mannadon: (Pony- Green Star)
[personal profile] mannadon
A lot of people view fanfiction as something that takes from you, but never gives anything back.

I heartily disagree with that particular point of view. Fanfiction gives a lot back, more than the average person could ever fully realize, let alone comprehend.

Sure, you might not end up a BNF (Big Name Fan), but some of the qualities associated with being a BNF are selfishness and elitism, so who wants to be a BNF, anyway? Let's just stick with being loved in our little circle of friends on This Side of the Monitor. (Believe me, it's not worth playing the fandom version of an office or high school Popularity Contest.)

Continuing with this subject, though...

What do you think 'ficcing brings to the table?

Well, let's see what we give to 'fic, before we see what 'fic gives back.

1.) Time. Lots of time. So much that the parental units start looking at us as if we're weird (usually when we laugh/cry/grin like a maniac at a 'fic we're reading/writing/editing, but this can also happen when our eyes become bloodshot from staring at our MS Word documents for hours on end), the dog starts howling when it can't hear the clickety-click-clack of the keyboard, and your friends have long ago ceased wondering where you've been. (Bonus points to you if you end up with cobwebs in your hair, and even the canned soup in your pantry has gone bad.)

2.) Thought. This includes research, which sometimes means you have to re-watch a movie. Or re-play a video game. Or re-read a book. Lots of re-ing in there, don't you think? Then there's the note-taking, the looking up of clothing/reference art, and trying to figure out if scissors were, indeed, around in the year 1769 (they were, I checked).

That's all. The writing of fanfiction takes up two things in our overrun lives: thought, and time. That really isn't very much when you consider that becoming addicted to alcohol increases the chance that your organs will give up on you.

At least with 'ficcing, your organs won't implode.

Or explode.

Now, for what 'fic gives back. This is the really amazing thing, here, because as a writer of 'fic, you not only get back from your own writing, but by the writing of others, too. And readers? You're only getting back. Isn't it grand?

Let's look at what the writers get back:

1.) Thought. Because people that read your story will undoubtedly have a question or ten, and those questions will cause a chain reaction, sending your brain into a spiraling thought-session that never ends. Like the song, except better. While thought put into your own writing is something 'fic takes away from you, it gives it back, too. The views of your readers will make you think, and sometimes thinking is more positive than negative. (If you're like I am, and scheming up reasons for Character A being as quirky as he or she is, then this is most definitely true.)

2.) Practice. More on this later, but 'fic is definitely good practice for writing both future 'fic, and novels, too, if you so desire.

3.) Feedback. Not everyone gets feedback, but if you cater to the right fanbase, you'll see reviews in your inbox. But the best part is, feedback is also...

4.) Amusement. There's just something so...satisfying about clicking the little "submit" button that posts your geekery on the web for everyone to read. And criticize, too, but that's a topic for another day.

Now, the readers:

1.) Entertainment. Honestly, there have been days where I've read 'fic, and I've laughed at one, cried at another, and was incredibly moved reading the very next story. There is no end to the entertainment. The bad'fic is good, too, if you like the thought of poking a fork into your sore eyeballs. Sometimes the allure is too much to ignore, right? Either way, it's fun. And free, don't forget that.

2.) Food for thought. Haven't you read a 'fic that really made you think? And I don't mean in a bad way, either. I'm not talking about the, "What the hell just happened?" kind of a way. I'm talking more about the, "Holy crap! I never thought of that!" kind of a way. Or what about this: "I can't believe I didn't come up with that idea first!"

3.) The ability to give feedback. This sounds negative at first glance. (Aww, you mean I have to type out a review?) But give it a second to sink in. As a reader, you have a power at your fingertips that the writer doesn't have. Hell, you have more power as a reader of 'fic than any published author on the face of this planet! Your review, once submitted, will be read by the 'ficcer, and believe me when I say they won't forget it. (Provided it actually contains something worth looking at, but that's another topic for another day.) Your opinion matters, as most 'ficcers will tell their reviewers. I know it makes me ridiculously happy to see new reviews, short or long. It's just nice to know that someone cares. So not only can you leave a comment on a story, not only does your opinion matter, but you have the ability to make someone's day by just typing a few sentences out.

There are probably more benefits to both sides, but like I said before, 'fic gives back. Though it's hard for other people (read: Those that live On the Other Side of the Monitorâ„¢) to understand the entire thing, even when presented with the previous paragraphs, it might help us to understand the benefits of jumping into something fun that...at first glance, appears to have no benefits at all.
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Mannadon

October 2009

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