It’s not that I haven’t written novels of my own. Well, participated in NaNoWriMo at least.
So I wrote something of my own, thinking, so there! >(
But I still wonder if I’m any good.
However, it’s this “writing what I want to read” crux that probably has me stuck in a seemingly endless loop of ficcing. I could get ridiculously into why PW Happened In A Big Way to Liam K. Billiamson, but I’m pretty sure that’s not interesting, or at least better saved for another day’s essay. What it boils down to is this: something about these characters stuck with me. I felt like they were my friends, more real than anything in my old fandom had felt a long time, even though my old fandom involved real people! Or the shared image of real people, but I digress.
It’s really my friend extremis who’s responsible. She linked me to the kink meme while I was still completing the second game, I believe. And it was surfing for P/E porn that I found it. The prompt.
Connecting it to experiences in my own life and those of friends, I could immediately imagine how things unfolded. The cast of the game was so present in my mind it practically wrote itself. And thus, before I’d even finished all the games, the first half of Some Boys Are Different was posted for the whole world to see. And… people liked it.
It was the first thing I’d written in ages. The first time I’d written something substantial without someone making fun of me, telling me I was doing it wrong, and me believing them, in years. I wrote fanfiction, and no one made fun of me, and the internet did not explode, and I did not gain 100lbs and revisit my adolescence through terrible acne. I hadn’t lost any grip on reality. I was living an okay, normal life even though I was now a kink meme contributor.
It was weird. People were so nice that I almost didn’t understand it. And from then on, I was totally hooked.
When I’m asked why I do it, I usually say it’s because I like interacting with my readers immediately. You get that little ego boost right then and there. But it’s more than that. You begin to feel these characters are part of you, and you want to see them through all of the colors of their emotions. You want to see them happy, but for me, I want to see them suffer through their problems as well. Because I want them to really understand the joys of life. I am taking on more of a role than a passive player of a game; I’m taking on the godlike role of giving them further purpose, and finding them happiness and meaning.
When people ask why I don’t tell my stories anymore, well, I know exactly why. I can’t say it’s the same for everyone across the board, but it is for me. It’s an issue of confidence.
It isn’t that the PW characters (or Last Exile, or Ouran, or whatever) mean more to me than the ones I’ve created. It’s because the writing and relationship one creates with the characters is so damned personal. For many reasons, I just can’t bring myself to have those conversations with myself so directly. Instead, I filter them through someone else’s visions: these are someone else’s dreams, not mine alone. I can approach whatever themes I like, but I don’t feel the horrible, anxiety-giving freedom of a world created solely by me. Sometimes, it’s nice to color within the lines, even if you make the grass purple.
Tons of great painters started out copying other people’s works, after all.
I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with fanfiction. Obviously. I don’t think that it’s keeping great authors from writing their opus. I believe every story has its time and will be told when its ready. If people aren’t writing them now, then it’s not time.
While it’s flattering to hear from people that they really want to read something original by me, I’m not done telling my stories about Phoenix and Edgeworth. Machi’s still got a lot to him. I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of Klavier and Daryan. And I absolutely want to spend more time with Wocky.
As long it makes me happy, then what’s the harm, right? Especially with the added bonuses of these great friends I’ve made, and knowing what I write makes people happy.
It’s something I worry I’ll outgrow someday. Knowing shortly after posting that you’ve made someone’s day. Getting an in-depth note from someone across the sea about your work. Perhaps this is what others fear: I’m really, really comfortable here, and writing is supposed to be agonizing and tragic and alienating.
Instead, in this fandom, it’s been rewarding, fun and improved me as a writer. I’m not dismissing the idea that it makes me a loser, but just as I always have said to people who made fun of me: what have you written lately?
Ace Attorney made me fall in love with writing again. I’m so glad to fic.