So last week, while most of the known world was gearing up for Valentine’s Day and all the cute little red hearts and sugary sweets that come with it, there was a quiet little occasion on the 15th that kinda flew under the radar. It was so quiet that even I, your resident queen of all things geek (if I do say so myself; I know I have competition in that title, so let me pretend I won) didn’t hear about it until afterwards. Granted, it was the first year, so perhaps it’ll make waves if it continues.
On February 15th we had the first ever International Fanworks Day.
‘Say what now?’ you might be thinking, or saying aloud to your computer screen (I won’t judge). Yep, some of our fellow nerds are trying to get a regular thing going to bring awareness to and celebrate all the art, writing, music, videos and other stuff (fanwork) fans make (for free, ’cause copyrights and just ’cause they love it so much) in order to connect to and build on their favorite fandoms.
And I for one, not surprisingly, wholeheartedly support this. As you get deeper into being a geek, a nerd or whatnot, and you spend more than 2 or 3 minutes on the internet looking up your fandoms, you’ll start to see the fan art and the fan writings and just…everything that people way more talented than me come up with. The results can be truly gorgeous, interesting, funny and/or surprising. Even downright shocking. It really builds on the imaginary worlds we embrace so completely.
It got me thinking about the one bit of fanwork I have actually dabbled in; Fanfiction (or Fan Fiction, depending on how liberal your auto-correct is). If my writing regularly on a blog hasn’t made it quite clear yet, I love to write. And I’m definitely one of those people who, as soon as a good bit of fiction digs it’s claws into my mind in a death grip, starts to ponder other scenarios, other pairings and other endings that involve the characters I’ve come to love. Ever since I was a kid, long before there was ever an official outlet for this kind of thing (I still remember when we didn’t have a computer in the house; yeah, I’m old), I’ve been making up stories in my head featuring various heroes and villains I have come across in movies, TV shows, books, etc. And when I was first introduced to fanfiction I realized I was definitely not alone in this, and it seemed like a perfect outlet for all the stuff running around in my head.
While I have published a couple of things online, most of what I write will not likely ever see the light of day. First of all, I have a hard time finishing a whole story (I’m more of a ‘various scenes’ type of writer). Secondly, I don’t like to post anything unless it’s complete or in the process of being completed and I think it’s good enough to be shown in public. So yeah, most of what I write is just for me, just for my enjoyment and as a bit of practice to try to keep my writing skills sharp. And that’s cool too. It’s totally up to the fan what they want to post and what they don’t.
Fanfiction (and fanworks in general) has it’s haters. It’s not real writing, you’re just stealing other people’s ideas, why can’t you come up with something original, you’re just living out fantasies, holy cow that’s really weird, (OK, some of them really are) etc. Darn haters! But it’s been around A LOT longer than people tend to think; people wrote stories about William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle characters back when they were first published. And there has been a lot of study on the benefits of fanfiction (click here and here for a couple of interesting articles). It’s slowly becoming a more widely accepted form of creativity, and the same can be said for all forms of fan art.
Whether you want to expand on a character’s story arc, place the players in totally new scenarios, do kind of a ‘day in the life’ of a team (I love stories of the Avengers just hanging out with each other), crossover shows or books or books AND shows AND movies, get your OTP (One True Pairing; let’s face it, you can have more than one) to finally get together (there are COUNTLESS pairings out there. I have had many favorites.), or just about whatever you like, give writing fanfiction a try. If you’re going to post anything be sure to check out any rules and regulations for the various fanfic sites out there. And one good place to start looking at fanart is Pinterest; there’s great artwork on there for many fandoms, and you can check out our page too while you’re there.
For a little more info on all this, we’ve got a couple of things to check out. On Hoopla there’s a video called We Are Wizards, which is about some of the big players in the Harry Potter creative community. Bronies is a great documentary about all the people who make up the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom. There’s a book called Career Building Through Fan Fiction Writing, which has some tips and history. And one of my most favoritist books ever, Fangirl, is all about someone who loves their fanfiction.
There’s a big world of fan love out there people! And crazy, but that’s par for the course.
Until next time, End of Line.