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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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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
shiawmeimei on December 2nd, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
As a published author who started in SG fanfic, I have a soft spot for fanfic but I don't have time to write it anymore. And even if I did, I'm not sure I would. I wrote Stargate Jack/Samantha ship and Jack/Daniel slash. Now I write erotic romance, mostly gay, and I find I enjoy playing with my own characters more than someone elses. Even when I wrote fanfic, I loved creating original characters.

However I come back to fanfic a lot. To me it's the only thing I read for relaxation. Books I read for research--what publisher is buying what, what are they looking for in this line or that. I don't enjoy books as much anymore because my inner editor is always critiquing. There is no market for fanfic; no editors. I don't expect perfection in grammar and structure. I'm free to enjoy it! And I revitalize my love of original writing by reading fanfic.

I'd say if you still get satisfaction and enjoyment from writing fanfic, then make time for both. The simple enjoyment it brings makes it worth it.
Working for the Mandroid: crossroadsmoonshayde on December 4th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
There will be a day when I won't be writing fanfic anymore. I know it will happen. I'm not going to kid myself. As the days pass, more and more of my energy is moving into my original ideas. My characters are being stronger. My worlds are becoming better organized and real.

I think I'm in transition. I think the fanfic gives me an escape into something I can finish RIGHT NOW where my original stuff is still in the kaborous pre-writing stage of conception. Most of my worlds are only half formed. My ideas are beign tweaked. it's part of that mental stage where everything is coming together.

Does that make sense? It does to me LOL
Working for the Mandroidmoonshayde on December 4th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
Can I ask you a question? How do you focus?

Like I am supposed to be working on one project because I am on a deadline.

Then I heard a song today and it sparks inspiration for a series of scenes in a series that I haven't started yet. But the images and emotions are so powerful that they are distracting me from my current project.

This happens to me a lot.

Should I just jot down everything I can from those images and force myself to focus on my project that is due?

I have a hard time staying on project. And because my deadline is close, I can't be boucning back and forth.

I just wanted your opinion. :)
shiawmeimei on December 4th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
Concentrating is hard when plot bunnies are constantly jumping up and down all around you. However, I've only sold once on proposal and the deadline was more than sufficient for a wandering mind.

The rest of my contracts have been on completed stories.

However, I do set personal deadlines. Those can be harder to keep than a publisher deadline! LOL The best way is a little help from my friends. I have a goals partner--someone I exchange emails with giving goals and progress for each week. She keeps me on track with the stories I'm working on.

I also have friends I do timed writing with. We meet online and push each other toward a stated word count for the day. This is fabulous because you have to write something, even if you're not "in the mood". Usually after the first few hundred words, I get rolling and can knock out a lot of words for the day.

I'm trying to stick closer to my personal goals because I plan to send out several proposals soon on partials. I feel better knowing I can stick to a schedule.