The Doctor Who Fanfic Review Interview: Reallyginny

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Interviews by Fans
Title: The Doctor Who Fanfic Review Interview: Reallyginny
Interviewee: Reallyginny
Date(s): June 27, 2015
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Doctor Who, Harry Potter
External Links: Reallyginny Part One, Archived version
Reallyginny Part Two, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Doctor Who Fanfic Review Interview: Reallyginny was posted at The Doctor Who Fanfic Review on June 27, 2015.

See: The Doctor Who Fanfic Review Interview Series.

Some Excerpts

TDWFR: You’ve recently rebooted the Doctor Who Sickfic blog. Your monthly sickfic challenge looks like a great way for writers of all skill levels to be involved. This may also be a great opportunity for writers of other genres to have a go at a sickfic. Tell us a bit about your hopes for this blog and why you have chosen to not have a monthly challenge winner?

Reallyginny: I see the Doctor Who Sickfic blog as a gathering place for those of us who love sickfics because I’ve always found fandom’s attitude toward that particular genre puzzling. Take smut and PWP for example; there are plenty of writers producing plenty of fics in these genres and there is always a receptive and enthusiastic audience for this type of material because sex is a common human experience. Illness and injury are also common human experiences and yet sickfic writers often go wanting for attention. So as a group we tend to gather privately in the online equivalent of dark back alleys, calling our love for sickfics a “guilty pleasure” and trading fics back and forth while muttering “read this, you’ll like it” out of the sides of our mouths, as if it’s something shameful we’re sharing. I hoped if there was a blog catering specifically to sickfics that people would come forward and acknowledge that they enjoy the genre, too, and it’s okay to love what you love. And admittedly, I had a very selfish motivation of wanting to read more sickfics, so there’s that.

I run a monthly writing challenge on the blog with the help of my co-admin, who I got to know through our mutual love of sickfics. The writing challenge is a challenge only in the sense that there is a list of prompt words that constrains the content of a participant’s entry or entries each month. I never, ever want there to be a “winner” for the challenges or even a sense of “this fic/art/edit is the best and all the others pale in comparison.” I even hesitate to post fic recs on the blog. I want the challenges to inspire people to express what is in their hearts without comparing themselves negatively to others. Creative souls need encouragement and lots of love and as a whole, sickfic readers and writers are nurturing and kind people. I like to think of the blog and the monthly writing challenges as safe spaces to explore.

TDWFR: Hurt/Comfort can be light and fluffy and can also swing the way of heavy whump and outright cruelty. Are you happy to keep writing hurt/comfort with a good amount of fluff and leave the heavy whump to others?

Reallyginny: The story that inspired me to start writing hurt/comfort and sickfic was “Lost and Found” by Borolin, written within the Harry Potter fandom. It’s my personal benchmark fic and I revisit it every few months for fresh inspiration. The narrative arc of Lost and Found went far beyond typical whump into outright gore and terror but the disturbing events were handled delicately and almost reverently. It’s a story that touched me and still touches me very deeply; I will never forget it. Bottom line, I don’t have the talent to write at that level so I don’t even attempt heavy whump or intricate plots. Sometimes a person needs to read a simple, sweet and comforting story. I write fluffy fluff, as insubstantial as cotton candy, and I’m very happy to leave it at that.

TDWFR: You don’t write romance as such, but nurturing and caretaking can be an incredibly important part of all relationships, especially romantic ones. Some sickfics feel incredibly romantic between certain pairings. Is this an aspect that has occurred to you as a lover and writer of sickfics?

Reallyginny: I tend to step lightly around the subject of romance in my sickfics. I’d like to think they’re written ambiguously enough so they can be read with the Whouffaldi glasses firmly in place if you enjoy that or as friendship fics if you’re not as comfortable with a romantic pairing. I always consider the course of a typical illness while I’m writing and try to keep it within realistic bounds : If you’re sweating out a fever and haven’t felt like cleaning yourself up or if your hair is a tangled mess and you’re hanging out in ratty clothing and you can’t breathe through your nose or get more than a few words out without a hacking cough and you’re exhausted and emotional it’s hard to feel alluring or romantic. But as you mentioned, illness or injury opens up the possibility of nurturing and caretaking and the whole “Aw, you’re kind of cute with a red nose and chapped lips and I still love you even when I’m kneeling next to you and patting your hair while you’re sick, and I’m right here and I’ll take care of you,” dynamic, which I personally love. For me there is more deep feeling in caretaking than there is in taking it three different ways over the TARDIS console.

TDWFR: As a writer of fanfiction, you open yourself up to both encouragement and critique from others. Sometimes you can receive a really thoughtful critique where you know the person really appreciates your writing and has your best at heart, but is also giving gentle suggestions that may help you become a better writer. Other times it would appear like people are using reviews just to throw grenades. How has your experience being on the receiving end of these things coloured the way you respond to other people posting their work?

Reallyginny: I’ve been very fortunate. My stories don’t garner a huge following but the people who like them seem to really like them and have always been generous with positive reviews and comments. As writers, we have a tendency to sniff haughtily and say, “Well, I write for myself and if a few other people like it, then that’s enough for me,” but speaking for myself, I always get that sweet rush of happy brain chemicals when I see new kudos or a reblog or a nice comment and I honestly love the attention. I try to keep those feelings in mind when I’m reading and reviewing and I also do my best to remember that there are real people with complicated human emotions behind fan works. As readers we see the polished final work and not the times when the author is sweating over a story but it’s just not working and they’ve rewritten the same paragraph twenty damn times and they’re convinced everything they produce is utter garbage. I try to be mindful of the process because I know how grueling it is and I try to find something in everything I read that I can praise or at least acknowledge. Writers take any positive feedback and hold it close. A little encouragement goes a long way.