Nov 11, 2015

In defence of fan fiction - Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

Today we have Chiara from Books for a Delicate Eternity, my lovely blogger friend, and a fierce supporter of LGBTQIA+ novels and ships, who discusses - or rather defends - fanfiction, especially non canon ones.

Over to you Chiara!

Image Credit goes to Chiara.

Not too long ago, the internet blew up (as it usually does). This time, it was about a post on a particularly popular and wide-reaching website that labelled fan fiction (which will now just be called fanfic in this post) as “inappropriate”, “dirty”, and among other things: incited people to ridicule particular fanfic writers and their Teen Wolf fanfic pieces, and fanfic in general.

The above picture taken by yours truly shows books I have written fanfic for (and books you should 100% read, by the way). Simon vs. theHomo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, The RavenCycle by Maggie Stiefvater, and Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat.
Today, I’m going to talk about the importance of fanfic to me personally. And also to the wider fanfic community.

I’m an LGBTQIA+ writer. Without fanfic, I might never have realised that LGBTQIA+ fiction was what I was supposed to be writing. I’d been writing cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) novels for a pretty long time – and failing to actually finish any of them. I finished my first book last year, featuring a gay character. I also finished my second book, about a bisexual character.
Before fanfic, it had never crossed my mind that I could write stories about characters who weren’t cishet.

My OTP (one true pairing) is a true OTP in that if I could only ship one ship forever, it would be Merlin and Arthur from the TV series Merlin. After finishing the show, I was in withdrawal because it had meant so much to me, and I never really got to see Merlin and Arthur realise that they were in love with each other and needed to live happily ever after. So I created a Merlin Tumblr. And discovered fanfic. People had written these amazing stories about Merthur getting together and loving each other, and it was what I had always wanted from the show and never gotten. It was like stepping into the world I’d always wanted to exist.

Then, one night, it was 8.45pm, and I thought to myself: Chiara, you’re a writer and you ship Merthur with a fiery burning passion and you love reading fanfic. Why don’t you just try, in the next fifteen minutes, to write one?

And I did.

And I guess the rest is history.

I started off writing copious Merlin fanfic (some a few hundred words, others up to ten thousand). Since then, I’ve written fanfic for quite a few fandoms. The only cishet fanfics I have written have been at the request of followers, or gifts for friends.

I realised, in writing that very first fanfic in fifteen minutes, that that was what I was supposed to be writing. That I felt happy writing. I loved writing about these two boys in love. And I’ve since written hundreds of fanfics about boys falling in love. And two books about boys falling in love.

Through fanfic, I realised that:

a) I like writing about boys. All my attempts at novels were written from the female perspective. And,

b) Writing LGBTQIA+ novels is what I was meant to do. And what I enjoy doing.

Fanfic is a way to explore yourself, hone your writing, find friends, discover yourself, and find yourself. This doesn’t just apply to writing fanfic, but reading it. It doesn’t just apply to finding yourself as a writer, but other aspects of who you are that fanfic has opened up, or brought to your attention, or made you consider.

And to dismiss fanfic as just “inappropriate” and “dirty” is to take away the importance that it has to both me, people I know, and general fandom people.

I will defend fanfic because of what it has given me, and others. I will defend fanfic because it is fun and beautiful and yes, it can be extremely sexy but hey – give the people what they want. I will defend fanfic because it changed me as a writer. I will defend fanfic because it changed me – period.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again and again: fanfic is life.

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