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Home / Meta / Rants / Why do people write fanfic?

Let me start this rant out by saying Robert Asprin can kiss my ass.

Yeah, that's the Rober Asprin of the "Myth" and "Phule" fantasy series. For the record I used to be a die-hard fan of his (I even have a copy of his Catwoman book) but now I just feel pity. For starters it turns out that he's nothing but a French Quarter barfly (you wouldn't believe how many hole-in-the-wall bars I saw him in back when I was a tour guide - as for why I was there, hole-in-the-wall French Quarter bars are considered local color and therefore part of the tour, God help me). Then add on top of that he actually insulted one of my good friends (who shall remain nameless) because, to paraphrase him politely, she was wasting her time on fanfiction which, as far as he was concerned, nobody gave a damn about and moreover would never do anything for her.

So now she, who used to really enjoy writing fanfiction (and still does despite all of the assholes who have told her to her face to stop wasting her time and that she has no talent)(and for the record she is talented - her fanfic writing has won awards and she's a published author) has a hard time writing anymore because everytime she starts she hears this voice in her head about how it's all a waste of time. I will personally never forgive Robert Asprin for that and quite frankly if it wasn't for the fact that I never ran into him without a group of paying tourists in tow I definitely would have let him have it. (Mind you, doing that on my vampire tour might have gotten me some good tips...)

Anyway, so there's Robert. Then you get the people who are like him but are at least a bit milder - the ones who just don't understand what fanfiction is about and why people write it. It's the influence of people like that who make a lot of fanfic authors very defensive. And I think that's sad, because we don't need to be.

Look, I can understand that any culture you're not a part of is strange. People who don't watch sports don't understand sports fanatics, people who don't play Bridge don't get that daily column about it in the local paper - it's natural. But this consideration of fanfic writing as time-wasting and stupid has got to stop.

What gets me most of all isn't the people who don't get it, quite frankly. It's the fanfic writers who feel they have to defend themselves. I feel so bad for them. You see it on their web pages when they try to defend what they're doing: "It's a good way to learn how to write before you get published" "Many published authors start out this way" "Some published authors still write fanfic" "It's a creative way to express an idea for discussion"

What I'd love to see is the author who stands up and says "Hey, it's fun and I like doing it. If you've got a problem with that too bad."

Fanfiction does not have to justify itself. It's a fun thing and people like doing it, no more and no less.

Why does writing fanfic have to deal with money, or being published? Where do people get off with this contempt for fanfiction because it's writing that people don't get paid for? To say that fanfic authors have to justify themselves by claiming "I wanna get published someday" is to say that nobody can cook for themselves at home unless one day they plan to be a chef in a restaurant, or that nobody can play a friendly game of one on one at the local basketball hoop unless you plan to one day try out for the W/NBA. Guess what folks, sometimes we do things just because they're fun and we like doing them. And the day that money has to be the requirement for justifying personal amusement is the day when humanity will be very sad indeed.

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