Owning an embarrassing passtime

Confession time. I am a fan fiction writer. I’m covered in shame to admit it, but there it is. For all my ‘hi I’m C.J and I’m an addict’, I’m not quite prepared to put up my publishing pseudonym here where it’ll affect my real life.freak

The truth is FanFic writing has a lot to recommend it to a writer. Within minutes of publishing (I am not exaggerating, minutes) I get feedback from people who are glad to see I’m written something new! I get comments from people who are already invested in the characters I’m writing about and you know what? It feels pretty good!

Nothing original I’ve ever written has pulled half as much interest and feedback as my least popular fanfic. I love playing with voices and dialogue, and my fav shows to write have an array of accents, backgrounds and world views which lend themselves to really fun and interesting interactions. Of course I try to recreate this in my originals as well, but as no one has ever heard of my stories or characters… hey don’t get the same love.

From a purely stats driven point of view, my fanfics kick the booty out of the blog. I haven’t published a new story in a month, while I post here a few times a week on average. Yet my FF.net page gets multiple hundreds of hits a day! When I post a new story that can jump up to 1000 plus a day for a while! That really makes 10% look like the poor cousin don’t it?

Fan fiction feeds a writers deepest addictions without really costing anything. My name isn’t on those stories, so they’ll never come back to haunt me. There’s no prep time, because I always know everyone’s back story, and so to the readers. Every year in November, I register for NaNoWriMo, 50 000 words in 30 days. I never finish. Not once. I have however completed a 30 000 word fan fiction in eight days. Eight freakin’ days! It’s one of my most popular ones too. What’s my point in all this you may ask? Why does any of it matter? I’ll tell you why…

I can do this. I can write something that people like, that they come back to and read again and again. If I can do it there, I can do it anywhere, I just need to recreate the interest and the knowledge. FInding your audience when you write fanfic is easy, they all gather in a limited number of places and a quick google will show you exactly where. Once there, a few tiny rules ensure success;

  1. Try to keep your spelling and grammar under control.
  2. Don’t stray too far from cannon (that which is true in the show/book/movie etc)
  3. Don’t allow your invented characters to become perfect versions of you. No one likes that.

With that under control, the fanfic world is your oyster, but if that’s the case, why shouldn’t the same hold true in other areas? It’s all about finding your audience. You wouldn’t post a Glee fanfic on a Star Trek board, they’d hack you to bits. Like wise it’s not a great idea to post Twilight fic on a True Blood board… those people just don’t get along.

So, the major issues seem to be ‘who wants to read what I write’ (my original work that is), and ‘where do they like to hang out’? Now, unfortunately for me there may not be as simple an answer as FF.net, that could be a problem.

22 Comments on Owning an embarrassing passtime

  1. coming by from Talk To Us Thursday at Blogs & PR!!
    It’s great that you are able to wright something to pull people in!
    Well done!!

    • The problem with getting sucked in to FF writing, is that it’s an emotionally addicting payoff that you can’t actually sell! 30 000 words that people love, sure, but it’s not original and I can’t really DO anything with it. I need to be able to put the same amount of time and effort into my original writing and be confident that it’s as good… I just need to find a way to show it to my audience.

  2. I think the trouble with blogging vs fan fic is that the blogging world is such a giant pond and it’s really hard to make a ripple. Fan Fic has a niche, has it’s own corner of the internet. Sometimes doing what we love, and are good at is all we need, keep writing your fan fic. Keep writing, whatever you want to write. Don’t censor yourself and hopefully it will all start to filter through into your original writing on your blog.

    • It is true, if I want to write a fanfic in any given fandom, finding a place to put it is easy, I can go straight there and anyone who wants to read something from that fandom knows where I am.
      There are a number of websites and boards for original fiction as well, but I’ve found the communities to be FAR less active than in FF.

  3. I have never heard of this FF writing. I can imagine though how awesome it would feel to have so many readers. And 30,000 words in 8 days that is immpressive. From blogs and PR

    • Hehe, as weird as it’ll brand you, if you have a TV show that you love, maybe one that’s been cancelled, FF can sometimes be a lot of fun to read. I’ve got a couple of shows that I’ll read about – Joss Whedon’s Fire Fly being at the top of the list. One of the best Sci Fi shows that got cut down before really getting going.
      Don’t get me wrong, like all forms of writing, there is plenty of truely scary stuff out there, and some fandoms just don’t seem to lend themselves to FF no matter how much people might want them to. Glee for example. I’ve NEVER read a FF from Glee that I thought really had a grip on the characters. Others seem to have plenty, like FireFly (Browncoats unite!) but most have a pretty even split of good vs … well not so much. If you’re curious, fanfiction.net is a good place to start, or archiveofourown.org

  4. I’m so intrigued and going to have a look into it – I’m a bit of a sci-fic lover and I wonder if they two overlap?? You’re full of surprises CJ – LOVE YOUR WORK :)

    • Certainly every modern sci fi show I’ve ever seen has fanfic – and of course all the classics like star trek, Babylon 5 and Andromeda (three of my all time favs).

      You have to be warned though, the realm of ‘fandom’ can be a weird place sometimes. I’d suggest toeing in the shallow end to start with, but the truth is, if you think of two TV shows, someone somewhere has tried to mash them together to form a coherent narrative. Dr Who materialising on the Enterprise is a popular one, but really if you can think of it, someone somewhere has tried to do it. We call them ‘plot bunnies’ – idea’s of wildly differing level’s of workability, that just aren’t going to go away until you write them, no matter how badly you know it’s probably going to turn out.

      • I’m a total addict of Fringe, and find it pretty tame compared to many sci fi things I’ve seen. I’m a bit escapism girl so I might have to go fishing :)

        • Fringe is good, my addiction right now is lost girl, which somehow managed to be a PG rated show about a sucubus. It’s fantasy not scifi, but lets face it, they’re long time kissing cousins.

  5. I have been completely oblivious to this wonder called Fan Fic…I am off for a look. Prey I don’t find an addiction myself ;). Found you via Blogs and Pr today.

    • I’m reading a lot of that right now and it’s blowing my mind! I’ve been reading FF since I was a teenager (writing it almost as long), I always thought everyone knew (and was judging me)

  6. I think that you are writing and love doing it in whatever medium you love. Isn’t that the point of us writers. We love to write! I hope one day you share so we can read too.

    Thanks for linking up,

    Annaleis – Blogs and PR Team Member #TUST

  7. I imagine Fanfic writing would be a great exercise in writing and would bring great pleasure to the writer and reader. I always feel a little disappointed when I finish a book that I love, and this is a way to keep the characters alive.

    • you also get a lot of action in between seasons, and in mind-season hiatus. Remember when we were kids and there WAS no mid-season hiatus? And seasons were 24 to 26 episodes long, not 12! Heck, BBC’s Sherlock only does three episodes a year!

  8. I don’t even know what fanfic is! I don’t think it sounds embarrassing! My embarrassing hobby is carving figurines out of ear wax! I kid, I kid. Any writing is good practice! I thought having a blog was an embarrassing hobby and now I’m blogging along with all the crazies.

    • I’m blown away by how many people have never heard of Fan Fic! I grew up in a totally fan crazy scifi environment and everyone knew about it LoL, I think my family/friends might we weird…

  9. I’ve been thinking of ways on how to improve my writing and I know deep down, I gotta dabble in some sort of fiction writing. I’m so chicken though, I think I’m going to be terrible at it! You’re a total inspiration!

    • If I were a proper inspiration, I’d post a link, but I’m wussycakes and convinced everyone I know will laugh at me! I have to admit though that the amount of interest the post has generated has totally blown me away. I’m getting emails asking where such things can be found LoL.

  10. I think it’s great that you write in a genre you love and that people enjoy reading it.

    Thanks for linking up for Francesca’s Festa of Favourites for February :-)

  11. I’ve never heard of FF. I’m intrigued…

    • I’m getting that a lot, I think I might have started something. Watch all the stats on FF websites go nuts in the next few weeks! I’m ah… attempting, to work myself up to the point where I can post something… maybe AFTER DPCON13. I have to be able to look people in the eye there…

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