So I read this lovely, lovely article!
I agree with everything the essayist has written, except…
Myth: It’s written as “fan fiction.”
No, it’s not. The word is “fanfiction.”
When you write fanfic as “fan fiction” you’re implying that a) you’re not one of us, because if you were, you’d call it fic like normal people, and b) you’re thinking that “fan” is an adjective that somehow separates our fiction from normal-people fiction.
As someone who has written and published fic online ever since I got my first computer in seventh grade, I do in fact feel like “one of us,” and I usually refer to that stuff I do so enjoy writing as “fic,” as in “click for fic.”
However, when I discuss fic in a less informal setting - ie, when I write or talk about fic for a broader audience (not everyone reads fic, true story) - I do generally refer to it as “fan fiction,” with the word “fan” being an adjective describing the nature of the fiction, as in “science fiction” or “historical fiction” or “dystopian fiction.”
Although I resent being misunderstood and ridiculed and put under a microscope as someone’s Anthropology 101 project, and although I understand where the essayist is coming from, I think this sort of squabble over terminology represents the very worst of geek elitism.
As much as the larger culture of fic has incredible literary and social transformative potential, there are still barriers to full participation. Remember when you used to need a referral to sign up for Dreamwidth? Remember how you *still* need a referral to set up an account on Archive of Our Own? It frustrates me to see older generations of fans do things like complain about fandom having migrated to Twitter and Tumblr when these older fans won’t even give younger fans a seat at the table.
How about, instead mocking and shunning newcomers (or old hands) who favor a different set of terms, we keep the door open for anyone who wants in?
How about, instead of telling people interested in what we do that they’re “not one of us,” we recognize that there are different levels and methods of involvement with fandom cultures?
How about, instead of scorning those who don’t conform to our preconceptions of what “a real fan” is, we embrace and celebrate change and diversity?
After all, more fans means more fic, and more fic is always good.