One has to wonder what goes through the minds of snobby fan fiction writers. You know exactly whom I refer to, the nerds who form cliques and tear apart those fan fictions they deem as “inferior”. These are the people who created the terms “Mary Sue” and “fan girl”, the people who quickly label your story with them.
These are the geeks and fanatics who form websites for the sole purpose of finding what they see as horrifying examples of fan fiction. Chances are, as a fan writer, you have encountered the rabid, foaming masses of them and ran for your life, metaphorically-speaking that is.
As part of my endeavors to delve into the world of fan fiction, I jumped into the plane of fan fiction elitism. And believe you me, what I found was not pretty. I found heaps of insecurity and pretentiousness, served with a side order of the no-life syndrome. People so depraved and obsessed, that if you even attempt to go against their status quo, you are forever exiled as the dreaded “troll”. They have no inkling that fan fiction is nothing but fantasy and fun. It isn’t legally publishable and if your fan fiction sways to close to the original material, you can get sued by the actual creator from whom you stole.
I was immediately targeted the moment I decided to remind people that fan faction is NOT as serious as say, human rights or war. Apparently, fan fiction is a more serious topic then any issue that involves the state of our planet. A person can support burning small animals alive but gads-forbid that same person write a fan fiction that involves glorified versions of themselves and Lucius Malfoy. Oh the horror of it all! I found many endearing qualities in which to describe the fan fiction elitist.
1. They “edit” your story whether or not you want them too. This is because they lack the basic brain function of enjoyment. They simply can’t read a story and be entertained for what it is. They have to point out every flaw that exists. I have decided that this is merely projecting their own flaws onto something else. Why make a list of everything that sucks about you when you can rip someone else apart?
2. No matter how good a story is, if it includes a “Mary Sue”, the elitists will automatically shoot the story to pieces. The concept of Mary Sues was created by disgruntled college students who have no creativity whatsoever. Therefore, when they saw that their “inferior” counterparts could come up with better original characters then they could ever hope too, they decided to just make original characters in fan fiction taboo. This is done with infantile terms and then insults to those who create “Mary Sues”.
3. The world of Fan fiction is EVERYTHING to them. They have nothing else going on in their lives therefore they must write fan fictions and then form clubs for other losers with nothing else to do but act like they perform great feats of artistry. In other words, don’t EVER attempt to belittle their anger when they see a fan fiction that slashes Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Most importantly, don’t EVER give their stories a bad review for they will simply tell you that you are nothing but an illiterate amateur. They can dish but cant take it.
4. Once you make a minor mistake whilst in their midst, you are forever shunned and talked down to in conversation like you are 6 years old rather then 26. This the most common trait among the already elitist college students between the ages of 19 and 22. They talk to their parents as if they were kindergartners, why should you be any different?
5. No matter how helpful they attempt to be, they are condescending and rude. They aren’t capable of being any other way. They think they are better then you and will continue battle-ramming that notion into your entire being until the day they die.
6. This is the rarest yet fastest growing trait of fan fiction elitists and that is the belief that they can write better then most published authors. Yet, they haven’t become a published and respected author of ORIGINAL writing themselves. If you can write better then Anne Rice, where are your book deals? Where are your millions of dollars from book sales? Do you have Hollywood producers begging you to sign the rights of your latest novel over to be made into a movie? Not likely.
7. Possibly the saddest sign of a fanfic elitist. They lose sleep over a bad story or a bad review they received. Or, they lose sleep because someone pointed out the unimportance of online fan fiction in the grand scheme of things.
What do we do about this sinister sect of the fan fiction population? The best bet would be to ignore them altogether. Harder said then done I’m afraid though, seeing as that they truly do not like being ignored. They set up obnoxious web sites and go onto other fan fiction venues just to hunt for possible rule-breakers and report them. Why you ask? Because this type of individual gets some sort of orgasmic pleasure out of seeing someone’s story removed from a site for an infraction. Again, this only points to the inescapable virus of low self-esteem. We could be petty and make our own websites that counter their group, but do we really want to sink to their level? While it could be fun, it won’t aid your credibility much.
The best way is to simply beat them at their own game. Continue to remind them that what their lives revolve around is nothing but glorified plagiarism, continue to write your Mary Sues, you love them and they love you. Yay love! Read their stories and tell them what you really think, that their grammar and punctuation is lovely but that the content of their story is dry and unoriginal. They really hate that. No one likes having their creative IQ questioned. For fun, carefully comb their story and find the one typo that slipped past their 20 beta-readers’ eyes. Take that typo and write the most patronizing review you can about the misplaced coma. It will fluster them because they are, after all, perfect.
But most importantly, remind them and yourselves that fan fiction elitists are nothing special or important. That their incessant whining and uber-critiquing is but a tool to shield the fact that they are lonely and bitter. And remember, regardless of what the elitists think, fan fiction is not some Olympic competition in which a winner can get a gold medal. There is no real fan fiction royalty and there is no way that their opinion of you could prevent you from having your original novel or nonfiction book published, endeared, and read by millions willing to buy your product. You could very well become the next Stephen King and these dorks will still be online picking on other fan fiction authors.
Remember kids, fan fiction is for fun and entertainment purposes only. Maybe at most, it is practice for when you decide to use those brain cells for an actual novel created entirely by you. I write fan fiction and am the first one to dismiss it’s relevance in my offline life. Actually, when my computer is turned off, I rarely think about my stories. It’s hard to focus on such trivial topics when you have kids whose needs outweigh that of some Legolas / Persephone smut. It all puts it in some perspective. I’m sure you are imagining why I wrote this article? If fan fiction elitists are nothing but boils on the butt of humanity, why bother? Bother because their numbers are growing and they are destroying both the fun and self-esteem of hard-working individuals who like to write stories based on their favorite books, TV shows, movies, and plays. They have taken something meant to be a therapeutic hobby and mangled it to the point of nausea. They are attempting to limit fan fiction to the arrogant and snobby groups of pre-selected and pre-approved intellectual creeps that sit around in cyber-cafes and sneer at the less then acceptable works of fan fiction. They must be stopped or at least mocked mercilessly.
One last word, before the assumptions start flooding the masses, I did go to college. I am proof that someone can go through college and make it without thinking that you are somehow, more elite and special then those who didn’t go to college. So if you think that I have something against college students, I don’t. My problem rests solely with the dingdongs that decided that going to college and taking Women’s Lit. somehow gives you an advantage over 99% of the general population. You know exactly what kind of person I refer to.