Week of Geek: You can Write It! on our newest website, including… Fanfiction!

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My first Cross-StitchHi again Geeklings.  Have I got news for you!

But first, a little somethin’ about me.  I’ve recently taken up cross-stitching.  Yeah, yeah, some of you might be thinking ‘Isn’t that what they do in retirement homes or something?’.  Well, sure, maybe, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t do it too.  It’s relaxing, it’s fairly easy to get started and there are a TON of awesome patterns out there.

And that pic you see at the top here, was the very first pattern I ever finished (found it on Etsy).  Why that particular one?  Because in the life of the average fanboy or fangirl it’s just… so… TRUE!

Me with Ye Olde Macbook

Now, I’ve made absolutely no secret of what my passions in life are.  What’s the point of being passionate if you can’t shout it from the rooftops every now and then?  And, as you guys tend to see me on this blog a lot, one of those passions is writing.  I’m a big fan of the written word, of what it can express, of what it can create, of the permanence and mastery that comes with it.  And since I like to write and I love fandoms, I think it makes perfect sense and would be a shock to no one that I’ve dappled in fanfiction.

Let’s pause for the uninitiated: What is Fanfiction?  Well, that can be hard to answer.  Essentially, it’s when fans of just about anything, be it TV show, movie, book, comic or even a band, write their own stories or scenes featuring those characters or settings.  For a lot of people their first thoughts when they hear the word ‘fanfiction’ are ‘smut’ and ‘putting yourself in the story’ (the general term for that is ‘mary sue’ or ‘gary sue’; there are a few fanfic terms out there) and ‘something pasty nerds do ’cause they have no lives’ (you know, that old stereotype for geeks.  Boo!).  Is fanfiction those things?  It can be.  You know what else it is?  It’s what happens when artistic and expressive people pour out their love for their fandoms by continuing their stories, and that goes for other forms of fan art as well.  Fanfiction is a lot older than many people realize (some of the earliest examples include characters from Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle) and there are many different types of it.  Like cross-stitching, it’s for many different types of people at many different levels with many different interests and devotions.  Some people want to replace the canon with their own headcanon.  Some people want to put the characters in new situations (AU – Alternate Universes).  Some people want to see their favorite ships FINALLY get together!  Most just love the fandoms and characters.  And as it’s impossible to make money off of it (copyright and whatnot) fanfiction truly is a labor of love.

Now, why am I getting all misty eyed over fanfiction?  Not out of character for me, but why today?  Well, VPL has something all you teen writers and aspiring writers may want to take a peak at.  Allow me to introduce… WRITE IT!

Write It Main Page

This is our brand-new website for teens all about… you guessed it!  Writing!  All teens are encouraged to post on the blog in the different categories.  As you may have guessed by all my rambling, we have a page for Fanfiction (HEE HEE!), but there’s so much more.  In the Fiction category you can post short stories (less than 2500 words) about Action/Adventure, Fan Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Sci Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery, and if your story just won’t fit in any of those categories there’s Other (we’ve got you covered).  Say you’re more into Non Fic; we’ve got that too!  Categories include Biographical, Current Events, Entertainment, Environmental, Social Issues, Sports/Hobbies and Spirituality.  Are you a Poet and know it?  Post your work under Ballad, Free Verse, Haiku, Limericks, Song Lyrics and Sonnet.  And for you critical types, there’s a spot for reviews, which includes Books, Movies, Music, TV, Video Game and Webpages.  Our teen newsletter is on Write It! as well, so you’ll know about what we’ve got going on.

Sounds like a lot right?  There’s one more, and it’s a biggie.  Have you written a whole novel?  Not sure where to put it?  Post it right here!  Really, the whole thing!  As long as it’s more than 2500 words, it can go right on that page.  For serious.

So what do you do?  You sign up, and get writing!  Just fill out the form at the Register link and you’re good to go.  You can use your login to support and comment on other writers as well.  And we’ve got resources on writing if you’d like to learn more, including things to help with the dreaded Writer’s Block that pops up from time to time.

One last thing.  I know writing in a public forum can be a scary thing, even with some anonymity (which we have; you can totally make up a username).  Especially if it’s something you’ve worked really hard on and you’re really proud of.  What if people don’t like it?  What if they do and want more?  What if people make fun of you for it?  (BTW, don’t do that.  Seriously, not cool.)  But, one thing I’ve learned on the road of life is that if you love to do something, you shouldn’t let the ‘what ifs’ hold you back too much.  And trust me, the more you post, the easier it gets.  That’s why you guys get to read my print versions of fangirling about our new books and movies and other stuff on the regular *thumbs up*

Good luck with the writing Geeklings, whatever the subject matter may be!  Come in and ask us if you’re not sure about anything, and until next time, End of Line.

One Response to “Week of Geek: You can Write It! on our newest website, including… Fanfiction!”

  1. BNuts Says:

    Actually a Gary Stu / Mary Sue is a character that can master any skill practically instantly or do anything and everything. They are often of mixed super-race, and either related to royalty / the Chosen and/or the work’s main character or a main character, or dating him/her. They are also instantly-likeable and liked by all, which unfortunately can also open the door to the harem genre.

    An example of a character who has been accused by some members of the fandom itself of being a Mary Sue is Rey from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ as she is strong enough in the Force to repulse Kylo Ren, and a good enough pilot that Han Solo not only lets her fly his precious ‘Millennium Falcon,’ but implies she could teach him a thing or two — despite its many modifications, as well as the years he and Chewbacca have been looking for it. Notice as well how quickly she clicks with the other characters, as well as the debate over her parentage.

    ‘Self-insert characters’ are the types that writers sometimes use in fanfiction in order to try to fulfill their own fantasies and wishes. They’re not always a bad thing, though, if they are well-written, but if written badly they can be just as awkward to read as a Mary Sue.

    Fanfiction is a freeing experience, allowing fans to do as they wish with canon material, including some crossovers that could never happen in the official story. You can go as far or as little as you want, as long as you are happy with the result. Your first audience member is yourself, so you have to be pleased with the product first. Then, if you think it is worth sharing, you can easily publish it online.

    The more you build your world and your characters the more complete the experience for all your readers. Yes, your theories, your headcanons, will likely get blown apart by the canon, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fanfics are a world apart from the official works upon which they are based. Accuracy and faithfulness to the original material is not a prerequisite. You can choose whether to keep going or adjust to fit the new reality.

    Shipping is also very much in the realm of fanfics, and again you have the freedom to choose, even if the original authors come up with something else. Why, a fandom of mine just had one of ours blown apart this past weekend! But as long as the relationships are organic and feel natural, who’s to say whether they’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’

    Yes, you will likely face criticism for your work. You will also get some useful evaluations and feedback. Again you have the choice to use what is useful and ignore the rest, and most importantly, do not take anything as a personal attack on you. Those who are honestly trying to help you improve your work will make themselves obvious. The rest? Their activities are their own concern. Take feedback only as it is, and only as it comes from each reader. Never assume a person has the ability to speak for more than him- or herself. And don’t forget that you speak for yourself, so use your voice.

    Express your interests and passions. That is a fanwork, whether written, sung, filmed / animated, or modelled — or any one of the other countless media available to us all.

    Raise your flag; raise your voice.