Squib #1: Why a fanfic?

This vaguely relates back to my Castigation #1 (renamed–yep, it’s a rant) concerning the poor linguistical state of fan fiction in general. Someone asked me two things: What on earth motivated me to start writing this, and why MH in particular?

Well, I won’t post my answer to the second question here directly, but it is pretty ironic that in my particular circle of friends, merely mentioning “fan fiction” or “fanfic” sends the average member into facial spasms of gag-o-riffic pain. (Yes, I know that’s not a word. ^_^) I knew some others in my circle occasionally read the stuff for a laugh, but I myself only dared to skim a paragraph here and there over the years. The entire area of fanfic has that bad a reputation among us.

And then, one day, I came across the Mai-HiME anime. Well, okay–I actually came across it while it was still airing and was one of those mini-fanatics who reloaded the bittorrent streams hoping that someone translated the latest episode, but I digress. I enjoyed it. The series was imperfect in several places, certainly, but the overall piece was quite unique. The audience was encouraged to actually care about the cast.

Unfortunately, there were many stories or elements of development that were never told. This was not necessarily a bad thing, since the anime still managed to work without backstory for several characters, but it seemed everyone agreed that the last episode was too rushed.

And besides that–I wanted to know what happened with my two favorite characters, Natsuki and Shizuru. I wasn’t ready to believe that they were already a “mating couple” by the end of the series–that infinitely incongruous timeline notwithstanding. But anyway, I sort of… tapped along Google… and looked for what people thought were “good” Natsuki+Shizuru fanfics. It was a dark and shameful day for me.

…So I thought. I don’t remember how I found them, but the first three pieces of fan fiction I ever read in full were Kieli’s All With Good Intentions, Seravy’s The Little Things, and Greywing’s 100-word drabbles. Yes, I thought the same thing you were thinking. “What were the chances of THAT happening?!” I’m not really qualified to review fanfics, but they were well above what my friends and I thought were the average.

Me: Okay… M-maybe writing f-f-fan fiction isn’t so… b-bad.

Muse-chan: [PWOFF!]

Me: UWAHH! What the shet?

Muse-chan: Hey. You. You forgot about me since middle school, you TWERP!

Me: Ow! Ow! Don’t hit me with that wand! I’m getting… ideas. Oh, crep. I put you away for a reason, you know.

Anyway, I was convinced that not everyone in that community was a nose-picking preadolescent school flunkie with the maturity of a leaking ketchup packet. Maybe I could try it. On the plus side, it would be a harmless method of practicing my first prose and dialogue form anonymously, right?

I don’t know if I can pull it off, and I’m quite positive that my first attempt here is superbly overambitious (I’m less than halfway through my entire outline), but I’m still having fun. And who knows? I might even be able to tell a story about the characters we love. I think that’s a pretty good reason to write a fanfic besides learning how to construct a story.

Of course, I haven’t told the rest of my friends in that circle about this.

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12 thoughts on “Squib #1: Why a fanfic?”

  1. Ha, and I was expecting a nice omake as the celebration of Natsuki’s birthday, lol.
    But it is quite interesting entry :)
    except that your rant about poor quality of language scares me-who-is-not-able-to-write-a-single-sentence-without-mistakes a lot =D.

    So fanfiction has a bad reputation in general?
    I’m asking because I came totally out of the blue, being attracted enough by this ShizNat magnet to look for something, anything on the internet. :D
    And fics became one of these things I was (and I am) targeting at (what means I don’t read other fan fiction :D).

    I’m assuming that ShizNat fandom is probably somehow different.
    The second part of Mai Hime was rather serious and probably frightened away good number of only-fanservice lovers =D.
    There are not so few really well written ShizNat fics. Too bad most of them are not finished or abandoned.
    I see you’ve mentioned these absolutely great, although I could add some more to the list:)

    I hope you’ll finish your story and maybe you’ll have the will to write some more.
    Because your style of writing could be absolutely great for these every-day-living stories about our beloved couple (ifthey are the one :D). And the practice makes the master. *evil smile*

    Oh my, you write secretly. But probably it is pointless to tell those friends. If they are not hit by the ShizNat brick, they won’t understand. Probably.

    So, where is the omake?:))

    1. Who said it was Natsuki? (Ha ha, just kiddinnnng. :P)
      Oh, don’t worry about my rant; towards the end of that thing, I do make the distinction between fic/article writing and blogging/forum posts/comments like this. Comments like these are “conversational” so they tend to have imperfect grammar. That’s no big deal. ^_~ It’s only when people write something they want to “publish” on-line or on paper that I hope they put a lot of effort into it.

      So fanfiction has a bad reputation in general?

      At least in my circle, yes, and not just for anime. Just the whole area of “fan fiction” is treated with a “try to poke it only with a yard stick” attitude around here. Granted, most of my circle of friends are overeducated. ^_^;

      The second part of Mai Hime was rather serious and probably frightened away good number of only-fanservice lovers =D.
      There are not so few really well written ShizNat fics. Too bad most of them are not finished or abandoned.

      This is a good point. I hadn’t thought of that. Come to think of it, fan fiction for Haibane Renmei and Honey & Clover should be better than most of Inuyasha or Naruto, probably.

      I see you’ve mentioned these absolutely great, although I could add some more to the list:)

      I try not to read any other fanfics (about MH) while I’m writing this, since I don’t want to be affected by anything other than the series right now. :) I can’t say I’m not curious, though.

      I hope you’ll finish your story and maybe you’ll have the will to write some more.

      Thanks, and I will definitely finish this. I can’t start something ridiculously big like this and just leave it… I may have to worry about seeing Kiyohime in my window. >_>; As for more after this, I don’t really know.

      I suppose my friends would probably just be curious, but it’s too embarrassing given our overall attitude about fanfics. Maybe I’ll just wait until I finish and see how the reviews are. ^^;;

      Omake comin’, but no writing at all for this week because I’m dealing with furniture and textbooks. :P

      1. Oh, don’t worry about my rant;
        …and now I’m scared to death :D
        But let’s put it aside for a moment :)

        Granted, most of my circle of friends are overeducated. ^_^;
        There is not such thing, I’m afraid <_ <. Probably majority of fanfics are really bad. Not that I feel need to check :D

        Come to think of it, fan fiction for Haibane Renmei and Honey & Clover should be better than most of Inuyasha or Naruto, probably.
        If there is any…
        Anime like the first two are not so popular, and I think there is not much ‘space’ for fics there.
        As you said Mai Hime had open ending, which just screamed to be written as fanfiction :D
        ShizNat story is emotionally strong enough to make people like you to write fic about it, even if you’ve never done it before, or people like me to read these fics, even if I’ve never done it before :D
        So maybe there is not so small group of people like us, and there is not so few really good fics around.
        BTW quick look at ff.net : Haibane:50, Honey&Clover:9, Inuyasha:64450, Naruto:42535, MaiHime/Otome: 200. LOL.

        I can’t say I’m not curious, though.
        =D. Your decision is wise. Yes, it’s better not read anything related before finishing your own story.
        But I can’t stop myself from mentioning that general ideas in ShizNat fics I consider as good are often similar, but still they are very, very different in details^^.

        Omake comin’, but no writing at all for this week because I’m dealing with furniture and textbooks. :P
        I’m sorry if I sounded like pressing you. Just your omake was so nice I wouldn’t mind to read another one.
        And good luck with your furniture. And textbooks. :)

        1. (Just a note to posters: Livejournal breaks comments if you use random larger-than or less-than signs since those are used in HTML code. You’ll have to use entity code for certain emoticons to appear. For example, to make <_<; show up, you need to type: &lt;_&lt;; )

          There is not such thing, I’m afraid. Probably majority of fanfics are really bad. Not that I feel need to check :D

          I think I agree with you, and good decision. :P

          Haibane:50, Honey&Clover:9

          Aww, that’s sad! :( Granted, Haibane had a “good” ending that tied up a lot of loose ends so I can see people not wanting to mar it. Still, there are plenty of open issues in that that could work with fan fiction. And Honey & Clover…ugh. Oh well. Maybe I’ll pick up the slack… NOT. ^_^;

          omake
          What’s sad is that I completely forgot Natsuki’s “birthday” was this month. Had I remembered, I would’ve put in more effort. Sorry, Natsuki. ^^;;

          1. Just a note to posters:
            ahaha, sorry, it happens to me all the time ^^’ I mess with html, tags and whatnot quite often. I just didn’t want to litter your mailbox with another, fixed version.

            What’s sad is that I completely forgot Natsuki’s “birthday” was this month.
            …so… Shizuru’s “birthday” is in December… just to remind you soon enough ;D

  2. As I prepare to move into a dormitory (tomorrow) I find myself realising that it’s not so much moving as acquiring a second bedroom several miles removed from the first. I’ve done real moving before and I’m inexpressibly relieved that I’m not doing it again now. I’m not emotionally ready…
    Right, so, anyway, good luck with that. On to the actual topic now.

    I haven’t told very many people that I occasionally write fanfic. This is partly because of its terrible reputation and partly because I know I’m simply not that good. (I generally pride myself on the fact that at least my work is not littered with bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Tonight though I’m feeling a bit hypocritical since I know I’ve just posted something that really needed another go over…) Earlier this year I did exchange ff.net usernames with one of my college pals after quite a bit of pestering on his part. It was a strange experience to realise that bad fiction could be created by geniuses as well as preteen dropouts-to-be. Then again, I suppose that’s part of the fine arts world- we’re artists, no one expects that we actually be able to write. My professors have always been thrilled whenever we manage to use complete sentences.

    1. Yes, for most people I think fully moving to a new place of residence requires a bit of emotional preparation, especially if you’ve been in the same place for many years.
      (I just realized I need to get two trash cans and some rugs. What? These things don’t just grow out of the carpet?)

      > I haven’t told very many people that I occasionally write fanfic. This is partly because of its terrible reputation and partly because I know I’m simply not that good. (I generally pride myself on the fact that at least my work is not littered with bad grammar and spelling mistakes.

      Exactly! ^_^ I suppose I should also post a general warning somewhere that the plot for my first fic plain sucks. :D At least it’s readable, though. Practice, practice…

      > It was a strange experience to realise that bad fiction could be created by geniuses as well as preteen dropouts-to-be.

      So entirely true. I just hope the more intelligent put more effort into making it actually readable, at least. Of course, I realize people write and read for different reasons. Some people write for the challenge (e.g. me), others just to let off steam; some people read to be swept away by nuance, others read only to relax. It reminds me of a computer science engineer/philosophy double-major who went home after a hard day of classes to watch… SpongeBob. ^_^;

      You’re an artist? :)
      In retrospect, I greatly admire a physiology professor who was an absolute stickler on language quality in our research papers. If the bar isn’t set high enough, no one improves. So I’m trying to set the bar higher for myself (wow, that’s hard to do), but we’ll see.

      1. SpongeBob… I can kind of see it. You raise all valid points once again. I mean, trash cans that simply evolve themselves into the proper areas of use is something that *should* simply be, I say. ^_^

        (warning: the phrase “carried away” probably falls short when speaking of this reply.)

        When I say “artist” I’m likely taking artistic license to an almost abusive extent, haha. I’m a music major, which is artsy, but I beg people not to suspect that I have any actual ability to make lines on paper that appear to be pictures… I kid, to an extent. We’re sort of the strange half-nephews of the artistic world, performing/performance art being something that no one is in a great hurry to fully define.

        As for professors who expected little, I really mean the ones in my own department. I suspect most of them have as much of a difficult time stringing together sentences that are coherent to most of the world as any of us. It’s nearly impossible to write a decent music themed essay without at least six words per page that Microsoft Word is not ready to accept as English. It’s only the beginning of the problem that tradition leads us to switch haphazardly between Italian, French, and German, depending on which composers did something first, or supposedly better. Then you add our habit of making up words to in order to congratulate ourselves on our own innovation. I fondly remember my own tentative uses of “polymodality”, “isorhythm”, and the old fashioned “hemidemisemiquaver”.

        Just like you say, it makes a great difference in how much I respect a teacher depending on his/her expectations. There is at least one professor in this department that has gained my absolute respect for his demands and treatments of written assignments. Without fail, the lecture directly after a written assignment was due, part of the lecture would be set aside for remedial grammar:
        “It is not ‘definate’. There is no eating involved. Please try to grasp the actual root of this term.”
        But for all his demands on adequate use of the language I never felt for a moment that our papers were being judged on anything but the real content.

        1. Finally, connected internet…

          I’m a music major, which is artsy, but I beg people not to suspect that I have any actual ability to make lines on paper that appear to be pictures

          Oh, yes, and I don’t mean to err the same way I dislike others doing–assuming “artist” means firstly physical two-dimensional expression (drawing, painting, etc.). You’re right; it’s funny that this term evokes such a narrow reading when the actual definition is so very broad. Instead, every other artist (undoubtedly where the combined numbers outside physical two-dimensional expression greatly surpass “drawers” and painters) is forced to use narrower, more defined terms like “I’m a musician” or “I’m a sculptor.” It seems so confining.

          Uh, but anyway… I have to say that “hemidemisemiquaver” has made it into my list of favorite words. WOW. Music terms are the best!

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