Fannish Butterfliness, or Lack Thereof

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Title: Fannish Butterfliness, or Lack Thereof
Creator: Lorelei Feldman
Date(s): November 11, 2002
Medium: online
Topic: Fan Fiction
External Links: Fannish Butterfliness, or Lack Thereof, Archived version
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Fannish Butterfliness, or Lack Thereof is an essay by Lorelei Feldman about Fannish Butterflys.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


The other day, I was talking to a fan who wondered how people with more than one, or maybe two, fandoms juggle them all. I've been asked this before, too. Wouldn't you get them confused? How could you possibly write all those characters and give them all justice? How can you get so passionate about so many things?

"But," I will answer all those questioners, "how do you handle having only one fandom? Don't you get bored?"

It's all a matter of perspective. I think the difference lies in outlook as much as numbers; in the world of fannishness, I've noted three different basic approaches to fandoms:

1. Monogamy: One fandom, and that's it. Nothing else grabs this fan. True love, baby! This is not to say that other things don't interest her at all, or that she doesn't nod and smile politely when her friends geek about other things, and occasionally even geek back at them, but the only fandom she's really participatory in is her True Love, and she's not looking for another. Fans like this tend to fall out of touch with folks who switch fandoms, because other things just don't interest them enough for them to join lists, write fic, read fic, etc... at least, not on a regular basis, though they may experiment.

2. Serial Monogamy: One fandom at a time. This fan falls in love, gets all fannish, reads, maybe writes or draws or does a Web page or whatever, is really involved... then something else comes along. They get into the new fandom and abandon the old one. The ex just doesn't really grab them any more. Fans like this may hold onto one fandom for a week, or a few months, or a year or two, but once they're out, they're out. They just can't manage an intense participatory interest in more than one show/book/movie at a time. Whatever's got their current love is It.

3. Butterfly/"Fannish Slut": All fandoms, all the time. Okay, maybe not all of them, but a hell of a lot. Two, five, ten, thirty... as many fandoms as grab you, concurrently. I have friends... oh, hell, who am I fooling? This is me. I blame it on James Walkswithwind, who has pimped me into a good half of them (and still only about 1/4 of hers). As I write this, I have stories in varying degrees of completion in X-Men, Lord of the Rings, Gabriel Knight, The Professionals, Star Wars, Grendel, Wiseguy, Brimstone, Law and Order, The Lost Boys, and Miami Vice. I have a zine story coming out soon in Hollow Man. I've also written Forever Knight. I own zines or am on mailing lists for Blake's 7, Starsky and Hutch, Eroica, Man From UNCLE, Sentinel, Highlander, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Stargate: SG1... have I forgotten anything? Fans like me may have one or two fandoms that are their current loves, ones that they are most active in, but will cheerfully read or write just about anything that comes to their attention.