This Week In Fandom, Volume 141

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! First, a small format change to TWIF for now, since the broader entertainment world is on hiatus: we’re going to be featuring more recommendations and events from around the internet as we all spend more time at home. There may be only so much Netflix you can watch, but fandom is full of things to create and participate in. Feel free to tell us about cool fandom things that are happening in the comments!

First up, a handy primer for all the apps, services, and ways people are hanging out over the internet: Aja Romano’s Vox article From Netflix Party to Zoom: The internet apps getting us through quarantine, which is full of links and ideas. Eventbrite is growing in popularity, with its landing page now full of virtual events you can attend online, from yoga classes to concerts to art classes. Your blogger has always wanted to learn to draw well enough to make fanart – if you’ve always been in awe of the talented vidders, podficcers, writers, fanartists and other creatives in our community, now could be the time to give it a try! Read More

Outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement

The OTW and COVID-19

The Organization for Transformative Works is staffed by volunteers located around the world. We work from home, in libraries and coffee shops, and even during downtime in our other jobs. This means that, as more and more of us need to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, how we work won’t actually change much, but our time commitments will. Some of us will have extra time to devote to the OTW and will get more done than we ever anticipated. Others will have family or personal commitments that will cut down on the amount of time we can donate to keep things running smoothly. And some of us may need to spend more time enjoying AO3’s vast collection of fanworks and less on building its infrastructure for the sake of our mental health. Please keep this in mind if you experience delays in responses when reaching out to us.

In the meantime, consider exploring our projects. Discover a new fandom on AO3, and record your fannish experiences on Fanlore. Learn about how to save and protect fanworks and fan history with Open Doors and Legal Advocacy. Go down a research hole with Transformative Works and Cultures, and connect with other researchers through Fanhackers.

Times may be a little distressing right now, but we can get through this together. Keep creating. Keep researching and recording. Keep leaving comments and kudos. And above all else, please, stay safe.

And if you have time to share a few recs, please do! We could all use some amazing fanworks to get us through the day.

Note: Due to the potential dangers of misinformation on this topic, we reserve the right to remove comments containing non-factual statements about COVID-19.

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Betts

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.

Beth Weeks (Betts) received her MFA from Miami University, where she currently teaches creative writing and composition. Her work has been published in Rivet Journal, Midwestern Gothic, and Quarter After Eight. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. Today, Betts talks about how she became a fanfic writer.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I was 11 the first time I found fanfiction. It was a small Geocities archive for the show Dark Angel. I opened up an explicit fic, though, and immediately panicked, vowing not to go searching for Max/Alec content anymore. I was 23 when fanfic found me again. There were only six episodes of BBC Sherlock at the time, and Post-Reichenbach fics were flourishing. I had a Tumblr already; it had been introduced to me by a friend who said it was the “motherlode of lesbians and cats.”

I stumbled across a rec to EmmaGrant01’s “A Cure for Boredom,” then a WIP, and I thought, I too am bored. I found myself many hours later, nose to screen, huddled in a blanket burrito, occasionally rolling around saying “oh my god.” When I finally glanced away from the fic, it was dark outside and I’d forgotten to eat. I’d read thousands of books, but fanfic seemed unlike any of them. It took my favorite elements of narrative, gutted all the stuff I didn’t care about (plot) and beefed up all the stuff I did (character). Fanfic was risky and urgent and earnest — everything I thought good writing should be.

Later, I traveled around South America and New Zealand, and whenever I got homesick and couldn’t manage to sleep, I’d pull up a Johnlock fic and curl up in my hostel bunk, among dozens of other snoring backpackers, so I could feel connected to something again. Fanfiction became a piece of home I carried with me. No matter where I was, there was somewhere I knew I belonged.

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