I had a few more things to say about the whole "aspiring writers who cut their teeth on fanfic" thing. (I'm not QT'ing the original tweet because at this point that would REALLY feel like punching down.) I want to talk about the writing I did as a kid & teen.
One of the things that got cancelled due to COVID last year was Minicon, and one of the things I was REALLY looking forward to at Minicon was a planned event where a bunch of us were going to pull out our oldest juvenalia for a reading.
The oldest juvenalia I have is from 4th grade, when I had a weekly assignment that was "write 1 page of whatever." The story I spent most of the year working on is about a girl who goes to summer camp and meets a talking horse.
It fills multiple wide-ruled Mead notebooks. I took this picture of the first one when I thought we were going to get to do this. A faded, light blue spiral-bound Mead notebook with a bunch
This is absolutely not an event that works well online, unfortunately. If you're sharing something that potentially embarrassing, you really need the feedback from the live audience. Reading this very old story fills me with a mix of mortification and affection for 9-year-old me.
Anyway. I was REALLY excited about this story when I was nine, and I had adults who encouraged me. I kept writing.

Also in the box of my juvenalia is a truly bizarre historical story I wrote that was set during WWII. I wrote this mostly in middle school.
Like a lot of Jewish teens, I went through a period of intense obsession with the Holocaust and this story (which followed a single character, but periodically shifted where she was from so she could participate in some other big event) was me processing it.
Also in the box, from middle school: unfinished Wizard of Oz fanfic; unfinished 1984 fanfic. Probably not in the box: the Star Trek TNG fanfic I wrote, because that was later in high school and I had a computer, and I'm not sure I ever printed it out.
Because of course I wrote fanfic. I wrote whatever struck my fancy, whatever was in my head that day. I rarely finished stuff. I think that's pretty typical for a very young writer.
A LOT of my writing from that period in my life was self-indulgent. I had self-insert characters. I skipped around from big dramatic scene to big dramatic scene, with zero buildup or character development, because those were the bits that were fun to write. I wrote bad poetry.
Did all this teach me to write better? Or worse?

I kind of think that's the wrong question, honestly.
What I learned as a child writer was to enjoy the process. Which is really critical, because when you start trying to write for publication, you're probably not going to sell right away. You're going to be writing just for yourself and kind friends and maybe a critique group.
If you don't enjoy the process -- making up the story in your head, figuring out how the pieces fit together, putting the words together on paper or a screen -- you're probably not going to stick with it long enough to ever get good.
FTR, I still write and read fanfic. I have been doing Yuletide every year for a while now because it's fun. I like writing a story for someone. I like reading a story written for me. It is REALLY TRULY OKAY to do stuff just because it's fun.
And going back even further than 4th grade:

My first experiences with storytelling was in play, in "let's pretend we're..." Let's pretend we're elves, witches, bees in a hive, escaping from government agents, living in a log cabin, telepathic twins.
In middle school, when I started writing independently, all my classmates had outgrown this style of play. I started writing down the stories I was making up in my head.
(Apparently I also told stories to my younger siblings on walks to and from school, and my sister told me once that she spent years assuming that "tells us stories" was just part of the JOB of an older sister. My siblings were a gratifyingly appreciative audience.)
Anyway, when I talk about fanfic and community, part of what I'm talking about is that for seven years I participated in a real-time journal-based Harry Potter AU with a group and it was all the fun of "let's pretend" I remembered.
A mash up of fic and RPG, "let's pretend we're students at Hogwarts but in a very different world from the one in the books..."

It was SO much fun.
I'll also note that my published fiction includes a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" ("In the Witch's Garden"), as well as a Baba Yaga story and a golem story. Just off the top of my head.
"I like that story and I want to tell my own version / give that character a new adventure / put myself in it / explain something that wasn't explained / explore something that wasn't explored" is an extremely common human response to stories.
Which is how we got the King Arthur stories; the Robin Hood stories; Milton; Dante; the Aeneid; midrash that have been passed around so many times people think they're actually in the Bible; the countless retellings of Cinderella.
Fanfic (and "homages" and "retellings" and "literary satires") are part of how we have conversations with and about the stories we tell.
Anyway that was a very scattered thread. Possibly I will remember something else I wanted to say and come back. (I had a headache for most of yesterday, which did not stop me from threading about this ANYWAY but probably discouraged me from this sort of extended essay...)

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More from @NaomiKritzer

19 Jan
So since we're talking about music and Joe Biden can I tell you how much the Hamilton song "Wait for It" makes me think about Joe and also about Joe Biden vs. Aaron Burr.

"Death doesn't discriminate / between the sinners and the saints / it takes, and it takes, and it takes."

Weeks after Joe Biden was elected to his first term in the Senate, his wife and daughter died in a car accident.
Of his surviving sons, one went on to die of cancer.

The other, Hunter, has struggled with addiction. To try to hurt Biden during the campaign, someone released texts sent between Joe and Hunter while Hunter was in treatment.
Read 11 tweets
18 Jan
I was pondering the fact that on Tuesday we're going to see 8 gazillion Les Miserable "One Day More" gifs and found this delightful flashmob performance from 2014.

I hope flashmob musical performances make a roaring comeback in 2022.

There are lots and lots and lots of Les Miz gifs for your use on Tuesday but there's also this one with Minions:
And if you want a slightly less ominous/more optimistic song from a musical, there's always:

Read 4 tweets
18 Jan
FYI, the sites are in San Diego, Boise, San Antonio, and Houston.
Oh hey!

There are actually a number of additional sites, they just make it very difficult to find them. Check out this page for the state you're in to see if it's recruiting:

And since the Minnesota one says they ARE recruiting, I googled the research institute mentioned:

Read 6 tweets
16 Jan
Having tracked down the Edgy Fanfic Take, what Sarah said is what I want to say.

You can write just because you want to write.
There are fanfic writers who want to become published writers of original fiction and are using fanfic to work on stuff in a way that feels fun.

There are also people who write fanfic because they want to write fanfic, and that's also fine.
And I hope the people who find joy, comfort, community, affirmation, pleasure, or distraction from their troubles in either reading or writing fanfic don't even read that person's bad take.
Read 4 tweets
16 Jan
I served food in my high school cafeteria, shelved books in my high school library, and scooped frozen custard for minimum wage. The library job was pretty great. Working at the custard stand sucked rocks through a bendy straw.
When I was a teenager, the minimum wage was $3.35/hour, which over the course of my high school years ranged in current value from $7.85 to $6.48.
I also babysat for $2/hour, which was less than I should have been charging. One parent paid me $1.75 and did not correct this problem when I finally got the nerve up to tell her my rate was $2. I said OK and was passive-aggressively busy every time she called after that.
Read 11 tweets
9 Nov 20
So look, it's fine, IMO, if you enjoyed the Lincoln Project's ads.

But FOR FUCK'S SAKE PEOPLE do not send them money. You shouldn't have sent them money before, DEFINITELY do not send them money now.
There are MANY worthwhile places to donate.

First off, Fair Fight Action, Stacey Abrams' group. Follow them at @fairfightaction, donate here:

You can also sign up to volunteer for Fair Fight Action here:

Read 8 tweets

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