Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blog from class

Here is my newest blog for my Information Age class. I thought you might think it was interesting because I talked about how I got into HP Fan Fiction.

Blog #5: Wrap up ideas on Convergence Culture

Ah, well, we didn’t get to talk much about fan fiction, but that might have been a good thing for you guys.  I can go on and on about it.  Let me start by telling you how I started writing HP fan fiction.  I was in the summer of my sophomore year at UC Riverside and my apartment-mate and I were not speaking.  Thank goodness we had separate rooms.  Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time in the living room.  After surfing the net for things related to HP, I came across  This intrigued me and I began reading stories.  At the time I didn’t really care what I read as long as it was a Draco/Hermione romance and would look at every single post there was.  (I liked this pair because I knew that it could NEVER happen—Jo said it herself…and yes, Jo and I are on a first name basis.) 
Many times there would be a truly awful story where people would “flame” at the writers.  In these cases I usually responded with something positive to say even if I thought that the story was a load of crap.  I figured that they were young girls trying their hand at writing.  Seeing posts like “This story sucked” and “You shouldn’t be a writer” were not going to help motivate these writers. That was no way to encourage people to write.  Obviously, I didn’t have the authority to delete these responses before the writers saw them so I felt that I had to do something. So being the nice girl I am (har-har) I would try to encourage them. 
Like many fans, I truly wished that the wizarding world existed…still do actually.  But since I knew that it didn’t (I’m not that crazy) I began to pretend I was one of the characters.  I had just listened to the fourth HP audio book during my daily attempts to exercise and became even more engrossed with the world.  After a while I tried to make myself think more like Hermione.  I wanted to adopt her study habits and persistence.  If it wasn’t for her character, I don’t think that I would have ever passed Statistical Psychology.  So, during the day I’d go to my summer class for an hour and then sit in my room studying for five.  In the evening I’d let myself unwind and read fan fiction.  Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to start writing myself.  I think that I lurked for a good month and a half before that idea popped into my head. I could write something myself instead of criticizing others.  And so I did.  By the end of the summer I had 25 chapters of fiction-fiction. 
Now, when I go back to this story I think to myself, “What was I thinking?”  The grammar and style is horrible and my tenses shifts like the San Andreas Fault; I’ve thought of going back to edit my story, but didn’t really see a point.  I’m out of the loop now and if I’m going to write, I want to write something that is my own.  I can’t speak for all fan fiction writers, but in the back of your head you know that you can never pursue paid publication with these works.  We’re merely playing with someone else’s fantasies and dreams. 
I guess to wrap it up, Fan fiction is a good starting point for beginning writers.  I don’t think that I would have thought that I could be anything close to a writer if I hadn’t discovered fan fiction.  I would probably still be struggling to get my degree in psychology and be miserable if I hadn’t started writing.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that HP saved my life, but it definitely has prevented many fits of crying and frustration. 
As for the book burnings and banning, I can’t stand to think about it for more than two minutes.  It gets me so upset that I stutter even more than usual and can’t get my thoughts straight.  We aren’t living in the land of Fahrenheit 451,, people.  I would just love to force these people to read the books before they torch them.  What is the most infuriating about the whole situation is that in most of the instances the people haven’t even read the books!  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. 
Anyway, HP has helped people become more creative all together.  Here is a link to a group of people who put on Potter Puppets.  This cheers me up whenever I see it and I’ve been known to go around singing this song.  Poor Beth has already had to see this, but it’s fun to watch if you’re into the fandom.  Potter Puppets

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