Fanfiction Culture

I finally finished the tentative final draft of my dandelion/suicide short story.  Originally I was going to start writing another short story about a little girl with an abusive father, but I might write a short fanfic story instead.  Since I’m submitting these short stories of original fiction to literary magazines there is this pressure to make it perfect.  It took me about a week or two to write Short Story D and several months to edit it XD  Granted, I was writing intermittently (more off than on) for the past few months, but it still took a long time to revise.

At one point, I thought I would never write anymore fanfiction because I didn’t want to be in a vulnerable position again.  But my heart still belongs to the characters of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and Zack.  I decided I won’t write another fanfic novel, but I will probably write short fanfic stories occasionally as inspiration strikes.  I created a new fanfic profile for myself because I wanted a fresh start.

Cloud Strife

A picture of Cloud 😀  How can you not love this face?!

It’s interesting though because there is a certain culture within fanfiction and it is often in stark contrast to the world of original fiction.  I thought I would point out a few of those differences.

1. Drama, drama, drama

There is so much drama in fanfiction, and it’s hard to segregate yourself from it.  A few years ago I was yanked into the middle of a huge fanfiction war that involved several popular authors.  Even though I  wasn’t directly involved in it, I was friends with people on both sides, and because I’m so emotionally fragile, I was being used as a sacrificial lamb.  I was so upset and disgusted afterwards that I couldn’t write fanfiction for a year.  But eventually I came back only to have history repeat itself. . .

The last fanfiction war I was dragged into was really bad.  Without getting into details, it suffices to say another writer made it her mission to destroy me.  It got to the point that I was so upset I nearly relapsed into anorexia.  That’s when I left and pulled all of my stories down.

Part of the problem was that I could not fight back because she was good at playing the victim.  She was accusing me of pretending to be the victim when I was really a bitch.  And she was blackmailing me and using her profile to attack me.  Even after I left she tried to follow me.  Good god, she and a friend made up multiple identities to contact me and all of my friends because I kept blocking them.  Actually, they contacted everyone I had ever known in the fandom.  And they were still doing this for months after I pulled all of my stories off of my profile and left.  They were so delusional that they were trying to convince my best friends about what a horrible person I was.  Seriously, WTF?  I developed a mild case of PTSD from that incident.

2. Lack of Feedback

The majority of the members in fanfiction communities are readers or occasional writers.  This means that most of your interactions are with people who have no idea how difficult it is to write.  My fanfic novel had about 500 reviews for 30 chapters and 56,000+ hits, which is about 100 hits per review.  Most people that read, favorite, and/or like will never leave a comment.  Writers are more inclined to review a story that they like because they know how much work goes into it.  I’ve noticed that since Archive of our Own became popular, the ratio of reviews to hits is even lower.  No one writes fanfiction just for reviews or attention (or at least I don’t think so), but half the fun of writing fanfiction is fangirling over the characters with other like-minded people.  That was the whole impetus behind my fanfic stories.

3. Constructive Criticism is Poorly Recieved

Very few fanfic writers want constructive criticism.  Even if they ask for it they don’t want it.  I’ve learned that the hard way.  Ironically, it’s only the best writers that are receptive to concrit XD  Hell, some of the fans of a story will criticize you for giving concrit to an author.  And no, I never flamed anyone or gave them a review I wouldn’t want to receive.  I’ve been flamed before myself, so I would never hurt an author like that.  On literary critique sites writers are more open to concrit, but maybe that’s because the sole purpose is getting critiques.

4. Lots of male/male pairings

There’s a lot of slash (male/male) pairings in fanfic.  I like slash and het pairings (male/female) as long as it’s not fluffy romance.  I’m not sure why there isn’t more slash in original fiction.  Maybe this is due to the fact that most fanfic writers are female?

5. Most Fanfiction is Written By Women

That brings me to another point, most fanfic writers are girls, and I’m not sure why this is.  Maybe it’s the perception society has of fanfiction.  I’m sure this various somewhat by fandom, but I’ve seen quite a few and most of the writers and readers are females.  Not that its a bad thing.  Girl power XD

6. Fanfic Writers Aren’t Perceived As Serious Writers

The look people gave me when I used to tell them I wrote fanfiction was a mix of disbelief and bewilderment, as if writing fanfiction was some sort of guilty pleasure.  While it is true that the majority of fanfics are horrible, there are some amazing writers.  Some of them move on to original fiction but others stay because their love of the characters supersedes their love of writing.  In my opinion, being a successful writer is independent of the medium.  There are some incredibly talented fanfic authors, so it’s not just a place for beginners.

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7. Rape

Because this isn’t an adult blog I’m not going to go into details, but it’s a big problem in fanfic.  It’s one of the reasons I hesitate to recommend it to others.  I rarely see it in the world of original fiction.  Rape happens, but it’s the way that it is dealt with in fanfiction that is upsetting.

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