Hello, my name is Zaedah (sorta) and I write fan fiction. I have been an addict for years and I am confessing for the good of my soul. And also to gripe.
For those out of the loop on this worldwide phenomenon, fan fiction is the blatant stealing of someone else's characters for the purpose of bending them to your will. Let's face it, how many times has your favorite show either jumped the shark or created unbearably slow or unfulfilling storylines. Fan fiction is our way of setting right these wrongs. I write original works too, but fanfic is a great venue for stretching one's craft with unusual premises, unique genres and receiving simultaneous feedback.
Of course, it's also (in my selfish opinion) the highest form of flattery to the TV gods. We like the characters so much that we pilfer them and make them live in new and exciting ways. For no money and less prestige. I enjoy this so much that for the last few years, I've also served as a beta for other writers. A beta is what we spiffy internet folks call editors who, like fanfic writers, make zero bucks for the effort.
I take the art seriously, spending time that I should use to work on my tan to instead plop in front of my computer (which I don't do enough in my ten-hour work day). Lately, I've helped a few new writers who are, to be excruciatingly polite, novices and, to be utterly rude, deficient. I used to blame texting, which teaches us to squeeze whole ideas into as few letters as possible. Now, I'm shifting the guilt to the Word Verification box. You know the one. Many bloggers require readers to suffer these boxes when leaving a comment. Many websites use them to verify payments. And the words used are in no way actual words, unless you're a new fanfic writer, in which case you're sending me whole paragraphs filled with the following (taken from actual word verification boxes)...
ancedn, suptill, tratoxi, sesse, volodebu, matouff, mighhobi, crocizat, busaggr, diosogy, oushili, kyrreo, lasich. Do you want more? I've got more!
How are the impressionable youths of our society supposed to develop brains sophisticated enough to produce works of literary art when they spend their days typing the above nonsense? It makes one's eyes cross just looking at them. I tried to ponder possible definitions for this sampling of words but my brain melted and I had pour it back in.
Still gelatinous I'm afraid, but it won't stop me from writing my fanfic!