once upon a time on my tv….
I don’t often admit this in mixed company–ok, in company at all–but I cut my writing teeth in fanfic.
Yeah, you read that correctly: fanfic.
Don’t get me wrong. The original stories were there far before I started putting any words on paper.* But what really got me started, what made me realize that writing is an integral part of my being, was the fic.
Ah, fanfic. It’s such a contentious subject. Oh my, the “real” writers sneer. You write that crap? What’s wrong? Can’t come up with your own characters? Have to borrow someone else’s? Poor dear, why don’t you go back to your little slashy world and play with the other toddlers in the sandbox. *pat, pat*
Bah. Fuck that. Fanfic is not as easy as it looks. Too often you come across shit wherein the writer warps her (or his, though I believe the overwhelming majority of fanfic writers to be female. Or at least the admitted ones) beloved characters into what she wants them to be. They do things so far out of character that you wonder, as you read, why the fuck she even bothered. Too often you come across bullshit fantasies that are so ridiculously Mary Sue it triggers your gag reflext within two paragraphs. That’s not the fanfic I’m talking about.
For me, the fun and the challenge was always to, well, torture the characters in new and interesting ways, while keeping them in character. I never saw the fun in warping characters to fit what I wanted them to do. I made the stories fit the characters. I learned characterization writing fanfic. Would so and so do this? Would such and such carry this sort of sword? Or would she have this? Would they actually say that? And seriously, what the fuck is up with those magic pockets we all joke about, anyway?
And then there’s that pesky copyright issue. I don’t know where most authors/script writers stand on the subject, but I suppose that borrowing the names of characters and likenesses of the actors who portray them on a small screen near you could be viewed as copyright infringement. I’ve vague memories of an archive or two getting shut down at one point, but I think that, for the most part, fanfic is seen as pretty harmless fun created by a bunch of strange ladies on teh interwebs who want to entertain themselves writing slash about their favorite characters.**
I was bloody prolific, all through high school and even into college. And I stuck with it far longer than I should’ve, too. There were original ideas floating around in my head, sure, but the fanfic was so much easier. It was safer. It was what I was used to. The characters already existed! Not only that, but I also really loved those characters. In some ways, they sort of morphed into something that was slightly my own.
So, I guess I’m trying to say it has its pros and its cons. But that’s not really what I’m writing about. I’ve been feeling the nostalgia for ye olde fanfic today. I am thinking I might have to pull out a few of those old stories–don’t get me wrong, the majority of them are complete shit. But there’s a select few, just a few, of which I’m actually proud. There’s the one I wrote when I was in England–up to that point it was the hardest thing I’d ever written. The hardest to properly word, the hardest to get out of my head and into the computer. And I did some interesting things with the format of the story. I’m proud of that one. It’s got good bones. There’s the silly crossover/vampire story I wrote towards the end of my fanfic days, that to this day makes me laugh out loud. There are a few other little bits here and there wherein I can find a single line or two that really makes me proud of my turn of phrase.
So, yeah. I wrote fanfic. Maybe if you’re nice, I’ll even admit to the fandom. Maybe.
*no, I’m not just saying that.
**for the record, i never wrote slash. never was my thing.
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Tags: fanfic, magic pockets, slash, stories, writing