This isn’t something that I’ve talked about before on my blog, but I’ve discussed in person to a writing friend that happens to write fan fiction. I’ve never disparaged it as a form of writing. Anyway…
My first exposure to fan fiction was close to 13 years ago. Something like that. I read a bit based on the Wheel of Time and thought it was kinda fun to see the characters acting in a different way. I didn’t think it was all that fantastic, but it was kinda of fun. Interesting to see the characters “out of their element” so to speak.
Anyway, having a conversation with a friend on twitter about Teen Wolf (a show that I admit is a guilty pleasure, and oh-s0-fun), I was taught the word “ship” which I’d seen and no idea what it meant. So I was schooled about the various ships in the Teen Wold fandomverse… and then one night I decided to google Sterek (which, if you’ve seen the show, is the relationship between Derek and Stiles).
Yes, I just used internet colloquialism. Yes, it was necessary. I went to deviantart first, and wow, I was impressed by the pages upon pages upon pages of drawings of the two characters together (and even a few silly gifs). Then, I saw picture I like mention a piece of fan fiction. That’s when it went crazy for me. I found the fic, read it on my computer and LOVED it. OMG. Amazing amazing fun. But, you know, I thought that was it.
But apparently all it takes is one fic, and you’re hooked. So I went back and downloaded a nice little sample of fan fic. A good 25 works, nothing too crazy.
I read them all in three days. Well over 300k words. Then I downloaded another 50. I know, hopelessly addicted, but great use of my kindle that I haven’t been using too much. Anyway, I read all those in a week. This is the most I’ve read, in a long, long time. Not since high school when all I would do was read, read, read. It felt so good to read. One of things that I enjoy so much, is that I know the characters will be together, no matter how much angst and manpain are present.
Now, I wanted to talk about another reason that I enjoyed reading them so much: the writers absolutely adore the characters they are writing about. Hands down. They love the nuance of the characters, how they interact, how they move in different worlds/universes/etc. And this love translates into the work. Reading it, I know the author had as much fun and joy and pain writing it, as I did reading it. I think some of this joy, this emotion, is missing from a lot of literature that I read. Much of it feels sterile, and almost lifeless by comparison. Perhaps it’s because I do not know all the references to the work, but I also feel that some of these works were editing and revised so much the writer lost that love along the way. I know I’ve had that happen in my work, but I’m know I will strive to keep it, no matter what. Inject love and humor and fun, and life into the work.
So, yes, I did learn something from reading fan fiction, and I think that lesson was a very important one as a writer. I learned that stories written via text messaging can work, that fiction written in internet speak can be as touching as any piece of regular fiction, and that we, as humans, love stories and love creating them out of what we, ourselves, love.
What is the next step? Well, the next step is for me to actually write some. STOP! Wait, what? Why would I do that? Well, I love the characters and the show and all that mentioned above, but also, to me, it’s a writing exercise. I tend to write short, terse, works, and one of the characters is very verbose and a little bit spacey, so I’m stretching. I think it will work, and hey, hopefully I’ll get some lovely feedback and comments when it’s out there. Writing boosts are always in short order over here.
Hope you all have a lovely weekend!