|On the value of fanfiction.
||[Nov. 28th, 2010|01:29 am]
There is an expression that has always bothered me. When people speak of watching tv, they talk about 'vegging out' in front of the television.
I have never really been able to grasp this phrase. I don't understand it, and I can't do it. I can't veg out. I understand that the point is you turn your brain off and let the tv entertain you, I just don't understand how people can do that. People have claimed that tv rots your brain, but for me television is a constant fount of ideas.
Over time I've come to the conclusion that there are two ways to consume media. You can accept it for what it is and enjoy it, or you can use it as a springboard for your own imagination. I am infallibly the second type. Whenever I watch anything, read anything or hear anything, regardless of how good it is, in my mind there's always a part of me that is thinking, "If I were in that situation, I would do it this way. And since I did that, these events would go differently, and hold on a second, let me pause this and run an entire scenario of events through my head of how this would have been if that were me, and that was pretty cool, I'll finish watching the show now. Oh god, I can't believe he did that, if it were me...," and, well, the cycle kind of goes on like that. Sometimes it takes me days to watch a single show.
There's also another part of me that is thinking, "See, if I'd written this, I would have changed this character to make them a little more interesting," and other critiquing thoughts. However, rather than simply stopping at critiquing the work, I will take some of my time to completely rewrite the work in my head. This doesn't mean that I'm disapproving of the way it was done, you understand, I just have a different style, and sometimes I favor characters the writer(s) apparently didn't care about, and my brain just doesn't shut up about these sorts of things, so I let it have it's way.
Now, let me be perfectly clear. I do not write fan fiction. This is because I am a highly creative person with literally billions of my own ideas and I know if I waste my time fiddling around with other people's ideas I'll never get anywhere with my own.
And honestly, I don't even really like fan fiction. I like stories, and I like continuations of those stories, but once I've read a story, I don't really want to read that same story again with slight changes. I mean, Hamlet set in the 90's with guns is a cool idea, but you didn't even change the characters or the story, it's the same thing, and I've already read it, so I'm moving on.
However, the fact remains that people who write fan fiction are inherently better consumers of media. Rather than simply accepting what they're given (and let's face it, books, movies, tv shows and video games are not reality, they're not something you're forced to accept), they pick it apart, make changes, and make it their own. Not everyone who does this actually writes fan fiction, I mean, I don't. But whether you put it into writing or leave it all in your head, the point is the same, you don't simply veg out because the story's provided for you.
Now, I'm not saying that fan fiction is any good. Being a better reader does not in any way make you a better writer. I'm not even suggesting you read fan fiction. All I'm saying is, finding out someone writes fan fiction is not a reason to automatically disparage them. They are good people; far better than the people who just go to the movie, laugh or cry or shout, and then forget about it the next day. You can still even hate fan fiction, a lot of it sucks, but seriously, a lot of original fiction sucks, too.
I suppose what I'm basically saying is, hate the game not the playa.