Writing fanfiction is a job, it is a responsibility. It takes time, skill, and the ability to come up with plots for your ongoing series, one-shot, or chapter. In the realm of fanfiction, the authors can get a faulty rep. Some say that they aren’t real writers (whatever that means). Some say it is not actual writing they are doing, it is simply just “entertainment.” In any case, The Daily Fandom gives respect and pride to anyone who sits down and writes fanfiction. It is not an effortless task.

Eirlyssa: The struggle of Fanfiction Writers.

In light of that, we are going to be interviewing a set of FF authors who have taken the time (and still do) to write these incredible narratives we read. We are doing these interviews to showcase the minds behind the fanfiction you guys read. How they went through the process of writing; when they started writing FF; and how they dealt with the backlash of people not appreciating their art form. Today’s interview is with the incredible Eirlyssa.

How Fanfiction Started For Eirlyssa

The Daily Fandom: What made you start writing fanfics?

Eirlyssa: The same thing that still has me writing and reading fanfics — I saw a character that I really liked, and I started having ideas about things that could happen, ways that character could develop, ways in which events could have changed… I guess you could say I saw potential, and I decided I wanted to find it.

The Daily Fandom: How old were you when you started writing fanfics?

Eirlyssa: I started writing original stories earlier, but the earliest fanfic I’ve written that I could find, I was fourteen. Even before that, my brother and I would come up with stories together, though none of those were written down.

The Daily Fandom: What’s your favorite story that you have ever written?

Eirlyssa: Kind of a difficult question, since every story is a part of yourself and with every story, you’re writing another thing that you love, but they’re all very different. I can like one fic for the sweetness and another for its angst. That being said, I really enjoyed writing my Marvel WinterIron fic Hate Me (https://archiveofourown.org/works/17054348/chapters/40099106) and have actually reread it a few times as well.

The Unnecessary Criticisms Of Fanfiction

The Daily Fandom: What’s your favorite thing about writing fanfics?

Eirlyssa: The possibilities. It’s all about taking the core of a character, the things about them that call out to you, and changing however much you want. One moment of realization, or the entire universe they live in. The possibilities are infinite, and you’re free to explore all of them, by yourself or with others.

The Daily Fandom: How do you deal with negative comments or unwanted criticism of your fics?

Eirlyssa: I won’t lie, it’s not my strong point. I’m not great with criticism, and even people pointing out a mistake I’ve made can have me going ‘oh no, I’ve done it all wrong’. On the other hand, I have fortunately gotten better at shrugging off what I guess you could call aggressive criticism. I’m very fond of the ‘don’t like, don’t read’ saying and have mostly gotten to the point where I wonder why they read through a free story that they clearly didn’t like when they could’ve just closed the tab and moved on to something more their thing.

How Do You Share Fanfiction?

The Daily Fandom: We live in a time where fanfics tend to get more likes or kudos as opposed to people leaving a comment or reblogging fics. Have these types of ratios ever made you feel discouraged or made you want to quit posting or stop writing fanfics?

Eirlyssa: I’ve seen a lot of this going around, and I have to say in my case — no, not at all. I love the fact that Ao3 has the kudos-button and that Tumblr has the like-button because they’re low-effort ways of telling me that my work was appreciated.

Personally, leaving a comment or reblogging (despite how much I utterly love it when someone comments on a fic of mine or reblogs it) often feels like too much, and I really like the fact that I can still show my appreciation somehow, even if it’s not as much as I ideally would. Behind every kudo, behind every like, there is an actual person that liked what I made enough to let me know even in the smallest way, and it’s only encouraged me so far.

Dealing With The Negative Stigma Of Fanfiction

The Daily Fandom: How do you deal with the negative stigma that comes with fanfiction and writing fanfics? The word “fandom” in itself is sort of taboo; how do you keep the inspiration to stay writing and doing what you love? (Sometimes it can be hard to even say “I write fanfic” not knowing the response you’ll get.)

Eirlyssa: There are multiple possible responses to this, really. The short one is that I’m still sometimes hesitant to share that I write fanfics. Sometimes I tell people that I just write short stories for the practice that I share online. The longer one is a bit more complicated and has been a learning process. I’ve always been hesitant about sharing my writing, original or fanfic, and that’s not very likely to change. I have gotten to a point where I am able to claim that I write fanfic and that I am proud of doing so. Part of that is the fact that it’s writing.

It’s short or long, sweet or angsty, but it’s writing that I enjoy doing and that other people enjoy reading. And I can see myself getting better with every story I write. Part of it is the realization that some very well-known stories are actually fanfiction. Those include Virgil’s The Aeneid, some of Shakespeare’s stories (including Romeo and Juliet), Paradise Lost by John Milton and the self-insert that was Dante’s Divine Comedy. Even J.R.R. Tolkien is noted as having based part of his Lord of the Rings universe off the Poetic Edda.

People can scoff at fanfiction, but in a world saturated with stories, very few things can truly be considered original. Instead, I think it’s important to look at what we choose to forget, what we choose to change, and what we choose to keep. Every story is unique. The fact that it is based on something else does not make it any less worthy or inherently less.

The Daily Fandom: Which is your favorite fandom to write for and why?

Eirlyssa: I’m what one could call a serial monogamist when it comes to fandoms. I write for one at a time, but I have written for many. While each has had their advantages and disadvantages, the aspects I liked and disliked about the characters and the stories, I will say that the Avengers fandom has been my favorite by far. One thing that helps me write for things is being able to read stories in-between, which is why a popular fandom helps me write more.

I think the most important thing, though, is that I’ve engaged with his fandom more than any others — not only in writing, though that is certainly true, or even posting, which is even more true. But I joined events, joined Discord servers, and it has made such a difference. Before the Avengers fandom, my experience was a solitary one. I read stories and I wrote stories. And I have always enjoyed myself, but I never really interacted the way I do now.

I have met amazing people, especially on the WinterIron server I’m on, and I honestly feel so incredibly blessed by them and the connections I have made. It has changed both my fandom experience and my life itself for the better.

Eirlyssa: The Process Behind Fanfiction

The Daily Fandom: Is there a story you have that you would rewrite?

Eirlyssa: All or none of them, I suppose. There’s some I’m less happy about, especially the older ones. But I feel like they’ve been part of my development. Little by little I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t, and my writing has improved for it. They’re not perfect, none of them are. But once I start trying to improve them, there will be no stopping.

Which will also take all my joy out of the entire fandom experience. Letting go of perfectionism and letting my writing be good enough even though there are always improvements to be made has been one of the most important things I’ve learned and going back and rewriting them would take that lesson away again.

The Daily Fandom: Where do you find inspiration for new fic ideas?

Eirlyssa: Everywhere, honestly. Seeing something, hearing something, reading something, dreaming something… Not sure where I haven’t found inspiration yet.

The Daily Fandom: What is your writing process?

Eirlyssa: I’ve forced myself into linear writing because otherwise I’ll just write down the scenes that I’ve been thinking about and I never finish the actual story. That being said, a lot of my writing is telling myself to just get over it. That it doesn’t have to be perfect and to just go for it. Inspiration does show up randomly occasionally. I can work out entire scenes while walking the dog or in the shower. But they never quite come out the way I had them in mind anyway.

And in-between, I tend to note down ideas for other fics, whether they’re already in-progress or entirely new ideas. Despite loving the stories and despite loving writing, I do often have to make myself work on it because I get distracted with other things.

The Daily Fandom: If you could only write one ship or character for the rest of your life, which ship or character would you pick and why?

Eirlyssa: In every fandom that I’m in, I have a character I focus on. Any of those could be the ones. But I will confess that considering my experiences in the Avengers fandom, I’d pick Tony Stark as a character and/or WinterIron as a ship. Endless potential for writing and I could still be part of the most amazing community I’ve ever met.

The Daily Fandom: Do you have any advice for newbie fanfic writers?

Eirlyssa: Enjoy yourself. There’s a lot of possible advice to give on how to start and how to improve and how to write. But, in the end, I think the most important thing is to enjoy yourself. Write stories you’re enthusiastic about, use tropes that you adore reading, don’t worry too much about everything being perfect. Because if the writing itself makes you happy, if the story itself makes you happy, that’ll get you a long, long way. I’ve found happiness in fandom, and I hope you all will, too.