“A purity ring doesn’t carry much meaning when Ron Weasley is pulling it off with his teeth.”
I’m just gonna be over here, slow-clapping.
“But if anything, most fan fiction is a rejection of Rihanna and EL James’s leather-bound version of sexuality. When most teenagers are faced with the miserable advice of sex education (put a condom on a carrot, use a mirror to look at your bits), or the miserable version of sexuality in porn, fan fiction offers a more honest way to engage with relationships and sex.”
Here here, Guardian.
Sometimes people get upset because slash fanfiction exists. Sometimes it’s because they’re scandalized; sometimes because they feel nothing should happen in fanfiction that’s not explicit in canon (I’m not sure why these people read fanfiction in the first place, frankly). Others seem to feel that slash fanfiction is some kind of criticism of the existing relationships in canon. Why can’t they just be friends? people ask. What’s wrong with them being friends?
There is nothing wrong with any two characters being friends. Nothing at all. People (like me) who write slash fanfiction aren’t opposed to friendships, and aren’t necessarily using their writing to project what they think should happen in canon. It’s rarely a prediction of what they think will happen. To see all fanfiction as a rejection of what’s happening in canon is a mistake.
I am endlessly interested in why people write fanfiction, or draw fanart, or make fanvids, or participate in fandom generally. Everyone has their own story, and I love to hear those stories (though it’s practically a rude question to ask). As a general rule, people who produce fanworks do so because they enjoy the original material and want to take it for a spin on their own terms.
Sometimes they’re trying to “fix” it; sometimes they’re drenching themselves in it and rejoicing in it. Sometimes fanfiction is written to point out a perceived flaw in characterization or plot, but often it’s no criticism at all. It’s a space to experiment with what-if scenarios, dream up new stories, fill in missing scenes, take characters in new directions. We do it because we love it. We love what’s there. We want to see more, play with it, drive it to places we find emotionally satisfying. We try it on in a million different ways, because we love it.
Fandom is its own universe; each piece of fanfiction creates a little universe of its own. We make our mark in the tiny ways we divert from the canon narrative, in the new things we have characters say, and the unique details we add to their settings and spaces. We add ourselves to a universe we love. Not necessarily because we think it needs us. Just because it’s fun, and we want to be there, we want to leave something behind.
All narratives are open to interpretation, and fanfiction (and other fanworks) is a way to describe how you see something you love, or another way the story could have gone, or a way to skew what you see on the screen to create something new. Looking at it from another angle doesn’t mean you don’t love what you see. Taking a very close friendship and making it romantic isn’t a rejection of that friendship. It’s just taking a story in a different direction. We can write what we write and still love the friendship we see on screen. The friendship exists already; we might not feel compelled to write about it. Maybe it’s just done so well on the screen that we want to leave it as it is. We love a romance, so we write romance. This isn’t cognitive dissonance for most of us. Fanfiction is only a personal version of the story to play with, not (necessarily) a strident plea to revisit the whole thing.
In sum: fanfiction is (for the most part, in my opinion) made of love.
Saw this and wanted to share my story about how this is untrue.
I was writing fanfiction in notebooks in high school, and me and my friends would pass it back and forth because they wanted to read all the smutty goodness. If anyone has read some of my fanfics for supernatural or otherwise you’ll know what I’m talking about.
One day I was writing a particularly x rated scene in science. My friend was really excited about it and was bugging me to write faster and pass it to her to read. So I did and at one point the old fat teacher (a guy no less) goes, what are you writing that’s so wonderful? It can’t be notes, let me read it to the class.
My friend literally gasped and I started shaking my head, ‘no you really don’t want to read this.’ I told him and he gave me a look so I brought it up to him and had to stand there as he read the most graphic man on man sex scene I’d probably ever written to date. I saw his eyes scan over the paper, and slowly get bigger and he glanced up at me and all I could do was shrug. ‘told you so’ I thought.
He turned out to be a cool teacher and made up some gross sounding love confession about some guy I was crushing on, and then said don’t write anymore notes in his class. I sat down and I swear for the rest of that year he never called on me or looked at me for more than 2 seconds the rest of the semester.
fanfiction could have ended my life that day.
omg that story! lmao! I would die of a heart attack if that happened to me.
Angela, we should play this when we read fanfiction.
I hate it when you’re reading smut and you can’t figure out what position they’re in.
tywinning asked you:
As a professor, may I ask you what you think about fanfiction?
I think fanfiction is literature and literature, for the most part, is fanfiction, and that anyone that dismisses it simply on the grounds that it’s derivative knows fuck-all about literature and needs to get the hell off my lawn.
Most of the history of Western literature (and probably much of non-Western literature, but I can’t speak to that) is adapted or appropriated from something else. Homer wrote historyfic and Virgil wrote Homerfic and Dante wrote Virgilfic (where he makes himself a character and writes himself hanging out with Homer and Virgil and they’re like “OMG Dante you’re so cool.” He was the original Gary Stu). Milton wrote Bible fanfic, and everyone and their mom spent the Middle Ages writing King Arthur fanfic. In the sixteenth century you and another dude could translate the same Petrarchan sonnet and somehow have it count as two separate poems, and no one gave a fuck. Shakespeare doesn’t have a single original plot—although much of it would be more rightly termed RPF—and then John Fletcher and Mary Cowden Clarke and Gloria Naylor and Jane Smiley and Stephen Sondheim wrote Shakespeare fanfic. Guys like Pope and Dryden took old narratives and rewrote them to make fun of people they didn’t like, because the eighteenth century was basically high school. And Spenser! Don’t even get me started on Spenser.
Here’s what fanfic authors/fans need to remember when anyone gives them shit: the idea that originality is somehow a good thing, an innately preferable thing, is a completely modern notion. Until about three hundred years ago, a good writer, by and large, was someone who could take a tried-and-true story and make it even more awesome. (If you want to sound fancy, the technical term is imitatio.) People were like, why would I wanna read something about some dude I’ve never heard of? There’s a new Sir Gawain story out, man! (As to when and how that changed, I tend to blame Daniel Defoe, or the Modernists, or reality television, depending on my mood.)
I also find fanfic fascinating because it takes all the barriers that keep people from professional authorship—barriers that have weakened over the centuries but are nevertheless still very real—and blows right past them. Producing literature, much less circulating it, was something that was well nigh impossible for the vast majority of people for most of human history. First you had to live in a culture where people thought it was acceptable for you to even want to be literate in the first place. And then you had to find someone who could teach you how to read and write (the two didn’t necessarily go together). And you needed sufficient leisure time to learn. And be able to afford books, or at least be friends with someone rich enough to own books who would lend them to you. Good writers are usually well-read and professional writing is a full-time job, so you needed a lot of books, and a lot of leisure time both for reading and writing. And then you had to be in a high enough social position that someone would take you seriously and want to read your work—to have access to circulation/publication in addition to education and leisure time. A very tiny percentage of the population fit those parameters (in England, which is the only place I can speak of with some authority, that meant from 500-1000 A.D.: monks; 1000-1500: aristocratic men and the very occasional aristocratic woman; 1500-1800: aristocratic men, some middle-class men, a few aristocratic women; 1800-on, some middle-class women as well).
What’s amazing is how many people who didn’t fit those parameters kept writing in spite of the constant message they got from society that no one cared about what they had to say, writing letters and diaries and stories and poems that often weren’t discovered until hundreds of years later. Humans have an urge to express themselves, to tell stories, and fanfic lets them. If you’ve got access to a computer and an hour or two to while away of an evening, you can create something that people will see and respond to instantly, with a built-in community of people who care about what you have to say.
I do write the occasional fic; I wish I had the time and mental energy to write more. I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of fic these days because most of it is not—and I know how snobbish this sounds—particularly well-written. That doesn’t mean it’s “not good”—there are a lot of reasons people read fic and not all of them have to do with wanting to read finely crafted prose. That’s why fic is awesome—it creates a place for all kinds of storytelling. But for me personally, now that my job entails reading about 1500 pages of undergraduate writing per year, when I have time to read for enjoyment I want it to be by someone who really knows what they’re doing. There’s tons of high-quality fic, of course, but I no longer have the time and patience to go searching for it that I had ten years ago.
But whether I’m reading it or not, I love that fanfiction exists. Because without people doing what fanfiction writers do, literature wouldn’t exist. (And then I’d be out of a job and, frankly, I don’t know how to do anything else.)
i found presidential fan fiction I’m really distressed
HADLEY LOOK AT THIS LOOK AT IT
Well, this just shouldn’t exist ever. You know you need help when you write fan fiction about politicians. Seriously. Is this even real?