There’s no denying that fanfiction is legit anymore. Not when respected news magazines like Time write a piece covering the world of Harry Potter fanfiction. However this is 2012, when fandoms are much more present and mainstream.
But back in say 2004? It wasn’t nearly as legit. Sure it had come a long way since the fanzines and the first Kirk/Spock stories that Trekkies wrote and traded with like minded fans of Star Trek. But for the most part it setayed on ff.net and other archives. You had to know what you were looking for in order to find it.
In high school, I ran with a circle of friends who were very big into manga, anime and Japanese culture in general. I mean big.They started the anime club and always were reading manga magazines, like Shoen Jump. I wasn’t into it. So when they started writing their own stories based on the anime and manga series they were following I missed the boat.
When I first discovered fanfiction (through them) I have to admit my reaction was highbrow. I didn’t see the point. Why write with characters that already existed when you could create your own? It was ninth grade, and I was busy trying to take a story I had started a year early and turning into a school assignment. I had other things to do than craft my stories around other people’s characters.
Despite my friends’ – for lack of a better word- fanatism, I never did drink the same kool-aid. However I eventually came around on the idea of fanfcition. And my friends, who were busy writing their stories, did become better writers. As a group they created a blog to post their favorite fics to read.
Before I graduated from high school, I did briefly try to get into fanfiction, through the Harry Potter fandom. What interested me was taking the plot of the story (say Goblet of Fire for example) and imagining what would have happened if the plot went left instead of right. (What would changed during Order of the Phoenix if Cedric didn’t die, but only Harry could see him?) Unfortunately those musings were never flushed out into a story.
Fast forward to the moment in college where I rediscovered my Star Trek roots and fell in love with Voyager. I had finally found my fandom. Thanks to an online forum I became obsessed with fanfiction. Particularly of the Janeway/Chakotay variety. (There’s this huge subsection of those who write fanction called ‘shippers’ who write about characters in a relationship, either canon or otherwise) Despite having no on-screen confirmation of this relationship, we were all convinced that the Captain and her First Officer were destined to be.
I lurked in the community, devouring other people’s works and making a few friends in the process before I finally worked up the courage to write my own fanfiction. I’ve only written a few pieces, one of which I posted on my blog over two years ago.
For now though, I seem to be off fanfiction again. A year ago, before I graduated from Hofstra, I discovered Doctor Who through tumblr and while I still consider myself a Trekkie, I’m also now a Whovian. I found some well written Doctor Who fanfiction to continue the trend. But I stopped short of becoming obsessed with it, mainly because like the Voyager fanfiction I had found a few years earlier, a majority of it is focused on the relationships that seem to never get as much attention as the plots onscreen. Which is fine, but I’m not really into that right now. I’m much more interesting in examining either alternate possibilities, or what happens off screen.
Who knows? You might see some more fanficition here. But if you do, I’ll make sure to warn you.
Bonus Links – click if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind bad writing