Growing Up in Fandom Part II
Now that I’ve word vomited my intro to “fandom and fanfic” maybe I should get to the point of why I’m talking about it in the first place.
My path to becoming a writer is a little circuitous. I originally went to college to study Criminal Justice. I had ever intention to pursue a career in law enforcement. Two really painful years into my degree I moved back to my hometown and took a long hard look at what I was doing. I was miserable, I was bored, and I was flunking out of school. I had turned to World of Warcraft just to get away from the idiots in my program (oh, the irony right?) and I was literally a creative wasteland.
About 9 months ago I cut off my WoW subscription and went strolling through the Inception Kink Meme looking for inspiration. I found a prompt I liked and started writing. It was the first serious writing I’d done in probably three years. Suddenly, a couple months later of small daily updates, I had almost 20k words of fic and a decently interesting and complex story. I had people reading it and following the story and commenting and telling me about how much I was jerking on their heartstrings with this story.
I realized something: I might be able to do more of this. I might actually be able to write something length, stick with it, and touch people with my writing.
As I compose this blog entry, I’m actually taking a short break from this very same WIP (I’ve been too busy working on my original fic Mages to finish it so far this summer which has left my readers hanging a bit, /facepalm).
So why do I still write fanfic even when I have several “real” (and I use that term loosely because I have complex feelings about what makes some real, whether it be art or writing or a day job) projects going on? It’s routed in why I write fanfic at all: it’s a creative brain break. There’s less pressure involved when I write fanfic, there’s the added bonus of instant gratification in the form of reader comments (I also find the author-reader relationship can be more intimate and a lot of fun in fandom), and finally, writing fic can be an excellent way to experiment with you writing. Because you aren’t being paid to do it, because you aren’t trying to market it to anyone other than yourself, you can take bigger risks. You can develop your writer’s “voice.” You can experiment with how you tell stories, how you construct stories. You can work out a lot of the kinks a writer encounters when they write, experiment, and get instant feedback on how other people think these techniques are or are not working.
Not to mention all the sex. All of the sex is a lot of fun to write too.
I think fanfic helps me remember why I write in the first place, because it’s fun.