Mo (mofic) wrote,

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Why do I write fanfic?

I started to answer this question on fanthropology but it was getting long for a comment, so I turned it into an entry in my own journal. I've been writing X-Men movieverse fanfic for just over 5 years now. That's about 4.9 years longer than I thought I'd be doing it when I started.

I'd never heard of fanfic before October 2000, and when I found it (and slash, in particular) I was just fascinated by it and decided I'd like to give it a try. Here I am, still doing it all these years later. I'm working on an X2 series now, and have two X1 series waiting in the wings to be written. I hope to be inspired to write more by X3. It's the most enjoyable hobby I've ever had. I think it's worth reflecting on what I'm getting out of it. Like many other folks, I don't have one reason. Some of what I get from this fanfic enterprise is behind the cut.

* I write fanfic because I have a story to tell. That's the main one. The source text is compelling to me and sparks my imagination. It makes me think of what else might have happened - after the movie, before it starts, in between scenes - and I wake up with stories in my head. Extending the story beyond what we see in canon starts because the characters and the situations feel real to me and I want to enhance that sense of reality by going beyond the two-hour snippet of their lives the movie represents.

* That said, I did the above for 45 years with books, movies, tv shows, etc. and never wrote about it. I imagined stories in my head, didn't turn them into fanfic. I started writing fanfic because when I started reading fanfic it looked like fun to take those stories and write them down and share them with others. I kept doing it because it was fun. I'm still doing it because it's still fun.

* I write fanfic because I like the research. I learn so many different things doing it. I'm often surprised at the depth and breadth of research that I need to do to write what are essentially stories about comic book superheroes who have sex with each other. Who knew? I've expanded my knowledge in so many areas. Sometimes it's frustrating (right now I'm having some difficulty learning about safety features of aerial tramways) but it's mostly really interesting and challenging.

* I write fanfic because I like the whole process of doing it - writing, betaing, editing, revising. I like making the stories as good as I can.

* I write fanfic because of the effect it has on how I read fiction. I had never written fiction before, and I've learned so much about plotting, characterization, structure of stories and novels, foreshadowing, and other fiction techniques from fanfic. Reading about technique doesn't teach you what practicing techniques does. I learned about fiction in a way that studying literature didn't give me and it has made me appreciate reading fiction much more and in different ways.

* I write fanfic because I write slash and that's something I can't get from the source text. I love the queer subtext in much of popular culture and I want to see it made explicit, which is one of the main reasons I read and write slash. For more on why I like slash in particular, see

* I write fanfic because I enjoy participating in fandom and this is the way I can use my particular talents to do so. I love fannish culture; I think it's fascinating and stimulating and warm and friendly and enthusiastic. It's a fun subculture that crosses age and culture and gender barriers and I like being part of it. I love that there are many things to do with fandom and that people are able to find their niches, from writing to recs to icons to vids to fannish history. Writing X-Men slash is what I'm good at. It's what I can do to contribute to fannish culture.

* I write fanfic for the feedback. Well, I think to be more accurate I publish for the feedback and the participation in fannish culture, but I write for the reasons listed before that. I love the LoC's and I've been very lucky to get a lot of them, from my first series, "I Know What You Are." It's not something I'd thought about when I began writing, but it felt good and I wanted more {g}. The "it's great" ones are fine, but what I really like is when people talk to me about the stories and about the characters and we can engage in a dialogue. It makes it all the more real to me. And that's where I came in...

I'd love to hear from anyone on my flist who'd like to share why you write, or do whatever it is that you do in fandom.
Tags: writing

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