Let’s talk for a minute about the contraband that lives in the head. Specifically, writing contraband. You know, the stuff that you think about while you’re writing for a project that has nothing to do with the stuff currently at the top of your to-write pile.

The majority of my contraband is fanfic. I just discovered this summer that fanfic exists, and I’m kind of enthralled.

No – I’m not joking! I spent the last 150 or so pages of finishing my novel while actively shoving down some cross-fandom mashup stuff that I will either get around to strong-arming into a non-fanfic thing, or will eventually just let go into the aether as a nice idea that I absolutely have no clue how to execute. And in the meanwhile I’ll amuse myself in between my own chapters by perusing the web for fanfic.

Fanfic I’d like to read:
– Supernatural-Hellblazer mashup sans porn.*
– Brakebills-Hogwarts, the post-graduate years mashup.**
– Something to do with Cylons and the clones of Orphan Black.***
– Orphan Black-Supernatural mashup – if only to ship Cosima and Charlie Bradbury, because besties, amirite?

And of course, you’re like, wtf fanfic? Why bother, sister?† I found myself in a discussion with the Secret Nerd Princess the other day about that, actually. Look – I’m a super binger on my fandoms. I like to reread a few series once a year, I like to rewatch a few others end to end, right? Sometimes it’s for the comfort of a familiar thing happening in the background while I stitch scarves or do page layout (or, more recently, rock the treadmill), but just as often, there’s an element of critique that emerges. And I come up with questions for the writers like: What if Charlie Bradbury had been written to survive the Steins instead? I mean, she learned to fight in Oz, couldn’t she have somehow escaped? Or what about this one: What if Iris had not been cast as the football-to-be-protected in The Flash? Dude – she could be SO much more interesting and not disrupt Barry’s superherodom. And then I want to write all the fanfics.

I would love to write hard sci-fi. I thought that if I could churn out a Battlestar Galactica fanfic, that I would learn the groove. And how taxing could it be? All the characters are premade and on rails; I’d just have to put together the scenario and the dialogue, right? Yeh, so turns out it’s taxing by a lot. I have neither written a BSG fic, nor any spaceship fiction at all. Instead I got hosed up in the research (What Would Ronald D Moore Do?) and wound up watching Blood and Chrome again. Oops. Good times.

You know who writes really good fanfic? Not me. Secret Nerd Princess is totally brilliant about this stuff, and even has an Arrow-Pride and Prejudice mashup that I love to read as soon as new chaps are posted. I would love to be able to get on that writerly train, but it just ain’t happening.

So instead I finished up my book. 220 pages of smartass dialogue and the destruction of one beautiful house and a secondhand coat, add some magical stuff, and boom, there it (finally) is. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have made it there without all the fanfic reads in between, tho’. It’s almost like the fic kept my ass on track and stapled to the chair. Write a chapter more and you can read some stories, right? I mean, it’s better than Clean the dishes and you can have a(nother) glass of wine, I suppose.††

So, um, cheers, and pass the fic, please.

***

*There is actually a small pocket of Supernatural-Hellblazer mashup fanfic on the internet already, but the majority of it is a gasping Dean Winchester and a randy John Constantine (go ahead & Google that. I dare you), as well as a bucketfulla daddy kink. I’d like, you know, a little more demony goodness please.
**Like, did the Hogwarts kids go on to magical college after they passed their finals, or did they obtain a Muggle BA in Library Science at Carnegie Mellon (which would be rather prestigious in any case, mind you)?
***All the genetic engineering things! So much ethical question! No, seriously, I’m convinced this could be a super cool read.
†I would file that under P for PWP (Point? What Point?), but now I understand the nuance behind the acronym and know into which dark and moist places it does lead us. Lolwhoops.
††Yes, I tried that once. It ended up with a spotless house and some embarrassingly sloppy crying on the kitchen floor. I never tried that again. Tho’ I do continue the tradition of raising a shot of top shelf whiskey after preparing the Thanksgiving meal. I think that’s going on five years now.

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