I write; I think people have noticed by now. The next question, if those who asked me are slightly nerdy and/or feeling like they have something to prove, would be “Do you just write fanfic(tion)s?” A lot of the time I’m not entirely sure on what that question, or variations of it, entails. Does writing fanfiction somehow make someone not a real writer, or what else are we grasping at here? I understand that we have all, presumably, seen terrible fanfics. Some might even go as far as criticising those who write such pieces as “damaging the fandom of the source material”. Those also are not real quotes, but colourful paraphrases. Sue me.
Well, let’s get this out of the way. I write fanfictions. Not a lot of them, relative to the amount of original fiction, but I do write them. I have certainly been nagged on about this before, mostly along the lines of how I’m riding off the success of someone else’s work to give my own exposure, and so that I don’t have to do settings or characterisation. Here’s the personal truth: I can give less of a sod about popular series, unless I feel like my effort are well-justified. I’ll get back to that later, but this is what I have to say now: you’re missing the point. Critics, or so they like to be referred as, might be waiting with bated breath to rip on the next homoerotic Harry Potter piece going out on tumblr, FFN, deviantart or wherever else; but I honestly don’t feel the need. Don’t get me wrong, I am always against typos, grammatical errors and poor execution of expression in general. However, when “you spelled ‘colour’ wrong” becomes “you’re destroying the integrity of the character”, it’s time to stop. I don’t know if these people noticed, but if they want to read pieces that stick with the original material, they should probably go read that. I’m not saying that you cannot have boundaries, but you also have a choice. If anything appears to be poorly constructed, feel free to prey on it. However, being petty just because you disagree with someone’s interpretation, regardless (indeed this is an intended blanket statement) of how much you disagree with it, is simply wasting time. Leave.
I don’t really mind that though, being perfectly honest. What would be the worst that could happen? I find it hard to believe that the admins of those sites have a good reason to remove my material, ever. Even if they did, so what? I suppose I can always don black clothing, conceal my own face behind a veil and cry in a corner while listening to songs about teenage angst and adolescent love affairs. Or I could just not do that and move on with my life, like what those people should have done in the first place. Everyone’s a critique; I get it, and will forever support that notion, just so that I can piss off those snobbish suited mouth-breathers that fancy themselves the ultimate gatekeeper to all that is good and holy of literature. I was quaking in my boots knowing how critical Oxonian undergrads, professors and editors were of my fanfictions. That is, if I actually cared. Syntax problems aside, which I must admit I still make from time to time, hearing their criticisms in unison as to how what I wrote was “cheesy”, “unimaginative” and “cliché” was quite a laugh. I don’t even mean to say they’re wrong, not that such an observation had ever stopped anyone, but simply to point out how their efforts were simply off-base. Unlike what some may think, I don’t write stories, and blog posts, yes, to be read, instead to be written. If I wanted to do that, I would have tried some publishing firms; but the only thing they’re receiving from me is code and tax return. I appreciate the reads, the follows and the favourites, but that’s exactly the point. They read the stories I write because I write them how I want to, not so that I could appease someone’s thirst for an afternoon piece along with tea and biscuits.
If I may refer to a previously mentioned prospect for a moment. The truth is, writing a fanfiction means you’re going to get more exposure from the watcher of those series. It’s a simple fact, and I am not as full of crap as to deny it. However, why does that somehow matter? Every product being pushed out faces supply and demand problems, and being digitally distributed literature, fanfictions have zero problems with supply. Thus, if I were to get views from what I write without any kind of external promotion or push from a third party, it simply is because I deserve them. People are just bitter, and so am I at times. I will not lie and I say that I wasn’t positively revolted reading the likes of Twilight and that horrendous spin-off fanfiction that it spouted, while all the same being jealous of their successes. Think of me how you will, but I like fortunate and fame, just like a lot of you. I have a lot of things which I am not willing to sacrifice to achieve it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t yearn for it. At the end of the day, I simply am just stubborn, albeit completely justified.
That doesn’t equate to my being unreasonably defensive of my own work, however. Quite the opposite, in fact, as I am extremely critical about my own works, while certain problems disallow me from making them as perfect as humanly possible, at least in execution. Plot devices, phrase length and characterisation are all extremely important to me, and I would like to keep those of fanfictions within reasonable expectations of the source material. This isn’t because I believe it’s the right thing to do, but simply because that’s what I’m the most comfortable with. However, I always make sure, always, that my plot is final prior to submission. There might be loopholes, oversights and, on the off chance, inconsistencies, but they do not represent what I fight for. I will never stop defending my own vision of the plot, of how it’s supposed to be, as cheesy or outlandish as it may be to some. I can’t please everyone, so why should I bother with those who would not have taken a second look even if I were to cater my work to them? On a more personal level, I only write fanfiction of a series if I feel that I’m invested enough in them yet don’t believe the canon properly resolves the plot or do some characters justice. I don’t write just so I can describe nubile schoolgirls’ antics, as that is what erotica are for, but because I believe they deserve a fairer shake, as both characters and representations, and that I am the one who is best to do it.
The picture belongs to Little, Brown and Company publications. Not that I would even steal it if I could.