Monday, November 28, 2011

On the Uses of Fanfiction

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you guys that sometimes I write fanfiction.

I haven’t done it in a while, but it’s out there. I’ll even link to it at the bottom of this post.

If you think about it, everyone writes fanfiction at some point in their lives. When you’re a kid, you play with toys, and these days- even when I was kid, 25 years ago- it’s hard to find non-branded stuff. Everything ties back to some TV show or movie or, much more rarely, a book series. So when I was making up stories about my massive collection of My Little Ponies (which I still have, by the way, in my mom’s attic), or when I wrote and illustrated epic tales about G.I. Joe characters or Shirt Tail animals- remember those?- I was, in essence, writing fanfic.

Some people just don’t stop making up stories about other people’s creations, even when they grow up. And you know what? That’s fine.

I’ve heard that certain authors don’t like people writing fanfic of their stuff, or at least they don’t like seeing it published on the Internet. Friends, if someone liked my stuff well enough to make up supplementary stories, I’d be thrilled. I might even read it (once at an R.A. Salvatore signing, he said he didn’t mind people writing Forgotten Realms fanfic, but he never read it because he was afraid he would start mixing it up with his own writing. I will never have this problem because I am not nearly as prolific as R.A. Salvatore and won’t have as many geek fans writing stories about my characters).

Personally, I feel guilty writing fanfic these days. I don’t have all that much time to write since my boy was born, and writing fanfic is, frankly, a waste of that scarce time. It’s not publishable, and since my goal is to build a real writing career where I get paid and everything…well, you see where this is going.

However, if you want to write fanfic as a hobby, more power to you. Doing anything creative is better than watching T.V. all night, and if it’s writing, even better.

And if you want to become a published author, fanfic isn’t a bad way to cut your teeth. Naomi Novik, author of the awesome and way fun to read Temeraire series (start with His Majesty’s Dragon ), began writing fanfic. You just have to remember, sometime you have to stop writing in someone else’s world and create your own.

Don’t feel ashamed of writing fanfic. Don’t feel ashamed of reading fanfic; I’ve read more than my share, and I am a perfectly intelligent, literate individual. And I may still write some fanfic in the future, when I feel like a need a break and want to live in someone else’s world for just a bit.

And you know what? I’m totally not ashamed of the fact that once I asked my friend to send me some Duncan/Methos Highlander slashfic. I read the Hell out of that fanfic, and I loved it. So there.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the link to my fanfic:

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