It’s amazing really that something that is so deep inside of today’s world can be so looked down upon. How does that happen? I’m talking about one specific thing here, of course, but there are thousands of things that can relate to the words that float inside of my head. While the topic I’m thinking of is somewhat derivative, that doesn’t mean that my words can’t be taken to heart and possibly touch the hearts of someone on a deeper level for a different subject.
My topic, some of you might be wondering, is fanfiction. Yes, fanfiction.
There is so much that I can say about fanfiction, good and bad; because it brings people together for both of those reasons. You can make friends through the love you share of this fictional world, and you can make enemies based off your differing opinions. It’s amazing that so much can come from one story, one piece of artwork, or even a fan-video. Because we the fans love more than what some people care to admit. And therein lies the problem.
We love the world that was created for our viewing or reading pleasure. We love it so much that we want to see it expanded, and we ourselves want to expand upon it. It’s not shameful, but so many people view it as such. You might even be inclined to throw me in with the latter lump. No, I am not shamed by fan-based creations, and I love all that have put their heart and soul into their fanworks; but I myself am ashamed of myself. I do not freely admit to creating fanfictions to those in my circle, and I’m not sure that I ever will. I have written over a hundred stories for different fandoms, some I am proud of and some I am not so proud of, but I have not been inclined to share it with my best friend.
I always assumed the main reason was for the smut I often took part in writing. It made me feel alive to put the characters I so loved imagining together in situations involving sweat, flesh, and heat. The sensation was beautiful, and I craved it so much that I could not stop. So why can I not share something that makes me feel alive with the people I am closest to? It is not because I am ashamed, I have come to realize, it is because I am scared. Scared that my work is not up to their caliber. Strangers claim to love it, but I fear the reactions of those I have to see. I get anxious over the simplest of things, and yet I crave praise and affection at the same time.
That brings me to the point of this piece. The fact that fanfiction can be so looked down upon even now. Spending so much time on the internet has shown me that fanfiction is normal, more normal than I was lead to believe when I first started out.
My love for it has only grown, and I’ve expanded my OTPs and fandoms to the point where I can hardly keep up; but even with how widely popular fanfiction is there are still haters. There will always be haters with anything and life, and it just sucks. It’s terrible to think that someone with an amazing talent – an author, a graphic designer, a videographer, etc. – can be torn down by one hater. And they can.
No matter how many positive reviews you receive or favorites you have under your belt, that one harsh review can tear it all away. Because we are all artists in our own right; we put a piece of ourselves out there each time we post something new and when someone rips into that post it’s as if they are bashing that piece of us.
Some people do this for kicks, and it always leaves me wondering why. I read beautiful stories nearly every day and I’ll read the authors note’s that state that they will not stand for flames or critiques that are not constructive, and all I can find myself thinking is that the story I am reading does not deserve to be under fire. The author does not deserve it. They took time out of their lives to grace you with a glimpse of what was in their mind, why shame them for that. Why shame anyone for sharing?
The internet is a cutthroat world filled with bullies and threats, but there are genuinely good people out there too. People who leave kind reviews and mean them from the bottom of their heart, people who don’t know how to express how they feel after reading the story so they are simply content to favorite it and save it for a later date. These are the people I applaud, these people make the harsh words worth it. Even though I wish there was something that could be done about the haters, I am still glad that there are people out there who know how to love. Who came into the fandom simply seeking an expansion for the universe that they grew to love.
After all, isn’t that what drew us here in the first place? Our love for the show, book, movie or whatever else brought us together should be strong enough to take away all the shame. We should be proud of the work we presented and the work presented by others, because fanfiction is wonderful.
So, the next time you feel too scared to post that piece you’ve been working on for a long time just think about how much it means to you when someone posts a new story. Think of how great you feel when reading about the world found in someone else’s mind with all of those same characters you are already attached to. Then, once you realize that just go ahead and post your work.
Stand up and be proud of your work and ignore the harsh words. Hate is simply the lowest form of flattery, so they’re really just paying you a compliment in the long run. Though, clearly their skills at paying compliments are just a bit on the rusty side.