Have you ever daydreamed about what happened after your favorite book(s), movie or tv show ended? Have you thought about writing your own spin off of your favorite book(s), movie or tv shows. Look no further. In this review my friend Anna shares with us her thoughts on Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World.
by Anna Clutterbuck-Cook
I’ve been asked by your wicked editrix, Angy, to say a few words about the contributions of Tiffany Reisz (“Just Change the Names”) and Christina Lauren (“Fandom Gives back”) to Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, by Anne Jamison (Smart Pop, 2013). I reviewed the volume as a whole back in June at my blog the feminist librarian; if you’re interested in the book as a whole, I encourage you to go read the review — or just run down to your local bookstore or library to check it out! Here, I’ll share some thoughts about the Reisz and Lauren pieces specifically.
Christina Lauren is actually the nomme de plume of two authors in the Twilight fandom: Christina Hobbs (tby789) and Lauren Billings (LolaShoes). Fic also contains pieces contributed by each author individually: an interview with Christina Hobbs about her Twilight fic “The Office” and an essay by Lauren Billings on her evolution as a fanfic writer. The piece they contributed together, “The Fandom Gives Back,” charts the creation of The Fandom Gives Back, a fandom-based fund drive for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. As Christina Lauren write:
It started as a conversation: What would happen if each person [in fandom] donated a buck to charity? It could make a huge difference. Too often, Twilight fans are portrayed in the media as screaming teenager or overzealous cougars. We’re not. We’re strong women, even some men, who were inspired and impassioned by a story and a group of characters. We may have come together because of Twilight, but we stayed because we found friendship, community, encouragement, and sometimes even love that stretched across the globe (220).
Timed to coincide with the release of the Twilight films, each successive FGB campaign raised increasing amounts of money for the charity, beginning with $87,640 raised in five days with the release of New Moon to over $147k raised with the release of Eclipse. Fan creators donated labor and works — fanfic, art, merchandise — and these were auctioned off in an online benefit auction to participants. “The Fandom Gives Back” essay in Fic introduces us to the behind-the-scenes organizers who pulled off this astoundingly successful campaign and encourages us to think about the role of “giving back” in fandom culture more generally. Although many Twilight fans didn’t realize it, they were participating in a long tradition of fandom-centered charity actions, another recent example of which would be the work of The Harry Potter Alliance (founded in 2005).
In her essay “Just Change the Names,” erotica writer Tiffany Reisz charts her trajectory from seminarian to published romance author through the catalyst that has pulled many of us into fanfic writing: “I can do it better!” A friend sent her an erotic fanfic centered around the character of Colonel Tavington in The Patriot (played by Jason Isaacs). Upon reading the story, she sniffed to her friend that she “could write better smut than that with [her] eyes closed,” and the friend “dared [her] to try” (289). Posting her first 9,000 words of fic to a fandom community under a pseudonym — writing erotica could have gotten her expelled from the conservative seminary she was then attending — Reitz was soon overwhelmed by positive feedback, encouragement that pushed her into completing an 80,000 word fanfic novel in two months. Following her success with one Jason Isaacs character, she turned her attention to another — Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter films. It was the enthusiasm of her community of fan readers that encouraged Reitz to drop out of seminary for good, get a job in a bookstore, and begin writing original works. Fic contains a number of essays by people who’ve found inspiration from fan writing to try their hand at something whole-cloth — as well as people who are stridently opposed to the blending of fanworks and commercial enterprise.
If you’re intrigued, I encourage you to check out Fic at a bookstore or library near you!