Op-Ed: I’m A Fanfiction Elitist


And so my descent (ahem, ASCENT) into Geekdom continues: am addicted to fan fiction. I mean seriously, where else can one revel in the fantastical construction of your favourite characters and other people’s rather deplorable imaginations of said characters?

This is something I submitted to issue 2.2 of the zine Nerds Gone Wild! (founded by the inaugural Mia Timpano). I still haven’t heard a response from her or her associate editor, but my byline stalking still ensues – she’s published in this bi-month’s Russh and of course, Frankie.

One day I will have a proper WordPress blog/journal thingo site where I properly and coherently dump all my writings. Until I find someone who is actually WordPress-literate, I will continue to flounder here on Blogger – not that it’s all bad, it’s just that updating it takes about the same amount of time for a sloth to decide whether or not it needs to sneeze.

Anyhoo…

——

I’m a FanFiction Elitist

I blame the combination of Buffy’s vampiric duties with Irvine Kinneas’ wily pixellated ways for my habit. Seven years later and I’m a potential addict, devoting at least three hours a day sitting on FFN (Fanfiction.Net for you fan fiction n00bs) and apparently brimming with elitist wankerism. Just because I believe Mary Sues should die a slower death than the soap opera plotline of an Orphen fic I read recently, doth not maketh an elitist. And what is elitist wankerism when you’re a writer and appreciator of writing in equal parts?

My perchance for fan fiction wasn’t always like this. I exhausted my catalogue of Buffy and Angel videos around the same time I discovered the internet. So in between painstakingly taping episodes off the TV without commercials over approximately 17 tapes, I satisfied my obsession online at FFN inhaling the stories on offer with the fervency of a junkie on crack. Dial-up connections and 56mb RAM were no obstacle compared to Joss Whedon’s lag between seasons. It was around this time that Final Fantasy VII came out, and after sobbing out my eyeballs in a dark corner over Aeris’ demise, it was back to FFN to see what the equally emotional masses had drummed up in their fantastical imagined worlds – most of which consisted of melodramatic plotlines of Aeris’ and Cloud’s wedding, their subsequent children, catfights between Aeris and Tifa, and enough slash to make my 12-year-old self become a mild frigid for a few years.

It was during one particular late night binge that I realised my R&R’s were approaching the lengths of a progressively horrible franchise starting with “power” and ending with “rangers”. A perusal of my recent reviews to a writer, who utilised my new favourite vampires in her stories, found numerous mentions of “you’re getting completely OOC with him to the point where it’s unrealistic” and “there is no way he would attack Bella with the hormonal implosions of a 14-year-old”, as well as, “how the hell can you go from this scene to the next without giving proper explanation to your villains’ actions from previous chapters?!! READ THE BOOK FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”. And let’s not start with my increasingly apparent anal retentivity regarding Mary Sues, grammar, punctuation, and that fact that the main character is a bloody vampire (no pun intended), and therefore not human, for a reason.

One thing I’d like to get straight: I am not a troll or flamer, though I may attract similar examples of such. I am persnickety with characterisation and fluidity of voice because I want these stories to get better – to make these storylines believable, it’s all in the mannerisms. I don’t do it because I have an inferiority complex or because my only friends are online, and therefore that is where I gain my self-esteem – for fuck’s sake, not all nerds are socially inept in the ‘real world’.

The whole point of fan-fiction is to take these characters that you love so purely and allow them to help you become better writers and creative magicians, and in doing so, help you and others fill the void. You do not add a disclaimer at the beginning of your chapters only to violate the characters you’ve come to adore more than your limited edition Spike Season Two action figure. OOC characterisations and side stories with minor characters are doable, so long as they’re believable. OOC for major characters should be outlawed and punishable by repeated viewings of Batman and Robin via the Ludovico technique.

So if you ever decide to write fan fiction, do keep in mind that characters are not there to be exploited into dialogue that fails to breach the realms of conversation between two Pokémon. Nor are they there to cavort in a highly sexualised fashion with a randomly inserted character of your own imagination. FFN will tell you to ‘unleash your imagination’, but I urge you to think twice about what my imagination is capable of should you decide to write lemon between two male pilots from NERV just because you saw Shinji Ikari speak to them before an Angel mission in episode 15. Yes, caps lock does not fully express your otaku joy, but my keyboard will express my own kind of ‘joy’ over your nauseating attempt at yaoi.


Some FF terminology:

Beta: a fanfic writer’s editor, often arranged through a shared appreciation for a particular series, show etc.
OOC: out-of-character a.k.a the fine line between fanfic escapism and downright debauchery of the original text.
R&R: read and review
WIP: work-in-progress
B/A: Buffy/Angel-centric fic, or any other two characters depending on the series. Forward slash may also be substituted with an ‘x’.
R&R: Read and review; often used by those on FFN
Slash: male/male relationships in fanfiction. Common examples include Kirk and Spock, Harry and Snape. Recently, the term ‘slash’ has been used to describe any type of erotic fanfiction, regardless of sexuality.
Lemon: fanfiction containing sexually explicit content – ‘lime’ refers to mildly sexual content
Yaoi: publishing genre which focuses on male/male relationships and is marketed at females, originally from Japan, stemming from manga.
Yuri: as above but focusing on female/female relationships

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s