27 June 2013

Why Do I Write Fanfiction?

If you know me well—or if you've followed my blog for any length of time—you know that I am a geek. I love Doctor Who, Sherlock, Lord of the Rings, Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter, and several other fandoms. I don't only watch/read these, however; I also create fanart and write fanfiction based on many of them. I do this because I am creative and artistic, and because I don't want to merely enjoy someone else's work—I want to be involved in the creative process.

I also do this because I love the "what ifs"—what if Anakin Skywalker survived at the end of Return of the Jedi? What if Sherlock and John attended Hogwarts? What if Beru Lars struggled with infertility? What if John Watson found a strange watch in Sherlock's possession? When questions like these strike me, I cannot stop thinking about them until I write what I think would result.

Some people think that fanfiction is at the best silliness, and at the worst a waste of time that could be spent on "real" writing. After all, you can't publish it and sell it for profit. Well, unless you change the names or something. But that's not why I write fanfiction, and I'm not going to get into the ethical questions of taking someone else's world and characters, changing a few things, and then passing it off as your own work.

Some people think that fanfiction is all smut with really awful grammar and spelling. And, definitely, a lot of it is like that. I don't read or write that kind of garbage, though. Even if the grammar and spelling is correct, if the character is acting OOC (out of character), I hate it. The challenge in writing good fanfiction is to keep the characters in character. This usually cannot be done if writing smut—which I define from dictionary.com as "indecent language or publications; obscenity" (not simply writing that includes sex).

I am in the minority among fanfiction writers in that I write a lot of fanpoetry. Unfortunately, poetry is not a very popular genre among fanfiction writers and readers. This is probably because most of it is really awful, and who wants to read a terrible poem? At the risk of sounding conceited, I'll venture to say that I write pretty good poems. I often write within a form as I like the challenge, and because some forms really seem to fit certain topics. For example, the speed and urgency of a blitz poem suits the Doctor; the musical beauty of the villanelle evokes the atmosphere of Middle Earth; and a modified ballad form conjures the innocence lost in Revenge of the Sith.

Some people think that those who write fanfiction aren't taking writing seriously. Maybe not, but so what? I love writing; it's a fun activity for me. I plan on publishing a novel, but I never want to write because I have to, or because I need to make some deadline (I'm going with self-publishing). I write because I want to, and because I enjoy it. Maybe it's not a career for me; maybe it is a hobby. I do love my day job too, and don't want to quit; and why would I want two full-time jobs?

A lot of fanfiction writers keep it secret from even close friends and family. They feel like it's something to be ashamed of, or that no one would understand. If you are a fanfiction writer, I understand. But I'm not ashamed. I write fanfiction. And I am proud of all my writing.

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