Fan Fiction

I have spent the better part of this evening lost in the words of others who share the same affinity for writing as I do. However, these people have more focus than I. They’re braver than I.

These people write fan fiction.

Fan fiction is something I should have started doing a long time ago. For as long as I can remember, I re-wrote storylines, filled in the blanks, or added my own characters to existing plots from television shows.  I just never thought to write them down.

It amazes me how different one piece of fan fiction can be from the next. Some literally fill in the blanks of existing television episodes. They elaborate on things that happened off camera, but weave in actual events. Some imagine the future, well beyond that of their understood time and place. Others take the shell of the characters – the names, some general characteristics – and thrust them into an entirely different world.

Done well, fan fiction is some of the best writing out there. It’s taking something you love and giving you a new way to experience it. It does what you always wanted television to do for you. It takes you deep into their lives, it gives you their thoughts, their motivations. It’s everything you dared to hope for your beloved characters, and more.

I will admit, most of the fan fiction that goes on in my head involves inserting my own character into the fray. I often think of these stories in this new character’s point of view, though the characteristics we share are often few.

Fan fiction is a place where you’re allowed to hope, to dream, to imagine.

The only thing that has kept me from writing fan fiction was the reaction. When you write your own thoughts or create your own stories, they’re yours. No one can say you got it wrong, because there is no such thing.  It’s right because it’s yours, you created it, there exists no other reality.  But if you take something that was created by someone else, if you take something that is already loved by other people, if you manipulate this reality that already exists…you risk backlash. You risk getting attacked and criticized. You risk being told you were wrong.

Heather Hogan is one of my favorite writers of all time. I pore over everything she publishes online – from her Afterellen Pretty Little Liars recaps to her Twitter account.  I have tweeted at her, as I do many celebrities, and I have had the honor of being answered.  Twice, she told me that my tweets made her laugh, which was one of the highest honors I have ever been bestowed. Once, I had tweeted to her about my hesitance when it comes to writing fan fiction.

Her response was, “My grandma: Fandoms can get mad at you, but they can’t kill you. OK, maybe they can kill you, but I won’t let them eat you.”

It made me laugh and it made me think. The worst that would happen would be that someone wrote mean things to me or about me. This is assuming anyone read it at all. I have recently come to the realization that people that I do not know personally sometimes read this blog. And sometimes enjoy it. Whenever I get a comment or tweet regarding something I’ve written, my heart swells.  To know that I could elicit any sort of reaction at all blows my mind every time.

So, I have come to the conclusion…if I could write something that made someone upset? I think I’d be okay with that. First of all, it meant they read what I wrote. Which is really all a girl can ask for. Also, I write for me, mostly. If someone else doesn’t like what I write, it doesn’t matter. I’m almost positive nothing I write could ever cause a physical reaction in any way, so the worst that could happen was that someone writes something mean. I’m a big girl, I can take it if someone doesn’t like something I’ve written. Hell, I don’t even like some things I’ve written.

I have a lot of plans for things I want to write. All of them fiction. The non-fiction stuff comes easier. It’s mostly just my thoughts or my memories streaming right from my brain through my fingers to the screen.  Fiction is harder because it’s taking the sounds and images in my brain and transcribing them into words. Not just any words, but words that express exactly what I mean to convey, carefully chosen to evoke the feelings I want to evoke, tell the story I want to tell.

Reading fan fiction makes me want to write fan fiction. So perhaps, soon, I shall write fan fiction.

I’ll give you three guesses as to where I will start.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 07/23/2011.

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