Just Old Fandom Things



  • Disclaimer: I do not own!  Please don’t sue!
  • plot bunnies
  • please R&R!
  • rated M for lemons!
  • calling non-anime/manga slash yaoi or yuri
  • don’t like don’t read!
  • (A/N: hi this is an author’s note in the middle of the text)
  • this chapter is dedicated to…
  • replying to reviews at the bottom of the chapter
  • authors having conversations with themselves/a character at the beginning of the chapter
  • songfic

Some explanations for why this existed!

– In the early 90s,
basically this Batman cartoon script writer plagiarized two fanfics and
got sued. Even though this was a case of professionals plagiarizing fandom,
it was fandom that caught the backlash. Throughout the 90s, content
owners were terrified that they might “accidentally” resemble a fanfic
and get sued for it–even though the guy who was sued didn’t do anything
“accidentally.” So they thought that the only way to be lawsuit-proof
was to completely destroy fandom, and sent out a lot of C&Ds for
internet-posted fanfic. They tried to drive us off the internet and back
into zines so they could claim they hadn’t read them and be

By the 00s, we had a new wave of people who
understood vaguely there was some kind of threat about lawyers, but
things had calmed down and most of the teenagers joining in the Harry
Potter and anime waves didn’t know the full story, they just thought
they might get sued for copyright infringement or something.
Fanfiction.net, adding to this confusion, at one point had it in their
actual TOS that you had to disclaim for legal reasons, and without a
disclaimer your story could be pulled. Fandom’s relationship with
content owners has changed dramatically since then, for better or for
worse, and AO3 has some lawyers of their own. We’re in a very different
position now.

– Plotbunnies still exist, we just call them
“headcanons” now, which IMO is worse because a headcanon is something
you implicitly assume about a character that isn’t in the text but you
slip into all your interpretations (e.g. “Luke is gay”) and a plotbunny
is a small idea for a plot that’s self-contained. I’ve seen AU
“headcanons”; by default an AU cannot be your headcanon! It’s a

I know some of you will hate the name because it’s twee, but if plot ideas that hop around in your head like rabbits doesn’t make some kind of intuitive sense to you, I don’t know what to tell you. Anyway, it’s not like fandom suddenly stopped being twee about things uwu~

Say what you will about begging for reviews, but my cross-posted fics
on FFN regularly get way more actual verbal interaction from people than
the same fics on AO3. FFN has a very pro-commenting culture, something a
lot of writers miss. It was always considered a bit gauche to have to
ask, but maybe the fact that so many writers did ask allowed the classy
few to not as and still be seen as wanting reviews, something that seems
to elude people on AO3. (I’m pretty guilty of this too, I’m terrible at
leaving comments/reviews or responding to mine and I’m sorry, but I am
aware that interaction makes the fandom go ‘round.)

Even the much less popular variant, “I won’t post the next chapter till I have five new reviews!” might be annoying, but is it really so bad that these teenage girls thought they should stop laboring if they weren’t getting any appreciation or compensation for it? Or even that they should be upfront about what it was they expected and wanted out of this instead of just passive-aggressively stopping without telling anyone why? We’re expected to communicate our desires so much less now and not outright TELL people what it is we want in order to continue laboring. It’s weird. Appreciation really isn’t a lot to ask in exchange for labor. People ask for money now and that’s all right?

– I should probably still say NO FLAMES on things. I don’t enjoy getting negative responses to my hard work that I did for free and out of love. And most of it, then as now, was condescending “this is for your own good” bullying under the guise of concrit. Why has fandom always been so mean? Why are we still so mean? We’ll never know.

– “Lemons” isn’t really any weirder than “PWP.”

– And okay, the words for slash are actually pretty complicated. Because you see, “slash” meant all shipping at first? It was for the slash in Character/Character. But it was known for the slash in Kirk/Spock. So it started to mean gay. The problem with that is what do you call f/f? Femslash? Yowch, even in neologisms the feminine is marked. It’s sort of awkward, an afterthought. Xena fandom had “altfic,” which has a nice history and all but 1) by the 00s I was using “altfic” to mean any non-canon ship, and 2) Xena/Gabrielle is canon, what’s alt about it? Then there was “saffic,” which is CLEVER and I LIKE IT, though it still assumes fic-centric, like what do you call f/f art, vids, meta, etc? Plus: not everyone had heard the term “slash,” and not everyone liked it. It sounds more like a horror movie than a romance. And besides, everyone seems to think that Western Live Action conventions are more than fine for anime fandoms, but the minute an anime term makes it into mainstream that’s laughable and stupid? Why? What’s bad about the fact that we, as a fandom, collectively, have some influence from Japanese culture? Why can’t the peas touch the mashed potatoes?

At least “yaoi” and “yuri” doesn’t mark the feminine as a variant of the masculine default, k.

– Don’t like don’t read is still very, very true. Now it’s, “I tagged and warned accurately, it’s your own fault if you went and read it.”

– Y’know, I get why inline A/Ns are unprofessional, but fandom isn’t very professional anyway. Sometimes they were annoying, but sometimes it made it more like squeeing over a thing with your friends. They were…intimate, somehow. Less a product and more a conversation. I think that kind of informal not-fic-fic is still around in the form of tumblr posts that are half meta or plotbunny/headcanon, and half fiction. Here’s one of mine, if you want to see what that looks like. There’s stages between squeeing and polished fiction. Some people want their fic to look all-polished all the time. That isn’t the nature of fandom though, there’s a lot more rough edges and informal interaction here.

– Eh, published authors have dedications, so why not. Writing is hard, sometimes people help you to write and that’s important. Half the time it’s their beta anyway.

– FFN doesn’t allow public review replies. Basically you can send a PM, or you can put responses as a footnote on your next chapter. It’s just a way of keeping interaction up, seeming approachable, and making friends. Classic social networking. I’m bad at being a social human being so I never did that, but I vaguely admire anyone extroverted enough to manage it.

– I have like 80 OCs in 2016, so….yeah. OCs are great. It was hard for us writers when we got convinced they were all Mary Sues and we could ONLY use canons. Really held us back in our character development skills and our ability to make original fiction. Also I’ve read fanfic with OCs I liked. Plenty of canons introduce new characters in new installments, why should fic never do that?

– Ah, the muses. When you’re a writer, you basically have a sort of mini-voice of the character in your head, that helps you write them IC. Or whatever you consider to be IC for them. This is normal. In my day we just made a joke out of it, instead of thinking it meant you were fictionkin.

Anyway, I’d take a 800 word conversation with the muses over “I’m trash, come join me in the dumpster” any day of the week. At least talking to the muses was sometimes entertaining.

– Songfic is mostly dead, in part because FFN killed it. Lyrics are copyrighted, and apparently that was an issue? However, it lives on in the form of lyrics on gifs, graphics, comics, and of course in vids. Even the 8tracks playlist can probably claim songfics in its lineage. As more visual and auditory mediums became more accessible to us, we had better ways to pour out all the fannish feels songs gave us. Remember the days when all you could do with those feels was copy/paste lyrics into a fanfic, and pour one out for the bad old days.