My mother says that fanfiction doesn’t count as reading because “it isn’t nearly as good as the stuff that’s published. You’re not going to find something online that will win a Booker Prize.”
Please reblog if you count fan fiction as…
When I was in elementary school, my mother made a deal with me: she’d pay for whatever books I wanted out of those Scholastic reading order things that appeared on our desks so long as I got an equal number of Newbery Medal-winning books. Otherwise, I could still get them, but I’d have to pay for them out of my allowance. Somehow, the scenario where I’d pick out the books I wanted, then pick out an equal number of Newbery books and never read the latter never occurred to her, which is what actually happened. (Okay, I did read some of them. But mostly only if they had the word “dragon” in the title, and someone I trusted promised me that it didn’t end in sadness and death.) So the moral of this story is “kids are sneaky little fox bagels, even the anxious and well-behaved ones, and will happily follow the letter of the agreement while flouting the spirit”.
Wait, no, that’s not it. Well, that’s not all.
No, most pieces of fan fiction probably aren’t going to win a Booker Prize. And a lot of it isn’t very good, because it’s written by for free and out of love by people who are learning how to write (myself included. You guys don’t even want to know about the terrible characters I inflicted on the Animorphs and Gundam Wing universes back in my early days). And there is nothing wrong with that. The fact that it’s not award-winning doesn’t mean it “doesn’t count as reading”; which is a phrase I honestly cannot comprehend.
However, I do agree with Saphie — it’s a lot of fun, but you’ve also got to poke your head out of it from time to time, if only to find more things to be a fan of. I can make perfectly tasty food in my slow cooker, but I’m still going to moan to my roommate about how I want to eat every single thing I see on Top Chef because those are people who know what the hell they’re doing and are really goddamned good at it.
So yes, read all the fan fiction you want and wave your mother off when she despairs of your ability to read things that somehow “don’t count” as reading. What you do for pleasure is your business as long as you’re not hurting yourself or others (unless prior agreements have been reached and appropriate physical and mental safety measures taken, as E.L. James would know if she’d done any goddamned research on BDSM. Do your research, people! That’s what librarians are for! We are ethically required to not judge your information needs!) But you should definitely go out and get recommendations for other works, just to expand your literary world. Especially go and read stuff by people who have different life experiences than you do (people of other races, other sexual orientations, other gender experiences, etc) because then you learn stuff about people who are not like you, and that’s awesome!
This is a good response. I like this response.