The Evolution of a Fanfic Author

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Title: The Evolution of a Fanfic Author
Creator: CiCi Lean (by "Beendere Dondat")
Date(s): 1998
Medium: online
Fandom: focus on The X-Files but applicable to many fandoms
External Links: The Evolution of a Fanfic Author
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The Evolution of a Fanfic Author is a 1998 essay by CiCi Lean. It has the subtitle "A terrifying tale of obsession, desire and stupidity."

It was written in 1998 by CiCi Lean for the website The Circle of CiCi.


The Essay

1. Surprise, Wonder & The Joyful Discovery of XFFanfic. You read like crazy, loving every word. Wow. It's like having a new episode every day. Oh joy!

2. Suddenly, a nagging voice that says "I think I can do that..."

3. You write your first fanfic. Terror and pissy pants from first post.

4. First piece of positive feedback arrives. Orgasm follows.

5. The addiction has begun. You continue to write and drool, waiting for feedback.

6. You continue to read, but start noticing that a lot of fanfic out there isn't *that* good. This surprises you, but you think it's just a *dry* spell. You, however, are busy trying to write so you can get feedback, so who has time to read some other shlubs' crappy work anyway?

7. Then, on one fateful day, you write *that* special piece that gets you wide acclaim and TONS of feedback. You go into shock and wonder what you've done.

8. You suddenly realize you've done nothing that's unusual for *you*'re just a better writer than almost everyone else. You are vaguely disturbed by this knowledge. Other authors begin to look worse and worse...

9. Your first Spooky Awards come up. You, to your complete shock are nominated in FIVE categories. You don't win, but are happy nonetheless. You continue to improve your writing and begin to ask for people to recommend good fic, because you are just too damn busy to read crap.

9. You make friends with *elite* authors, the ones who frightened you before. You commiserate with them on how awful fanfic suddenly has become and loudly praise each other's work and beg each other in equal turns to *please* write something to bring the quality of fanfic back to something coherent. You start to parody *lesser* authors and have many laughs with your new friends.

10. Your name starts popping up on fanfic message boards, Usenet and other various 'net sources. You get the disconcerting feeling people are talking about you behind your back, but everyone assures you they are only saying the most wonderful things. You continue to write, but give up reading almost entirely. Because everyone else basically *sucks*.

11. Someone begs you to let them archive your work on a web page they built just for you. You are interviewed for fanfic newsletters and the Spooky Awards come up again before you know it and you are nominated in almost every category. You yawn and makes jokes about what kind of statue a *Spooky* would be. You mentally put it on your bookcase.

12. The Spookys are announced.

13. You don't win a single one.

14. Overnight you turn bitter and strange, wondering how on EARTH a 95 part *shipper fic could POSSIBLY have won every Spooky there is even though the author's idea of a plot is Mulder & Scully helping each other defecate. You start muttering to fellow spurned authors that there are serious double standards here, and that the Spookys are shamelessly rigged by *shippers and that your genius will never be known unless you lower yourself to romance fic, which you utterly refuse to do. You have standards, you know.

15. One day, over a trivial matter that most likely has nothing to do with you, you loudly and furiously resign from all mailing lists and Gossamer. You are too damn good for them and besides, they'll miss you MUCH more than you'll miss them. This causes an uproar and you disappear for long periods, and when your new works *do* appear, they take on a mythical status. You answer the three, 10-page feedback letters you receive with long quotes from Swinburne and continue to write to the only other two authors who understand and respect you and your work. Suddenly in a fit of paranoia, you realize that they too, are against you and you disappear from XFFanfic entirely, never to be heard from again.

16. You stop watching the X-Files and start watching Babylon 5.

17. You discover Babylon Five fanfic. Child-like joy ensues.

18. Go to Step One.