Why Fanfiction?

I get a lot of very strange looks. I also get asked “why?’” a lot. I’m a fanfic author, and the strange looks and incredulous questions are just a part of the gig. They are for us all.

Everyone writes for a different reason, but for me, the inspiration came from peanut butter finger prints and cat paws.

It’s weird, I know.

I mean, why would a jar of squished nuts and a pair of naughty cats be the reason I write?

More to the point, what about them led me to write fanfiction of all things?

I mean, without some underlying reason, the whole fanfic thing makes no sense at all. Sure, all creative writing can be fun and serves a purpose, but to put the amount of work and time that a full length novel that technically belongs to someone else seems, well, kind of useless. Maybe even a little crazy. Such is my life.

You see, I am a wife, a mother of six children and a teacher. Somehow, I lost myself in all of that. Please don’t get me wrong, I passionately love each precious part of my life, but in meeting the needs of all the people I love, I forgot what was special and unique about me.

About four years ago, I began painting again in an effort to capture that youthful, creative and fun part of my life that had languished under the demands of a large family. When I picked up the brush, I fell in love with the joy of creating something beautiful.

The only drawback was cat paws and peanut butter covered fingers.

No matter where I hid my paintings, my beautiful children would find it and touch it. You cannot paint over peanut oil; believe me, I’ve tried. I even tried turning the oily blotches into a landscape. It didn’t work well. So, I tried new places. I would lean an oil painting against a wall high up on a shelf, only to find paw prints and cat hair dried in the paint the next morning. Hairy landscapes don’t look good, either.

Then I read the Twilight Saga and was inspired.

Suddenly, it became vitally important to find the inner girl that had been lost. I found fanfiction and discovered that regular women like me were creating intricate and wonderful stories — stories that small hands couldn’t smear with food and cats could not walk across. Here was my chance!

There was only one problem; I hated to write.

No, not the normal, “I can’t write and I don’t like to do it” hate. This was the “break out in a cold sweat and hives” kind of hate. I hated it so much that I paid my friends to write my journal entries all the way through school. All of it. I never once, in the six years that they were required, did I write a single journal entry. Even more amazing, none of the teachers noticed that my journal was full of different styles of writing and four separate languages.

So, when I found myself enjoying the writing of amateur authors, the creative young woman who’d been missing from my life raised her head and took a look. Then, she told me a tale that my fingers simply had to type. I forced myself to sit and type, and, yes, I broke out in hives. That was 500,000 words ago.

Now, for the record, many of those words remain unpublished, and that is a good thing. Much of what I write is not fit for human consumption. Also, I did manage to kill off two computer keyboards with coffee, and the current one is terrified for its life, so it is not a victimless hobby.

However, those words and stories helped me find a lost part of myself. They helped me find that childlike creativity that makes life fun. Writing helped me remember that the joy is in creation and not always in the end product.

I get asked another question a lot: “Will you ever try to write a real book and get published?”

My answer is simple. “Sure. It’s on my bucket list.”

Right now, I’m having fun, and that’s what fanfiction is supposed to be. Fun. Remember that term? I’d almost forgotten it.

How about you? I hope you have faired better than I and never lost that inner child. If you have, join me in a write-along. I have coffee and peanut butter to share.