From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.
Laura Beveridge is a writer for the Geekiary, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in science communication. You can read her multi-fandom fanfiction under the AO3 handle CompletelyDifferent. K-K Bracken is an editor and contributor for The Geekiary and the C.O.O. of Saga Event Planning, an event planning company specializing in single-fandom conventions. Together with Laura, she is writing a YA novel that is inspired in many ways by their mutual love of all things fanworks.
How did you each first get into fandom and fanworks?
LAURA: For me, fandom started with Harry Potter. It was my parents’ bid to try getting me interested in reading and overcome my dyslexia. It paid off, big time. I’m not sure if he actually remembers, but my first interaction with fanfic came from my Dad. He wrote a daughter-insert fic where Ginny Weasley sought my help in saving the kidnapped Harry. Eight-year-old me was over the moon.
I feel like I personally started exploring online collections of fanworks at around age twelve or thirteen.
K-K: HP for me as well! I wrote essays for Mugglenet and organized fake Hogwarts classes for my friends. I was always an avid reader but the interaction and expansion that come with fandom was delightful to get into. I remember being on a mailing list of over 1000 and swapping fic and theories with fans from all over the world.
How did you both become involved with The Geekiary?
K-K: A close friend of mine is an editor at The Geekiary, and she asked me to write a recommendation piece for Steven Universe. I slipped into writing more and more about SU and other pop culture until I became a regular contributor. Laura and I have been writing together since we met by recommending each other’s fic to the other on Reddit, so I wanted to get her involved with The Geekiary as well so we could continue that tradition.
LAURA: Basically, K-K encouraged me to submit an example of my writing for The Geekiary. I wrote up a recommendation piece for Rick and Morty, and I’ve been with them since.
One of the pieces you wrote together is a character exploration of Garnet from Steven Universe. This is the sort of in-depth meta seen in fandom communities, but it exists on a site that also runs more general news. Do you think that the format of The Geekiary has more to do with how media sites are changing or with the way fandom is changing?
K-K: I think it’s the gatekeepers who have changed, not fandom itself. No longer do marginalized fans have to swap Luke/Han zines in private, fearing fanboy retribution — now we proudly and publicly say “canon isn’t perfect, and here’s how it could be better” (or at least, “here’s a fun way to play with it”). The Geekiary’s mix of news and meta is a neat culmination of this. We are feminist-focused without being a feminist magazine. We are lovers of fandom and we write what we would want to read.
LAURA: I think fandom has always had a place for in-depth plot and character studies, before it was even called ‘fandom’. Possibly how accessible and prominent those studies are is changing. Maybe it does have something to do with how fans access news. When people are more likely to discover key updates from a Twitter or tumblr feed, I think that entertainment websites may have had to shift focus to more feature-style stories to keep an audience. But overall, I think this is something that’s always been there.
How did you hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?
LAURA: I honestly can’t remember when I first heard of OTW. I definitely heard of Ao3 first, and I can’t recall how I discovered that one either. For so long, it felt like if you were reading fanfic, you were reading it on Fanfiction.net, or else a bunch of smaller, single-fandom archives scattered across the internet. Then gradually, more and more of the recommendations I stumbled upon came from Ao3.
For me, The OTW feels as though it mainly serves as a central hub where fanworks across all different media and fandoms can stay collected. More importantly, it feels reliable. It was made to serve the fans, so we don’t need to fear the rules or regulations changing out of the blue.
K-K: I know of the OTW via Archive of Our Own as well. It’s so wonderful to know there’s an organization out there who is comprised of folks who are passionate about fandom and fanworks to the point that they offer legal protection for them, not to mention the plethora of resources like AO3 and the Open Doors project.
What fandom things have inspired you the most?
K-K: I have been lucky enough to be a part of organizing and creating two fandom-specific conventions, Ice & Fire Con (an ASOIAF/Game of Thrones con) and Beach City Con (the first Steven Universe-exclusive fan con). The anonymity of the internet is a blessing and a curse – I would never trade the fandom experiences I have had online (like meeting Laura!), but I recognize that there is something magical about interactions in the meatspace with like-minded fans. Being able to create a space specifically for my fellow weirdos and nerds, the too-louds and too-muches, inspires me every day.
LAURA: Wow. That is a big, big question, and one I’m genuinely struggling to answer, if only because I have seen and read so many amazing stories, comics, and art that have all genuinely touched and inspired me.
If I’m going to limit myself to only one thing, though, I have to say without a doubt, the Steven Universe fandom, especially the fanfic community. It’s the reason I’ve become friends with so many amazing, creative people around the globe. It’s the reason I’ve become friends with K-K. It’s the reason we’re writing a novel together. It’s the reason I was able to realize that communication was where my true passion lies, and why I’m studying for a Master’s right now.
Catch up on earlier guest posts