So a little while ago I wrote a post about fanfiction, that was a nice rant about why fanfiction isn’t shit or inferior. And how I write and read a lot of fanfiction. And always will.
In fact, over the past few months, I’ve been writing a lot more fanfiction than I have done for a little while. In fact, since I wrote that post I’ve written twelve fics of varying length. More than the rest of the year put together. I’ve been inspired, I could say, but more likely I’ve just been less apathetic than usual, or just been able to write. I’ve spoke about it before but I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s apathy. I have lots of ideas, they’re falling out of my brain every day, but I’m not always interested enough to write them. And until…September, I really wasn’t. I wrote sporadically. Now I’m writing a lot of fanfiction and no poetry.
That’s just the way my brain works.
Which is partly why I write fanfiction.
Everyone has their own reasons – for why they write, and for why they write fanfiction. For me, the main one, is quite simple.
I have to write.
I can’t not write. While my fanfiction writing has been sporadic, I’ve have been writing – unpublished bits of fanfiction for my own amusement, poetry, original fic, blog posts, all sorts of bits and bobs. I have been like this since I was around 14. I find a lot of comfort in writing, especially in writing fanfiction for my own amusement for a couple of reasons.
On top of that, I’ve got all this stuff in my head all these words, all these ideas and all these thoughts and I do not have enough room for all of them. that’s why I often talk too much, reveal too much, because I can’t kept it in my head. It’s the same with poems, with stories, with blog posts. I do not have the capacity to keep it inside, keep it to myself. It has to come out or it drives me crazy. I obsess over it, and I obsess over so much already it’s better for my mental health just to get it out of my system.
It’s good for my mental health.
I like the escapism.
Strike that, I love the escapism. I need the escapism. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be someone else, be somewhere else – I have BPD, so until recently, my sense of self has been very shaky. I have only recently become comfortable with the podgy person that I am. And with the life that I am living. Until then, tv, films and fanfiction were my way of coping. Of taking me away, far away from all the crap going on around me and in my life.
I am comfortable with who I am now, but not everything is perfect. Never will be. And fanfiction still offers the same comfort and escapism it always has. It’s the one thing I can rely on to make me feel better and is definitely better for me than my medication and easier to come by than therapy.
Writing in general is good for my mental health. Blogging, poetry, stories. When I was 17 I wrote a story that was basically about myself, my life, but with a happy ending. I still have it. I’ve held onto it for all these years because it made me feel better back then and it’s more valuable than anything else I had at 17.
For some reason, writing down the daydreams I have, also seems to make them feel more real, or makes me feel better than if I were just sitting on the bus staring out the window and imagining I was in The Emerald Graves. But maybe that’s just what makes me a writer.
I want more representation.
I’m not straight. In fact, I’m very, very bisexual. This may be clear. I like woman. A lot. In fact I married one. I like guys too, but that goes without saying it seems cause I am a woman. It’s the assumption. But I really, really like women (also breasts). In most of my fandoms, there is a lack of LGBT representation. There are few gay relationships and it’s only in my recent obsession of Dragon Age that I get the representation that I want. That I should have. Dragon Age had all the colours of the LGBT rainbow and it’s wonderful. though that doesn’t stop me from writing bisexual Cassandra cause my god she is awesome. There aren’t enough bisexual characters, in fact, in media bisexuality is erased even in characters who are cannonly bisexual in their comic form (i.e Constantine). People who are bisexual are never referred to as bisexual. It’s like the word is poisonous.
I’ve talked about this before. There are millions of people like me, watching televisions shows and playing video games full of people unlike. It’s getting better for some people, but bisexuality seems to be stuck a little.
So, we write fanfiction. We write fanfiction, not necessarily to insert ourselves into the worlds we write, but at least someone we can look up. Someone we can empathise with, which is really important. It’s hard to find your way in the world, surrounded by so much media that’s full of straight white cis people. It’s hard to have heroes when all the good guys are so different from yourself. When people like you are erased from media, or bad guys, or head cases.
There are more stories to be told.
Television shows have more time to play with stories and characters, but films are limited. Games too. And there are ideas and scenarios and reactions that are just cut out, or not thought of, or not needed for the plot or just not included because, well, it’s not cannon. I’ve written fic that’s been reaction fic, the aftermath of an episode, the what if these people were a couple, what if these people were a couple.
Yeah, okay a lot of it is what if these people were having sex.
But beyond that the what ifs? are endless. What if the Leliana had met the Hawke siblings in Dragon Age? What if Jack’s son didn’t die in Stargate SG-1? What if Pepper had been in Iraq with Tony at the beginning of Iron Man? What if Rose hadn’t gotten stuck in the alternate Earth in Doctor Who?
Episode and scene inserts, add-ons, explanations in story form. Fanfiction expands and explains more than the actual media does sometimes.
It’s good for my ego.
The thing with fanfiction is that is offers instant gratification. Well, semi-instant. It kinda depends what fic you write in what fandom. I tend to write some popular pairings, but the bulk of the work is femslash or rare pairings, which isn’t the most popular in fanfiction for reasons that are beyond me (okay, I get it, just because I like women, a lot, doesn’t mean everyone does. Some people prefer men, what a novelty!).
Those fics that are popular pairings get read quickly and get comments, reviews and kudos (A03.orgs likes), love and reblogs (tumblr). And even the femslash gets comments and kudos and hits (cause I promote the hell out of it). And this makes me feel good. People tend not to bother to comment on stuff they don’t like, or think is shit (at least I don’t, and people don’t on my work) so it’s just reward. Write words, get nice words in return, feel good about yourself, write more words.
And trust me, I need all the validation I can get, because when it comes to fanfiction, I’m fighting a bit of a brick wall.
I can do what I like.
I am a big believer in freedom of choice – which is a post for another day – but with that comes the fact that I can write all the fanfiction I like. Okay, there may be some rules about what I can post and where, but I can write whatever the hell I want. It’s not like Bioware are going to rock up to my house, form a queue behind MGM, ABC, Marvel etc and demand all my notebooks, after wiping my accounts at A03, ff.net, tumblr and so on. I mean I suppose they can do that, but it seems unlikely. Mostly I’m just trying to feel better about the world, myself and get the ideas out of my head to make room for new ones.
So, I continue to be honest about what I do, everything I do – from writing fanfiction to sleeping in. Writing fanfiction isn’t something anyone should be embarrassed about, or ashamed of. No one should ever be ashamed or be made to feel shame over something they enjoy doing. Sometimes in this world there can be so little joy, so little to love and we should grasp whatever we have and make the most of it. Regardless of what other people think.
So I write fanfiction and probably always will.