Every writer has a skeleton in the closet. Bad poetry, failed attempts at short stories, journal entries that should never see the light of day – you know, the stuff that seemed good at the time, but now lies forgotten in a file or a shelf somewhere.
This is the writing that makes you cringe when you see it, but don’t be too quick to chuck in the trash. This is also the writing that had to happen in order to become the writer you are today.
In my case, I have journals filled with page after page of poetry (some good, some not), spirals of horrible short stories (definitely not my thing), and journal entries from a writing group I no longer attend, (prompt based writing is a little distracting for me). I learned something from every piece of writing I’ve ever done. Even the horrible, awful, bad stuff served its purpose in that I learned what not to do!
These physical reminders of my writing past sit on a shelf next to my desk. They remind me of where I’ve been and where I want to go. For that reason, I treasure them even if I pray no one ever reads them!
I thought I had all evidence of my writing past collected neatly in one place, but I was wrong. It turns out I had a little skeleton in my closet that I totally forgot about and its out there for everyone to see.
The process of revisiting some old writing (See Getting All Nostalgic), lead me to a fansite for The Office called More Than That. It’s a fanfic site that specializes in fanfic for the characters Jim and Pam, but also includes fan created stories for The Office as a whole. The moderator of this site reached out and asked for message board posts I did for the show years ago.
I remember visiting the site often to read fanfic when the show aired, so I already had a username and password. When I signed in and clicked on My Account, I was shocked to see that I had written several pieces of fanfic. I totally and completely forgot that I had indulged in the sappy, fan obsessed practice of writing fanfic.
OMG. *slaps hand on forehead*
I did it all – fluff, angst, and romantic sappiness. Everything an obsessed shipper could ever want for fictional characters. I was afraid to click on the stories. Who knows what I had done or what they were about!
It turns out they aren’t half bad. The writer in me today wants to fix them, but they will remain as is. Part of me can’t believe I wrote fanfic, but the rest understands my muse was trying to tell me something a long time ago. This is where writing fiction became a reality to me. This is where I learned I could do it if I really tried.
At first, I was embarrassed to discover I had been a fanfic writer, but then I realized I had no reason to be. Fanfic is an art form. Many of the writers on More Than That are incredibly talented and I love reading their work. It isn’t easy to create new stories for well-known characters. There’s a fine line between challenging characters with new scenarios, while also maintaining the established canon of the character’s personality.
I may focus my attention on non-fanfic writing these days, but I am well aware that fanfic is one of the reasons I was brave enough to write not one, but two novels. I proudly acknowledge my fanfic skeleton!
Writing is writing, no matter what the genre. Tap those keys or scribble with that pen. Your muse is waiting.
– – –
p.s. Here they are in all their glory:
More Than That: scrantonbranch’s stories
9 thoughts on “OMG. I Wrote Fanfic!”
I love your view on something that makes me as a fellow writer cringe. (Dear Lord, if anyone ever finds half of the stories I wrote when I was twelve…) Everything, no matter how awful it feels now, is important to the writing journey. But, boy, do some of them hurt to go back and read! 🙂 With some of mine, I had actually printed them, made a faux binding and cover, and gave to my friends. I dread the day those friends rediscover them (if they even still have them) and read them again. Soooooo bad! 🙂
I’m sure your friends treasure every word you wrote! 🙂 All we can do is laugh at ourselves and be grateful for the journey.
Very true. 🙂
You are so right, Writing IS writing, and the more we do, the more we practice, the more we experiment, the better we become.
It’s true! The words have to shake loose somehow. 🙂
Don’t worry, I wrote a bunch of Harry Potter fanfic when I was in high school! To this day I still get random emails saying someone ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ my story haha of course it was one that I never finished writing, but I know I had it all laid out.
Ooo, I’ll bet HP fanfic is awesome! There are so many nooks and crannies in the canon. 🙂
It’s been interesting reconnecting with all the people I knew and who followed me when I wrote posts and fanfic for The Office. It’s a good feeling to know all of those people still love what I wrote. Looks like we both lucked out in that department. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Definitely don’t be embarrassed about fanfic! It’s not for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with the genre itself. Sometimes it’s how baby writers get their start, sometimes it’s how experienced writers stretch their limbs, sometimes it’s how the professionals take a moment to throw themselves into the silly or absurd or over-emotional that their own stories don’t contain. There is a lot (a lot) of bad fanfic out there. But there’s a lot of bad self-published work and sometimes even bad traditionally published work. That being said, just like there is great self-pubbed and traditional work, there’s some pretty incredible fanfic too. Don’t be afraid of that particular skeleton in your closet! 😉
So very true. I think was embarrassed for a split second before I realized the very same thing. Revisiting all my fanfic and the posts I wrote for The Office has been a wonderfully cathartic and enlightening experience this summer. It was all so unexpected and its making me consider my writing today with a new perspective.
Fanfic can lead to some pretty great things. Regardless of your opinion of 50 Shades of Grey – that mammoth of a bestseller started out as Twilight fanfic. Not bad at all!
LikeLiked by 1 person