If you or someone you know writes fanfiction, and doesn't keep it a secret, they probably get a lot of questions.
'What is slash" is a pretty common one, and often we're really happy to answer. We write fanfiction because we love it, which means we usually love talking about it and sharing our passion. But sometimes we get those rude, condescending questions that make us squirm. So before you feel the need to ask us, here are the answers to those five painfully annoying questions:
1. "Why are you wasting your time like that?"
Ew ew ew. First of all, who are you to decide how I spend my time? It's *my* time! Hobbies make us happy. Some people have sports, other people have books. Are you going around telling the people reading Pride & Prejudice on the subway that they're wasting their time? What about the people that go to hockey games?
People love what they love. Why should fanfiction be held to a different standard than any other hobby?
2. "Why don't you write a REAL book instead?"
Maybe I don't want to. Maybe I have, and I also want to write about these other characters and because I don't want to mess around in copyright infringement land I'm going to write fanfiction instead. Maybe I just really like the fan community and want to give something back to that amazing group of people. Does the reason actually matter?
The stories posted on Ao3 and FF.net are plenty real. People read them and love them and can't get enough of them. So what if they're free?
3. "Isn't it a little creepy?"
I suspect every person who has asked this question has made a few assumptions about fanfiction. And they're not unfounded. Yes. Some fanfiction features explicit sexual content about characters (or real people). But why does it face a double standard? How many people who ask this question flocked to the internet the minute Jennifer Lawrence's phone got hacked and nude pictures of her were released without her consent? Were they defending her, or were they looking?
We're not the ones making celebrities look at explicit fanart or read it out loud. For the most part, we keep to ourselves. People who ask us questions like these aren't the only reason why. We do it to be polite. We know not everyone wants to see what we're writing, so we don't force people to look.
4. "What do you even write about?"
I wonder if George R.R. Martin ever gets this question. Dude, we write about lots of things. We write fluff pieces about beach days and slumber parties. We write sprawling epics about post-apocalyptic futures and knights in shining armor. We write porn. We write crack.
Just because a tv show is on hiatus or a book has ended doesn't mean the story is over. We find stuff to write about. Honestly, our problem is usually that we have too many ideas and limited time to write them all.
5. "Can I have your username?"
Okay *maybe*. If it seems like you're genuinely curious about fic and you're not just looking for something to be overly critical about, then I might send you some of my fic.