The Fanfic that Popped My Cherry
I’m gonna take it waaaaay back, now. To the fic that popped my cherry. My first fandom, in around 1997, was Dawson’s Creek and I STILL have no idea how in the world I even came across fanfic. None of my real life friends read it and search engines weren’t even that good yet, not that I was looking for, or expecting fanfiction. There was some repository of fic on a geocities web site, and as soon as I discovered it, I was completely hooked.
It was the early days of the Internet–I was in college and had my first (very heavy) laptop, a dial-up connection and Netscape Navigator. Back then, there were no DVRs so I used to record Dawson’s creek on VHS. I had already decided by then that Dawson was lame and that Joey and Pacey were the real couple in the show. And, one summer, a writer named Kate Andrews who wrote a fabulously smutty little fic called "Popcorn" that involved heavy petting on the beach--it owned me. I have since gone back to reread that fic to try to figure out whether it was even half as good as I remembered. And, let me just tell you–it was.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out what it was that I loved so much about fanfic. Whereas real show writers, and networks, have to pander to whatever will play the best in the ratings, fic lets you read, or write, the plot developments and the ending you crave. Characters are complex and viewers aren’t dumb–at least not all of them are. For me, fic has always been a way to let me fantasize about alternatives that are more fun to read, or that make more sense.
It’s no mistake that I gravitate toward the fic that mimics my own experience more closely. Of course I thought that Joey and Pacey belonged together–Dawson was a bit too strait-laced for me and Pacey was my favorite bad boy. In other fandoms I wrote in–like The West Wing and Twilight–I always liked Sam and Josh or Bella and Carlisle together. All other things considered, it just made sense.
Something I even did with a few of my early fic was add a Scooby Doo ending. Even I–the author–saw more possibilities than the confines of a traditional story would allow. And you wouldn’t believe how I flip-flopped over “Snapdragon”. There were endless possibilities for how to end the story. One of these days, when I have the time, I will write a Choose Your Own Adventure fic! In the meantime, I am still a kinda sorta fic reader in the Twilight fandom. If you have recommendations, send them!