On January 15, OTW’s Communications Committee sent out a call for essays on “What Fanworks Mean to Me” as part of celebrations for International Fanworks Day, coming February 15. A number of you responded, and we’d like to thank everyone who contributed! Today’s post shares some of those submissions.
To me, a fanwork is one simple fic, one video, one drawing, one amazing work of art that allows you to change the story. You can explore the fandom and connect yourself to it in ways you never could have imagined. As a fic writer, I know what I’m talking about when I say it’s a joyful experience when you post a fic, knowing that people will read it and associate it with the fandom you so much admire. It’s fun and exciting to take the entire story and change it to what you or others want without changing the tv show, book, or movie that you know and love at all.
Fanworks can also be used as a way to peer into a character’s soul, and to help both you and your readers learn a bit more about them, or to prove that love is possible between your uncommonly shipped, non-canon OTP. Not to mention the one thing that binds us all to fandom: the fact that we are a part of something, the fact that we have millions of people around the world all reading and writing about the same thing we are. The fact that we are not powerless, or useless, or alone in this world, because we belong to a whole nother one called a fandom. Fanworks are and always will be a necessity to the fan lifestyle, and thus deserve to be celebrated.
Fanworks have come from fans all over the world. We’ve got so many of them that the number of Alternate Universe (AU) we see is astounding. Fanworks mean a lot to me since I’ve discovered them three years ago when I was 17. I started with fanfiction and I was amazed by the quality writing of those authors. All on my mind was how is this for free?
The reason fanfiction appeald so much to me is mainly because of the dominating aspect of diversity in them. We can see that the characters are not the usual straight white abled-body people we see in media all the time. I’ve read fanfiction with trans characters, with genderqueer characters, with Indian characters, with characters whose labels intersect so many sets that I feel my heart bursting with joy. Don’t get me wrong-I love Daniel Radcliffe but I relate more to a bisexual South Indian Harry than a white boy. In fact, thanks to fanfic authors who always do their best to include characters of the whole gender and sexuality spectrum, I found myself researching more on terms that relate to my gender.
Another reason why fanworks are important is because we get to see how other people see the characters or the stories as a whole. We get full theories on those and I think it’s pretty awesome. While I may see Captain America’s eyes as just blue, another person could see it as a representation of an ocean of love for Bucky. And then, we also have the unmissable fix-its works, where our favourite characters are still alive, where our OTP is canon or where there is just our favourite trope. They may be just little moments but they bring joys to us in small doses which all count in the end
And finally, fanworks are coping mechanisms for many of us. From having a rough day to awful, sweat-drenching nightmares, going through fanworks or making one helps to cope with the situation. Writing a bad day and fixing it with some fluff feels great or atleast, settles the angst inside us at that moment.
Fanworks are the arts that people work hard to create without gaining any financial gain behind. We can be grateful that they chose to share those works with us even if they don’t have to. I’ll end by saying that a nice comment or kudos is always appreciated.
First, fan works are an escape. Writing or reading fanfiction gives me a break from the stress in my life.
Second, fan works allow us to explore characters and place them in situations that their creators will never do. It’s the power to say, “I don’t like how this episode of my favorite show went. I’m going to write what I would have liked to have seen.” And then you write it and post it and celebrate the characters with other fans.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. Poetry. Books. Short Stories. Songs. Shojo Manga. I write anything and everything that I can –- any idea that I can latch onto with my brain and take over. To me, ideas are not created. Ideas appear and take off running, beckoning a writer to snatch them and spin them into threads of story. Since ideas come to me in different forms, I use different mediums to express them.
I have discovered over the past fifteen years of my life that writing is not for the faint of heart. To discover another world and then create it, knowing that what has become a part of you is not even real, is something all writers must grapple with. It is a struggle and a delight to watch the people you breathed into existence go through their lives – and to know that they are under your hand, even as they claim your heart. They rest in your power, and you rest in theirs.
On a more superficial level, writing is difficult because it is time-consuming. Creating metaphors requires thought. Plotting can require extensive planning. And sometimes, out of exhaustion or laziness, creating original fiction is something I cannot bring myself to do.
Not only is writing hard –- living is hard. For the writer, and for everyone else, life is difficult, also a struggle and a delight, the same as building a universe by pressing keys. This world is dark. Occasionally, this world is frightening. And when a person is put into a situation where they do not feel competent, comfortable, they seek to escape it.
That’s where fanfiction comes in for me. As a writer, a person who creates fiction, I constantly seek out fiction. Broadway tracks. Books. Comics. Television. I use them the way some people use stimulants: to escape the world. Unlike people who escape the world by drugging themselves out, however, I trade this world for another. I walk the paths of Middle Earth, fight at the barricade with Les Amis, and mow down the enemies of Hyrule -– all without ever leaving my couch. When it is over and I am forced back to reality, I seek to enter that world again, but under my own circumstances, and through the eyes of the people I fell in love with while I journeyed there. I return to that world again and again, or I bring the people from it into my own.
I use fanfiction as a way to try another author’s style, and so it has made me a better writer, but I also use it as a way to explore deep emotions that the story has unlocked within me. Story-telling is power. Despite what some people think, fanfiction is story-telling. It has not only made me a better writer, it has made me a better person. And I will be forever grateful to the writers who came before me for the gift that they have given me.
We all belong to various fandoms. But the fandoms or ships that touch our heart (read: tear our skin open and freaking grab our heart) are the ones that inspire these fanworks. We want more, expect more, NEED MORE. At first what starts as excitement slowly turns into an obsession. A few more days and cue the daydreams. These daydreams range from ‘too much fluff’ to ‘Plot what plot/porn without plot’ to ‘crack’. But these scenarios you imagine are way too marvellous to not be shared with the rest of the world and this is how a fanwork is created. Writing fanfiction to me is like finally scratching that itch at the back of your head.
And this is what I wish to do on this International Fanwork Day. This 15th of February I am going to sit down and write all the fanfiction I couldn’t write due to my exams or the busy holiday season followed by binge reading all my favourite Sterek and Aralas fanfics again.
Fanworks have been part of my life since my preteen years. I didn’t know there was a term for what I was doing. Actually, I’m sure just about everyone did fanworks without knowing it as a child, only not all of us continue to do so through adulthood. Little kid draws a picture of Scooby Doo? Fanart! Little kid writes a story about Tinkerbell? Fanfiction! Pretending to be Power Rangers? Roleplaying!
I was reading at a third grade level when I was two years old. Around the age of thirteen, I became interested in Redwall. I don’t remember why I decided to look on the internet for “Redwall clubs”, but that was my first venture into the wonderful world of fandom. I found a roleplaying site called Dibbuns Against Bedtime. Never did much with it beyond joining, because I saw the message board and thought it was just a chat room. I had no idea it was for acting as your character and going on adventures.
It was the glory days of Neopets. Roleplay guilds ran rampant around the site. I participated in Warriors (Erin Hunter) and Dragonriders of Pern roleplays. The latter ones broke just about every rule the author had set…luckily I don’t think she knew of Neopets. I was a bit wiser, but still not an expert on fandom and roleplaying ways. Neopets eventually gave the roleplayers the middle finger by banning all roleplays not about Neopets.
Today I am a fandom regular. My Deviant Art gallery is full of fanart and fanfiction. I still roleplay, and I have become quite good at it. My main fandoms are three of Nintendo’s “big four”: Fire Emblem, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda. Spyro was my first gaming love though, and the reason I love dragons.
Fandoms are great. I love how they bring people from all walks of life together. I love the creativity that flows through them, and the sense of community they produce. I will probably continue to be in fandoms until the day I die.