10 August 2018

My Thoughts // We Need To Talk About Fanfiction

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
I have been attempting to write a discussion post for a while now on various topics. I actually really wanted to talk about what my time away from blogging and the strange little things I missed about it. But I think that will have to wait for another day now because this article inspired me to write about another passion of mine: fanfiction.
We Need To Talk
I am a massive fan of fanfiction. In fact, I went through a period of reading barely any books (I’m talking under 20 a year) from about the age of 15 to 20. I still loved reading, I was passionate about it. I carted books to uni which I never got around to reading and told everyone how much I loved reading… but I just had no motivation to read. The problem was at the age of 15 I felt too old for the teen section (YA hadn’t exploded then like it has now) and whilst I loved the few romances I read (which were still being labelled chick lit at this point) I didn’t feel old enough for those stories. I enjoyed them, but I didn’t relate to the characters problems in the same way. I lost my motivation to read because I didn’t feel like the books I saw on the shelves were targeted towards me and I had no place. It was sad and it was worse because I wanted to read and that’s where fanfiction came in.

I discovered fanfiction as a shy 13-year-old. I am almost certain the first fanfiction I discovered was X-Men fanfiction as I explored my love for Gambit and Rogue. I loved the cartoon X-Men Evolution (you guys remember it right?). I remember loving that once more the X-Men was on for Saturday morning cartoons and it wasn’t the dated looking 90s X-Men but instead a new cool one with them as teenagers! I could totally relate to these characters! I adored it and so I spent my limited hours on the internet trying to learn all I could about the characters and somehow discovered a site with stories about them! It opened my eyes to this whole world and I’d delved into it often. I’d read fluff, angst, crack, basically anything I could get my hands on. It was great and so when I stopped being able to find books I wanted I turned to fanfiction to feed my need to read. hell, I wrote a fic or two as well. I am not an excellent writer but it was so much fun to explore these characters I felt I knew so well.

As I got older I often found myself checking out fanfiction for any and all shows/films I watched because I loved the chance to explore the characters deeper through the use of fanfiction and the opportunity for what if storylines was just too good for an ongoing show. I read fanfiction for X-Men (all it’s films and various offshoots), Dark Angel, Harry Potter, Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, House, Firefly, The Mentalist, Buffy, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Suits, Life, Vampire Diaries, Merlin, Tin Man, Rookie Blue, Life With Derek, Teen Wolf, The 100, The Blacklist, The Hobbit, Star Trek, James Bond, Hawaii Five-0, Pitch. Literally, anything which caught my interest enough that I wanted to explore the characters and their lives further in the form of fanfiction. Hell, I still turn to fanfiction when a show takes a turn I don’t like or if I decide a couple of characters are meant to be and want to explore fandom and see if folks agree with me. I love those what ifs and maybes.

When I was a child reading Harry Potter I didn’t care just about the story of the books, I wanted to know how the wizarding world worked. Did they go to school before Hogwarts? What about maths, English and science, did they study the core curriculum? What jobs did wizards do considering the wizarding world was so small? Pureblood seemed to snobbish, how did the wizarding work beyond Hogwarts. Were there different classes, but how when there are so few? I just wanted to know it all! I couldn’t get enough and this is true for so many of the fandoms I have been a part of. I am not satisfied with what I have been given I want to know more about character’s pasts. I want to know what happens next or what would happen if one small element of the story changed.

For me, fanfiction helped keep me reading when so many lost interest in books. The teen years were a hard time for readers before YA came along because it was hard for people to see themselves in books. Sure, that’s not everyone’s experience of reading. Some people find themselves in classics or reading non-fiction, we’re all different. But for me, reading fanfiction helped me find out the stories I liked reading with characters I was familiar with until I was ready to get back out there and find the books which I would like. I read my way through fake relationships, soul bonds, secret babies and angsty love affairs. I read through stories which examined prejudice in a rigid society, post-apocalyptic fare and a different kind of urban fantasy. I explored all the genres with characters I was familiar with and I came out understanding my own reading habits far better. My reading tastes now are surprisingly similar to my fanfiction reading tastes and they always have been. Who knew?

I think it's amazing how popular fanfiction is now, I mean there are amazing dedicated sites which are so very much an improvement upon my initial days on fanfiction.net. I mean, Archive of Our Own is an amazing website I visit regularly and I never even knew Naomi Novik was one of that site and it blows my mind. I am in awe of the skill of the authors out there writing this fanfic for the simple love of the characters and the opportunity to tell their own story with them. I am forever grateful that I discovered fanfiction for helping me keep being the reader I am today and I just plain old wanted a moment to tell you all about it. I’ve mentioned I read fanfiction before but I just wanted to tell you all why I love it so much. I may be 27 and some would say too old for this… but I know where I would tell those people to get off.

Do you read fanfiction? How did you delve into fanfiction? If you don’t read it, why not? I’d love to know what your thoughts on it all are!

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