For those who know me very well that I am an addict of literary works. That particular statement means reading novels, short stories, story anthologies, blogs, original fiction in progress, and yes, fanfiction. Depending on my mood, my inspiration, and my usual “what the heck” mode, I do end up writing a form of fanfiction. One-shots aren’t really my thing, though I write them occasionally, but what I find most enjoyable in being a fanfiction (or original fiction) writer in an online literary community is that you also get to read work in progress writings from others too.
After spending a month in NaNoWriMo as a participant, I’ve learned a lot of inspiring and interestingly cool things about becoming a writer. There was also an article about fanfiction in general and how many literary experts find it somewhat unoriginal and illegal. I can understand from where these experts come from because fanfics by different writers all around are practically writing their own stories starring characters they did not create, settings they did not create, and of course, although the plot may be original, the characters and the setting used are pretty much copyrighted— by the original author who created them in the first place. Though that’s the case, that’s why we have sites such as fanfictionNET, where we can write and publish freely without getting sued. After all, we’re not writing fanfiction to make money, but to show our love and devotion to that particular work.
Now that we’re in the subject of fanfiction, what about the types of fanfics with characters based on real people? Celebrities, political figures, professional athletes, heck, even the people in your life. Would they still be considered fanfiction or just plain fiction that just happened to have names of real-life people? You notice that FFnet no longer hosts “fanfics” based on real-life individuals several years ago? I had a feeling that an almost-lawsuit had something to do with it. Whatever it was, that site no longer accepts fiction with real-life people as characters in there.
Continuing with the subject, I’d like to specify something regarding fiction involving real-life people. I’m no different since I have written fanfics involving real-life idols (AMNOS fanfics, anyone?) before, but my slight gripe on this one is how the writers portray these idols. In particular, J-Idols. To dig down further, it’s the guys from JE. Let me provide you an example:
- JE Fanfics LJ Community. One of the dedicated Johnny’s idols-related fanfics community in LJ, you would think that as an LJ user (or someone who happens to have an LJ account but never really utilizes the LJ) you would really going to follow this community. I’m one of those few people who followed this community, but because of the lack of a variety of themes and content (if you take a visit, you’ll see what I mean), I stopped following it.
I’ve always been an open person to anyone regardless of their background, age, personal beliefs, and orientation, but when it comes to themes presented in literary pieces, I have preferences (just like any other avid reader). I get a lot more critical with my theme preferences when the fanfic involves characters who do exist in real life, such as celebrities and political figures. I just have this inkling feeling within me that writing fanfics based on real-life public individuals with a theme that’s rather controversial and inappropriate (for many) can be considered libel rather than a fan actually supporting a favorite idol/public figure.
Yes, yes, I know that many of you (male) J-idol (or any idol in general that is) are devoted, if not obsessive, possessive, and rabid, fan girls out there, but what’s with the shounen-ai/yaoi themes going on between two idols theme trend going on with the latest fanfics out there? It kind of makes me wonder if these fanfic writers are getting themselves mixed up between anime and manga and reality or something. Either that or many of them fail to understand (or rather, do not want to understand) the real essence of Japanese customs and gestures (as in oppose to just general Asian customs and gestures, which have a lot of similarities to the Japanese specifically). When two guys or two girls hold hands, that does not mean they are “dating” or there’s something taboo is going on between the two. Also, just because there are two people of the same gender are very close to each other, it also does not mean that there’s something taboo is going on between the two. Whatever happened to writing about true friendship between BFFs or something? It seems that every single fanfic I have seen involving a particular idol is more likely to be shounen-ai/yaoi with a rating of “R” or “NC-17” or something (in literary fiction writings, the equivalent ratings would be M or MA or something). What happened to the variety of genres and themes?
Could it be because you’re so completely obsessed with this idol that you can’t just bare to see this idol with someone else other than yourself? If that was the case, then you really do need to see a psychiatrist, my dear.
What I am demanding to all J-Idol Fanfic Writers (okay, to be more specific, those who get completely obsessed with shounen-ai/yaoi themed fanfics involving real-life individuals) is if you can just sit down and brainstorm of a whole lot more creative— and a whole lot different— ideas that steers away from the shounen-ai/yaoi theme. Write about friendship, family life, daily life as an idol, or even just a one-shot scene of a chance meeting of an idol and a fan. It doesn’t have to be romance with a certain girl and heck’s for sure it does not have to be landing at the shounen-ai/yaoi theme with the ratings of “R” or “NC-17” (M/MA). Not all of us are following the shonen-ai/yaoi theme, you know. If there’s a lot more variety of genres with all of these fanfics, these writers would be a lot more respected and most likely to be widely read.
If someone… anyone… ever stumbles upon this entry and gets some kind of an offense after reading this, I’ll list out a short possible FAQ for you all.
- Are you homophobic or something? What do you have against shounen-ai/yaoi?
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, possibly known as one of the most liberal regions in the entire U.S., if not the world. Free Speech Movement, the haven of all homosexuals and transgenders are here in San Francisco, and one of the first places where same-sex marriages were performed (despite the passing of Proposition 8). When I was a kid in the Philippines, I was raised by a few homosexual males when my parents are at work, but by no means I am homosexual (they raised me to be straight, to be honest…). I have many friends who are gay and/or lesbian and we both respect each other on our own orientations. I also find talking to gay men a lot more comfortable when it comes to life advises than fellow females at times. I also voted against Proposition 8 (banning on same-sex marriages in California), even if it lost during last year’s elections despite my own personal definition of what marriage really is. They’re as human as everyone else on this planet. Why be homophobic?
- So why do you demand these fanfic writers to write something else besides shounen-ai/yaoi?
Simple answer. There’s just too many of them, there’s not a lot of variety of stories, and most of all, they’re writing about real people, which can be labeled as libel rather than fan support. Why would a fanfic writer write their favorite idol (who is most likely straight in real life) being gay with another idol (who is also most likely to be straight in real life) just like that? If you think about it, they’re as comparable as the articles you see in tabloid magazines, and you know how nasty those articles they can be. Sure, it’s okay to see shounen-ai/yaoi themed fanfics if they were based on an anime/manga or some TV show, since they happen to be fictional characters, but writing that particular theme based on real-life people are a whole lot different. And for one thing, I am a fanfic reader and a fellow writer who does not write her favorite idols in a shounen-ai/yaoi (or shoujo-ai/yuri if they were female) theme and demands more variety in these fanfics and also reviewers who would read mine with an open mind.
- Open minded? You’re as shallow minded as the others!
If I’m being close-minded because I’m writing this long article, aren’t you shounen-ai/yaoi-only idol fanfic writers the same? I can tolerate if they’re fictional characters, I admit. But if you’re writing about real-life people, then it’s a whole different matter. How is it fun to write about a real-life person in a fictional setting being written as a character the opposite of who they really are in real life? It’s one of the few mysteries still yet to be solved in the idol fanfic writing world, I must say…
- Why are you writing these types of articles? Go out and get a life or something…
Read No One Cares What You Had for Lunch by Margaret Mason or even The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood. Buy a writer’s tool kit where you can get flash cards filled with many topics and ideas where you can be inspired to write about. Writing articles like these is just a part of my personal writing exercise. When I’m not writing, I read a good book, watch some TV if there’s anything interesting, cook a good meal for dinner, maybe work on one of my ongoing website projects, or take a nap. Also, not to be conceited or anything, but somehow there is a little calling within my conscience that I was sent on a mission to inspire fellow (j-)idol fans to become respectable, dedicated fans. Idols are human too, you know, like you and me. They’re not any different from the rest of us. Many of us realists know it and idols themselves know it too.
- If you’re so bitter about what most of the fanfics regarding J-idols, why not write your own?
Work in progress, my friend… except it’s not exactly a fanfic. It’s an original fanfic in which my characters are drawn and based from real-life j-idols.
- Why don’t you build your own j-idol fanfic community then if you don’t like all the other communities?
There’s too many of them around now, plus it’s too much of a hassle for me to moderate these sites by myself anyway. Besides, we’ve got this community that can serve us hungry fanfic readers in existence already. :)
Now, can I go back to my demanding and pleading now? Please understand where us hungry fanfic readers and writers are coming from. Variety rules, dammit!