Concerning the Validity of Fan Fiction

Entry #5 – February 22, 2017

Dear Kath,

A week or so ago, I finished my first major short story for a class. It clocked in at 11 pages written over the course of two days and I have never felt so proud. Having always been arrogant and narcissistic, I wrote about myself in the light of your departure. That was an interesting time, indeed. And I look back on it now with a different set of eyes than I did even a few months ago.

But enough of that. After all, that’s not what this entry is about. 

It hits me now more than ever that we’re so far from “Once upon a time,” when you told me not to write fiction because I was above it. And now I wonder what you’d make of me. I wonder if you’d insist that I really am above it, what you really saw fiction as. (I never really thought to ask, I just presumed that you held it in a low regard.)

You would probably be even more horrified to hear that nowadays I’m writing fan fiction in my spare time. Again, I think that life’s funny that way, eh? You’d probably ask if I was so desperate for attention or renown that I’d act the way I am now, and who knows? Maybe I am. Or perhaps this is much more about doing and learning something that I want for a change. Perhaps I will look back on these times and think that I was mad, or a failure for not seeing a clear path laid out in front of me.

But in this moment, I want to try everything.

But I digress again. 

Or do I? Because that would be my first point about how fan fiction benefits me. For me, fan fiction feels a lot like a testing ground for me. It’s where I use characters that I already love, whose characterizations have already been cemented, that I don’t need to take the time to flesh out and explore myself. It’s how I can try to teach myself to create some better narratives. For me, it’s a lot about having a chance to experiment with new techniques without having to constantly develop worlds and characters in a time-constricted environment (uni).

Moreover, and just as importantly, it’s fun. Over the past few years, I’ve forgotten how to write for myself, and I’ve forgotten how to enjoy writing (another reason why I failed to start blogging again for such a long time)- and that’s something that I intend to change by writing what I want, when I can. In this case, fan fiction allows me to write something that I’m personally invested in with low stakes. I don’t have to write something that’s going to sharply influence my future or be constantly evaluated or prodded and poked to give me an academic ranking or to be considered as part of my resumé. It’s quite liberating.

There’s more that I’d love to expound in this little journal entry, but I’m trying to cut down on the writing about writing a bit (especially when writing time is so valuable), so I’ll end it here. Thanks for listening.

-D

3 thoughts on “Concerning the Validity of Fan Fiction”

  1. Technically every sequel not made by the original creators is a form of fan fiction. Fan fiction can be a good free-writing exercise if nothing else. I’ve considered writing a few short ones myself, and the first time I broke 100 pages on a piece of prose fiction was a fan work. A three way crossover between Alien, Predator, and 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true! Writing these short ones in my spare time (I’m actually going to be posting one today) has been a lot more freeing and enjoyable than a huge majority of the work I did in 2016.

      That being said, I would totally read a three-way crossover between Alien, Predator and 2001. That sounds dope.

      Liked by 1 person

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