In Their Shoes: Fan Fiction Writers

 
 Photo by  Damian Zaleski  on  Unsplash

Fan content is more popular than ever as nerd culture has boomed. Fandom has only become a term in recent years, but fanfiction along with fanart has been around longer than you'd think. With fanfiction.net and the recent creation of Archive Of Our Own, people flock to find fiction of their favorite fandoms, created by fellow fans.

I don't read fanfiction for every single one of my fandoms, but I read a lot of One Piece fanfiction. I mainly read stories with my main ride or die ship Zoro and Sanji. Now, you don't need to know anything about that or One Piece, in particular or even enjoy the ship at all to read this interview with two of my favorite creators, Aevium and RiotOfTime.

When they announced and posted their collaborative fanfiction, HereAfter, I really wanted to interview them to find out more about them as writers and their processes. Luckily, when I brought up the idea to Sophie, she also loved the idea of interviewing two ladies who were collaborating on explicit fan content. I also thought it would be fun to get a general point of view from a fanfiction author.

PR: How did you come across fanfiction?

Riotoftime: I didn’t really know about the world of fanfic until later in my life.  I was around 22 years old when I stumbled upon fanfic by searching for a pairing in the Tumblr tags.  Mind blown.

Aevium: I came across fanfic at the tender age of eleven. Mind ruined. I was just a really passionate little nerd child and had too much access to internet.

 

PR: What was your first big series/pairing?

Riotoftime: Honestly, the first series I was really invested into ‘fandom’ for and actively shipped in was One Piece!  My first pairing was ZoLu (Zoro x Luffy).

Aevium: Fullmetal Alchemist was my first big series but I was more into gen fics for that one so my first big pairing was definitely Zoro/Sanji of One Piece and still is.

 

PR: Do you often practice writing? If yes, how often? If no, why not?

Riotoftime: I try to write at least a little bit every day.  I went to college for English Literature and spent years in writing/reading comprehension classes.  I’d like to stay at that level of discipline but have gone months at a time with writer’s block or being too busy with my day-to-day to be able to write.  However, I feel better when I write daily and have challenged myself to try to do so.

Aevium: No, I don’t practice nearly enough. Riotoftime drags my ass into Google Docs on the regular. I probably don’t practice because I require a lot of motivation and passion in what I’m envisioning to get the writing process going.

 

PR: Do you find constructive reviews helpful? Has anything ever stuck in your mind?

Riotoftime: I love constructive criticism.  Whether I agree with the criticism or not, it pushes me to think critically about my work and opens my eyes to the perception of others.  Nothing sticks out in particular but I like to read criticism specific to writing skills/use of language because that’s the area I feel I can most improve in.

Aevium: Yes, constructive criticism is helpful. I like getting feedback that helps me improve, it’s a very encouraging thing actually. If I had to pick something out, writing fanfic for many years, I remember getting several comments about how overly detailed my writing was. I definitely have improved after taking that advice and cutting down!

 

PR: Do you like reading reviews, good or bad?

Riotoftime:  Who doesn’t like reading reviews?  Good or bad, I think they’re very inspiring and it’s very relieving to know people are engaged in my work in some capacity.

Aevium: I love reading reviews either way. Good, bad, weird, funny. All of them have something to offer! They’re entertaining for sure and serve as a good motivator knowing that people take the time out of their day to write them!

 

PR: Is writing fanfics typically competitive? How do you deal with it if so?

Riotoftime:  I feel sometimes that other people have the perception that fanfic is competitive but I tend to stay away from comparing myself to others.  I really just write what I want and hope people enjoy it in the end.  8

Aevium: It can be. Same as Riotoftime, I try to stay away from that aspect of it. I just write what I like and focus on that. Fandom and fanfic is a place for self-expression beyond all else.

 

PR: What do you do for writer’s block?

Riotoftime: I listen to a lot of music and try to imagine characters from my fandom in the weirdest situations.  Or I think up crazy amounts of headcanons.  I currently don’t write any original content so usually working with characters from fandom or engaging in canon content really inspires me.  I also get motivated when talking to Aevium about our shipping pairings or our fics.

Aevium: I usually let it take its course and I try to have writing come back to me naturally. I run off of passion, so if that depletes, there’s not much I can do unfortunately. But if the passion’s still there and for some other reason I can’t write, I just take it one day at a time and try to write something every day, even if it’s just one sentence. As long as there’s progression, you know?

 

PR: How has it been collaborating on your recent fic, Hereafter?

Riotoftime: Collaborating has been great! This is really the first time either of us have collaborated on something of this caliber and I truly don’t feel like I could ever go back to writing on my own, haha!

Aevium: It’s been such an amazing emotional  experience. I never knew writing or plotting could be made so much easier with another person! The only reason it is that way is because the two of us are so similar with our headcanons, everything happens very naturally between us so it’s not a headache. I feel like collabing can either split the effort in half of double the difficulty of the process depending on the person. Luckily for us we blend very well.

 

PR: What are your favorite ways to communicate and work on your story as a team?

Riotoftime:  Well I personally spend a lot of time bugging Aevium on Skype during all hours of the day about random scenarios or ideas I’ve come up with for the fic.

Aevium: We use Google Docs and talk a lot in between paragraphs in our actual document. We outline our scenes at the beginning of the document and work on the fly from there. It’s really fun and interesting. I love some of the last minute changes we make, we really feel the characters out in the moment. That’s definitely my favourite way we communicate for this story. It’s cool.

 

PR: What is your best strength as a team? What's your biggest weakness??

Riotoftime: Our biggest strength I would say is that we agree so much with characterization and both have a good grasp on storytelling and achieving our vision.  We also have individual strengths that make up in places where the other may lack (for example, Aevium is way better at descriptive language than I am).  As for weaknesses, well, we sometimes can have a gap in communication that can disrupt our flow.

Aevium: I think our biggest strength is basically what Riotoftime said but I want to add that we are basically opposites in how we do our storytelling and it creates this really airtight narrative. She is a more pragmatic and logical storyteller, she keeps things solid and fills in the gaps. It’s something I suck at, but I am good at the emotional/creative side of things and going with the flow. So the end result is a story that feels very fleshed out while raw at the same time. Our major weakness is probably also our strength - sometimes these differences can create some tension!

 

PR: Is it difficult writing the more explicit stuff? Where do you find struggles of any?

Riotoftime: No.

Aevium: Not difficult at all. The explicit stuff is what we look forward to in this story because we write sex scenes that spotlight these characters in pivotal ways! I’m still shocked by how smooth these scenes go for us.

 

PR: How often do you get to a subject you have to research?

Riotoftime:  A vast majority of the time I like to write about what I know -- I feel that creates a more authentic fic and a more authentic writing experience.  However, we do stumble into areas that we need to research and have no hesitancy doing so.  Specifically, we’ve had to research legal systems and police force a lot for my fic ‘The Narrows’ and we had to research some medical-related topics for ‘Hereafter’ in order to treat the subjects with respect and legitimacy.

Aevium: Not too much, I’ve found. We are sticking to what we know in this fic, but of course there are moments  that require a bit of research. We are pressing into more research-heavy chapters soon, though.

 

PR: How does it change you or has it changed you as women writing explicit content??

Riotoftime:  I have always been a very sexually open individual so I don’t believe writing explicit content has necessarily changed me as a woman.

Aevium: Again I’m opposite from her, I’m sexually repressed, so I view writing scenes like this as an outlet for myself. So yes I feel changed from it with every scene we write.

 

PR: Do you see any feminism in it?

Riotoftime: I think fandom in general is very feminist.  Typically with fandom (and specific to the One Piece fandom) we find many women participating, consuming, and creating works based on a male-written/male-dominated work or series.  I think having a feminist perspective when consuming media is important, especially with shonen manga as it is known to be rendered for male viewing.

Aevium: Agreed on all of that, she said it for me. I don’t have anything else to add.

 

PR: Why do you think both of your fics always get such a huge backing from the fandom?

Riotoftime: I’m flattered that you even ask this!  I am very new to the fandom world so it’s very humbling that people ‘back’ my works.  We try to focus on the characters above all else and I feel that’s what gives our fanworks support.  We want to stay true to their complexities.

Aevium: Why did Riotoftime get to these questions first. She keeps stealing my answers. I too am super flattered you would ask this. Beyond attracting people with our strong effort in characterization, I also like to believe our writing styles are enticing in different ways, both separately and together. “Hereafter” is a unique blend of personality and writing style, and people have commented that it truly feels like narrative from two  separate minds/characters. I think that’s what intrigues fans the most about that fic in particular.

 

PR: I think I find a lot of strength in your writing comes from keeping your character's relations the same despite being in an alternate universe, do you ever find it hard or difficult to keep them the way they are?

Riotoftime: Oh, all the time.  I find myself constantly questioning the decisions I make.  I try to alleviate that by re-reading or re-watching certain parts of canon content that achieve something similar to what I’m writing.  I also stay in touch with the series and the characters.  I won’t call my characterization spot on - there is always room for improvement - but I want to do the best I can.

Aevium: To add to that, it seems to me that some series translate well to certain AUs while others don’t. Despite how wacky One Piece is, the characters have a remarkable amount of depth to them, so while sometimes we have to get creative to insert them accurately into our world, I have always found that One Piece characters translate quite well to a variety of AUs, even Modern AU which relies on realism. Yes, sometimes it can be a challenge to subdue these characters or mold quirky traits into something believably modern, but much of the time I’m floored by how easily it can be done with a little wit and creativity.

 

PR: Do you see writing FanFiction affecting your future careers.  If so, how?

Riotoftime: I see fanfic as more of a hobby.  I love writing it and I can see myself writing it for a long time but it has no impact on my current career path.

Aevium: I’ve been writing fanfic for a very long time. It has shaped me into a person who is driven by creativity. I too see it as just a hobby but it’s a hobby that I hope will sprout into a career in storytelling of some capacity. As for the how, I’m not sure, but at least I’m building the skills to get there!

 

PR: How big is it?

Riotoftime: Colossal.  It has it’s own zip code.

Aevium: Exactly the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the first Ghostbusters movie.


 

You can read HereAfter here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/9243059 (NSFW Warning: rape/non-consensual, also, explicit content.)

You can find RiotOfTime's work here:

Tumblr: http://mihawking.tumblr.com/

Ao3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/riotoftime/pseuds/riotoftime

 

You can find Aevium's work here:

Tumblr: http://aevvium.tumblr.com

Ao3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/aevium/pseuds/aevium