FanFiction and me

And we start at the beginning.

I write fanfiction and have for maybe the last eight years or so. It is a much decried genre and not quite on this side of being legal.

There are those who say we’re not true writers since we are taking another writer’s universe and not creating our own. I will say on one hand that is true. We did none of the hard work to come up with the characters or their world. But on the other (albeit smaller) hand it takes a bit of skill to remain true to the voices of the characters while putting them in foreign situations. There’s enough bad fic out there to prove this point.

There are three main sub-genres of fanfiction: Gen, Het, and Slash.

Gen (general) is when you stick to the canon of whichever book, show or movie you are writing about and usually take it one of two ways.

1.) You show the alternative ala Marvel Comics’ What If…? title where a defining event does not occur as originally given (the first issue, What If Gwen Stacy Hadn’t Died? from the Spiderman universe, being a prime example).

2.) You expand the universe past what the creator(s) themselves set out. The Dune, Star Trek and Star Wars books are the sanctioned examples of this.

In either case, you maintain the status quo.

Het (heterosexual) takes a male and a female character who are either not in a relationship and brings them together or deepens the one given by the source material. That couple you know is never going to get together but everyone wants them to. The best friends who need to become lovers already.

Slash echoes the intent of het, but in this case it involves a same-sex coupling. The name comes from the early days of the genre where friend pairings were listed using an ampersand (&) and involved pairings were shown with a slash (/). Slash is mainly used with regards to male pairings, Femslash is used for female.

There are gen and het archives that will not accept slash fic. The owners are very hostile to it and do not want it anywhere near them. As a writer of slash, I am ever amused by this fact. I suppose I can see their point, but I still chuckle whenever I come across their little fortresses against me and those of my ilk.

Another hot topic is the use of celebrities in fics as opposed to the characters they play. Slashers who do it get a bit more heat than writers in the other two categories, but it is a frowned upon thing in general. Real person is what I have been concentrating on as of late.

When it comes to authors whose work is being used by fanficcers, there are three camps. The first, which includes Anne Rice and George Lucas, do not like it in the slightest and their lawyers have the cease-and-desist forms at the ready.

The second group knows about fanfic, realize it’s out there but don’t want to hear or read about it regarding their works. Charles Stross is one such author.

But it might surprise you to know that the third group not only knows about us, but does encourage us. Chief among them in my experience is Joss Whedon. Joss makes no bones about knowing we’re out here and has thrown us many a bone over the years. In fact, at a 2004 convention of fanfic writers in Las Vegas the guest of honor was Jane Espenson, one of his staff writers and a show producer.

He has even given his name to fanfic terminology. To be Jossed is to have the vague canon reference you used in your fic made concrete in a way that negates what you wrote. An example would be a fic that has Angel as an only child before the flashback episode that speaks of his killing his younger sister.

And he has given slashers more than one doff of the cap. From Spike’s “I’m his date” needling of Angel in front of someone to Angel’s “I’ve got no problem spanking men” threat to one of the bad guys.

I’m proud to be a fanficcer and do not have plans to leave the genre completely as I work on creating original fiction. It’s straight up a part of who I am and what I enjoy. I would never try to gain financially from it nor would I ever have the bad taste to show it to the actors or writers.

At the end of the day, I’m not standing in defense of fanfiction as much as just standing up and being numbered among those who write it.

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Published in: on 20/10/2010 at 19:02  Leave a Comment  

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