Friday, August 13, 2010

Playing In Someone Else's Universe

So my kids are currently hooked on the TV show Danny Phantom. My oldest, particularly, is a big fan, and has complained at length about it being cancelled.

A week or so ago, though, they discovered something new and amazing. "Mom," FutureStar said breathlessly, pointing at the computer screen. "Did you know there's something called fanfic?"


In between making sure the site was okay, and giving strict instructions about which ratings they are allowed to read and which ratings are off-limits (WAAAAAY too young for slash, thank you very much), I had to laugh. Because the very first romance story I ever wrote was a fanfic piece.

And yes, I know this is a minefield. I thought long and hard about posting this, because I know there are many, many authors out there who hate fanfic with a passion. But for me, that story was a chance to rectify what I saw as a massive failure on the part of the network toward a show I really enjoyed.

See, the TV show ended the season on a cliffhanger, clearly preparing to come back the next year with the answer to the "will she or won't she" question they posted at the end of the episode. And then the network pulled the show from its schedule, leaving fans frustrated and irritated. Who does the main character end up with? The fiance at the altar, or the ex who showed up in time to stop the wedding? We'd never know, because the show was over and done.

So after stewing about it for a while, I sat down and pounded out my own ending, what I would have liked to see if the show had continued. It gave me a sense of conclusion, a way to reach that HEA I felt the programming directors had denied me.

It also gave me my writing career. Because after writing that story, I started really thinking about WHY that HEA was so important to me. Why I needed closure, why I cared about the characters finding love. If it was something that compelled me in fandom, why not when writing in my own playground? And thus a romance writer was born.

And when my kid pulled out a notebook and started plotting a Danny Phantom story, I knew that it held the same temptation for FutureStar that it did for me, all those years ago - a chance to explore the "what if?" left behind when a favorite show ended too soon.


Kelly Jamieson said...

A future writer in the making! I think that's great, Kate!

Meg Benjamin said...

I really wish they'd had fanfic when I was a teenager (hell, I wish they'd had the Internet when I was a teenager!). I'd have been writing stuff every day.

Maia Strong said...

I remember writing fanfic before I knew it had a name. That was in the '80s when, to co-author a longer story as I did, you had to snailmail pages back and forth with your fellow author--in this case, somone I never met in person and spoke with maybe once on the phone. Now, I can't imagine how I survived the wait each time one of us would finish a section and mail it off to the other!

PG Forte said...

My daughter introduced me to fanfic--and slash. Do I get the "Bad Mommy" award for admitting that?

Kate Davies said...

Kelly - FS has several pieces in the works, from fanfic to fully plotted novels. I was nowhere near that dedicated at that age. LOL

Meg - I actually heard that the first slash fiction ever was written the year before the Stonewall riots. But I personally wasn't introduced to it until Maia. *waves at Maia*

Maia - I get a little twitchy thinking about waiting for the US postal service to get a co-authored story rolling along. Of course, it can take almost as long for some beta readers to get around to opening a computer file, so... *hangs head in shame*

PG - your daughter sounds awesome. And probably older than 11, so it's all good as far as I can see. :)