Why fanfiction is “real” literature

When someone says that they read fanfiction, most people laugh at them and say it is not real literature. However, that would be like saying that reading an article or some magazines is the same as reading fanfiction.

All of those things have one thing in common. They are something based off a source material that the author has given their own spin. Magazines use opinions and small blurbs of information on popular people and topics. Articles usually consist of a person’s thoughts and condensed information about a specified subject.

So what makes them legitimate sources when fanfiction is both? I am not saying that opinions on fanfiction being less than normal publications are unfounded, but people should not be mocked for enjoying it.

Stereotyping fanfiction

Yes, it isn’t rare to find stories on the various large fiction sites that are poorly written or just someone putting themselves into the story for the sake of becoming God.

Yes, it takes some time to get a feel for finding the good stories out of the large quantities that are posted daily, but in my opinion it is well worth it.

Once you find the fandom you want to delve into the site opens up and you learn how to find the stuff that fit your interests.

Despite the stereotyping, no, not all fanfiction is smut written by horny teenagers in their parent’s basement. Pardon the crude wording, but I think it was necessary.

I haven’t personally written anything related to fanfiction since before my freshman year of high school, but since January of 2013 I have been very active on fanfiction.net.

Does this mean I went from being a high school athlete and outgoing person in my community to a shut in? No. Nothing changed except for two things.

The amount of time I spent reading nearly tripled and I learned of new fandoms that in turn led me to watch or read their source material. The only thing I lost in the exchange was sleep on nights when I get hooked on a story.

The stereotype is there and can be proven true, but just because it is present does not mean the majority of the writers and readers can be classified under it.

Don’t judge a book by its cover… even when it is online and doesn’t technically have a cover.

Looking deeper at the medium

For a first-time user that drops into the vast internet library that is fanfiction.net, it can be pretty intimidating. Not hard to believe when a show like Naruto has a basic library of 412K stories and Harry Potter fans have taken it even further with 763K.
It has taken me roughly four year to finetune the system I use for finding compelling stories and even still I read a lot of the bad to get any of the good.

My personal preference of search options feature looking at the most favorited stories that are above 20k words and under any rating. That seems to yield the stories that have the highest reader base and quality on that site.

Digging through a lot of the bad stuff for a few years I noticed my tastes evolve and the number of stories I consume weekly has increased. Reading fanfiction has increased my reading speed a fair amount and opened up a lot of new shows and books to my viewing list.

The time it takes to narrow down your interests and find the good stories in the sea of mediocrity is well worth it.

Bonus to the bad stuff you will need to read though, you will have fun stories to tell and appreciate the good stuff more.

Do I recommend it?

The final verdict for me is based on preference. I love reading how people interpret the stories or expand on the worlds from shows and other media I have seen. There are very few times I have been disgusted in anything I have read on the site and if you have any interest in seeing differing perspectives on established material I highly suggest giving it a try.

Just… be sure you know what you are getting into… and beware any sour, yellow fruit.

How to get past Writer’s Block

Writing something can be an arduous task for many people. Take it from someone who writes for a living and as a pastime, sometimes the words just won’t come out right.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on your project. It might just need some extra work to get it done. Here are some things that help me when I have writing troubles.

Working in the right environment

The place you work plays a huge part in how your mind functions while working. A huge reason most people who work from home either invest in a dedicated office or often go to other places to work is that your mentality changes depending on where you are.

Personally, I find it easier to work in my dorm room or bedroom at home rather than the office I am provided at work. I feel more at ease in my own are where I can control the events happening, but for others this isn’t the case.

I have a lot of friends who are successful enough as self-employed workers that they can afford their own office spaces. This allows them to leave their work in the office and relax more at home. It can put your mind at ease knowing that specific places are for relaxing, while others are meant for working.

I recommend setting aside specific times for working on projects and trying to keep yourself in the same area each time. This could improve both productivity and the likelihood of avoiding more bouts of writer’s block.

Listening to the right music

If any of you lovely readers are anything like me, then I assume you like rocking out to your favorite tunes when doing anything. But most people don’t realize that the choice of music can greatly affect productivity.

Personally, I listen to Jazz or Instrumental music when I really need to focus on something, but outside of that anything works. My roommate can’t do homework when anything with words in it is playing, so he tends to lean to movie soundtracks.

Studies show that people who listen to classical music while working will have higher results than those who listen to rap. Of course, this is subject to change based on each individual person, rap is actually pretty common in the playlists I frequent on SoundCloud when studying.

To help with this I would advise making different playlists for studying and other activities. That will give your brain ques on when it should be focusing on work versus working out for example.

Don’t get discouraged

It is easy to struggle with something and get frustrated or discouraged with the progress you are making. That is normal and is a side effect that comes from the brain when something just doesn’t line up for you.

It will take effort to work around it, but don’t force yourself to push through if you don’t have to. Sometimes work is work and you have to meet a deadline, but for personal projects, the best product is one that comes with ease.

Sure, having to think about something normally means more effort is going into it, and that is true in most cases. However, creativity is a fickle mistress.

Effort is one thing, but the spur of the moment thoughts that spawn the most revolutionary and original ideas can only come if the brain allows it.

Try not to force yourself to think on things if they become stale. Give the thoughts some breathing room and once the air is fresh, take another stab at it.

This list is by no means perfect. In fact, this was written in a single setting at 3 a.m. in the morning while listening to a copious amount of NateWantstoBattle.

Despite that fact, I hope something in this article will give you a boost when next you face the block all creative minds must overcome.