Sep. 29th, 2009

mannadon: (Pony- Minty)
So, now that we know we love fanfiction, and we know why we love fanfiction, it's high time to figure out why a majority of 'fic writers and readers tend to hide this enormous, dedicated love from their friends and family. And by friends and family, I mean the variety of friend(s) and family that are living in The Place on the Other Side of the Monitorâ„¢.

I've known more than a handful of people in my seven years of 'ficcing whose love of fandom (and fanfiction, of course) was kept hidden, like a diary, from everyone close to them.

This is only personal speculation on my part, of course, as is the rest of this blog, and every entry that I type out, but I believe that a lot of people are afraid to come out and tell their family that they enjoy fanfiction and/or fandom.

Those of us that have kept our families well-informed of the appeal of 'fic and fandom might have a hard time understanding why so many people refuse to let those who are supposedly close to them into the one place that they really love.

For me, fanfiction is an escape, however temporary, from life. It's nice to be in control (as a writer) now and again, to decide the fates of characters that other people love.

But an escape from life can also be kind of like a personal diary-- you don't want your friends and family poking their noses through it, do you? Similarly, I don't link my parental units to my fanfiction, nor do I link my coworkers to it. They know I write it, but not where to find it. That's key, I think. My fanfiction has little pieces of me in it, and you'll see that you often hear about authors calling their books their "children".

It can be embarrassing to admit to people outside of fandom that you write something that gives you nothing back. (Or does it give you something back? More on this in the next entry.) I don't mind telling people about my hobbies. ("What do you do for fun?")("Oh, I write.")("Like...books?")("No. Stories about pre-existing characters. You see...")

Of course, that conversation then goes on for about an hour, a back-and-forth, what I mentioned earlier in 3.) Why Fanfiction? The answer, of course, is because we love it. Writing is a hobby for most of us, not a career. Would we like to make it a career? Maybe. A lot of 'fic writers branch off into original work!

It gets hard, though, feeling defensive, as if you're defending your religion (or lack thereof) instead of your hobby. It is a hobby, people, just a hobby. And a hobby means you can do whatever you want with it. If you cross-stitch, well, what's wrong with cross-stitching cats instead of piano keys? Nothing at all!

If you're using your free time to write fanfiction instead of a novel, then that's okay, too. That doesn't mean you should shout it from the rooftops. (The neighbors, the raccoon hiding behind the trash cans, and the vulture circling overhead might think you're going crazy if you do.) It means that, regardless of the awareness of your family and friends, you should never feel ashamed or afraid to tell them that you dabble in writing. You'll find that some people are absolutely fascinated that you bother to write anything at all, let alone fanfiction, because to most people, writing is writing.

My sister's roommate recently admitted to having written Law & Order fanfiction when she was younger (about 12 years old), and my sister herself used to write fanfiction, too (for Rurouni Kenshin). Both are "ashamed" of having written it, but there is no shame in writing fanfiction. For my sister and her roommate, writing 'fic was something they did years ago, another old memory for the Memory Box.

But for some of us, it's a hobby that's been going on a long, long time, and it's sad to see people who feel any measure of shame or embarrassment for something they love doing. It brings me right back to how I felt when I started working in a factory, and I had to decide whether or not to admit to being a collector of My Little Pony, which, by the way, I no longer collect, and look back on with slight embarrassment and a bit of fondness.

The difference is, of course, that I no longer collect My Little Pony. My sister and her roommate no longer write fanfiction.

But for those of you that currently write and read 'fic (because sometimes, it can be just as hard to explain that you prefer InuYasha 'fic over Beowulf), remember one thing: fanfiction is a healthy hobby.

There is no shame in loving it.

If all else fails, tell everyone that it's good practice for when you write a book, even if you don't really intend to write a book.

And for your own sanity, not to mention the sake of those around you, don't shout your love of 'fic from the rooftops.


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October 2009

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