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Writer's Block: Sheldon and Penny 4ever! - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
Writer's Block: Sheldon and Penny 4ever!
Fanfiction: Do you love it or hate it, or are you totally indifferent? Why?

(But mum, all the OTHER kids are doing it!)

I don't have a problem with fanfiction. From 1996 through to 1999, which was the end of high school for me, I actually wrote some. My friends and I created a spin-off world based on an animated series we liked at the time. What we wrote was not typical fanfiction; only two of the characters from the show were carried over into our stories and they didn't feature at all in most of the fics. We wrote using original characters in a universe based on a one-line mention in a single episode of a cartoon.

So yeah. It was weird. But by golly we had a good time. Those few years of writing bad fanfic also allowed me to write out all the cliches, all the trite characters, all the borderline plagarism I had in me. Flushed it out of my system.

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Over those years I read, and wrote, everything from drabbles to smut. I don't do any of it now but I've got no problem with anyone who does, whether they be fifteen or fifty.

Actually, questions like this one bewilder me as a whole. Why expend energy hating someone else's hobby? Why do people feel threatened by this? In fact, why do people seem to feel so threatened by Justin Bieber? Who CARES? If you don't like him, just... don't listen to his music, or read magazines featuring him. Hating takes so much energy. (For the record, in case anyone is reading this as a defence of Justin Bieber, I've never heard one of his songs and I hope to keep it that way. But I'm also not running off to diss the kid all over Twitter.)

Crikey Duck sprang out of those fanfic characters we created. There are many degrees of seperation between the Crikey Duck characters and the fanfiction we wrote as teenagers, but let's face it: if you read and enjoyed Crikey Duck, dude, you read and enjoyed a kind of fanfiction. Snap.

These days I'm working on my own original fiction, and I'd be lying if I said that the idea of experiencing fanfiction from the other end hadn't occurred to me. If I'm published someday, and if enough people like what I've written, it's possible people will write fanfic about my characters. So we're sitting on a teetering pile of "if"s here, but let's continue with the thought experiment: If I go out and read this fanfiction I know what I'll find. Some of it will be horrendous. Some of it'll mutilate characters I carefully crafted over the course of years. Some of it will sexualise characters in ways I didn't intend. Worse yet, there'll probably be angry Hot-Topic-clad Mary Sues with dramatically-hued eyes.

Point is, I don't have to read this stuff. None of it can possibly detract from my own work, because my own work will (hopefully) exist out there in the original form. If people want to experience it that way, they have the book. And if they want to experience it complete with amusingly long and in-depth emotional confessions between previously-stoic characters, or with themselves inserted into the tale, or with bondage and incest, well... there's fanfic.

Writers, if you want your fiction to only ever be read and understood the way YOU wrote it, don't publish it. Because the moment a set of hands other than yours picks it up, the story changes. It's filtered through the reader's experience and their personality, and that changes it. If a million people read your story, it turns into a million stories, each just slightly different to the last. Some people choose to take this one step further, and they write. Be cool with it. That's half the fun.

Besides, for every writer spending their time on fanfiction, there's one less competitor standing between you and publication.


fight the power!