I had an idea awhile ago about writing a blog about how writing fan fiction helps you improve as a writer. I haven’t written it up yet because I realized I could write an entire series on the idea. I’ll get to that eventually. I suppose this could be the prologue.
For now I want to bring up the view some have that writing fan fiction is the bottom of the barrel. Look at this flowchart to see what I’m talking about. I’m in the “erotic fanfic writers” category. It’s not all I’ve written, but it’s my work with the highest hit count on websites. I’m not sure if being the writer of multiple erotic fanfiction is something I should be embarrassed about, but let’s just say it’s not something I advertise to the people around me. Ultimately, I was embarrassed and in the past couple of years I decided to stop writing fan fiction. Then I wrote two fanfic stories anyway, and have not been able to write anything else unless it’s a challenge from NaNoWriMo. I even dropped out of Script Frenzy this year.
This is a problem. I swore to stop writing fanficiton so I could concentrate on original fiction with the new lessons I had learned along the way. Instead I screeched to a halt and I’m not sure why. Somewhere between writing about the web of relationships between characters that normally lead to some heated erotic encounters and trying to write what I imagine is real honest fiction instead, I lost my motivation. The most obvious answer to me is that I’m a pervert and I should try writing original stories about the relationships between people that leads to detailed sexcapades. I’m going to try that for NaNoWriMo this year.
My biggest worry is something different. I’m worried that I reached a roadblock because I can’t create original stories worth a damn. I hope that’s not the case and I’m going to pretend that the thought never crossed my mind and keep writing. I also think the problem might be that I sat down with the intention of writing “original non-pornograpic fiction” instead of sitting down and writing a story. I have many stories in my head, I should just write them down instead of worrying over the proper way I’m suppose to be doing things. Clearly, worrying about it is getting me nowhere.
One of the best things about being a fanfiction writer was the instant gratification. I could see hit counts and get comments straight from people who were reading my work. If I was writing a multi chapter fic then I knew I had readers waiting. I had incentive to continue. I didn’t want to let people down because I know how much it sucks to be reading a WIP and then have it abandoned by the author. And also, I didn’t want to miss out on the praises people left in my comments. Even the occasional flame was nice.
But for the shame of being a fanfiction writer, I closed down my livejournal blog and buried the links to my stories.
However, I didn’t take down my fics. I can’t stand it when fanfic authors do this. I really enjoyed some stories that now I’ll never be able to read again. And so for all my shame I leave my stories up. I don’t want to disappoint someone who genuinely enjoys them. But mostly I just don’t see a reason why I should hide them. I’ve done what I’ve done. It’s out there, it’s been out there. The internet sees all and forgets nothing. My online handle is a tag in delicious where some of my stories have been bookmarked multiple times. Why should I delete them?
I suppose I worry sometimes that I’ll get published one day and my writing history would make others think less of me. I worry too sometimes that I’ll meet the people behind the characters and worlds I’ve written in and they will not be very happy with me. And then I’ll never get invited to any of the right parties. But I leave the stories up anyway. I’d rather my history be known than try to hide it and then have it be discovered one day. Best everyone know what kind of deviant I am from the start.
But I still say that writing fanfic can be a big benefit. I also think, thanks to great insight and reminders from this Cracked article, that it’s not anything I should be ashamed of doing. However, I would still like to point out that I have written original work, I just haven’t been published. But I’m not disheartened. Having received so many great and encouraging comments through the years from my fanficiton readers has led me to believe that I’m a half-way decent writer. I have entertained people, and that’s the point of telling a story.
- Image 1 – above is from ruggericon, using an image from Star Trek: The Original Series
- Image 2 – from Graph Jam
- Image 3 – by eosrose for the podfic big bang