of coming up with a plot and wriitng well, was daunting and discouraging, so I didn’t do it too much.
However, one day in sixth grade, I stumbled upon harrypotterfanfiction.com and fell in love. Combining two of my very favorite things, writing and Harry Potter, was a dream come true for a twelve-year-old girl. I wrote fan fiction avidly from that day until my freshman year in high school, and I still write on occasion when a plot bunny decides to run around in my head.
Now I’d like to counter Matt’s idea that, although fanfiction might be good practice, it is something that should never see the light of day. I won’t lie to you: 95% of my early fanfiction was absolutely abysmal (as is any writing a sixth grader does, I think.) However, my stories garnered tens of thousands of reads, and dozens of reviews. I think most of these reviewers realized that I wasn’t a particularly good writer, but I think they also knew how young I was. So they basically told me, “Good job! Keep writing!” Some kind souls even took the time to leave in-depth reviews, telling me what I could improve and what I did fairly well.
These reads and reviews were the most encouraging things I could ever have received at that point in my life. If I had simply been sitting at home, writing original fiction and hiding it away on my computer hard drive, or even posting it on Tumblr, I’m not sure that I would have written with the ferocity I did in middle school. My fear that my writing might suck was overridden by the fact that my readers were waiting for chapter ten. To this day, I feel extremely indebted to these people who took time out of their days to encourage a little girl who was writing cliché stories about Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Writing fanfiction also has other benefits besides having a wide audience who is fairly tolerating. It has taught me to write certain types of characters that I had a lot of trouble with for a long time. It has taught me to plot creatively and keep character voice constant. And of course, the sheer act of writing hundreds of pages of the stuff helped me to improve my style, voice and general writing ability.
Of course writing fan fiction is not as nearly as difficult as writing original fiction. It comes with its own set of challenges (working with a pre-existing voice and style being the main one,) but it involves a lot of shortcuts. It requires less imagination and less work. However,
I like to think that most fanfiction writers write original fiction as well. Maybe this is being overly optimistic, but I feel like eventually, if they are serious enough about writing, they’ll think of something to write that doesn’t revolve around their fandoms. However, I guess we can only hope and pray that they eventually get the courage to break away and make something new.
Four years ago to the day, I was reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time. I still didn’t know that George would be without a twin or that Teddy would be without a mother and father. I wasn’t completely sure that Ron and Hermione would end up together (although I was pretty damn sure.) And I didn’t know that all would be well.
It’s astounding that the fandom still has such a strong presence four years after the story came to a close. Fanfiction is still being written. Wizard rock songs are still being sung. Little bits of canon are still trickling out, and we’re clinging to them like lifelines. The books and movies may be over, but the fandom is far from it.
When we said “this is never gonna end,” the Muggles rolled their eyes. Many of us barely believed it. But we’ve made it happen for four years, and I honestly believe we can make it happen for many, many years to come.
It’s real for us. Always.