OTW Guest Post: UsedKarma

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.

“Hi! I’m Ophelie, aka Usedkarma on tumblr. I’m french, in my 30’s and I’m deep into a smallish fandom called Darcyland that I helped create in 2012 by opening fuckyeahdarcylewis on tumblr. Since then it keeps growing. I also have a twitter and a deviantart.” Today, Ophelie talks about starting the Darcyland network and the magic of fandom.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

I think I started being into fandom since very young but before internet you kinda felt it didn’t exist, so when I had internet the very first time was when The X-Files was on air (yes, I’m that old). Being French and wanting to read in English for school, I discovered fanfictions (and boy, was that wild). I really started creating both graphics and fanfictions with Buffy, I was a huge Willow Rosenberg fangirl. Then years went by, BtVS went away and I sorta watched Smallville (in fast forward, I wasn’t that in love with the show but it was easier to create my own AU’s of the episodes). I loved the character of Chloe Sullivan, thus I created a French forum about her and wrote fanfictions in french — at the same time I started reading fanfictions in English on NaughtySeduction about Chloe and Lex. It’s not until I matured, started finally realizing that my English level was kinda good that I just decided to create fanarts and writing in English. I read what feels like a ton of fics, all in English and I can’t really imagine my life without fanworks now to be honest. Being surrounded by nice and nurturing people really helps going outside my comfort zone. Sometimes I write drabbles that go with whatever picspam I make.

How did you start creating fanworks about Darcy Lewis?

My story with her is pretty much me, watching the movie Thor (2011) and liking her right away; going searching on AO3 and finding out she was in some Darcy/Loki fanfictions; then going back to tumblr, discovering tags and a ship name. There was a tumblr blog about them (now inactive), but I remember loving it but feeling like I wanted more — more stories about her, not just Loki. I have a history of being curious about female characters, probably because I like to identify with someone. I saw some artworks being created at that time and no one thought of doing a blog for her. I started at the same time, creating graphics, fic ideas, headcanons that couldn’t fit into just one ship blog. I took it upon myself to organize all of this and the blog kept on growing and the fanworks about her opened the doors for others to feel like it was possible to dare writing, reading, drawing about a female character (underrepresented in the MCU).

What was the impetus behind starting the Darcyland Network?

I remember having newbies in the Darcyland fandom coming to me, asking for names of bloggers that counted. I thought ‘oh, what would be cool is to have a list of those people’. I wanted that if someone felt lost, they could go to a nice person that would show them the way. I always try to make the blog inclusive — feminist, anti-ableist, and anti female characters bashing. Since its beginning I have zero tolerance for trolls or people coming and starting ridiculous fights. We have zero ship wars for example. So a Network was to reinforce the openness we already had. It’s not a perfect fandom, but a network is a part of us trying to have a sense of community. It’s a guide in a way. I need to update it, we have a lot of new names that are usually women who are darlings and helping a lot of people in other areas than just the fandom.

What is your favorite thing about the Darcyland Network or Darcyland in general?

It may seems corny but the niceness? I hate BS, and ridiculous superficial fighting. I always rationalize things because there’s far more important things happening in our everyday lives. Fandom is a way to escape but also a way to translate our experiences. This fandom created a small community of women of all ages coming from very different parts of the world: some are teenagers, others are moms, we have disabilities, or financial differences, but we encourage each other a lot. I mean, we don’t have the same squicks, kinks, ships, but we are all positive, something a lot of them told me they didn’t find elsewhere. Which is sad, women talking about their lives or sometimes problems through the medium of writing and using a female character get hate sometimes, for just doing that. The themes we have in fanworks are varied, I always encouraged that and I am lucky everyone followed me (like POC week, femslash week for example). I feel I have a duty to keep the ship floating by having a certain sense of values and curiosity so that the fandom is easier to enjoy for all of my friends in the fandom. That’s how the niceness, the relationships lasts in my mind. We all have to nurture it so it comes naturally.

How did you hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?

Like a lot of people, reading fanfictions made me discover it. For me it really started with the MCU, that’s what brought me on AO3. Then, I finally made myself an account. In the meantime, actions like International Fanworks Day helped me understand more about its role. I have also heard about legal actions some authors had made against fic writers years ago. I come from a time where we had to make a disclaimer, so yeah, OTW is super important, it makes it possible for a lot of people to share so much. OTW is a guardian on the internet for creativity and shared joy. It’s an indisputable outlet for a lot of people, and it’s just basic freedom when you think women are being arrested in China for writing fics.

What fandom things have inspired you the most?

It’s a strange feeling when English isn’t your maternal tongue. I feel a little bit like I had two lives. I wrote a lot of French fics during my BtVS and Smallville period, but because I created and I maintain FYDL on tumblr (plus all the side blogs and projects in parallel), I don’t have the same energy I had when I only wrote. Plus, I think I need more time to fully pump myself in order to dare writing long fics in English. Darcyland inspires me a lot, but I had so much canon material with TV shows versus the very little we have with Marvel movies, it’s not the same. You have to understand we basically grew the fandom from nothing, we made the job of script writers. It’s the first time I am in a movie fandom, not a TV one. In a way, imagination is more on the front because there’s a lot of holes between plots and scenes. Freedom comes from that too, so it’s probably what inspired me the most and what I totally understood from the get go. If you don’t have a lot of canon then you can make your own headcanons and your own fandom with people that feel the same. Not having a lot isn’t a prison, it’s a bigger door facing the world. Isn’t that just magical?

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