From Our ReadersFanfiction: Why We Are SoulmatesFrom Our Readers

I am in love with you and it’s not that fake kind of middle school love that dissipates after 72 hours. Oh no. This is the real thing. This love has been going on since I was thirteen and it continues to grow each and every year. Can I say it again just to get it out there? I LOVE YOU.

I know people frown upon you. I know some people don’t consider you to be legitimate and just a means for little girls to take out their inner twisted fantasies about fictional characters. But what do those haters know? They don’t know anything!! Nothing, I say! Yes, there are parts of you that are rather…terrible, poorly written and scary (you just learn to avoid these stories). But I can look past your flaws to see you for what you really are:

Amazing.

For years you have given me a creative outlet unlike any other. A means to continue living on in books that I hold so dear to my heart; movies I wish wouldn’t end. You have saved me in boring classes when I would hide your printed pages in my binder, eagerly ingesting each word with gusto: Who would Peter Pevensie have married had he lived past 22? What if Fred Weasley had lived after all? Would a girl really hang out with Gordie LaChance and Chris Chambers? Would Spot Conlon ever leave his Newsie glory days?!!!!! What if a blind girl went to Camp Green Lake instead of Stanley Yelnats!? (That is a real story I wrote and I promise you it was better than it sounds…ummm)

You even helped me learn what it means to have a backbone. To stand strong in the face of haters who thought my writing was terrible. You taught me the validity of proper research in writing. Like how I really, really shouldn’t have written a “Lord of the Rings” fanfiction if I’d only ever seen the movies. And how not to cry when the passionate Tolkien fan by the pen-name of Kyuubi no Kitsune9 would read my story and tear me to pieces with her words that pierced my 13-year-old being: “How small do you think Middle-Earth is? It took Boromir months to get to Rivendell and you have Elrond out of character, he is one of the carriers of the Three, he is not a nasty father who compares his children to Orcs, on the subject of children, Arwen does not have a sister, she has two brothers, NO MODERN LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN IN ARDA!”

But it was through those kinds of reviews or “flames” as we fanfictioners refer to them, that helped shape my writing for the better. You stuck with me, fan fiction, throughout my terrible stories and continued on with me when I would write stories that people actually liked. You brought a strange little gem of a community into my life. You gave me an email pen pal from Canada with whom I traded writing back and forth, critiquing one another’s work and talking about life. A pen pal with whom I would never meet but shared so many of the same interests…a person I could vent to, that none of my friends knew. A person who wasn’t a total creep but just a girl my age who loved writing as much as I did. Fanfiction I will always love you. You have brought amazing stories into my life, real writers with real talent who sometimes just want to write about characters that aren’t theirs or introduce their own characters to already beloved ones. You were a friend to me in so many ways and I am so grateful I have met you. Thank you.

You can read more from Nina Concepcion on her blog.

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  1. I wrote fanfiction through high school and college and while I haven’t written much recently I still read a ton. While my writing never received many reviews, writing it helped me develop a strong writing style that I used while in school and even now. I started to use comments from “flamers” to develop a thicker skin and be able to take tough criticism. Several authors I followed years ago are now publish authors, which I hope to be among them in the future.
    Also now that tv writers, creators and stars can connect with fans through the internet and social media, I love that the stars of my favorite shows are not only aware of fan fiction, but even embrace how uniquely weird their fanbase may be, case in point “Wincest & Destiel” for Supernatural or “Sterek” for Teen Wolf.

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  3. Being in all the wrong demographics for this sort of thing, I probably shouldn’t admit to having any regard at all for fanfic. But until authors can be compelled to write the stories we imagine, there’s always going to be a niche for it; and if ever I find myself on the receiving end of acclaim for something I’ve written — not a likely prospect, but work with me here — I’ll be happy to acknowledge the fact that I honed those skills writing about other people’s characters.

  4. Oh so we’re afraid to comment on fanfiction? I’m not. It’s so creative and seems to be an outlet for some gifted and clever writers. People with talent that I could only dream off. I am unashamed!