For the Love of Fanfiction

So. Let us talk about fanfiction. Ah, fanfiction.

It is a much-debated topic in the literary community. Some people love it and would be happy to write it for the rest of their lives. Some detest it and would rather jump into a pit of rabid, screaming fangirls than go anywhere near it. I suppose you can say one thing about it, though - you can't know what it is without having an opinion on it.

So let us back up a little and ask: what exactly is fanfiction?

I consulted the great and all-knowing Urban Dictionary, and here is what I found: "A piece of fiction within a fandom utilising characters and situations from a pre-existing work including (but not limited to) books, television programs, films, and comic strips."

It's no secret that fanfiction receives much hate. Honestly, though, that's almost baffling to me, because the fact that people seem to be so intent on magnifying every minuscule flaw in one particular genre is ridiculous. Why is society as a whole so bent on sneering at and degrading fic - and, in turn, those who read and write it?

It could be because said readers and writers are mainly teenage girls.

It seems an overarching theme: the young adult genre is widely looked down on, and is it a coincidence that its intended audience is teenagers? The romance and erotica genres - both primarily written and read by women - are constantly degraded. It feels that anything largely enjoyed by a young and/or female audience is largely cast aside by the rest of the world - and yes, with 78% of users female and 80% between the ages of 13 and 17, I think we can draw a correlation between this phenomenon and the demographics of the largest fic-sharing website in the world.

But in a society where teen girls are constantly looked down on and pushed aside for what they love, it is so important for them to be able to find solace in something - anything. And, perhaps ironically, they find it in the very things that they're shunned for.

When girls write fanfiction - no matter whether they're bestselling authors or whether they've never picked up a pen in their lives - it ties them to something bigger than themselves. This is not about society's petty disdain for everything to do with the young and female, but rather, about taking something mundane and turning it into something magical. Fic creates paracosms, pockets of wonder nestled into the monotony of everyday life. Wordplay opens doors for young girls to explore further into the worlds they've fallen in love with, gives them a family amongst the fictional people they have grown to adore.

So please listen: fanfiction is not something to be ashamed of. It is not for people who are too lazy or uncreative to make up stories of their own. It is not about denigrating authors. It is not about changing the original stories, but rather, about making sure that no one forgets them.

Fanfiction is beautiful. It's funny. It's intelligent and witty and progressive. Fanfiction is diverse and epic, poetic and complex. It's iconic and satirical and brutally honest. It's critical. It's political. It's heartbreaking. Fanfiction is transformative. And that fact will never change - no matter who it is that writes it.

"Real" adults often pooh-pooh fanfiction, which is why so many teenage girls have abandoned it in pursuit of other, more "intellectual" activities. But why? Is it so shameful to love something so deeply, so hopelessly and unconditionally, that you are compelled to explore further, to break down the walls set by the original creator and take the story in radical new directions?

Is it so shameful to witness the miracle of art and want to be a part of it?

For so many girls, fic is an avenue into the kind of magic that an author only begins to establish. It's about pushing the boundaries of a familiar world. It's about reinventing and reshaping and looking at a story through the eyes of a creator.

Because in a world where young girls are degraded, sneered at, laughed at, and objectified; in a world where the books they read, the music they listen to, the movies they watch are constantly made fun of; in a world where they can do nothing without the persistent fear of being cast aside for their gender and age - fanfiction gives them an avenue to express their voices. Fic is a shelter from the storm around teen girls, a storm that constantly looks at the things they love and turns them into something contemptible.

In short: why is fanfiction so important?

Because being part of a bigger story should never be a taboo.

Fanfic: "Amethyst"

Hi everyone!

Chinese (one of my hardest exams!) is over and done with, and I'm quite relieved about that. There were some tech issues, which was slightly scary because it looked like we might not get them resolved, but it all worked out in the end and our teacher managed to figure out what was going wrong! So now the majority of my exams are over, which is AWESOME. All I have left are Molecular Biology + Algebra II Trig, but those are both on Thursday. I still have tomorrow to chill + study + get some much-needed sleep, since no exams means I get to stay home. :D

Today I'm sharing a fanfic I wrote over the weekend in between studying - it was a lovely stress reliever, since, as you guys know, I love writing fanfiction. Certainly not as writerly intensive as original work, but a lot more fun! This one's a Supernatural fic (any fans around here? Come hither and fangirl with me!), and I quite enjoyed writing it.

Those of you who watch the show will know that it's slightly depressing at times, but this is pretty much just an exercise in fluffiness, because that's how I roll. ;) Here's the description:

Sam's getting married to the love of his life, which is great and all, except the happy couple is absolutely hopeless at wedding planning. Which, of course, leaves it up to the long-suffering best man/future brother-in-law/best big brother in the world to play damage control and pull together a kickass wedding in six months... with the help of a pretentious, blue-eyed, Taylor Swift-listening asshole who Dean may or may not be falling in love with. Purple arguments, stolen cakes, and hijinks ensue.

Also, have an excerpt!

“She said lilac, Dean.”

“Hell no. She said mauve.”

Castiel sighs gustily. “You barely know the difference between navy and black. I am telling you, she said lilac.”

Dean bristles. “Just ‘cause I own a leather jacket and drive a badass car does not mean I don’t know what my soon-to-be-sister-in-law wants for her bridesmaids’ dresses. She said mauve.”

“You are simply afraid of being wrong.”

“No, you’re too stubborn to admit that you are.”

“Your memory is affected.”

“Shut up! You don’t know me!” Dean says. It’s pathetic even to his ears.

“She said lilac,” Castiel repeats.

They end up going with amethyst, which, in Dean’s opinion, is a prettier colour than lilac or mauve anyway. When the bridesmaids’ dresses are delivered, the girls love them and Jess is delighted.

“Thank you so much for arranging this, you guys,” she says. “The colour is gorgeous.”

Castiel and Dean shoot each other dirty looks.

“I maintain that she said lilac,” Castiel hisses, and before Dean can retort, he’s being pulled away by Jess to coo over how beautiful the bridesmaids look in their amethyst dresses.

As always, skip over this one if you're not comfortable with the language - the main character does swear a lot canonically, so I had to include it! ;) But if you're looking for a bit of a stress reliever from exams/life in general, please do give it a read - it's around 6k words, I believe. I'd love to hear your thoughts! x

love, Topaz

Fanfic: "Rhapsody"

Hey guys! For some reason I'm absolutely exhausted - I'm not entirely sure why, to be honest! School wasn't exactly the most intellectually stimulating today (I mean, we have a three-day week, so what exactly are they going to teach us in that short of a time?) and I didn't have self-defence either, so... I don't even know, man. :P

Today I wanted to share something I wrote with you guys - the cause of my lack of sleep over the weekend! (Hey, that might be the reason, now that I'm thinking of it... ;)) It's a Supernatural fanfic called Rhapsody, written for a friend who was raving about how amazing it would be to have a fic where two characters shared a music stand in their orchestra class. (Please note: I wrote this despite the fact that I know nothing about an orchestra, period. I don't even know what I'm doing at this point. :P) I'm afraid it might not make much sense if you don't watch Supernatural, but the characters are very distinct so you may or may not be able to glean something from it. ;)

So click here to read Rhapsody - capped at 9k words, which is the longest fanfic, except for Shadows in the Night, that I've posted yet! I would love to hear your thoughts on it, guys; it's definitely not very much like my normal writing style, but I had a lot of fun with it regardless.

Countdown to the cover reveal: TWO DAYS. IT DAWNS EVER CLOSER. :D

love, Topaz