Being into fan fiction is a little bit like fight club: you learned from a young age that the first rule of being into fan fiction is that you don't talk about fan fiction. Before I even fully knew understood the community of fan fiction writing, I understood enough of the culture around it to know that people were embarrassed about it, and that by proxy, I should be, too. Mind you, I was 12 years old at the time, and 2003 me was embarrassed about pretty much everything. Still, it makes me sad looking back to think that for the better part of a decade I felt obligated to keep quiet about something that ate up so much of my life and creative energy that it arguably shaped me more than any other hobby I publicly enjoyed growing up.
The reason this was such an issue, of course, is ... well, fan fiction nerds don't feelings. We don't even have feelings. We have FEEEEELLLLIINNNGGGGGSSS!!! — and there was nothing worse than experiencing them and not having a single physical human being in your life that you felt comfortable discussing it with. So, some ten years too late, here are all the melodramatic sufferings that only fanfickers could possibly understand, in no particular order:
When You Get To A Cliffhanger And See That The Author Hasn't Updated ... Since 2005
And PM'ing them to update is the internet equivalent of yelling at a tree for dying. Game. Over.
When You Read A Story You Wrote When You Were 12
"And then there faces kissed alot and 'wAIT!' he said 'IS THAT A TIDAL WAVE?!?!?!?'"
Even if it wasn't that bad it feels that bad to adult you. Word to the wise, guys: don't click your old links. DON'T. CLICK. THEM.
When You Realize You're The Only One In Your Fandom
Table for one? No need for a menu ... I'll just be here, writing fan fiction into a void so deep that even Tumblr has no idea what I'm talking about ...
When You Realize Your Once Mighty Fandom Is Now Dying Out
This is arguably worse than if it never existed at all, because you tasted glory — the prompt requests, the AUs, the crackships — only to have it snatched away. I lived through the Golden Age Of Star Trek Reboot Fan Fiction in 2009, and consequently also survived returning to the LiveJournal shambles left behind post-sequel in 2013. R.I.P., us. We did not live long, but we did prosper.
When You Want To Be A Part Of A Fandom So Bad But Have No Idea What's Going On
Read: anyone who got into Doctor Who after, like, 2010.
When You Write An Earth-Shatteringly Awesome Chapter And It Gets, Like, Two Reviews
And one of them is just "plz update".
When Somebody Blatantly Rips Off Your Story And There's Nothing You Can Do About It
How dare you copy this thing that I'm also copying and have many disclaimers on and can't make money off of for legal reasons, you punk who is also not doing this for monetary gain or credit!!!!!
When Someone's Story Is So So So So Sooooo Perfect, But It Will Never Be Canon
Also known as that time we brought half of Hogwarts back from the dead, nudge nudge wink wink, J.K. Rowling.
When An Author/Actor Says Something Disparaging About Fan Fiction Culture
When "notice me, Senpai" turns into "agafgjadflgkakdfgkalfgkadfga" and an inner turmoil unlike any you've ever known.
When One Of The ~Normals~ In Your Life Discovers You Write Fan Fiction
Don't look at me don't look at me don't loOK AT MEEEE.
When Someone — Anyone — Discovers Your Screen Name
Little do they know you've got at least five more super secret ones they haven't found out about, because you're so far deep into dissociative fan fiction-hunting that you are a one-woman show of Inception.
Images: Unsplash; Giphy