Continuing the Story

I’m not the sort to let things go.

I never just have a crush, I have a one-sided love affair that lasts for three years. I have had the same favorite candy since I was three. I planned my career when I was nine.

And in tenth grade, while I was waiting for the next Harry Potter book and movie to come out, well. I needed something to tide me over. When my friend recommended fanfiction, I never thought it would be something I would love as deeply and as strongly as I did then and still do.

Fanfiction, for those who do not know, is exactly what it sounds. It is the action of writing stories about characters and worlds someone else has already written or made television shows, movies, and any number of other kinds of media about. It is an entire community of people who cannot or will not let go of their old favorites – where all of the “what ifs” of a series become “Alternate Universe fics” and all the characters you wanted to get together, can.

It took me no time at all to start writing, as well as reading.

Currently, I am working on a story in which members of a certain British boy band are spies who are falling in love. This is not an exaggeration. It is a real life thing.

I am absolutely addicted to it. I read hundreds of thousands of words a week and publish weekly as well. And I refuse to be ashamed of it.

Now, I do not have to let go. No one can tell me Sirius Black is dead, or that Snape and Lily never rekindled their friendship.

Stories are fluid. As a writer, this is something I have always known, that for every word that ever makes it to the final product, there are thousands more explaining anecdotes and personality traits – long talks between characters over breakfast, explanations of their parents and friends and old love affairs. For every 200 page story, there are thousands of pages of backstory and sideways story and forwardstory that no one will ever see. It is important to continue stories because characters are people. People that live in the author’s head, but people nonetheless, unlimited in potential and personality and plot points. That is where fanfiction comes in.

If you ever have the time, I could talk for hours about fanfiction and how writing is about emotion and sometimes bad grammar and inside jokes about other peoples’ characters and how I have been tired of being underestimated because of my age and my passion and excitement since even before I started writing about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy’s torrid romance, since long before I was labeled a “fangirl” and made the brunt of many a joke. I think there is something incredibly beautiful in the fact that people in these communities – “fandoms” – genuinely love reading, writing, and creating art so much that we do not need to be recognized for it or paid for it.

Fanfiction is looked down on in the literary community as a lesser form of writing. It is not respected, and is a much more taboo way of expressing oneself. But never am I more comfortable in my own skin than when I am writing stupid inside jokes into a piece and knowing that my audience will laugh for ten minutes and then comment with tons of emoticons.

Because you are never alone in a fandom. There are always thousands of others out there, freaking out about the same things, sending each other ideas for new fics and crying because the ENTIRETY OF ONE DIRECTION’S NEW ALBUM JUST LEAKED. No one is afraid of being too in love with something, of feeling things to their greatest extent. It is freeing and gorgeous and wonderful.

See, the problem with the world is that stories end. People fall out of love, characters you wish had lived die. People you trust hurt you. Friendships end, or even worse, fade away slowly until you just don’t talk anymore.

Sometimes, though, when the light of my desk lamp hits the dirty screen of my laptop just right, I can remember that some stories never have to end. Some characters can rise again to send snarky humor from a stranger’s mind to my own. And that, speaking from the perspective of both a fan and a writer, is the very definition of beauty.

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