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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.