I've been thinking a lot about fanfiction and fanworks in general lately. A lot of successful, established artists draw fanart. It's fun! I love seeing artists draw characters from a show I love, and I like seeing how people render things in their own unique style. Fanfiction doesn't get the same treatment, though. But wouldn't it be great to see an author you love write a story set in a universe you enjoy? To see their takes on characters or environments? This sort of thing happens much more rarely. There's also a weird stigma attached to fanfic that fanart just doesn't have. I had someone on Twitter say to me when I expressed feeling shy about sharing my fic, "I can't stand fanfic [...] I'll judge you but I'll never say it to your face" and I just wonder why it prompts responses like that from otherwise friendly people? Like... it's writing. Showing more writing to people is what you should be doing if you're a writer like me! And right now, because I'm stuck in a weird limbo where I'm working on a lengthy project I can't show yet, most of my finished works happen to be fanfiction.
But there's this fear there, like if it somehow gets linked back to me people won't take me seriously anymore. I'd love to work at Bioware one day, and I've had honest to god nightmares about employees there finding my dragon's hoard of (generally raunchy) Dragon Age fanfic, and me being somehow blacklisted forever. I know the specifics of that are ridiculous - but there is a weird attitude toward fanfic that is pretty commonplace.
I didn't write fanfiction when I was younger, aside from little stories in notebooks I kept to myself and never posted online (pretty sure it was all about me and Link getting married), so when I started doing it at age 21, I couldn't shake my feeling of embarrassment. I felt so ashamed for writing it. There would be this sense of mortification that often kept me from writing at all just because I couldn't push through it. And I didn't even know why - because I love to read fanfic! I love how authors, especially young queer authors, use writing fanfiction to interact with the media they adore. I love seeing people imagine things differently, or interpreting characters in exciting new ways, or even writing alternative canons to fix things they found insensitive or upsetting. It's so cool to see people who love something so much and are so excited about it that they're inspired to create things that add to it.
I'm glad I started writing fic, even if it took me a long time to do it. Writing fanfiction is so much fun - it feels safe and comforting, and it lets me practice writing without getting super stressed out. I've had a lot of people tell me they wish they could write fanfiction or they want to write it but they're too nervous/shy/embarrassed to start and I just feel like that's so sad? People should be encouraged to create things! More writing in the world isn't bad! Why do people get all weird about this?
If it seems like I'm meandering and don't have a point in mind it's because I don't, really, I'm just genuinely curious about this and why this attitude applies to writing but not art. I want to show off my fic writing because I'm proud of the stories I've written and it sucks that I feel like I can't. don't be weird y'all