… because today is International Fanworks Day.
I didn’t get to start much less post my story for the SWG’s IDF challenge, but before I get down to business on my thesis work for the day, I do want to say a few (ha) words about what I’ve come to learn over the past ten years of writing, reading, and running various sites and projects related to Tolkien fan fiction.
Like many people, I initially believed that writing “fan fiction” was worthy of being deemed a guilty pleasure, possibly unethical, certainly illegal. I was initially embarrassed that I seemingly couldn’t help myself when it came to writing and reading stories about The Silmarillion. I consoled myself that, like many hobbies that aren’t particularly edifying or the best use of our time and energies, I was simply having fun with something fairly harmless, and I shouldn’t stress out so much about it.
I think I was wrong but I also think I was a product of my time. I was born in 1981, so while I was using PCs from a fairly young age, widespread Internet use didn’t take hold until I was in college. (My dad being a computer geek, we had old-school AOL dial-up when I was in high school.) I was also, from a young age, shuttled into the “gifted and talented” track in my school, so while my family was not particularly intellectual, I nonetheless was educated into the mindset that publication (whether creative or academic) was an achievement of the highest order. And “originality” was, of course, enshrined.
So spending my time writing stories that couldn’t be published and clearly weren’t “original” as I was taught to define it? Was something that I struggled to see as worthwhile.
Got to remember International Fanworks Day. Even as a seriously lapsed fan-fiction writer, Dawn Felagund’s words resonated. I know why I do it, but there is no shame in admitting to entetaining existential doubt about it at times.
I have been trying to prep, and pick up where I left off last decade, thanks to RL (losing touch with fellow fic writers who have become friends in the process). Well, at the least l should aim to finish the WIPs on hand.
Honestly, trying to get back onto the path is hard work, and I still can’t start writing right away. But this post, along with the very pleasant and rare surprise of a review of my WIP magnum opus Hunt for Gollum (online and last updated in 2006) that popped up just yesterday, are some of the best unlooked for boost to get going.
I’m slow, thanks to RL, but I’ll get there, RL willing.