In Defense of Short Fiction Inspired by Already Existing Art — or Fanfiction
Well, it’s officially been too-damn long since I last wrote something here.
I should update you as to my writer-ly behaviors, I suppose.
- I finished the rough draft of my short story toward the beginning of December. I made a promise to myself that I would edit it after letting it sit for a short while.
- That “short while” turned into 6 months.
- I still haven’t started editing it.
- My bad.
- I have been working on quite a bit of poetry as of late. In the fall semester I had a very encouraging creative writing professor tell me I “must have been a famous poet in a past life.” Which made me blush and then pull a series of faces that no one should ever see me make. Ever.
- I’ve had two promising ideas for short films — film being a medium I am overly eager to start pursuing.
- Neither of these short films have finished spec scripts as of yet… but it’s a work in progress.
- Recently I’ve found myself putting a lot of effort into collaborative short fiction pieces inspired by some of the finest writing happening in today’s media based art.
- By which I mean I’ve been writing fanfiction.
Okay, now — listen. I am a firm believer in the importance of fanfiction.
Fanfiction is an incredible tool that inexperienced writers can use in honing their skills. It is a way to receive unbiased feedback on prose without needing to worry about copyright issues or idea-stealing. It fosters a sense of community and trust among fellow writers — which can be very important in the long run. Additionally, it allows writers to actually begin writing with out getting hung up on character profiles and intricate plot details. So much of that is supplied for you when you’re piggybacking on someone else’s work. In fact, fanfiction is one of the only activities in life which deems said piggybacking as acceptable.
Also, it’s just plain fun!
My writing career began when I was but a small child, weaving narratives on the backs of my eyelids. I still do that to this day. I lie down at night and immediately launch my mind into a plot. I entertain myself in this way. I allow my busy mind to rest. It’s also one of the ways I remind myself that, above all else, writing is storytelling.
Storytelling is an art and no one begins as Plath or Poe or Palahniuk.
Fanfiction has been the most consistent writing instructor I’ve ever known. It is always there. It is always growing and waiting and calling you back to learn more from it.
So I feel no shame in admitting that, yes, I write fanfiction.
I write all kinds of fanfiction and nothing on this great wide earth can stop me!
That said, I can sometimes use fanfiction as an excuse not to tackle the issues in my original work. I try to avoid seeing things like this. I don’t want to encourage in my mind the idea of fanfiction as an escape from reality. So much of my childhood was spent tucked in a book because I was afraid to step outside of it’s crisp, paper world.
I’d like to believe that’s not the case anymore, but I catch myself sometimes — retreating into the shell of a well worn paperback. And on occasion this can be a well deserved indulgence. It’s just important to remind yourself that it can’t last forever.
You can’t build a home out of words.
No matter how hard you might try.