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02 December 2008 @ 01:25 pm
Is Fanfic Worth It?  
I have a lot to do today since I slacked yesterday, but I am going to stop and talk a minute about fanfic (and I'll post those caps when I take a break later). I've talked about this before, but I'm going to again.

Disclaimer: This is just a reflective and conversational post. This is also not a debate on whether people should write fanfic or not. Also, this isn't meant to solicit encouragement or anything. I just like to talk :P



It's no secret I love fanfic. I think I always will. There is something satisfying and comforting in writing fanfic. Fanfic provides a unique sense of closeness to characters we know and love. Everyone writes or reads fanfic for different reasons, but that personal connection remains.

But I sometimes wonder, why should I bother? Is writing fanfic worth it?*

I'm not talking in terms of feedback. I won't deny that I love feedback and I'm disappointed when I perceive something as hard work and I don't get any. But I've been lucky in that aspect. I may have never been a BNF (Big name fan), but in SG-1 fandom I received a decent amount of feedback and recognition. It's not the same with SPN and I whine about it sometimes, but I still receive more than some people can say. And I've written a couple of Sv/Superman stuff, but nothing major. So is my question feedback driven? Likely in part, but not the main focus.

You spend months, maybe, on this complex story that you put tons of effort into. Then you post it online. Done. That's it. So was that time well spent?

Mind you, that isn't much different than publishing. You write a story. Send it to your editor. After revisions and what not, it gets published (online or in print). Done. That's it. Maybe some monetary compensation. But it's over. Time to move on.

So does worth then mean it's just monetary compensation? I'd like to think it's more than that. Most people know writing is not the field to go into if you want to be rich.

It has to be something else, then. I don't know.

I just wonder why? Fanfic is fun. I like it. I've become a better writer from it. And that is a good enough reason in and of itself.

However, I'm a writer in the publishing aspirations sense. While I've had a stories and poems published, I aspire to bigger things. I'm highly ambitious and have my mind set. That's just the way I am wired.

Every moment I sit writing fanfic is time that should be going to profic.

For some people, they can write both fanfic and original fic and pump out tomes of material. With everything else going on in my life, that's kind of impossible for me LOL

I promised myself a couple of weeks ago that aside from fics I owe people and a couple of projects I want to finish, I was giving up fanfic completely. The thing is I don't want to. But I can't see the value or worth in continuing it if, as an aspiring profic writer, it takes time away. Yet at the same time, it is an outlet and we all need outlets to help us manuver through life.

Finding balance would be ideal. I just wonder if I'm kidding myself and just using fanfic as a crutch.

I basically have two arguments in my head: write fanfic in moderation because it makes me happy; happy is a good enough reason vs. cut back significantly because it's getting in the way.

The true answer may be in the middle somewhere. Or, it could be an answer I don't want to hear.

I've gotten better at this over time, but it's still something that nags at me. I've cut back my fanfic writing like in half. Logically, my original fic should have doubled. (It hasn't.) That leads me to believe that fanfic isn't THE problem for me. It's something else. Still, I have to be careful.

Also, I'm not questioning the worth of fanfic in and of itself. (I think fanfic is great.) I am questioning it's worth in alignment with my goals.

I'm opening this up for conversation not just for me but for maybe some of you who might be wondering the same thing. What do you think? Do you have similair or different issues? Is this an non-issue to you? Are you an aspiring writer, a published writer, or 100% fanficcer? We all have different goals and different problems to face. Feel free to talk about them.


*Obviously, this is aimed at myself. People who don't want to write for publication might not have this problem and may have a different set of concerns. Some people might not have this comflict at all or don't care. So I am not generalizing for everyone here.
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larienelengasse on December 2nd, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
I think that there can definitely be value in writing fan fic, even if you are an aspiring profic writer. Writing is such an ever-changing, malleable process that, in my opinion, whatever keeps the writing gears lubricated and moving is a good thing. It doesn't seem, from what you've said here, that distraction in the form of fan fic is an issue for your profic writing. Since it's not, I think it might be more productive to write fan fic, just so you're writing, than to try to force something to come in the profic arena if it's just not ready to come out.

Fan fic does different things for me than it does for you, because I'm not a profic writer. I write fan fiction and I write literary analysis and theory, and pretty much nothing else. Those two kinds of writing are so different, so far removed from each other that for me, fan fic is an outlet for play. I can experiment and play in ways that I can't do in academic writing. For me too, fan fic has made me a better writer, even academically.

When you write fan fic, do you start thinking of profic? In other words, do ideas for profic come to you when you're writing fan fic? I don't mean ideas in the form of "how can I use this as profic instead," but more generalized stuff.

This happens to me with academic writing. I'll be writing about something, and then suddenly, from nowhere ostensibly, an idea for fan fic pops into my head. There's something about just writing that stimulates the creative centers of my brain. If that makes sense. I'm wondering if this is just me, or if you experience it too.

Working for the Mandroid: Teddy Bear Doctormoonshayde on December 2nd, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
That's why I can't knock fanfic. It's so useful. No matter who you are and whether you want to write profic or not, it's great. I still think it can hinder people, so you have to be careful. it all depends on context.

When you write fan fic, do you start thinking of profic? In other words, do ideas for profic come to you when you're writing fan fic? I don't mean ideas in the form of "how can I use this as profic instead," but more generalized stuff.

To be honest, everything makes think of profic. I watch TV, profic. I watch a movie, profic. I play a video game, profic. Music, fanfic, everything. My world centers on writing.

But yes, ideas are always propping up, even as I write fanfic. However, it's more in the vein of "how can I use it for profic." Not because I'm trying to force something that shouldn't. It's just I'll have an idea and then go, oh! Wait, this could work even better as profic. Or sometimes I will write a fanfic knowing I want to use the idea for profic, but the fanfic is for fun and to let me try out ideas to see if it could work later as something else.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Academic and creative writing are very different. I mean, both require creativity, just different forms. I can testify that I was the most creative when I was writing my MA thesis. Writing begets writing. I totally agree with you there. And for me, academics begets writing. Though, not the stuff I am studying right now LOL