Fanfiction 101: Why do people do this? A Guest Post by Kel
February 20, 2015
A note from Liz Everly: Welcome to the new Friday “Mixer,” where Lady Smut is bringing you fresh voices. It’s only fitting that “Kel” a frequent commenter on the blog start off the the party. Please welcome Kel, who always has an interesting observation to our posts.
When people find out that I read and write fanfiction, they always want to know why. They ask with a variety of leading questions, but always with a sort of furtive interest.
“Why do you do it. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it… naughty?”
I’m never sure what they’re really asking.
Fanfiction is at the heart “What If”. It’s the fan’s emotional connection to original material not being met in a certain way, which is probably why it’s mostly associated with relationships that don’t occur in the original material. The most iconic fanfiction, and the place that it probably started is “Kirk/Spock”.
This is called “Slash,”originally because the paired character names were written with the slash character between them. It later came to mean a romantic relationship between characters of the same gender, and over the years a variety of other terms were coined and adopted by the fan communities as other media joined in the fun. Anime added a range of Japanese terms which are used across the fanfic community; “yuri” for female-female relationships, “yaoi” for male-male. The community adopted “citrus” as a term for explicit sexual content with “lemon” being the most commonly used.
The wide acceptance of the internet and youth of the general community allows for young authors to write as well, and text-like slang has become de rigeur as well. The absolute most common is “OTP” or “One True Pairing”, and the arguments among fans (or “fen” as participants are sometimes called) can become quite heated. Think back to Twilight and the shirts for Team Edward or Team Jacob… and then expand it out to people across the internet and imagine “Team Ron” and “Team Harry” and “Team Luna” and “Team DeathEater”… well, you get the idea.
But fanfiction isn’t all sex or self-inserts… sometimes it’s the unanswered questions. Why did this character do this. Why didn’t that happen. What would happen if…
And then a fan picks up a pen, or a paintbrush, or their keyboard and something new happens.
Bio: Kel has been involved in a mad love affaire with words for a few decades now, and has worked as a copy editor and published a few short works in fan magazines under a pseudonym. She decided long ago that she like words enough never want to write for a living, and simply enjoys dabbling.