Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Curse of Fanfic

Excerpt from an article I wrote for publication elsewhere:

In what must have been a first for any writers workshop in the country, last summer's Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop featured stories from the genre of fanfic. As the screener for the applications, I take responsibility for the ensuing misadventures; but I confess I also found much amusement in the resulting collision of cultures between the panel and the fellows.

Fanfic, if you're not aware of the term, is short for fan fiction. Its writers take characters from juvenile books, TV series, video games, and anime and cobble together new stories around them. Because of this lack of originality, the genre doesn't get much respect. But because of the popularity of the source material, many young people gravitate to the genre, either as readers or writers.

For our panel of award-winning Davao writers, fanfic was a new and confusing – and perhaps also mildly unpleasant – experience. The fanfic stories in the workshop drew heavily from Final Fantasy, a Japanese video game, and Gossip Girl, a scandalous American teen television drama. While the language was competent, the final product came out awkward, stilted, and inauthentic. Quoting one panelist, the poet Don Pagusara: "Why are you writing this?"

5 comments:

  1. LOL I can almost imagine the poet going o.0 before he asked that question. It would be difficult to explain the draw of fan fiction to people who would not normally be exposed to it. From its name alone, "fan" fiction, if you aren't, you won't get the point. Then again, I've read my fair share of fan fiction (I'm an anime fan and some stories have gaps in the plot that are very convenient starting points for speculation, which is really what fan fiction is about) and I know some fanfic writers who claim to use their fanfic writing stint as a kind of vehicle for the real thing. So for these fanfic writers, at least, it's also a kind of writing workshop, just not the usual cup of tea. I do admit that some fanfics are so atrocious, the author's purpose is outright questionable. My suggestion, just breeze through them. With the multitude of material available at Fanfiction.net, you are bound to find one gem or two. I guess it didn't really help that fics from the Final Fantasy and Gossip Girl fandom were used. Wow, when you say, juvenile, you really mean juvenile. :D

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  2. Heh. I'll be sure to send you a copy of the full article, then.

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  3. where is this article coming out?

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  4. I'll post details when it's out. The editor is still on vacation. :-x

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  5. is this going to be online or print? wouldn't mind reading it as well. :-)

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