You become what you hate.

On the same note as my previous post, I have more inspiration from my most recent anime obsession.

I didn’t have time for it and it was off topic anyway, but it was something I just had to write about.

On My Hero Academia there is a character called Shouto (Shoto?) Todoroki, not sure I spelt either of those right.

He has a pretty tragic backstory, as even the main character of the show, Deku, admits. Purposely more like a traditional superhero’s backstory instead of the more conventional ones most of the others have.

I’ll just sum it up, abusive father, mom went off deep end because of it, and he has a permanent scar on his face from where she burned it.

Yeah, most of the fandom hates his dad’s guts.

Anyway, Todoroki starts off as a cool and composed guy, not really friendly or nice, just kind of there. And stays that way up until the tournament when Deku successfully pushes him to break down his walls and come to terms with himself. But Todoroki ends up still needing to revisit that, and as of now, is still dealing with his resentment and hate for his father, and his issues with not wanting to become him.

All too familiar to many of us with parents who made us miserable.

Of course, it’s a little rougher when half your body is literally reminding you of said parent every day. Ouch.

Yeah, your heart breaks a little for the poor guy.

But watching it, I realized something about hate, and about forgiveness, that wasn’t really clear to me before.

I’ve grown up hearing that we should forgive. That our salvation actually depends on it. But sometimes the reasons behind this are passed over.

Hate, resentment, and bitterness tend to blind us to their own effects. It’s sad, but most of us have people we resent, even if we think we are well-adjusted and have moved on.

True forgiveness is rare because it is really, really hard.

People will say unforgiveness will put you in a prison. That forgiving really frees you.

Todoroki made this clear in a new way.

Another student accuses him of having his father’s eyes, eyes filled with hate at something. This horrifies him, as you can imagine.

And yikes, how many of us have been told we’re like our parent whom we feel is so unkind to us?

I have. I always hated it.

The thing is, I am like that parent in many ways. Not necessarily bad ways. But that last thing we want is to turn into the kind of person who hurt us.

But the kicker is, hate, it does that.

Hate made Todoroki more like his father than he realized. He treated people the same way. Maybe his was born out of his pain more than his pride, yet it ended up having the same effect, and unfortunately, pain often turns into pride.

We can be so good as convincing ourselves we’re okay without love. And okay shutting off a part of our lives.

I do that more than I admit, I think. I don’t realize I’m doing it. But I prefer to forget all the pain and crap happened to me.

Especially when it borders on abuse, or some kind of unfair treatment, you want to deny it really happened to you.

In Todoroki’s case, the evidence is right there on his face for all to see. Many people have scars like that, maybe not  on their face, but things they can’t remove that remind them of what happened.

Often, like him, they choose to withdraw emotionally. To become cold, hard like rock, and determined to prove they can survive on their own.

But if we think about it honestly (hard to do) we’ll have to recognize that parents and other perpetrators, they probably made that same choice back when they went wrong. They chose to withdraw, and then they became abusive, or cruel, or bitter.

And since sin always springs form similar sources, it’s in repeating their emotional sin that we start to repeat their actions.

That’s why not forgiving is so very dangerous. You will become what you do not forgive.

Racism goes both ways. One race abuses another, then the abused race starts to hate them, then when the odds shift to their favor they often do the same thing.

People who obsess over what was done to them start to neglect their own responsibilities. They end up hurting other people.

“Hurting people hurt people,” is a saying that is true. The only way to not hurt people is to heal the hurt in yourself. To seek healing really, since we can’t heal ourselves.

It’s in forgiving my parent that I’ve started to see why they are the way they are, why it’s wrong, and how I tend to do the same thing out of my own insecurity.

It takes strength to say the cycle ends here. To decide you will pursue healing until you no longer have forgiveness.

But in the end, if you want to be better than them, you have to do that.

Strangely, grace is not only what saves us from our own sins, but giving it is what saves us from other people’s.

Sin is contagious just as much for the pain it cause as for the pleasure. Much like untreated wounds can spread infection.

We should not blame ourselves for what people did to us, we only need to realize it’s up to us to seek healing. We can’t wait for someone else to force it on us.

Deku is a rare find. Most of us will have to make that choice without someone hammering away at our walls until we snap. Though if you have someone like that, good for you.

I still get angry, but I spend so much less time angry than I used to because I’ve begun to realize the real freedom lies in letting it go. It took me over 6 years to get to where I understood this at all, though I mentally accepted it before then, but at last I am starting to feel it.

When you are angry, this is really hard to accept, we have so many excuses to hold onto our hate.

Which is why it takes character to decide to forgive anyway.

You won’t feel it, you’ll feel like your anger is justified, but if you’re honest enough to accept that you need to let it go anyway, then I’m confident you’ll succeed.

It’s not impossible. It just takes patience.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.

I never thought I’d say this, not about anime, but I think I’ve questioned my outlook on life.

My sister turned me on to another show over the past two weeks, My Hero Academia, or Boku No Hero Academia, as some call it.

At first I thought, oh, it’s a cute chosen one story-line, you know, karate kid, Star Wars, Kung Fu Panda, pick almost any movie about a young boy and his mentor.

I like those stories as much as the next girl, but this show blew me out of the water by the end of the second season. If you’re into animated stuff at all, I highly recommend checking it out.

But I wasn’t expecting, even so, to actually get an epiphany from watching it. This happens to me with a lot of things I watch and read, but normally I have to dig it out. Watching this show it’s like it slapped me in the face.

The show isn’t really in your face, but it unashamedly makes its points, I think that was why I was surprised. RWBY, my other current favorite, is much more subtle and leaves you to figure out a lot of what its trying to say.

Anyway, I’m not going to review the whole thing here, I just wanted to lay the groundwork for my actual point.

One character on the show challenged me in particular, Bakugo, also called Katchan.

He starts off as a huge jerk, yet is constantly extolled as real hero material despite having obvious pride issues. (The premise of the show, if you haven’t heard of it, is a school for training young aspiring heroes in how to use their powers (quirks) well and effectively in fighting crime and rescuing people.) The teachers say that Bakugo is smart, talented, and has a grasp of what it takes to be a hero.

He’s extremely angry, especially at first, and hardly anyone likes him. I didn’t like him at all. But over time I started to see what they were getting at and how I could actually stand to learn something from it.

Bakugo always, always, wants to win. He wants to be the best, and only the best. At first he assumes this will be easy for him, eventually he realizes he’ll have to work hard at it, but he remains determined to reach for the top.

The thing is, I can’t begin to name the number of shows, books, movies, and possibly even teachings I’ve head that would tell you it’s not that important to win.

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” “Strive for truth, not victory.” “It’s just a game.”

Sound familiar?

I always assumed that was true. But what this show and character smacked me upside the head with was the realization that thinking that way is actually ludicrous.

Yeah, I said it.

NOT about everything, mind you. I’m not some Victory maniac, and that’s not the real point of the show either.

But as the main hero of the story pointed out, in fighting for justice, you need to want to be the best, you need to always want to win, no matter how hard it is.

And I realized, he’s right.

Justice, what is right, what should be, it’s not something you can achieve if you don’t want to win.

You have to believe it’s worth winning for.

See, personal gain is not really a good motivation for winning. Or personal pride. That’s Bakugo’s weak point, but he does get that a hero has to win.

Otherwise, they may be heroic, but their heroism doesn’t do anyone any good.

Self sacrifice is a beautiful thing, but it needs to accomplish something.

If I go back to the Bible I realize that this is, shockingly, exactly what it teaches.

Jesus didn’t go through all that terrible suffering just to lose. He did it to win. the Bible literally says “Death is swallowed up in victory” and “it is finished.”

As in, mic drop. That’s it. We’re done. We win.

“If God is for us then who can be against us?” “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans)

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You…they go from strength to strength.” (Ps 84: 5-7)

Actually, any reading of either the Old or New Testament would make it hard to doubt that God intends for us to fight to win. And to expect to win.

In fact, the notion that we can let everyone win is downright dangerous. I feel like this culture expects the good people to apologize for winning.

Considering the amount of criticism leveled at the police and other public defenders constantly, it gets even more disturbing.

It’s good to be humble, but not to apologize for winning.

It’s also not necessarily wrong to want to be the best. Being the best doesn’t make you a better human being, but it can make you more able to reach people.

There is some danger in wanting glory for yourself, but not in simply trying to be the best.

I think unfortunately Christians can shame this, because we like to focus on the underdog, the people who aren’t talented. We say “God can use you anyway.”

What about those of us who are talented? Who have a shot at being the best?

I was never pushed to get better, as a kid at church. I was told I was beyond everyone else. Not too different from Bakugo.

Even in college, I’m not often pushed to improve. My teachers often try to say we don’t need to worry too much.

It might be less stressful, but I feel somewhat deflated knowing I can get by on so little. And knowing even if I did better, my reward would only be a slightly higher grade, and my grades are good enough.

Good enough. Yeah.

God can use anyone. That’s true. That includes talented people.

It’s not quite as discouraged now, with the cultural movement to realize what you’re good at and pursue it, but mediocrity is still a disease that infects way too many areas of both society and the church.

It bugs me more with the Church; of all people, we ought to be saying that Good should win. How often do we accept defeat?

And we do accept it.

“Oh you have cancer? Sorry”

“Oh, they made that legal now? Oh well…”

“Oh they’re teaching that’s okay at our school? Too bad about that, hope our kids make it out okay.”

Yeah, sure.

Bakugo might be slightly crazy, but I’d put him on my team any day because he wouldn’t quit until he won. And when you’re fighting to save people and take down evil, which essentially is a Christian’s job description, then heck yeah! You need that kind of grit.

I don’t give up easy, but I don’t always fight with that kind of conviction. And I was ashamed to realize that, and challenged to do better.

So, it’s unprecedented that it took a show like this to make me see it, but I’m not sorry. What I do with this revelation is up to me. But now it’s out there.

And  have to ask, what have I given up on? What should I have kept trying to win?

Well, that’s none of your business, your business is to look at your won battles and ask yourself the same thing.

Best wishes on that, until next time-Natasha.

Vanity Fair: Social Media Mayhem.

So, I’ve become more Social Media Savvy the past few months, nothing too big, but I use the YouTube comment section, I held off for a long time on leaving comments, I thought it was a waste of time and potentially dangerous.

(Which it can be, but if you’re smart, hopefully you’ll know better.)

Now that I’ve become more active, I have experienced what it’s like to get like…and finally, a few dislikes.

And so the trap opens.

Honestly, when I found out I had dislikes my first reaction was a mix of two things:
“Darn” and “Yay!”

I mean, you know you’re eliciting emotions when you get negative feedback. Whether the message was “this is bad” or “this is mediocre” I’m not sure, they didn’t say, but it’s a message nonetheless.

Of course I prefer likes, but negative feedback is still engagement.

I also have experienced a couple of those infamous comment threads that usually turn into heated blasting of each other’s opinions.

In all fairness, I consider some outrage justified, I just think commenting it is a waste of time. Commenters, unless they are asking a genuine question, are never there to get a new opinion, they are there to validate their own. It’s as simple as that.

I’m hesitant to judge them for this since I too like it when people agree with my comment, plus, some fans use comments for what can actually be very funny jokes, clever observations, and the exchanging of appreciation for the hosts creativity. I’ve laughed out loud at some of the witty banter, and it’s not like being typed out on a screen makes it automatically less clever. People used to write comically in letters, it was just more one sided then since you had to wait so long for a response. I like dialogue, so the humor of comment exchange works for me.

I think it’s only fair to admit that not all praise from strangers is invalid. It’s true, no one on YouTube can really know the person they are praising (unless they do know them in real life) and if they are truly good, but the content can be judged just fine by proxy. And though some fans really don’t know good from bad, plenty of them are well informed on the subject and may even be experts in some ways. So their opinion has weight.

In some cases when it’s completely subjective, all well thought out opinions may have equal weight.

In my opinion, that’s the proper use for a comment section, and kind of what it was designed for. Feedback, and so people could share their love of something that maybe no one else in their life likes.

My prime example would be music videos and speakers that no one else in my life save my sisters and maybe a few friends who I don’t get to talk to much  is interested in, online I can see a whole community of people who are into it and have their own opinions. Which can be infuriating, but interesting all the same.

I still remember how shocked I was when I discovered Frozen via YouTube and found out thousands and millions of people shared my passion. It seems like it would’ve been hard for me to miss, but as someone who rarely left my house at the time and had almost no friends, I didn’t have a clue about fandoms and that no matter how weird and obscure the stuff you like is, there are usually a few hundred people who also like it out there.

It’s part of the often noted phenomenon that the internet is erasing the lines between people as far as sharing interests goes.

When it comes to humanity, we’ll argue about literally anything. And social media won’t change that, thought I won’t say it necessarily made it worse, it just made it easier to do without backlash.

But what about when we aren’t arguing. With all the likes and dislikes, is it true we base our self esteem on this stuff?

I’ve heard this a lot, but I don’t credit it as fully true.

Yes, getting negative feedback on one comment, video, or blog post 😉 is temporarily discouraging.

But when does it cause anyone a real loss of sleep? Does it stop them from commenting again? From putting out their next post?

Rarely, maybe the odd insecure person will be that affected, but most will “shake it off, shake it off” with time.

Hate comments are perhaps more of a problem, but the rest, isn’t it just vanity?

We like to feel liked, even if it’s only for the tiniest part of our lives. For me, my fan girl is a big part of my personality, but a small part of my character overall. It only influences my morality and my more serious life in small ways.

This is both the blessing and the curse of social media, even when it’s used for harmless things. It sets up this image of  person that shows only one side of them, and people have to interpret them through that.

This is something that always happens in friend groups. People have a niche, or they have several. Those who only have one tend to be seen as lacking diversity. And often that is all they are known by.

People in drama often know each other only as dramatic, people into history know each other by that, the internet only made this so that it didn’t have to be face to face.

I don’t think that is a problem. The only problem is when it’s substituted for the better thing: more well rounded relationships.

When we hate on people in the niche for disagreeing with us about stuff that in the end, will just be a few years of our life at most, we need to remember that social media is, in the end, a vanity fair.

In Ecclesiastes, the preacher says “vanity, vanity, all is vanity” meaning, everything is empty, meaningless, in of itself, except for God. The preacher notes that man’s days are short and full of chasing thins that do not matter. That we are vanity, unless by some wisdom, we chase the things of God. God’s work, he says, cannot have anything taken away or added to it, it is forever, and God does it this way so that men may fear before Him. (Eccl 3)

When I am on social media, and part of my eternal bank account. I have always believed that God cares about all aspects of my life, and that means anything cab e used by Him to grow me. How I handle hate in the internet world included. I can practice biblical principles in every are of my life.

And I can follow them in choosing what I will be a fan of, and it strengthens m convictions.

But I have to guard against what would weaken them too, because the problem with vanity, is that we all can be vain. We all can fall for appearances, smoke and mirror,s what glitters but is not gold.

I look for the gold, I try not to be blinded by glitter.

In the end, it’s just fuel for my fire, helping me to stay passionate.

Until next time–Natasha.

Holiday Meanings.

I did a post on new Year’s Day and did not talk about New Year’s resolutions…that would make me weird. I notice that bloggers usually talk about popular things around the holidays, like Christmas Spirit, being thankful, and changing your life.

You know, it’s interesting if you put those holidays in order, the order everyone thinks of, (technically New Year’s is both the first and last holiday of the year, since it starts on December 31st and ends January 1st), you get the Day for Thankfulness, the Day for Giving and Receiving, and the Day for New Beginnings.

I don’t want to say it was done on purpose, but there could be some symbolism there if you’re the type to look for it.

Often a step toward change is being thankful for what you have to start with, to take the ingredients of your life and start seeing them as assets, and not annoyances.

Then you might realize you need to be contribute something to the people around you, and if you’re like me, you realize you need to let them give something back to you. People like to be needed.

Finally, this may all amount to some serious life changes.

People complain a lot that New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time and lead only to broken promises, but holiday traditions are not necessarily completely literal.

In the Church when we take Communion, we are not literally eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood, he gave us communion so we could remember that we have done this in the spiritual realm, that eating and drinking mean something different there then they do in the physical. It reminds us of our need for Him, and Him fulfilling it.

In the same way, at Thanksgiving, we aren’t starving (hopefully) and we aren’t always people who are unhappy with this life and need to revolutionize how we think, it is simply reminding us to be thankful. That we are blessed.

Christmas is not the day we can give each other the most important gift of all, New Life, Hope, Christ, but we give gifts to remind each other of that gift. IT’s our way of honoring it.

And New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily a call to change everything in one day, they remind us that change is possible and we can make that choice. They remind us we aren’t perfect. But we can keep dreaming, and improving.

While it’s true many people have lost sight of the meaning of all three of these holidays, it doesn’t mean the meaning is not there.

I like the reminder on January first that I have a new year ahead, and a new chance.

I make a dream list every year instead of resolutions. I have things I want changed, but I prefer to dream, and not necessarily have a time limit on it. I’ve put some of the same things on my list for years, you learn patience.

I mentioned in my post about fan fiction that one thing I’ve learned form it is that I am not able to fix everything. I am not that smart. All I have to go on is the truth.

I’ve learned in twenty years of living that there’s alto I can’t control. But I’m at peace with that most of the time. I do get frustrated now and then, but I’ve come to see that God is the one who should be in control, not me.

The thing about writing, and often other art forms, is that you have total creative control, and yet you don’t. You are limited by your own limitations of character, intelligence, and knowledge. Many great writers wrote their best stuff without knowing they were doing it.

Leonardo Da Vinci is famous for his Mona Lisa, and we are not sure who she was, it’s likely he thought he would sell it, but he chose not to. It could be he didn’t plan on it being one of his greatest works, yet it ended up being so.

The same thing with holidays. They remind us of important things, but they won’t substitute for those things, it’s just a day to remember. And remember that we have room to grow.

Anyway, to the New Year!–Natasha.

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What I learned from Fan Fiction–2

So, I googled images for writing fan fiction after my last post, and it turns out I’m like the 50th person to write on this subject, but chances are most people still haven’t read about it, since I never have…logically…

I may check out some other people’s perspectives later, but there’s nothing wrong with continuing with mine, that is why people read this…man I love blogs.

Anyway, picking up from part one, I talked about why fan fiction is written, and what it taught me functionally about writing characters and romance.

I think one of the reasons it works is because writers of fan fiction are imitating, and you learn by intimating. The quality of the source materiel is a huge part of whether or not this imitating it making you a good writer. Bad shows have fan fictions, and they typically suck. It’s hard to make it better than it already was if there was nothing praiseworthy to begin with.

But, starting from the assumption that what I like is already worthwhile😉, I’d like to get more into how and why I write fan fiction.

A part of me does wonder if it’s unhealthy and obsessive. Many people think it is and will mock fan fic-ers mercilessly. I don’t typically talk about it. Once I mentioned it to some other fans of a show I like, and one guy’s response was just “no.”

With that encouragement, I keep it to myself.

But I honestly believe fan fiction is awesome. It’s so much fun, and it helps you understand why you likes something, and why it’s good, and what it’s flaws are.

But fan fiction is always primarily about the characters. People write it to get more of their favorite. Often a character who is dead will be alive, one who left the show is still there, one who is good will be evil (I never do that, but I will make typically steadily good characters have a crisis), one who is evil will turn good (guilty as charged), and a lonely character may get paired with another. An interesting outcome of fan fictions, (and a staple of most of them), is the emergence of what is known as OCs, or Original Characters. And they are hated by a lot of people who read fan fiction out of curiosity. An OC is almost always a self insert character. Born out of the writer’s desire to experience the story for themselves.

And I do have OCs, not every OC is self insert, it typically is, but some writers come up with many of them just because they enjoy character design and creation; my sister does this, she has little interest in writing a story, she just comes up with a look and a background.

I did something more unique with my OCs, I actually repeat them. I reference my previous fan fictions each time I write a new one. I have a whole part of the story that’s original, which explains how each is connected. It’s actually a very interesting idea that I think is worth exploring, involving dimension travel and the like, but for now I’m sticking to how it helps me write.

By having repeating OCs, especially my main one, I double the learning experience of writing. When you have to make your character fit in with this other world, you have to ask what makes it different form yours, what makes it similar, how would the characters react to anew person? What can your ideas add to the story? Can they add anything?

Often the shipping fan fics do not add anything to the story, and that goes for their OCs. So they mostly just write however they want and ignore how characters act.

But leaving that aside, others have to think about it. Many people don’t care if it’s true to story because it’s “just fan fiction” but my sisters have made me stick to the story’s tempo, it’s heart, and it’s tone. They don’t think a fan fiction is any good if it cannot work within the show or movie. because if there was nothing good about it, why would you care? And if it’s good, don’t change the good.

Change the bad.

So yes, I “fix” thinks in my fan fictions. Healing the story is actually considered to be a huge part of critical writing and reading, it teaches us what we like, what we don’t, what we value, what we don’t, etc.

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Before you assume that makes us spoiled brats who have to have things our way, let me ask you, do you complain about your life?

Do you wish it was different?

Do you ever try to change people? (We all do it.)

Do you try to change circumstances?

Are you God? Are you all knowing? Did you bring yourself into this world? Can you control your life?

The answer to all four of those latter questions is no.

You aren’t really qualified to change your life, yet you still do, or you try, and sometimes you succeed.

That’s real. That’s has real consequence, you could screw it up royally.

But you still do it.

Now, if you, oh flawed, limited person, can do that with real life, are you really able to judge us for doing it with imaginary things? We can’t hurt anyone but ourselves by doing it. It’s fairly “safe” to mess up your fan fiction. You can try to change people, and never actually change anything except your own perspective.

And that’s why I write. I do it to get a better perspective.

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I have control in a story that I will never have in real life. It’s not a power trip thought, few things are as humbling as writing. It shows you how little you know. It forces you to limit yourself…and that actually helps you. Through writing fan fictions I’ve faced the fact that I can’t change people. I can learn from them, but in the end you have to believe people can change because they have the ability not because you can make them. You can try to help, but they have to be open.

See, I can change the events of a plot, and still change absolutely nothing. The problems remain. The only way I can solve them is to find the truth. And I turn to an outside source for that.

When I “fix” stories, I don’t do it by doing what I want solely to happen, what I want becomes merged with what I think would happen, and what I think is best for the characters. I don’t actually always enjoy what I write, but I do it to work out the issues.

Basically, fan fiction lets me do what my original stories don’t. It’s just like real life enough to present me with people’s real world problems, and then I ask: can this be helped? Is there an answer to this in my Faith?

So far, I have always found one. Fiction often mirrors biblical truths without knowing it does.

My own stories, I need to have the answer already, there’s not much time to learn it. Fan fictions let me explore until I find it, then I can take that into my next original story.

I know some people will never understand why fan fiction is helpful. But I don’t need them to, I know it is. That’s what matters, until next time–Natasha.

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What I learned from Fan Fiction–1.

Happy New Year! And Merry Christmas. Hope it was a good one.

I have not been posting and I really have no excuse, other than a lack of ideas and the fact that I’ve been spending all my writing time on a thing called Fan fiction, or Fan fic, if you’re in the millennial and under abbreviated word crowd.

Then I thought: Why not just blog about that?

Fan Fiction: The only literature more mocked than trashy romance and cheesy sci-fi.

IF you could even call some of it literature.

IF you’re unfortunate enough to ever google your favorite show or movie and search for “images” you probably know the disturbing porny stuff that will pop up. ( I wonder if I can adjust my filter for that?) I’m just looking for some innocent wallpaper or something, and I get this? Ewww!

Anyway, that in a nutshell is why people hate fan fiction, or at least consider it a sort of guilty pleasure and find nothing in it that would have any real meaning.

And some fan–all–fan fiction is the fans making what they think should happen happen, irregardless of what the creators of the content actually intend. Which many people think is disrespectful.

If you approach it from the perspective that there is no right way to write, then those people are right, but as all of you know, I believe in absolutes and standards that are above personal opinion, so I will make the argument that there IS a RIGHT way to WRITE, and fan fiction is then somewhat justified.

SOME of it is.

People write fan fiction for one of three or maybe two, reasons. They either ship certain characters, often LGBT ones, and the creators refuse to make it cannon, so they write the story how they think it should happen, but it’s typically very sexual, disgustingly so; porny; and at about the level of a 13-14 year old’s fantasy romance. No substance, all attraction and vanity. And yes, that was once me too. I moved on. (Just to be clear, I’ve never written a story like that, I just read them. We all make mistakes.)

The other, and more interesting reason, is the fans think the writers are doing something wrong with a certain character or plot point, and they change it. These fan fictions can actually be quite fascinating from what  hear, and sometimes the creators even think so and take inspiration from them. Fans can be smart writers and amazingly creative.

Now, you may think, if the fans think it’s wrong, why watch it?

Well, to use some more pop culture internet lingo, fan fic-ers are rarely HATERS. Haters are actually the bane of fandoms (and trolls), and will complain about literally anything, even if it’s precisely the opposite of what they complained about before. For example, they want a character to get some emotional development, the writers agree and write it in (chances are they were going to do it anyway) and the fan sees it, grudgingly acknowledges it was what they asked for…and then complains that some of it wasn’t in line with what they thought would happen.

This is sometimes justified if the character is acting completely funky. Like how in the Avengers movies Captain America completely changes his emotional issues every movie. He has no consistency–except feeling out of place in the future. Which wears n me because they do nothing with it except make me feel sad.

Cap was one of my favorite characters, but I can’t keep liking him if he keeps changing every time, and it’s kind of sad.

However, most of the time, that’s not the case and the haters are whiny babies as far as the material is concerned.

That’s not where fan fiction comes from. Fans who write fiction love the show, usually more than any other fans do, and are committed enough to devote hours of their time to their fantasy. They watch every episode (or installment if its’ movies) they study every scene, and they usually have some decent reasons for their complaints. The ones who actually have complaints and don’t just ship characters. and by the way, fan fic-ers who write to fix the story usually feel disgusted or at least amused with the ones who just ship people, it’s so vapid.

Not that it’s wrong, as long as it’s not porny, but it’s…just shipping, unless it grows the characters, what purpose does it serve? (I’ve explained in previous posts how I think shipping is good when it helps the characters and thereby the fans, but bad when it’s just about attraction and hormones.)

As you can guess by now, I also write fan fiction.

I was hesitant to start doing it, my first fan fiction was about the Justice League, I wrote some for Frozen, Kim Possible, more Justice League, Ever After High, and now RWBY. (If you’ve followed me for years, you probably have read about each of those in turn.)

Now don’t worry, I have no intention of posting this stuff in public. It’s only interesting to me and my siblings because we agree about how things should happen. But I thought I’d like to talk about what I learned from doing it.

Because believe it or not, I learned a lot form writing this stuff.

When I write, I ask God to lead me. whether it’s something I want to publish, or something I never want to. Because to me it doesn’t matter. I write to teach myself as much as other people, so even if they never see it, I’m still learning.

And the first thing Fan fic has taught me is to be a better writer.

I originally was a very preachy, pedantic, fundamental Christian writer. And while there is a place for all three of those things, I write fiction. And only a few geniuses have very balanced a very preachy message with a very good story. Hans Christian Andersen, George MacDonald, John Bunyan, Louisa May Alcott, those are a few I know of.

My fiction was okay back then but it was sorely lacking in nuance. At first, when I wrote fan fiction, I treated it the same way. I paid little attention to emotional development, and I didn’t know how to make the characters true to form.

This showed in my own stories in how I often failed to flesh out the characters I made up. I liked the adventure, but my character’s motivation often didn’t make sense.

But as I got older and read back over these fan fics, I realized the problem, and my sisters pointed it out also since they are the only people usually interested in them, and they pushed me to the point of annoyance to learn how to write the characters better…so I did.

I studied them, and  I started to recognize cues like expression, body language, word choice, and their outlook on life, and I started to incorporate it.

It was clumsy at first, since it is extremely hard to write characters who talk differently then you, react differently, and think differently, ask any new writer. IF you read people’s earlier books, even famous authors, you’ll notice the same thing. But I tried and tried…and now more often than not, I nail it. I can tell how a character would react because I’ve become way better at assessing them.

This carries over into my writing. One of my favorite books I’ve written has six main characters, and I gave each of them their own quirks, speech patterns, sense of humor (or lack thereof) and body language, I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it and my sister laughed out loud at a lot of their exchanges. I don’t think I could have written it without months of practicing in fan fictions.

Fan fictions are training stories for me. It’s where I practice new styles, concepts, and types of characters before I attempt to create some of my own. I find out what I’m good at writing, what I struggle with, and I practice it.

Another example: Romance

writing good romance is essential to an author who’s going to have a diverse cast of characters in their story. It’s bound to happen, and it’s fun to read, but I was very shy of writing it. Fan fiction helped me push past that. Knowing it wouldn’t go public, and no one but me necessarily has to see it, gave me the freedom to practice.

Romance is till probably my weakest writing point, but it’s improved immensely over time because of fan fiction.

That’s all I can fit into this, but next time I want to talk about the even more important reason I think fan fiction is awesome and crucial to many people.

Until next time–Natasha.