Thursday 14 August 2014

In Defense of Fan Fiction

By Courtney Lockhart

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed an increase in the media attention given to Fan Fiction. For the uninitiated, Fan Fiction is unsanctioned original stories written by fans of a particular tv show, book, game, movie, band etc that takes place in that fandom and uses its characters, sometimes mixed with original ones as well.  What I’ve taken away from the articles I’ve read  is that most people believe three things about what is commonly called Fanfic:

1)     It’s all written by lonely teenagers  
2)     It’s all badly written
3)     It’s all porn

Reading these articles generally resulted in a high level of frustration  and ranting to friends as to how these writers just don’t get it  and it’s not all like that. I would sit there perplexed as to how someone could get it wrong again.  Most of the fan fiction that I came across were well written, intelligent pieces by people looking to improve their skills or contribute to a community they adore.  It eventually dawned on me that  the reason these articles had it wrong is that these well-adjusted, determined writers weren’t talking about it. They were afraid of being labeled crazy fans with little knowledge of the outside world and even less talent.

I should know, I’m one of them.

Credit: Fan Fic Flamingo
I’ve been writing and reading fanfic on and off since I was about 12 years old.  My most recent stint started a couple of years ago when I decided four series of Torchwood were just not enough. I started reading, and eventually I started writing. It was a great way to work on the areas of my storytelling I felt needed development, while expelling the extra energy that comes from being really into something. The feedback was also incredibly helpful.  I was getting dozens of people from all around the world giving me constructive criticism and tips on how I could improve.  Some of my stories were so well received that people offered to translate them into different languages.  It eventually gave me the confidence to consider myself a 'real' writer and offer my services to this blog. 

Even though I felt complete comfort in the Fan Fiction community, in real life I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. They just knew I was 'writing stories' and that I shared them on an 'authors website.'  Over time I’ve started letting people in on the secret. Usually either because I find out they are also writers/readers, I'm at a convention so it feels safe, or because they have said something so atrocious about the art form that I feel the need to defend it from a first person perspective.

Because above all, that’s what it is, an art form. Like all art there is good, bad and not your taste. If you don’t like the really sexy stuff, don’t read it. If you find a story isn’t going the way you like, move on. You wouldn’t go into a Chapters and expect every book to be a masterpiece created strictly for you.  I won’t deny that the badly written stories of legend exist. But for every one of them there is a story out there that is so good you would swear the person worked on the original it was based off.  With the joys of the anonymous internet, some of them just might.  
Emily Bett Rickards A.K.A Felicity Smoak on Arrow

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Emily (and any other fanfic fans out there)! Join us!

    We meet up for fannish conversations over brunch once per month; this week, a pack of us continued the fun with a trip to see Guardians of the Galaxy.


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