The Organisation for Transformative Works (OTW) which has Archive Of Our Own (AO3) as one of its projects, asked members for contributions to Fanworks Day on February 15th. One suggestion they made was 350 words (max) on ‘what fandom means to you’. I jotted down my thoughts then spent ages getting them into some kind of coherent shape and exactly 350 words. Then I found the ‘box’ in the communication form didn’t actually allow for 350 words… I emailed them but got no reply, so Fanworks Day passed me by. However, I thought my social media friends might be interested in what I came up with. (I shall also post it to my AO3 account as Meta.) Any omissions are due to the constraints of the word count. Today’s picture is my new membership icon/badge which arrived by email this morning. Clearly they’ve forgiven me for leaving the staff!
What fanworks mean to me: an A to E of fanworks.
Fanworks mean adventure: they take me to places I never imagined. This applies to the ones I enjoy and the ones I create myself, whether they are text, art, video, crafts, or anything else. My life is enriched.
Fanworks mean ambiguity: I can now find subtexts and subtle new agendas in almost everything I view. My imagination is stimulated to find new perspectives and I can share those imaginings with others who will not think me mad!
Fanworks mean belonging: a space where (mostly) women come together to share. It’s a homecoming, of sorts. Finding fandom was like sinking into a warm and welcoming bath after a lifetime of feeling ‘different’. It’s empowering to find others react to canon creations in a similar way.
Fanworks mean brilliance: some fanworks can be much better than a lot of mainstream creations. Yes, there is dross, but then there is in all creative output. Yes, there is a mass of material by young creators who may or may not improve; they have to start somewhere – and should!
Fanworks mean community: the people who create, consume and critique them. People come together online and offline and have a common starting point.
Fanworks mean continuity: the characters and worlds I love get new life and fresh ideas. They don’t just die or remain encapsulated in their original form.
Fanworks mean development: storylines and characters are developed beyond their origins by creators. The creators themselves, and their fans in turn, develop their skills and perceptions. Even the occasional disagreements contribute.
Fanworks mean discussion: comments and ratings, in archives and on social media add to the pleasure and interest of finding new works. In turn, they add to discussions among friends both at conventions, and in private conversations online and off.
Fanworks mean enjoyment: the pleasure of seeing works from known and trusted creators and the pleasure of finding new ones.
Fanworks mean excitement: the thrill of seeing something from a totally new point of view, or in a new medium.
And if anyone wants to look at my fanworks, you can find my account under moth2fic (same as my Dreamwidth pseudonym).