I’m a fan first and foremost. A consumer of art for the sake of entertainment. Movies, television, video games, novels, comic books, music, along with classical forms. Not only do I consume, but I also like to create—strum a guitar, sketch a portrait, write a book.
I’ve always carried subtle threads of inspiration. Mostly I wanted to recreate the greatest stories ever told. You know, share my absolutist opinion on entertainment with the entire world. But I didn’t have the nerve.
And then it happened. Sequels and prequels to a couple of my favorite stories came out at roughly the same time. One was easy to see, the other I trekked a ludicrous adventure to attend. But both disappointed. Last time I ever exclaim, “This is going to be great!” again.
The writers of these movies hurt me personally. What were they thinking? Why the hell did they do this or that?
In my bitter despond, I protested the only way I could. I bought one copy of the DVDs. Yes, I still bought them, after all, like the first sentence says, I’m a fan.
During the weeks that followed, grumbling, proclaiming with utmost authority what should or should not have been done, a tiny thought grew. Like a golden dandelion in a perfectly watered lawn, this thought sprouted, bloomed among millions of blades of wild declarations, always growing, never to be mowed away because this tiny thought was truth.
One day in the midst of a well practiced rant, I picked the dandelion. I spoke the truth, “How can I complain about someone else’s work if I’ve never made anything myself?”
The next day I began writing my first ever piece of fiction. Which, upon critical review, read like microwave instructions translated from the blender instructions. But it was mine.
I’ve always said that I was driven to writing out of revenge. It earns a chuckle. Now I’m a dedicated writer with a couple published short stories and goals far and away grander than revenge.
But I’m still a fan.
Enter fandom disappointment round two.
Big budget, decent actors, but the constraints of a motion picture forced a convoluted plot to move too fast. Granted the movie wasn’t made for me as much as a modern version of the original demographic I once belonged to. But still… disappointed.
Revenge’s gelid tendrils clutched my writer’s heart once more. Pencil to paper, fingers to keys. Spread the time, develop motivations, hew breathing characters from the primordial canon. Give justice to my love.
Fanfic is born.
Writer friends scoff, ask why I’d write something I cannot be paid for.
Prominent authors say don’t write fanfic, that it’s a waste of time.
But I’m filling a hole other writers have left. I’m expressing an ultimate display of fandom.
I’ll post my work so like-minded people might enjoy. And I’ll do this for free… unless the legal copy write owners would like to speak with me about future writing projects. Contact me. I’m open to conversation. Or if The Powers That Be intend to sue me we can talk about that too without litigation.
Besides, how many writing instructors ape the claim that you must write a million words before you get good? If that’s the case why not make glorious pieces of fanfic part of that million? Why stop there? Why not improve on something you love?
I have now written four stories in this particular universe. I stayed quiet for a long time, embarrassed of the connotations. Then I read this article on fan fiction. So many positive examples of the transformative qualities to this spontaneous wave. Sure, there’s bad writing, and lots of it, but it’s free expression, a gathering place for abstract ideas and concerns too often overlooked in the profit-driven narratives of life.
Fans of the television show Once Upon A Time are wholeheartedly enjoying a phenomenal piece of fanfic.
The director J. J. Abrams re-imagined Star Trek TOS, then gets Star Wars!!!! Ultimate fanfic dream come true.
I doubt I’ll ever have a hand in my favorite movies. Or play lead guitar for my favorite bands. But the one thing within my control is to write beloved characters into a story of my own precious creation.