So there are certain behaviors that will solidify you as a geek without any chance of deniability. Cosplay in any sort of non-Halloween or non-spice-up-the-sex-life situation, for one. Or how about proclaiming, “There can be only one!” each and every time you’re faced with a multiple-choice question? I, and many others, flaunt our geek-flag in the form of fanfiction—quite possibly the geekiest geek pastime out there.
Quick definition: fanfiction is…well, fiction… written by fans…of a particular fandom. I really did try to come up with a more English-teacher appropriate definition, yet the only other way I can describe it is, if you ever had a hankering to have seen Indiana Jones have his way with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I have your outlet (this really exists by the way and will be linked below).
The reason fanfiction is such a geek absolute is because, why would anyone bother unless they lived and breathed the source material that inspired it? I mean, I never understood the populous’ obsession with NCIS, but it’s one of the most popular universes to write about on fanfiction.net with over 25,000 submitted stories. I’m less dedicated to brushing my teeth twice a day.
Fanfiction gets a great deal of shit for its reputation as being an outlet for nerd girls to write lemons (smutty smutty sex scenes) of pairings that never actually happened in the book/comic/show/movie/etc. I mean, on what planet would Spike be shlobbing all over Angel’s undead-nob with lips a-quiverin’ when Buffy was getting her hair done? No judgment of what you’re into, but let’s save it for Twilight-shall we? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for smut- the more depraved and gratuitous the better, but I hate the image fanfiction gets for being a bunch of badly written, 500 word yaoi. There are some mind-blowingly AMAZING authors out there that have written novel length epics as gut-wrenching as any published original work out there (sometimes plus some smut and slash, but come on-I’m an adult now and so is the Harry Potter crew :)
Some writers get a little snippy when it comes to their fans taking the reins of their creations. It is pretty ballsy, I suppose. When writing a fanfic, even the most worshiping and humble fan is basically saying they can do it better than the dude who came up with it. George R. R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones for you lames out of the loop) weighed on the debate back in 1999:
“The reasons most authors frown on fan fiction are legal. If you do not defend your copyright, legally the case can be made that you have abandoned it, and you lose all ability to protect your work.
I also think that doing fan fiction is bad training for any aspiring writer. With the world and the background all provided, the writer does not learn to create these things for himself. Fan fiction is to fiction as paint-by-numbers kits are to painting.
Of course, it is very flattering when someone likes your world so much that they want to write stories in it, and you hate to douse any fan’s enthusiasm… but ultimately it’s a bad idea, for both fan =and= pro.”
George, I love you and I’ll see you at your signing in a few weeks. BUT, for someone who has a habit of taking five years to write a book he promised would take one AND for someone who has a tendency of killing off beloved characters as if they were Crewman #6, you’d think he’d be a little more understanding of his fans needing a fix. I’m not aspiring to be a writer, I’m just trying to curb my need to hurl eggs at you and your wife when you’re out at dinner instead of WRITING MY BOOK(nerd rage calmed) Besides, half of the geniuses that have given us the stories and universes we love, are avid fanfiction writers themselves, they just call it retconning instead(nerd rage boiling). I’m sorry, midi-cholorians? Did Qui-Gon have a stroke or was that a sneeze? And don’t get me started on you, J.K. Rowling. I’ll list you your sins when you tell me exactly what Pottermore is instead of distracting me with cool animations while pretending you make sense. So, fuck it. Han didn’t shoot first. Greedo didn’t shoot first. Caine from Kung Fu air-bended the blaster out of the Rodian’s hand and, after buying him a pan-galactic gargle blaster as a sign of no hard feelings, he roundhouse kicked him into the sarlacc’s beak. That’s what I saw, how about you?
All in all, I can see how it violates copyright claims, you know, like everything else on the Internet. There’s a whole lot less hooplah over fanart, and where would we be without some of the talent hosted at deviantart.com? Besides, most fic writers put a big old disclaimer at the beginning of their stories: “the characters and situations are property of so-and-so, no money is being made off of this fiction.” See? No thievery, we’ll still buy your books, comics, and merchandise. In all honesty, it should be understood that creativity only inspires creativity. I’m stimulated by the worlds these true visionaries have created, I can only suppose, for us, the fans. If we feel like that means we own some part of it in some way, then that’s the point.
SO! If you’re waiting for a new season of Firefly or Jane Austen to come back from the dead (as a non-zombie) and write a true sequel to Pride and Prejudice, maybe you should give fanfiction a try. Personally, I like to stay pretty in-canon, but if it’s your true dream to write a Mugen/Jin (Samurai Champloo) hookup fic, send it to me and I’ll be the first to read it. If you’re no good at writing, then there is plenty to read, good and bad, hilarious and bizarre. Either way, make sure you give feedback to the authors if for no other reason than to let them know there are other people out there who love whatever they ship about as much as they do.
If you’re interested, comment and ask for some recommendations or follow the webpage and look for my upcoming weekly segment when I’ll suggest stories and read excerpts. It’s gonna be a blast.
also, some terminology.
yaoi-also known as Boys’ Love, is a Japanesefor female-oriented fictional media that focus on homoerotic or homoromanticmale relationships, usually created by female authors.
shipper-A fan devoted to a paticular couple/pairing in a fandom. Usually fanatical.
slash- Genre of fanfiction involving pairing two male or female characters together; characters are commonly shown with a slash in between
AU-A fanfic term meaning Alternate Universe. AU – is a fanfic which includes elements of a book which are completely unfeasible.
one-shot-Writing about a character, place or thing that has been done on a spur of the moment of a fandom or orginal piece. Usually is to short for a short story consisting of only one chapter.
drabble-A short piece of writing (usually fanfiction but sometimes original), usually no more than a 1000 words (although length is debatable) and often not bearing any real direction or plot. Drabbles are more often used to make a point about the characters or events involved, or to provide an introspection or specific point of view.
songfic-An often exceedingly craptastic piece of fanfiction which alternates between a story and song lyrics. Not a bad idea by itself, but usually not done very well at all.
crossover- characters and elements from one fandom meet characters and elements from another.
also also, some sweet links.
leia’s page on ff.net: www.fanfiction.net/u/951301/withwings18
Voldey/Indiana fic I mentioned(it’s really hilarious) http://archive.skyehawke.com/story.php?no=7136&chapter=1&font=&size=
cracked article about fic pairings http://www.cracked.com/article_16554_the-5-most-baffling-sex-scenes-in-history-fanfiction_p2.html
best joker/harley fic writer EVER: http://www.jokerxharley.net/efiction/viewuser.php?uid=114
best Harry Potter SMUT writer ever: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2076279/RZZMG