The Road to Fanfiction

What a world.

What a world.

You know, a year ago, I would never have considered shipping, slashing, hoarding, dare say even just meekly churning out make-believe stories from pre-existing ones and burrowing them in the secret cupboard behind the secret slit underneath your secret cabinet, to be a sane hobby. Now I’m literally at a point in my life where I would like to participate in the curiously and not totally outlandish activity.

What has caused this sudden change? I started watching anime, and as I did so, the obscure society-condemned routes all started to converge into one lone path. This isn’t to say that anime et. al are faulty hobbies; the underground as a community just suddenly materialized into a more conspicuous form. I was like any other individual grossly fascinated by all the new and intriguing sex objects lying before me. I watched all the popular shows, skimming through the top ranked titles from MyAnimeList and r/anime: Toradora, Anohana, Sakamichi no Apollon, whatever man. And I actually fell in love with them (!). My curiosity peeked into the most gullible stages; I didn’t undeviatingly weep from their drama but I was endeared by the ability to empathize with their situations.

my 404 or dunno image

Flash forward a month or so when my elitist moustache has grown a noticeable enough stubble, and I maturate the desire to verbally abuse and praise different shows (mostly the former). I’ve grown a new tongue and thus a new opinion. The tricks of the trade start to teach itself, and you familiarize yourself with all the studio stereotyping and the ‘generic’ word, realizing what is good, what is overhyped, and what is terrible but still awkwardly enjoyable when you’re alone at night. And you know, this interest hasn’t completely worn off. I’m still grotesquely fascinated about the fact that there’s a show about five elementary school buxom-unendowed, prepubescent little girls airing at 2:05 AM on a weekday, in prime time for a certain group of like-minded characters. (And boy, they sure are characters in their own right.)

As the months fly by, my interest wanes and wanders back and forth, but my pen, or I guess my keyboard, never stops moving. Writing suddenly becomes second nature, and the ability to associate with others and discuss things we both marginally enjoy starts to feel more at home and even more exciting than watching a new season of the next batch of titles. Anime as a medium has not changed, but I certainly have. Memories, experiences, and skills are all that I’ll have when I wake up in the middle of the night 40 years later, vaguely unaccomplished and wondering for the umpteenth time what’s the purpose of my life.

It’s ultimately this need for expression and mastering my ability to communicate and find pride in my own ability, whether they be successes or abominable failures, that I’d like to try other mediums and practice them. So yes, I will now be dipping my hands in fanfiction. It seems strangely alluring in the same way you catch a whiff of that grotesque-looking man loitering on the sidewalk, clothes in tatters and eyes in delirium, and you can’t help but take a gander and wonder what life would be like as him. Or maybe I’m just a depraved individual from associating with hobos in Berkeley; getting high with one of them has still got to be a top 10 moment of my life.

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This winter break has started, and five of my ten graduate school applications are complete. I’m strangely accomplished in that I (and my professors) believe I face a very high likelihood of getting into a top ten mathematics program, despite mine own belief that I’ve accomplished nothing in 21 years. My own interests are also fading and leaning towards fiction and fiction-like things instead. Well, hobbies always turn and chase you away when you’re busy vying for less lazy objectives. I doubt I’ll ever be writing lewds unironically, but who knows. This is only one kid’s motivation for turning to such a strange hobby and another year from now I may be warped into believing it’s the best hobby; you’re probably not like him.

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4 comments

  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    This sounds exciting enough. I myself admittedly hold some subconsious and inexplicable distaste toward fanfictions in general, yet there is something strangely and somehow guiltily alluring about them. The distaste may stem from the perceived illegitimacy of the fan-made work, but does it matter if the story was not intended for by the author of the original work? Do you think fanfictions should be viewed as complements to their originals as sequels are, or rather as individual works that should be neglected when considering their predecessors?

    1. Oh I abhor fanfictions too. It’s incredibly embarassing at times but there is certainly a strange pleasure in reading them, especially ones that are truly well written.

      At your question of illegitimacy, I believe it shouldn’t make a difference. I’m a strong proponent of external-less criteria in evaluating works, and am for example against authorial intent. The work should be considered on its own terms and nothing else. There is also the dispute of what is necessarily fan-made, because many seemingly original works were first conceived as derivative ones in the first place. The Bible’s just one continually revised doujin. Too bad we only have scraps of the original tales they were based on.

  2. Fascinating read. I’m a huge proponent for headcanon myself. There’s something about anime that just lends itself well to being tinkered with. Too bad 90% of the tinkering is abysmally bad writing.
    Consider your blog followed!

    1. Thanks! Candidly speaking, I’m a little disappointed in this article. It ventured far too much from the topic far too many times. (I-In my defense, it was in the middle of Finals week, and I was super stressed!) Still love and am discreetly participating in the fanfiction community at the moment. It’s difficult to find a good one but once you do, it’s soooooo worth it.

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