Work Header

Deep Fanfic Thoughts, By Jack Handey

Work Text:

Maybe in order to understand fandom, we have to look at the word itself: "fandom." Basically, it's made up of two separate words, "fa" and "ndom." What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why fandom is too.

To me, slash fiction is like a banquet, except there's no food, no guests and everyone hates each other.

Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful Joe/Billy story, where they do a concert and then get into a beautiful fistfight? And they wrestle in a beautiful way on the floor, and that leads to them having beautiful rough sex right there. And also, you're drunk.

If I ever write a rapefic, I hope I am able to bring a certain lightheartedness to the subject, in a way that tells the reader we are going to have fun with this thing.

A writer doesn't automatically get my heartfelt praise. She has to get down in the dirt and beg for it.

If you read a story you hate, don't flame the author, like a lot of people do. Instead, try to get some weeding done, because you'd really be surprised.

I think a really good story would be where Jim and Blair are on a ship looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find it. And you know why they never find it? It doesn't say. The story leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then, at the very end of the zine, there's a page you can lick and it tastes like Kool-Aid.

Whenever someone asks me to define the elements of a really good slash story, I usually think for a minute, then I spin around and pin their arms behind their back. NOW who's asking the questions?

I don't think God put me on this planet to judge other people's writing. I think he put me on this planet to gather specimens and take them back to my home planet.

I remember how I once posted this really funny story to a list, and the people who read it would laugh and laugh. I vowed, then and there, that I would get revenge.

If you want to make friends on a fic list, here's a good thing to do: Jump into a really active discussion thread and say, "Well, technically, that's illegal." It might just fit in with what one of the other posters said. And even if it doesn't, so what, I hate this fucking list.

If you're on one of those lists that's always talking about how they want honest and hard-hitting fanfic critique, wouldn't you think it'd be a great idea to say to the listowner, "Boy, your stories are one big steaming pile of crap"? Trust me, it's not.

There's nothing so tragic as seeing a fic list torn apart by something as petty as a pack of wolves.

Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, taking your story and posting it as my own to another list.

Somebody told me how frightening it is that fanfic is getting worse and worse, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.

Instead of studying for finals, what about just writing me a really hot Fraser/Ray story? Maybe you'll flunk, but you might have flunked anyway; that's my point.

Too bad Starsky didn't know how to ice skate, because then you could write a story where he's in Holland on a case and Hutch says, "Starsky, go skate for help," and people would really like it.

Tonight, when we were eating dinner, my girlfriend said something that really knocked me for a loop. She said, "I love that new Wesley/Gunn story." "Good," I said as I gritted my teeth really hard. "Then maybe you and that new Wesley/Gunn story would like to go into the bedroom and have sex!" They didn't, but maybe they will sometime, and I can watch.

Sometimes you have to be careful when selecting names for original characters. For instance, let's say you have chosen the name "Fly Head." Normally you would think that "Fly Head" would mean a person who has beautiful swept-back features, as if flying through the air. But think again. Couldn't it also mean "having a head like a fly"? I'm afraid some readers might actually think that.

One thing fen really like is to be tricked. For instance, somebody on one of my lists asked about one of their favorite authors, who hadn't posted much lately. "I hate to tell you this," I said, "but she killed herself." Boy, they were sure mad when they found out I was lying, but I think that deep down, they thought it was a pretty good joke. Then the author got in a fight with someone and unsubbed, so big deal.

A good writer can say it all, especially with the words part of her writing.

We tend to scorn and laugh at those who write really awful fan fiction. But we can't murder them, and this is what annoys me.

You know what would make a good story? Something where Mulder takes Scully to the circus and that makes her happy, but Mulder is really sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.

I once wrote a story where Buffy and Willow climbed a mountain. "That was fun," Buffy said. "You bet it was," said Willow. "Let's climb higher." "No," said Buffy, "I think we should be headed back now." "We have time," Willow insisted. Buffy said they didn't, and Willow said they did. They argued back and forth like that for about ten pages, then finally decided to head back. I didn't say it was an interesting story.

Sometimes when someone posts a story I really hate, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I'll get the writer's real name and address by hacking into their ISP, then go to their home and ring the doorbell. When they come to the door, I'm gone, but you know what I've left on their porch? A jack-o'-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says, "You." After that I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.

Fanfic writers need encouragement. If somebody writes a good story, tell them it was a one-time fluke. That way they get a good feeling, like luck was really on their side that time.

Sometimes I think the world would be better off if I never wrote another word. No, wait, not me, you.

I hope fandom isn't just a big pathetic joke, because I don't get it.

If you read a slash story with two characters named Hambone and Flippy, which one do you think would be on the bottom? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone.

I think it's high time we started questioning the old fanfic clichés like "Grunt big for Daddy."

If the Vikings were around today, they would probably be amazed at how we take male pregnancy fics completely for granted.

People think it's fun to write fanfic because you get all those readers. But they forget the negative side, which is the psychosis.

If they had fanfic back in the Dark Ages, I bet the most common question readers would ask is, "Can't you put a catapult in this story?" No, I'm sorry. That would violate canon.

Whenever you read a good fanfic, it's like the characters are right there in the room talking to you, which is really annoying because who told them they could drink all your booze?

Many people think that gen stories are dull. Dull? Is it "dull" when Jim gets bitten on the forehead by an ant, and at first it doesn't seem like anything, but then the bite gets worse and worse, so Blair takes him to a doctor, and the nurse tells them to wait, so they sit down and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and then finally Jim gets to see the doctor, and the doctor puts some salve on it? You call that dull?

One day, a member of a list I'm on asked me what I thought of the potential sociopolitical ramifications of real person slash. I had to laugh. Laugh and laugh. Because I didn't have a clue what she was talking about, and I thought that maybe if I laughed enough she would forget what she asked me.

If you write a story, and you have a character eating corn on the cob, I don't think it's going to affect the plot one way or the other. But here's the point I'm trying to make: Corn on the cob is good, isn't it.

Probably the most common mistake people make when writing Fraser is to have him wearing his Stetson too tight. You have to allow the head to breathe.

It's easy to sit and scoff at an untalented writer's work. But also, check out those awful-looking pants.

There are many stages in the life of a fic list. In the first stage, it's young and all the listmembers are eager, like beavers. In the second stage, the listmembers want to build things, like dams, and maybe chew down some trees. In the third stage, they feel trapped, and then "skinned." I'm not sure what the fourth stage is.

If I wrote an X-Files story, instead of having Scully carry a gun, I'd have her carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck like Krycek said something like, "Hey, look, she's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and then the whole Consortium started laughing, she could just say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get really quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and Scully could probably hit them up to get her eggs back.

I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Prospect-L.

When this woman I met at a slashcon asked whom I liked better, Vecchio or Kowalski, I said, "I like mayonnaise." She just stared at me, so I said it again, louder. Then she left. I guess she went to try and find some mayonnaise for me.

I don't think I've ever been as embarrassed as when my boss found out I write slash. He called me into his office and didn't say anything, he just looked at me. Then he pulled out a copy of one of my stories. "Is this yours?" he said. "No," I said, "is this yours?" And I pulled out my penis. I guess I wasn't as embarrassed as I thought.

I still remember the first fanfic I ever read, where Schillinger killed Beecher and nailed his skull to an old board. Then he spun it round and round, like a wheel of fortune, and no matter where it stopped he kept yelling, "Tadpoles! Tadpoles is a winner!" I thought it was an incredibly shitty story. But then, I had some growing up to do.

I think there should be something in fanfic called the "reindeer effect." I don't know what it would be, but when you give feedback on someone's story you could really impress everyone by saying, "You know, this fic could have been really great if it wasn't for the whole reindeer effect."

If you define trolling as signing onto a list under a false identity, flaming people at random for no good reason and then acting like you're the victim when people finally get fed up, then yes, Miss Goody Two-Shoes, I guess I am a troll.

One question that Minotaur's never answered to my satisfaction is, "What kind of stereo system works best in hell?"

There's nothing as wonderful as a really well-written fanfic. I remember one where these characters got into a car--I forget what fandom this was in--and drove somewhere. I'm not sure why they did that, but I think they were looking for something. There were these great descriptions of what everything looked like as the characters did whatever they did. I remember one of them said to the other, "How are you?" I think. Then they had sex, or not, and then I think they drove back. The thing about a good story is it just never leaves you.

Once my girlfriend and I read this Scully/Skinner story. My girlfriend said she'd like to see a Scully/Queequeg story. I told her she should write it herself, but she started saying it was a joke--just to get out of writing a damn story! And I thought I was lazy!

If you kill off a character, and then you kill off a character's best friend, and then you kill off a character's mom, I don't think it's a good idea to also kill off the character's dog, because readers see that and they think, "Forgive me, but that's just too much."

Fanfic is not something you can put chains on and throw into a lake. That's called Houdini.

I can picture in my mind a list where everyone engages in fascinating, incisive debates on important ideas, where creativity is nurtured and all opinions are equally respected. And I can picture trolling that list into oblivion, because they'd never see it coming.


(Written 2001)