I was thinking about the post where I mentioned that people tend to relate very differently to fanfiction than rational argument in metas (which they do, of course), and then I realized that… wow, I really argue with fics all the time, in my head. It’s not that I accept them more, really. It’s really a major mark of a fic I’m loving if I just accept it and go with it. Sometimes I’ll just glance at a fic and then hours (and days) later I’ll be like, ‘and another thing….’ Oh man. It’s funny because I’m never like that with metas. Like, yes, I get serious about my disagreements sometimes, but ultimately I don’t bother about the specifics later even if I remember them. It’s not that hard to be dismissive when the actual argument is as badly constructed as it often is (after one gets over one’s huffiness). With fics, even (or perhaps especially) what I feel are bad fics (whether or not they are), I’ll resentfully argue in my head about how this is wrong and that is wrong, and no nononononono. Like that’s a kind of weird power fiction has, isn’t it? Even if I strenuously and completely reject it, it really has me, somehow. This is especially true with fanfic, of course. I just don’t care about OCs in original fiction until they make me care (I mean, I also don’t care about most OCs in BBC Sherlock, but I think it’s pretty amazing how easily many people do).
We talk and read a lot about the work of creating fanfics, but we often forget that reading a fanfic places the author in partnership with the reader. This is a thoughtful essay about that relationship. I particularly like this point, which is of course generalizable to any fandom and its fics:
For me, anyway, the reason I think I bother reading fanfic, especially about Sherlock Holmes, is because it’s like it’s seeing a shadow play with these action figures I’ve had since childhood. It’s someone playing with toys that feel like my own. I’m not just passively seeing someone else’s character muppets interact on my inner TV: I feel that I myself am playing with the fanfic writer and with the BBC creators collaboratively in a kind of long-distance alchemy, using these ‘toys’ that have meaning both for me and for them, but are viscerally a part of me. A writer (and a vidder, and a fanartist) can make them even more real, make them really move, make them do amazing feats– or make them betray each other or their own natures, which is unforgivable.
Tags:fanfiction, fandom meta, DWCrosspost
Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)