OTW Fannews: Fannish Psychology

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  • An article at the Huffington Post explored the appeal of some canon relationships. “According to DeFife, this strong desire we feel for an onscreen couple to get together is rooted in a psychological phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik Effect. ‘It was named after a psychologist who observed waiters in restaurants who would not write down their orders for a table…She found that they had memory for the order only as long as it wasn’t filled, and then once it was filled that memory for the order went away.’ The phenomenon now refers to the notion that an unsolved problem remains cognitively alive. Unresolved romantic chemistry in TV shows and books, DeFife says, falls neatly into this category.
  • An interview in The Independent with author Lucy Saxon revealed her health’s role in fanfic. “It was thought likely that glandular fever had triggered the CFS, and doctors initially thought it would clear within a year. But as time went on it became apparent this was a condition that would be with Saxon for life…she recalled how much she had enjoyed creative writing at primary school…’I had been reading a lot of Harry Potter fan fiction, I was off school a lot, and had a lot of time on my hands…I wrote fan fiction for a good two years and alongside that I started to write original stuff.'”
  • A Boing Boing post linked to I Ship It, a short film by Yulin Kuang. The work “follows a young singer named Zoe Smallman (Mary Kate Wiles of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries fame) who recovers from a breakup by turning to Harry Potter-themed ‘Wizard Rock.’ It’s a charming story that shows off Kuang’s visual flare, which is clearly influenced by the likes of Wes Anderson and Edgar Wright but still feels unique. And Kuang’s interest in online spaces—both as a distribution platform and as subject matter—could very well place her at the forefront of an upcoming trend in filmaking.”
  • An interview in Concordiensis with the writer of a fanfic inspired play asked about the motivation for the plot. “The play starts off with Eddie who, after a run in with an ultra fan, Catherine (who is also a prolific fanfiction writer) is inspired by her slash fanfiction of The Gargoyle and the Sparrow, to try to become famous again. In an effort to reclaim his fame, Eddie seeks out Frank and convinces him to pretend to be married and basically reenact Catherine’s fanfiction to cater to their fan base.” The playwright explained “[F]rom Catherine’s angle, I related to her because we are both amateur writers. Plus, identity politics has always fascinated me. Like how people love categorizing you, and how that kind of clashes with how you identify yourself. And I thought superheroes served as a great gateway to that theme because they are able to hide themselves behind a fake persona that is always under the scrutiny of the public, making it easy for them to escape their true identities.”

What meta and articles have you seen exploring fannish identities and psychology? Write about those events in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.