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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s