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Why I'm probably done with fanfiction.

Okay, I really should have written this quite some time ago. To be honest, I've been putting it off. Part of that is because I'm just incredibly lazy, and part of it is because that to this day, I still get e-mail and LJ comments and smoke signals about my Gundam Wing fanfiction and it makes me feel more than a little guilty.

In the past month I've gotten about five of those sorts of e-mails, and I've been putting off responding to them. Because I don't really have much of a response beyond, "Thanks, I'm really glad you liked those, but…" and the "but" is where I sort of run out of steam.

So here it is. I'm probably done with fanfiction.

The reason I say "probably" is because, now that I'm in spitting distance of the big 3-0, I've finally learned one of life's important lessons – "Never say never." Maybe some day, I'll start doing fanfic again. But I can tell you that day is not today, and tomorrow isn't looking so good either.

One reason for this is that I'm basically done with fandom. Attending conventions used to be one of my main activities, and in the last five years I've become increasingly cranky and unforgiving (old fartish, really) toward an environment where people think it's perfectly acceptable to hug complete strangers or shriek at the top of their lungs because it's all just so exciting. This is not to attack people who do the latter at least – I did more than my fair share of shrieking when I was 18 and went to Anime Expo – but it's really not my cup of tea any more, and I see no reason to spread my particular brand of "Get off my lawn" to convention centers around the US. I still read manga, and I still watch anime, but I've definitely lost my connection with fandom - and it doesn't even bother me that much.

But infinitely more important is the fact that I've finally reached a point where I can stand my own original writing, and prefer my own characters and world builds and plots to borrowing someone else's. The day I realized that I was enjoying my own writing more than I was writing about someone else's work was a pretty exciting one for me. Now, I'm not going to claim that I'm "too good" for fanfiction or anything similarly egotistical. I'm just saying that I've finally hit a creative point where my original output doesn't actively bore me as I write it – at least not most of the time. The result of this is that I've got more ideas and more excitement for my own original work, and fanfiction has most definitely fallen by the wayside.

Most of the e-mails I get about my fanfiction include a query about the sequel to Anax Tristis. The basic score is that I have it fully outlined, and the rough draft is about 1/3 of the way done, most of it hand written. I've actually added to that draft as recently as the end of last year; I was in an incredibly boring Freshman economics class, and while I couldn't concentrate well enough to write anything original while the lecturer was droning on and on, the Gundam Wing fanfiction I've written is so old and familiar that I could manage to write some of that. The bad news is that I don't really think that situation is going to repeat. I'm going to start grad school in the fall, and I'll be pretty surprised if any of my classes end up being that brainless and boring.

So I'm not quite sure what to do, there. I feel a bit bad about the whole thing, since I did leave poor Duo in an unpleasant situation at the end of Anax Tristis. At the same time, I honestly don't feel guilty enough that I'm willing to put off work that I might some day be paid for. The unfinished story is sitting in the plastic crate by my desk that holds my text books and school notes, spread out across three steno pads. At this time it seems fairly unlikely that it will ever get finished, though of course I won't say "never."

Thank you to everyone who has read my fanfiction, whether you've enjoyed it or not. I owe fanfiction a great debt, and everyone who read my work most definitely has my gratitude. I truly believe that you have to write an awful lot of crap before you can even start producing something halfway decent, and fanfiction certainly helped get me to that point. It helped me practice certain aspects of writing while allowing me to ignore others and also gave me healthy doses of reader feedback, much of it intensely helpful and some of it necessarily devastating. A lot of what I'm employing in my own writing today, I learned from writing fanfic, and it's been instructive. That said, I'd rather write my own stuff now.

Hopefully, one day some of that "stuff" will be published, and maybe you'll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed reading about Duo shooting vampires in the head. And hopefully it'll be just as much fun to write, if not more so.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
From one former fanfic writer (and convention attendee) to another--hear hear ^_^

Good luck w/ your original stuff (I have so much more fun when I can kill and change characters at will without pawning it off as an AU ^_~ )
Apr. 27th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
I hear you on the entire disinterest in the fandom. It started for me long before I went to Japan, and really reared its head when I was the chairman of the local anime con in West Michigan. The screaming kids, the random hugging/glomping, and even worse was the panhandling for money for food because instead of being responsible and setting some aside, they had to buy a large stack of yaoi (from a vendor who wasn't checking for IDs and we had 14 year olds with explicit materials then =_=)

I still watch anime, I still read manga, maybe even get inspired to make a costume, but with how elitest and as much as I hate to say it "maintstream" the fandom has gotten, I'm very much with you on the whole "GET OFFA MAH LAWN" feeling.

So, you're not alone.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Huh, I'm glad I happened to glance at my F-list for the first time in months!

Man, it's been so long since you first wrote the GW fics! I remember I was either in late high school or early college when I first read them, and that was how we ended up eventually meeting. Such dorks. XD

While, yeah, I think it would be fun and sort of nostalgic to see what might happen next in the story, I'm really happy that you're enjoying your original stuff more than fanfiction. Like you said, fanfic is a good way to practice the craft and get a lot more feedback than you would if you wrote only original stuff. And your writing has certainly improved over the years!! ;)

What are you writing these days, anyway? &hearts
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Well... I'm still trying to get Throne of Nightmares into good enough shape that maybe someone will publish it. Sin's got it to read right now. I'm still trying to write short stories but I'm not terribly good at them. I'm trying to do some major editing on one of them at the moment. Which is hilarious, because it's the short story that I really hate...
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
"If you kill that character off, I will never forgive you..."
I remember that conversation/argument, and I remember having to call your mom to keep you from doing it.

That quote can only be topped by, "I just splattered blood all over a Japanese school girl!"
Apr. 28th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
neil gaiman wrote something similar to this way back when about fanfiction. it's somewhere on his blog.

but, no more conventions? and, here i was hoping i could drag you to NDK to be a judge for the worst H fanfic panel i'm hoping to run =)
May. 1st, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind going for a day to do something like that, but I'm definitely done with the full weekend thing. It's just too many people, and they're all way too young. XD
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Good luck with your original stuff, I've oft-cited your advice and recommendations to fanfic writers in terms of grammar, characterization, and plot from your site in my FFML C&Cs, and they've taught me a lot about fanfic writing and writing in general as well.
May. 1st, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
Glad I was helpful. :)
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:56 am (UTC)
I would say it's sad, but it's not, I know most people are not me. I turned thirty last year and just started returning to cons. I'm a delightfully immature thirty year old, I'm told, though. I personally wish I had money to go to cons all the time because I wouldn't have to deal with watching myself get older and slog through life as the responsible lady who watches her nephews and helps her mom (I don't mind doing those things, mind you, but I don't want it to be my WHOLE life, which right now, it pretty much is). I told my mom once it seemed like I was losing myself to being an "adult", all the things that made me "ME" were being left on the wayside.

I will say I am a fan of your fanfiction and often re-read them. As good as those stories are, I'm sure I would enjoy original stories by you as well. Something I would suggest if you found time (and this would either work great or blow up in your face) take the outline and draft of the sequel and post it, with the notice of you not being sure if it would get done anytime soon, if ever. This is something I wish some other fanfic writers would do when they abandon stories midway, not knowing the end leaves me gnashing my teeth and wishing to know.
May. 1st, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
I'm actually considering doing that. I've just got to find the time where I can get things typed up, since most of it is handwritten, but at least that way I'm not just keeping people in suspense... :/
May. 8th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
So, I stumbled back upon your fan fiction after like 5 years+ and am having total dejavu! Your stories were some of the first I ever read in Gundam Wing Fandom, and to this day are probably some of my favorites. I just want to say that I appreciate that it's still possible to find your stories where they were way back when Atrops itself was a work in progress. So many times I decide that I am feeling nostalgic and want to look at something from 'back in the day' and no matter how hard I search it doesn't exist. I understand and appreciate that people move on, I just really appreciate when they do it how you have where they don't delete everything and just stop, not that you really have an obligation to let people know what's going on with a story, it's just nice. Okay, I'm ranting for no reason now so I'm gonna go back to also being to old for fandom lol! Also, I hope to see you as a published author someday, because if your original work is nearly as good as your fanfiction (which I'm sure it is!) I know I will love it.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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