nianeyna: Morgana from BBC's Merlin (Default)
Nia ([personal profile] nianeyna) wrote2012-11-19 07:29 pm

Fic: The Rarest Thing In The World - Extended Author's Notes

The Fic: [AO3 | Livejournal | Dreamwidth]



I wrote the first draft of this fic in three days.

That was five years ago.

I sent it off to my good friend [livejournal.com profile] miarr1 for a beta read, and got it back four days later with a healthy accompaniment of insightful comments that contained the perfect blend of encouragement and criticism.

And then... nothing.

Looking back, I can attribute my total inability to move forward to two main factors. One was that I'd reached the end of my fannish honeymoon with the books (you all know what I'm talking about, I'm sure), and the other was my perennial enemy, perfectionism. Every time I tried to make an edit I'd have a minor breakdown over the keyboard, convinced that any changes I made would somehow be wrong.

That wasn't the end of my troubles. Several months later, there was another flare-up of The Great Fanfic Debate.2 Some very hurtful things were said on both sides, and I'm afraid it soured my attitude towards both the fandom and the books in a rather permanent way. I was still just a baby fan at the time, and in the way of teenagers I was inclined to take things very much to heart - particularly things said by a person in a position of authority, and especially particularly things that spoke to that deep-seated fear that has haunted me all my life: the fear that I am doing something wrong. Being compared to a criminal by the author of a beloved book series was practically guaranteed to send me into a tailspin. After that just thinking about opening the document would sometimes trigger me to the point where I couldn't work on anything for the rest of the day.

I did keep working on the fic though, in bits and dribbles. Months might go by where I didn't even look at it, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to abandon it entirely. Somewhere along the line it had become more than the simple fix-it fic that it was originally meant to be. It had become a statement: to myself, to Robin Hobb, to the fandom at large. A statement that I would not be bullied; that what I could create, no matter how silly or small, was worthy of being seen, and not hidden away in a dusty notebook or behind a friends-lock like something shameful.3

This fic, much like FitzChivalry himself, is a tenacious beast. It has lived on no less than five separate computers. It has survived not only the Hard Drive Disaster of '11 and that time freshman year when I thought I'd lost my flash drive, but also my wildly vacillating feelings toward it. I'm honestly quite proud of it.

Thank you very much for reading.

1 [livejournal.com profile] miarr is a wonderful and talented person without whom this fic certainly wouldn't exist. I'd tell you all to go shower her with love, but unfortunately she's since faffed off to join the army and do Serious Adult Things. Can't say I understand it, but there you are.

2 Robin Hobb is famously against fanfiction, and once posted a quite blistering rant on the subject. This has caused a great deal of argument (understatement) within the fandom, the two main camps being, "you have no business writing fanfiction when she's told you not to" and "she has no business telling us what to write." I think it's obvious which camp I fall into.

3 This is not at all meant as a judgement on anyone who prefers to restrict access to their fic or to not post it at all. Quite the opposite: my whole point is that we should all be able to present our work how and to whom we want.



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