Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Introduction to Wreck-the-Fanfic Project

I have never really understood the appeal of fanfics (fan-fictions). If someone wants to write, or feels the genius inside telling her (or him but rarely) to write, what's the big deal of writing your own story? For me, fanfics are the least creative form of literature. Yes, I hear your voices, goddamnme!! the defending of the genre, the opinions that some are really good etc. Some may be, for all I care, I read only the horrible ones. But for me, being in various fandoms half of my life, fanfics are not actually Pulitzer award worthy pieces of writing. It may be because I came across nasty, incoherent and bad ones first and I'm biased? Maybe. 
I don't understand what is so hard in writing YOUR own story, with names and places created by you. Inspiration from people around, motifs or even celebrities is fine, it is something natural, but writing slash fanfic with real people somehow doesn't sit well with me.
I find majority of fanfics a worthless piece of wasted space (to put the euphemism before the page break).

Opinions aside, I have always wanted to dissect fandoms and the mechanisms that operate the fangirl's mind. Inspired by some of my lovely students (and a blog analyzing "blogerettes") I decided to give it a go.
Some may ask if I can be objective while reviewing something I don't like. First, I don't believe in "objective opinions" at all. Everything is subjective and "objective" opinion differs from "subjective" in the aspect of the number of people saying this. Subjective fact becomes objective after a certain amount of people says it. It's just statistics but not the nature of the fact itself. In short – no, I’m not going to pretend and be objective.
Second, I may not like something but I still can do a relatively honest review. I don't like Murakami Haruki but I can say he is a talented writer. 

Should I be grateful people read fanfics as the reading rates drop? Yes and no. Yes, because it's a reading of some kind. No, because the fanfics vocabulary is painfully narrow. If someone has enough of clichés in Kdramas, they are swarming over fanfics like flies over a rotting cadaver. And people use phrases and whole sentences from series, movies, shows, songs and other fanfics instead of being creative and write something from their own imagination. First try may not be the actual Shakespeare, but even the cheesy lines are meant to hone our skills (speaking from the experience here). One may return to the "masterpiece" one committed a year ago and see faults and mistakes. Problem is, the majority of fanfic Writers are so in love with their own crippled "works" that they are unable to see faults. The ultimate example is of course Stephanie Mother-of-Sparky-Fairy and lately (Erika Leonard) E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Crap. First person narration, the narrator is, except for the name (or sometimes even with this), the exact image of the Writer but… idealized. That’s the trick. Writer projects her (go to hell, feminists, most of those craptastic Writers are girly girls) ideal image of herself onto the main character interacting with others. Reading fanfics one may guess with 100% accuracy what kind of girl the Writer is by the simple removal of certain traits. There are only two colors of the main Axis Mundi that holds the entire Universe – the beautiful, cotton-candy sweet and pure one and the rebellious, complicated and mysterious one. Both types painfully one-dimensional and blank as the sheet of paper (and with density below 60). 

To be perfectly honest now – I’m talking about teen writers (and Stephanie Meyer) not older folks who also write fanfics (of more decent plot like alternative version/universe). They are not as fun as those, so I’m not diving into that. The worlds “created” by those teen Writers (Writerettes? Writeresses?) are as rich as their imagination. It’s a simple transposition of watched anime/series/shows onto computer screen and adorned with sentences barely making any sense, with compulsory carbon paper for badly used drama phrases. They try to sound so Korean it actually hurts. They don’t do a “spell check”, probably thinking it is some black magic thingy that may summon the Dark Lord of English Dictionary and we all know what happens to people hit in the head with a brick. No descriptions except for clothes and food preparation. No back reading to, I dunno, maybe confirm what the Writer wrote two pages earlier? And finally, even swarms of mosquitoes close to the reservoirs here make more sense. 

Oh yes, I read few fanfics lately and I will do a literary criticism by dismantling the highly intricate structure of this Gothic Cathedral that is teen fanfic. Do I have a right to do it? Yes, I’m doing it for humanity, strangling and severing the heads of the Lernaean Hydra (Greek: Λερναία Ύδρα) that is the next generation of Stephanie Meyer. Also because I’m just a bitter bitch who can’t conjure up such beautiful images of Twu Wuv and in short – is jealous of such enormous talents popping here and dare like daisies. And I’m just a cow trampling all of them on my way to the stream.
Have I hurt anyone’s feelings by saying fanfics repel me?