…But sometimes you can’t write on it either.
How do you introduce a fluffy purple donkey who writes some of the most cracktastic smut around? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. I met Eey on a certain author’s message board board many years ago. When that started imploding from Teh Crazies, I followed her to LiveJournal where she and several other introduced me to slashfiction. It was love at first read. Pretty boys doing smutty things to each other! *sigh*
Go check out her InsaneJournal (because she’s become too crazy for LiveJournal :-p) and read some of her luscious fics.
Ana approached me to guest blog as a writer of fanfiction, and while I was (and am!) happy to do so, I can already hear the hisses and screams now. And they’re not all coming from the BDSM corner of fandom.
I can’t personally tell you what fandom is about. It’s too wide-spread, it covers too many areas of life, and quite honestly it’s pure crazy. I’ll admit it. We writers of fanfiction, creators of fanart, and downloaders of fanmixes are a completely committed bunch. We have to be, don’t we?
We’re the people who read a book/go to a movie/view a piece of art and can’t let it go. We hear music on the radio and can only hear the songs as they pertain to our favorite characters. We see a picture of two people kissing and, in our minds, they are a fictional couple acting out a love scene we’ve read.
So why do we do it? Because we’re invested. We’re intelligent, free-thinking individuals for whom the words “The End” have no meaning. There is no end as long as there is fandom. For anything. Pride and Prejudice is still going strong nearly two hundred years after it was first published. Don’t believe me? Google it.
Why does fanfiction exist? In short, it exists because people like me can’t stop thinking about what people like Ana write. We can’t let go of those worlds. We love the characters and celebrate with them when they’ve won. We grieve when they lose. We go into mourning when they die.
And then we bring them back to life.
So how does one write fanfiction? Well, we write in much the same way that anyone else does, I imagine. We sit down to a blank computer screen, watch the cursor blink for a few—or fifteen—minutes, decide we need a drink/sandwich/walk around the park, and come back to continue the staring contest with our blank page. Eventually a word or phrase will crawl through our brains, and we’ll write it down. Finally, the story unfolds.
And then, if we’re at all worthy, we find someone to beta—or edit—our stories. For the most part, people who write fanfiction are rabid about things like characterization and canon (everything that is true for the original model, be it book or movie or television show). So we find someone who knows the world we’re writing in, give them our stories and tell them to rip them to shreds. At which point they’ll likely send our stories back with red marks all over them and notes like, “Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes are described in canon as ‘dark.’ In which universe is light blue a ‘dark’ color?”
The writing part is easy. After all, someone else has done the hard work of world-building and character development for us. Did you expect me to deny it? I absolutely won’t. I would not exist as a writer of fanfiction if it weren’t for the gorgeous brains of those who created the sandboxes I play in. I cherish each and every one of them because they have provided me with a necessary outlet.
Fanfiction exists in all forms. From entire on-line communities built around the concept of stories told in exactly 100 words (drabbles) to epic masterpieces comprising hundreds of chapters with multiple sequels.
All it takes is one idea. One “what if.” What if Elizabeth had not gone to visit Mr Darcy? What if she’d stayed home? What if she’d accepted Mr Collins’ proposal?
That’s where authors of fanfiction step in. We take one idea (or several) and develop them into a story. We use the characters we love, the worlds we’ve spent so long in that we know exactly where to place different structures on a map. Even if the map is of a world so totally alien to Earth that up is down and down is sideways.
We use the sand from your sandboxes to build castles. Have we changed the sand? Of course not. Have we prevented others from playing with the sand? Nope. The sand is still the same sand it was when we climbed into the sandbox. It’s just taken on a different shape for a few minutes.
So don’t be threatened by fanfiction. It exists because someone loved something so much that they couldn’t stop thinking about it.
And now I’ve got to go write that Elizabeth/Mr Collins fic….