Saturday, August 1, 2015

Life of a Fan-Fiction Writer

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By: Emma B.


If you are a fan-fiction writer chances are you enjoy any kind of medium. It could be television, video games, movies or even YouTube. You like them so much that often, you are not satisfied with certain aspects of these favorite things and therefore begin to create scenarios in your mind, and eventually on paper, that answer questions or support a favorite topic on the subject. These self-created stories can be love triangles between characters or theories about what happens after the story ends. Fan-fiction can be both a fun (and by extension), a hard way for young writers to express themselves or a way for internet trolls to get a free lunch. Some of them can so detailed that they mimic that of a novel or they can be short, small stories that capture a great of emotion in just a few words. However, if youre one of the many people who have heard about fan-fiction and are just scared of it, Im here to tell you my experiences with fan-fiction and even what its like for others who have taken on this form of a past time. So get comfortable and join in The Life of Fan-Fiction writer.
What is Fan-Fiction?
What is fan-fiction? To the casual observer it seems like a fairly obvious question, but often people get so lost in the definition they dont actually write anything. Well, to clarify, Im going to provide the various meanings of what fan-fiction is. Fan-fiction is a medium in which people take a fan-dome they like and expand upon on it or create a parallel universe to the canon. The mediums your fan-fictions can be centered around can range from Super Smash Bros. to Blank-Space by Taylor Swift. Fan-fiction, by many peoples standards, is used to describe their creative thinking which is meant to be shared with the general public. Fan-fiction is always changing and over time has evolved into a respected genre by many people.
Why Do I Like Fan Fiction? The 12 Year Olds Point of View
I like Fan Fiction mostly for the fact that it gives me the chance to take something I love and give it a deeper level of meaning. For example, I really enjoyed a video called Super Mario Legacyby Mason Gulliver. To put it simply, it basically took some ideas from the movie Super Mario Brothersand expanded upon it greatly. After that, I gained inspiration to create my own characters and stories centered around Super Mario Brothers. I like my stories so much that I enjoy sharing them with my friends, my family and fan fiction websites. It helps me evolve my writing style, and over time because of fan fiction, I discovered that instead of a happy writer, that I am actually a dark and metaphorical writer. These types of stories became my strength in writing and have even helped me improve my non-fiction writing skills. Others around me enjoy reading what I write, and it fuels me to write more. However, nothing comes without conflict. Sometimes, because I write such dark fiction, people question why I write it but I enjoy it, so I have stuck with it. So far, its proving to be a very good choice!
What about Other Fan Fiction Writers?
I took the opportunity to interview Brawlingwolf, who is considered by many to be the Goddess of Nintendo Fan Fiction. I asked her if she would tell me her thoughts on Fan-Fiction Writing an here is what she had to say in our interview:
EB: What inspired you to write your fan-fictions?
Brawlingwolf: Originally, I saw it as a way into a world where I could escape some of the issues with bullying and being somewhat of a social outcast in middle school. When I started seriously writing them, it was a chance for me to expand on the Kid Icarus universe.
EB: Do you feel the quality of fan-fiction is improving?
Brawlingwolf: Mine personally? I think so. Overall? I can't say. I see a few diamonds in the rough here and there, but mostly the stories I find don't interest me or, honestly, outright repulse me. I have really high standards when it comes to what I read in grammar, spelling, story, characterization, and how well the original characters [if any] are crafted.
EB: What is the worst fan-fiction you've ever read?
Brawlingwolf: I won't name the story itself or the author out of respect to a fellow writer, but there was a Kid Icarus-based story that dealt with ignoring basic biology and the plot, from what little I did accidentally read, made very little sense. I will grant that I've taken a path of making Pit (the main protagonist of the games) a god, but I believe that's a path that has to be done in a very specific way. Having the antagonist kill Palutena (Pit's ruling goddess) then essentially "do it" with Pit and then tell him he should become a god is nothing short of ridiculous.
EB: Did you expect your writing to be so popular?
Brawlingwolf: I did not, and I'm grateful for the positive feedback and following I've gained. I find it funny that I've had more than one person call me the "goddess of fanfiction."
EB: Have people ever made fun of you because of the fact that you write fan-fiction?
Brawlingwolf: Surprisingly, no, but that might be because I tend to not bring up the subject with people I don't know as well or people who aren't fellow nerds and geeks like me.
EB: What tips do you have for beginners?
Brawlingwolf: Don't be afraid to tackle deeper ideas in a fanfiction. Make sure to properly format your stories and make sure to spell-check. Remember to do so manually as well as using a computer: the "Rouge Angles of Satin" is technically spelled correctly, but not if you're trying to say "The Rogue Angels of Satan." And finally, have fun with it!
EB: What's coming next?
Brawlingwolf: In the realm of fanfiction, I'll be working on the third installment of the Across the Bounds of Time series, a crossover of Kid Icarus and Fire Emblem. Outside that, and more importantly, I'm continuing work on my fantasy novel trilogy and another story focusing on the struggle with social equality in the United States, especially for young adults.
Whats With All the Hate-Mail?
In modern day culture, you will find many memes that center around fan-fiction being really bad. So the question remains, why does fan-fiction sometimes have such a bad reputation? When I started out I didnt know or care why fan-fiction was criticized. However from my experience, in order to craft a good story you must know why others failed. Sometimes you even have to give things a second chance. Anyone who has read The Super Mario Movie Sequel Comic will understand what Im talking about.
Common Terms in Fan Fiction - What Is Shipping and Trolling?
Shipping -
If you have been reading fan fiction or know someone who writes it, you may have heard the term Shippingand you may say, Like a package?No, not so much. The term shipping refers to two fictional characters in a fan fiction romance. Oftentimes, the romance is over-done and quite clichéd. In the fan fiction world, shipping can make or break a story. Some stories, like Across the Bounds of Time, revolutionized quality shipping. It made the primary couple very relatable and entertaining to read. However if youre (sometimes unfortunately) part of the Mario fandom, stories like that are gems in a basket of rotten fruit. Often they can even be inappropriate. Many adults and teens love these stories because they are inappropriate and gross. However if given proper development, any ship can become tolerable.
Trolling
Trolls most people think of ghouls on a bridge right? (Its even what I thought too.) However, internet trolls are far worse. Trolls are readers that nit-pick and destroy everything youve written just because they can. They enjoy criticizing what everyone else seems to enjoy. However many times its hard to tell the difference between trolling and criticism. For the older reader, I recommend a poem called Troll. You can find it on YouTube and is definitely worth the watch. Trolls are annoying but as a writer (novelist or fan-fiction prodigy), you have to build a thick skin. Writers often get heavy complaints and as writers we have to learn to deal. So, ignore the Trolls and focus on the positive feedback you get from the real fans.
Tips for Writing Fan-fiction
Many people online have mocked fan-fiction for the bad it is, so its hard to find decent advice. If you want a good video for the older viewers, search Writing with Jane. The only reason I dont say the little ones should see it is because she occasionally curses. Otherwise fantastic video. However if youre banned from the internet, I have a few points of advice.
Firstly, it doesnt matter what people say. If you are a Super Mario Bros Movie fan, thats okay. If you like Five Nights at Freddys, thats okay. No matter what fandom youre in there will always be someone who likes your work. Sometimes you can even write stories that are better than the source material. They can stay true to the lore but be better than it. So if people say youre weird because you write this stuff, just ignore it.
Secondly, check your grammar. Any fan-fiction can imagine this scene. Its a Sunday afternoon and youre reading fan-fiction. You see an engaging summary and a possibly good concept. However when you go to read said fan-fiction, it has awful grammar. You get disjointed and then move on to the next ship-fic.The bane of every fan-fictions existence is horrible grammar. This can ruin a story and fail what could have been an instant classic. So in response to this, get a beta-reader. Ask a friend or family grammar freak to edit your story. This instantly makes a story easier to read and enjoy.
Finally, be original, be crazy. Many of the greatest fan-fictions were departures from the norm. If you write original idea and just insert worlds and characters from other people that could end up being the next-big hit in fan-fiction. Clichés are a writers version of the plague, I recommend looking them up and then breaking them in half. As for archetypes, I feel (as well many others) that no matter how hard you try you cant avoid them. In short, know your strengths and be as creative as possible while still focusing on the roots of your story.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, you can love it or hate it, but fan-fiction is always going to be there. However the important thing to remember is that if you enjoy fan-fiction, continue to write it.  I had several original novel ideas based off fan-fictions and they ended up being some of my favorites. At the end of the day, do what you love. It doesnt matter if you think Super Mario should be dueling his movie counter-part or if you think Female Robin and Stahl is cute. As long as you stay original and stick with what you love, fan-fiction is incredibly fun and satisfying. 

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