Posts tagged fan fiction
Posts tagged fan fiction
I love these guys.
I can’t even understand how an author wouldn’t understand the urge to write fanfic, create fanart. How do you even want to be an author without seeing characters and stories you like and wanting to create your own? Fanfiction is just a matter of degree.
Have you never imagined yourself into a favorite world? Have you never imagined yourself meeting a favorite character? If you have, you’ve committed fanfiction in your head. Didn’t you used to play pretend? What is the difference between thinking it and telling it to a friend? Between telling it to a friend and writing it down?
If you’re an author and you are against fanfiction, you are lying to yourself about why you even started writing fiction in the first place. None of us did this alone, all of us stand on the shoulders of giants. And sometimes we write fic about those giants.
Here, have a deepest, darkest desire:
One of the biggest reasons why I want to write a book that hopefully maybe becomes a teeny bit successful and maybe even garners a fandom is because I want to read the hypothetical fan fiction that hypothetically gets written about it (crosses fingers, hopes she’s not jinxing herself.) Because really how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING must that feel?!
Then I want to troll the hell outta the hypothetical fandom.
tywinning asked you:
As a professor, may I ask you what you think about fanfiction?
I think fanfiction is literature and literature, for the most part, is fanfiction, and that anyone that dismisses it simply on the grounds that it’s derivative knows fuck-all about literature and needs to get the hell off my lawn.
Most of the history of Western literature (and probably much of non-Western literature, but I can’t speak to that) is adapted or appropriated from something else. Homer wrote historyfic and Virgil wrote Homerfic and Dante wrote Virgilfic (where he makes himself a character and writes himself hanging out with Homer and Virgil and they’re like “OMG Dante you’re so cool.” He was the original Gary Stu). Milton wrote Bible fanfic, and everyone and their mom spent the Middle Ages writing King Arthur fanfic. In the sixteenth century you and another dude could translate the same Petrarchan sonnet and somehow have it count as two separate poems, and no one gave a fuck. Shakespeare doesn’t have a single original plot—although much of it would be more rightly termed RPF—and then John Fletcher and Mary Cowden Clarke and Gloria Naylor and Jane Smiley and Stephen Sondheim wrote Shakespeare fanfic. Guys like Pope and Dryden took old narratives and rewrote them to make fun of people they didn’t like, because the eighteenth century was basically high school. And Spenser! Don’t even get me started on Spenser.
Here’s what fanfic authors/fans need to remember when anyone gives them shit: the idea that originality is somehow a good thing, an innately preferable thing, is a completely modern notion. Until about three hundred years ago, a good writer, by and large, was someone who could take a tried-and-true story and make it even more awesome. (If you want to sound fancy, the technical term is imitatio.) People were like, why would I wanna read something about some dude I’ve never heard of? There’s a new Sir Gawain story out, man! (As to when and how that changed, I tend to blame Daniel Defoe, or the Modernists, or reality television, depending on my mood.)
I also find fanfic fascinating because it takes all the barriers that keep people from professional authorship—barriers that have weakened over the centuries but are nevertheless still very real—and blows right past them. Producing literature, much less circulating it, was something that was well nigh impossible for the vast majority of people for most of human history. First you had to live in a culture where people thought it was acceptable for you to even want to be literate in the first place. And then you had to find someone who could teach you how to read and write (the two didn’t necessarily go together). And you needed sufficient leisure time to learn. And be able to afford books, or at least be friends with someone rich enough to own books who would lend them to you. Good writers are usually well-read and professional writing is a full-time job, so you needed a lot of books, and a lot of leisure time both for reading and writing. And then you had to be in a high enough social position that someone would take you seriously and want to read your work—to have access to circulation/publication in addition to education and leisure time. A very tiny percentage of the population fit those parameters (in England, which is the only place I can speak of with some authority, that meant from 500-1000 A.D.: monks; 1000-1500: aristocratic men and the very occasional aristocratic woman; 1500-1800: aristocratic men, some middle-class men, a few aristocratic women; 1800-on, some middle-class women as well).
What’s amazing is how many people who didn’t fit those parameters kept writing in spite of the constant message they got from society that no one cared about what they had to say, writing letters and diaries and stories and poems that often weren’t discovered until hundreds of years later. Humans have an urge to express themselves, to tell stories, and fanfic lets them. If you’ve got access to a computer and an hour or two to while away of an evening, you can create something that people will see and respond to instantly, with a built-in community of people who care about what you have to say.
I do write the occasional fic; I wish I had the time and mental energy to write more. I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of fic these days because most of it is not—and I know how snobbish this sounds—particularly well-written. That doesn’t mean it’s “not good”—there are a lot of reasons people read fic and not all of them have to do with wanting to read finely crafted prose. That’s why fic is awesome—it creates a place for all kinds of storytelling. But for me personally, now that my job entails reading about 1500 pages of undergraduate writing per year, when I have time to read for enjoyment I want it to be by someone who really knows what they’re doing. There’s tons of high-quality fic, of course, but I no longer have the time and patience to go searching for it that I had ten years ago.
But whether I’m reading it or not, I love that fanfiction exists. Because without people doing what fanfiction writers do, literature wouldn’t exist. (And then I’d be out of a job and, frankly, I don’t know how to do anything else.)
Dante, the original Gary Stu.
He can’t remember the boy’s name now, although George, for whatever reason, seems most likely.
John does, however, remember the specifics of the kiss - the boy’s bottom lip aligning with John’s top, his long, thin fingers (John wonders idly if he’d played a string instrument, or if that is just his mind filling in strange, unsettling gaps) tugging at the hair at the nape of John’s neck (John wore his hair longer, then), the tip of his thumb pressing gently at his jaw, the thick, raised muscle attached to it exchanging pulse-thumps with his neck (elevated). John had closed his eyes (pupils undeniably dilated and therefore hidden), and tilted his head up and then there was tenderness and the way their chins fit together, smooth and unshaven. They were young.
John doesn’t remember what the boy looked like and can barely remember his name. When he remembers this first kiss, it’s with a bloke whose skin is almost iridescently pale, whose hair is dark, whose closed eyes, when opened, will most certainly be the most beguiling shade of ice blue or perhaps grey. Inevitably, John will shiver and then head out to the pub around a corner for a strong drink and the comforting presence of a woman: hair reassuringly light, eyes unfamiliar and dark, lipstick smudged endearingly on a wide, warm, slurred smile. He will take her home and her name, too, will escape him.
She was more distracting with lace draped over her small, slight form, than when she was completely naked.
John, of course, knew where to look, regardless, and that horrible Adler woman knew it. Lace or naked as the day she was born (well, not quite that naked, perhaps, because there was still something there, she wasn’t as abandoned as an infant, not to rage, not to the shock of being born, being out in the air for the first time - no, even naked, Irene Adler was wearing a disguise) John was unfazed. He had seen plenty of naked women before her, and he would see plenty of naked women after her.
Sherlock, on the other hand, had not seen many naked women. He had seen less than a handful of living ones, anyway, and none of them could wear lace quite so well.
It was distracting. The image of that woman, dressed expensively in lace and draping herself casually over whichever surface would have her, infiltrated Sherlock’s mind palace. She never sprang on him unawares, no, she was not quite so pedestrian. But he would turn a corner and there she would be, inexplicably, suddenly, and yet looking for all the world like she belonged there, and that it was he who was intruding. Into his own bloody mind!
The worse part was that he couldn’t even really be angry. The curve of her lip, the quick flash in her eyes, the mocking, knowing looks with which she favored him, as if she were always, always two steps ahead, no, three…and the way that the damnable lace played about her pale skin…skin so even and so touched with dew that she hardly seemed human…well, each time he saw her, it was all he could do not to invite her to join him for dinner.
Wow, Moriarty got really good at this.
And his messages are getting more and more obscure
He carved a rose for John Watson. A flower to place on the grave of a lover. The fruit of the apple grew brown with time, withered and rotten, but at first the petals were white - an innocent love, unconsummated. There were three more waiting to be carved. John would have a bouquet to present to the tombstone of Sherlock Holmes.
The second apple, Seb had carved. A cock-eyed assassin, grinning with a knife in his mouth. Jim did enjoy Sebastian’s artistic pursuits.
The third was for the elder Holmes. Layers upon layers of intrigue; or, the countless ways a human heart could be filleted, rather than burned.
Jim had carved the bird and the butterfly to Miss Molly Hooper on one of their tedious dates. He had given her the butterfly first, and her eyes had sparkled almost, he suspected, with tears. No one had given the poor girl a gift quite so lovely. The bird he made purely to out-do himself; and it helped him to ignore her prattling as she poked at her pasta. She did cry, then. And probably cried that much harder after Sherlock, delightfully meddlesome, had reveal to her who Jim Moriarty really was.
The last apple was his. He had a crown, after all, and the entire mealy, bitten world with it.
“Here are the photos you ordered, sir.”
“Thank you, Anthea.”
“Will that be all for tonight?”
Mycroft sighed, opening the envelope full of photographs and flipping through them. They were of various subjects - snapshots of records belonging to various important political leaders, supposedly top secret; a photograph of the inside of 221B Baker Street in which Sherlock looked almost alarmingly gleeful. Alarming, that was, until the second photograph, which showed John Watson grinning up at his flatmate - Sherlock must be capering around for John, then. Perhaps they had just solved a particularly exciting case. Or…
Charades, Sherlock? Business a little slow, then? —MH
“Sorry, what’s that, Anthea?”
“Will you be requiring my assistance for anything else tonight?” she repeated, patiently.
“Yes - the reservations -“
“Are for half an hour. Greg is probably already there. He’s the only one I can think of who is more punctual than you.” She sounded amused.
Piss off, Mycroft. Stop spying on us. —SH
“Very well, then. You may go.”
Mycroft flipped through another dozen or so photographs as Anthea gathered her things to leave.
“Goodnight, sir,” she said from the doorway.
She froze, turned gracefully on one stiletto heel, and faced him. “Yes?”
“What is this?”
He held the photo up to her. It was little Gregory. And he was in the bath with Sif, Mycroft’s young boa constrictor.
“That’s a photograph of Gregory and Sif in the bath together.”
“Yes.” Mycroft rubbed his temples tiredly with on hand, holding the rest of the photographs together in the other. “But why is he in the bath with the snake?”
“I expect he threw his food at her. He’s such a messy eater.”
“And is this photograph by any chance from the night that I asked you to watch Gregory?”
“Hm. Perhaps. Although as I recall, that night was supposed to be my night off. I was picking baby food out of my hair for hours afterward.”
“Anthea! Do you know what Greg will say if he ever sees this photograph?!”
She had learned, from him, mostly, how to school her face to almost perfect stillness. Mycroft, however, could detect the barest hint of a smirk at the corner of her lips.
“Sir, really, you should get going. You’ll be late for dinner.”
Her lashes flickered minutely. Another, less disciplined assistant, might have rolled her eyes.
“I’m sorry, sir. But I did tell you: I’m not your babysitter.”
My job here is done.