Rules of Distraction- a weekly look at the things that distract us away from our beloved books.
This week’s distraction? Fan Fiction! (Is it one word? Two words? Bold faced? Italicized?)
I’m 39 and always scoffed at friends of mine who were obsessed with fan fiction. There were several friends of mine who were obsessed with Harry Potter fan fiction. One other who was obsessed with Supernatural. Four who were Buffy fanatics. Two who dug the X-Files fan fiction. I think I never quite realized what an enterprise-empire?-it truly is.
What changed that?
Castle, my Monday night viewing guilty pleasure. I’m not the only one afflicted with this illness known as Caskett. I’m not the only one who ships.. Say what? Many of you are asking. The terms, the terms! They can make or break you, as they can make or break the comments you will post upon my blog after reading this. Caskett- not the final resting place of the deceased, that is spelled casket. Caskett is a combination of Castle and Beckett, the couple on Castle. Ship is short for Worship. A shipper worships the show, or in this case, the couple, or in most cases, anything and anyone connected with said show. You will notice some disclaimers mentioning they weren’t “beta”‘ed. This, from my limited knowledge, is someone who proofreads and gives advice on improvements to the story, as well as correcting and grammar/structure. I thought originally they were referring to the ancient 1980’s VCR predecessor.Thankfully, I figured that out before I mentioned it to my friends who are rabid fan-fiction readers. I was not a fan of this terminology for quite a while, but now, well, thanks to my newfound discover of Fan Fiction.Net and Tumblr’s Castle site, Wet Paint, and about 130 Castle fans on Twitter who I follow, I’m alright with these terms. Not enough to have anything tattooed on my person, but you get the picture(again, NOT tattooed).
The question is- how did this happen? The season finale of Castle(for those of us obsessed, it’s known on the boards as 4X23) sent a number of fangirls(yeah, another term I scoffed at, but now have no problem identifying myself as one) into ecstatic throes. How many times can you re-watch the same closing scene where your long-hoped for hookup between two great characters finally happens? Innumerable! How many times can you re-watch the previous three seasons on DVD to try to tide over the next four months until you see the outcome? Numerous! How many times can you re-read the three Richard Castle books published by Harper Collins? Well, only so many times, because remember- it’s just characters that the character/author played by Nathan Fillion has authored- it’s not the same, though it certainly counts. Re-reading this paragraph, I realize I have a serious problem. In an attempt to quench my CastleLust(for I have no better word for it at this point), I took to reading some fan fiction one of my Twitter followers wrote. Before I knew it, I was hooked. One entire day, sicker than a dog with sinus issues, and bitchy beyond good measure, I sat and just read it. For 9 hours. Then texted my smart-ass friend that I was hooked on it. What did she do? Sent me names of three more sites. It is a neverending welcome distraction and diversion when you’ve had a not-so-great day. There’s only one problem.
It takes time away from the things I need to do- in this case, read books, write reviews for HC, write blogs, work on two simultaneous things I’m writing. So, if my reading output has slowed down or lessened considerably, this is one reason why. I know have a system. I read only at night, only in the last hour or so before I go to sleep. Or, rather, try to go to sleep. I figure if it usually makes my day better, maybe it’ll relax me to the point of sleep. We won’t discuss how many hours I have sat up reading this fan fiction and failed to notice the time. We won’t discuss. So I hope that this will abate once September 24 looms large. Maybe I won’t feel the need to read so much of it.
What did come out of this revealation? A whole lot of respect for those numerous writers out there who are trying to get their voices heard. Even if it’s in an arena that is often mocked or wildly misunderstood(in my case), it still counts. These authors put their heart and soul into these stories. I’ve read some really great theories on who was really behind Beckett’s mother’s death(Nancy called it, most of the fan fiction sites agree with her theory). I’ve read some stories that have as many chapters as a Harlequin romance novel. I’ve read some very funny and very heart-breaking stories. No matter what I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed. I’ve also reviewed. As much as a book blogger craves comments(my earlier bitchy rant already addressed that), a fan fiction author craves feedback. Book blogs and fan fiction? More parallels there than you would think. So- I am back to my nightly reading habit- but I’m down to reading a hour or less now. I try to stick to this, or believe me, this fan fiction will take over. No matter what, I think the book gods would approve this distraction.