February 20, 2015

Fanfiction 101: Why do people do this? A Guest Post by Kel

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.Β 
By Kel
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.

Tagged with: , , ,


  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Kel! Kellllllllllll! Kel, what is the origin of your name? Is it an alien from Star Trek? And what kind of fan fic do you write/where can we find it? Or is that an answer for another post? (Hint hint.) Oh, I’m also curious about author’s reactions to fan fic. Who’s for it, who’s against, etc. I think I’d heard Rowling is against it, but from your comic above seems like peeps just don’t care. Which is another interesting topic of discussion.

    At any rate I just wanted to give you a huge thank you for your intelligent and incisive comments to our blog posts over the last year. Always love what you have to say–so intelligent, and I always enjoy how you think about things from a fresh perspective.

    There’s just so much to learn and know about fan fiction. I think we’re going to see the rise and rise again of its legitimacy in the online world–and probably the printed world in time. So very glad to have you with us today. I hope you come back soon.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorKel

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I was rather flattered to be invited to post (and a bit intimidated to be honest… I’m quite wordy). I know that fanfiction is a bit controversy for a lot of people, but I do try to be respectful of author wishes, when they are made known.

      Kel is actually a shortened version of my legal name – I don’t use the whole thing because it’s unique enough that you can actually find me in the world with just my first name.

      I started writing a very long time ago and can’t guarantee quality of the earlier things, but you can find a more recent thing on fanfiction.net (https://www.fanfiction.net/~kel) and continues on Archive of our Own (AO3 – http://archiveofourown.org/users/greylady/works).

  • Post authorLiz Everly

    Thanks for posting Kel! I have a new world of Fan Fiction to explore–thanks to you!

    Reply to Liz Everly
    • Post authorKel

      Thank you very much for having me.

      I do have to warn you. Fanfiction is often completely unmoderated. If you’ve ever experienced a slush pile full of unsolicited work, that’s a fair approximation of what fanfiction can be…

      It’s fun and silly and sometimes completely horrible, and even the well-written things can be completely horrible. A lot of authors refuse to look for or at their own work’s fanfiction, and I don’t blame them at all…

  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Beyond just superficially knowing what fanfiction is, I’m not really familiar with that world. Your insightful words taught me a lot. Great post, Kel. And thank you from me, too, for all the comments and support you’ve given Lady Smut, We really, really appreciate it. Hugs. πŸ™‚

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorKel

      Fanfiction can be a scary place, but it can also be a lot of fun. It’s also the place a lot of people get interested (or more interested) in writing, so I think it’s useful as a learning experience. It’s sort of extra-peripheral for the romance world because romance authors do a better job meeting the emotional needs of their readers than the other genres. No need to write a “what if” story about two characters having a fulfilling emotional connection when the author is already doing it for you. (Although I will admit to having wanted to rewrite some plots, not for any of the Lady Smut Ladies, but for others who will remain nameless…)

      I’m actually sort of amused that a friend pointed out that the NY Times has an article on fanfiction in their Magazine this week, so we’re accidentally timely, too.

      • Post authorMadeline Iva

        HA! My gosh aren’t we being timely???? Good for us. I like the Wild West aspect to it — where rules were made to be broken, and people strike out for unchartered territory. I like the sex/romance bias of it all — surely fan fic folks are cousins of all romance lovers, if not closer kin. I like the subversiveness of it — and that essentially anarchist ideal of nobody really owns nothing. And finally, I like the idea of knocking down those walls between reader/writer. We all get a chance to engage and express ourselves — and it’s good for us.

        Whew! That said — I think I gotta talk to you about Criminal Minds fan fic. email me at MadelineIva@gmail.com and we’ll chat…

        Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorAlexa Day

    Kel! I’m reasonably new to fanfiction, and I’ve never tried my hand at writing any, but I definitely enjoy being a consumer. I love the ‘what if’ quality of it. When I’m in a business mood, I like to use it as a barometer — I’m always encouraged by the volume of interracial fanfiction out there, both because the stories are being told somewhere and because it reassures me that I’m not the only person wanting to see those relationships played out.

    When I’m not feeling businesslike, though, I just like to get lost in it. IR Harry Potter fanfiction. IR X-Men fanfiction. And my personal favorite … IR Mirror Universe Star Trek fanfiction.

    What a wonderful world. πŸ™‚

    Great to see you here!

    Reply to Alexa Day
  • Pingback: Friday Roulette | Lady Smut (Edit)

  • Pingback: Kindle Worlds: Fan Fic Paradise? | Lady Smut (Edit)

Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.