Behind The Minds Of Fanfiction Writers: Interview With Rebelmeg

Credit: https://pepperonydaily.tumblr.com/page/5
Credit: https://pepperonydaily.tumblr.com/page/5
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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. That 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.

rebelmeg: The struggle of Fanfiction Writers.

In light of that, we are going to be interviewing a set of FF authors. They 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 fabulous rebelmeg.

The First Exposure To Fanfiction

The Daily Fandom: What made you start writing fanfics? 

rebelmeg: My first exposure to fanfic came at the hands of one of my best friends in Junior High.  She was deep into the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles fandom, to the point that my first experience with fanfic was as a character in my friend’s fanfic that featured Lestat, Louis, and other Vampire Chronicles characters, as well as Michael Jackson and Orlando Bloom. 

It was a wild time, to say the least!  I was already a writer then, dabbling in my own original fiction that was inspired by just about anything (and not a little by all the fantasy adventures that the Lord of the Rings movies and the Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks were giving me). 

After several years, and doing a few collaborations with that same friend (no vampires this time), I branched out myself into the MCU fandom. Then fanfics.  I remained drawn to the idea that I could take a closer look into aspects of canon that I enjoyed and admired, and delve deeper into the missing pieces that they didn’t show on screen.

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

rebelmeg: I was 25 when I made my first jump from original fiction (that I’d been writing since I was 9 or so) to fanfic. It was another 3 years until I posted anything online for others to read. But now I am very, very close to having 100 works posted on AO3.

Rebelmeg’s Favorite Fanfiction Story

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

rebelmeg: Okay, this is like choosing a favorite child and I can’t.  There are aspects to all of them that I love.  JARVIS, The Mouthpiece was my very first posted fic, and I am still very, very happy with it (it also had really good reader feedback, which is probably 75% of what kept me posting).  How It Should Have Been (And Maybe How It Was) was a Tony Stark (my favorite) and Aunt Peggy Carter fic, and one of the longest fics I had ever posted. 

It was all kinds “rip your heart out” angst, with a hopeful ending, and I don’t cry often, but that fic made me cry as I wrote it.  All the Dum-E fics I write make my heart happy, and most of the Bucky Barnes (my second favorite) fics I write make my heart ache.  I had some really fantastic inspiration for How To Save A Life (It Just Might Be Yours), in which the Winter Soldier ends up raising Tony Stark, another long one that was full of feels and angst and some really precious kid moments.

I also write cracky, funny stuff from time to time that always gives me a giggle, such as The Swear Jar, which totally celebrates/pokes fun at THAT LINE from Age of Ultron.  However, like I said, it is literally impossible for me to choose a favorite.  They’re all my babies.

What Is Great About Writing Fanfiction?

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

rebelmeg: The same thing that intrigued me from the get go: all the awesome opportunities to really explore and play with the characters and situations.  There’s just so much room there to really get to know the character, and simultaneously get to know yourself as a writer.

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

rebelmeg: I’m one of the few that hasn’t had any yet.

*Aggressively knocks on wood* 

And to be quite honest, I do believe that stems mostly from the fact that I don’t allow anon messages or comments, and I have all my comments moderated on AO3. 

I think that a great deal of negative, rude, or just plain mean comments come from a cowardly place that hides behind anonymity, and I’ve got exactly zero time for that. And I have had criticism that I’ve been hurt by. But I know it was not meant to hurt, and that it was criticism I opened myself up to. I moped for a bit, but it was alright. I know I need to get better at handling constructive criticism, especially when I ask for it. 

*Adds to list of things to do*

The Positive Aspects Of Fanfiction With Rebelmeg

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? 

rebelmeg: Hmm, yes and no.  A like or kudos always makes me smile, and I appreciate every single one, but a comment?  That will light up my entire day!  If I’m ever feeling awful, I will go back and read them, and it always helps.  Readers that leave comments are just… the very best thing ever, and I love them. I have a few that comment regularly and I wanna just reach through my screen and give them the biggest hug every time I see that I have a new comment from them. 

The “Negative Stigma” Of Fanfiction With Rebelmeg

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.) 

rebelmeg: I’ve been fortunate enough to dodge most of that stigma. Fanfic wasn’t my first foray into writing. I had the benefit of already loving writing before I let the world in on my own words. I wasn’t attacked by rude comments once I started posting, and I know that for sure made all the difference. However, I also grew up with a bunch of nerd friends who were just as enthusiastic about writing and fandoms as I was. I grew up in the era of Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lord of the Rings, which created a perfect environment for me to be able to express the passion I had without being “weird.” 

As I got older and turned to fanfic, I was more secure in letting myself love what I loved, and to not be ashamed of it. It takes work, sometimes I have to turn a blind eye if I know someone will hear the word “fanfic” and immediately think I’m some kind of basement-dwelling swamp creature (absolutely untrue, my bedroom is upstairs). But it’s worth it when I get those kudos and comments on my fic, it’s worth it when I wear a nerd shirt in public and a fellow fan spots me.  It’s worth it when I find a fellow weirdo, a complete stranger, and we can spend all the time in the world gushing about how much we love the fandom we share.

What Made You Choose Your Fandom?

The Daily Fandom: Why did you pick that fandom to write fanfics for? 

rebelmeg: I write almost exclusively for the MCU fandom. There was one single Harry Potter fic a few years ago because that’s the fandom that I happened to be falling hard in love with when I first crossed into writing fanfic.

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

rebelmeg: I have dabbled with a couple other fandoms. Though, I only posted the one Harry Potter fic that remained outside my usual MCU fics. Most of my internet friends also participate in the MCU fandom, which makes it easier and more rewarding to write for it.

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

rebelmeg: Hmm.  I could probably remix a few of them, that could be fun to explore. I typically have so many other WIPs and other ideas that going back isn’t at the top of my list. 

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

rebelmeg: EVERYWHERE, and I do mean that.  Movies, books, fic, art, watchin the canon movies over again, real life, music, people watching, literally everywhere.  I’ve got no control over it, but I have fun with it.  I constantly have notes on my phone, and I have two “bits and pieces” documents where I stash all my ideas and stuff that haven’t found a plot yet, one for original fiction, and one for fanfic.

“The Writing Process”

The Daily Fandom: What is your writing process? 

rebelmeg: You mean some people have a process?!  (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)  Well, it starts with an idea, which I’m sure comes as a huge shock.  I don’t write linearly or chronologically at all. (I did as a teen, when I was writing on actual paper with a legit pencil, but then computers, and the ability to EDIT EASILY changed me.) But I just write whatever I happen to be feeling at the moment.  Whenever the muse chooses to speak, I hop to it. 

Of course, this often leaves with something between 3-10 (or more) unconnected scenes from the same storyline that all need to be knitted together.  And you wanna know what I hate?  Knitting.  So once all the fun stuff is over, and the muse is done with me, the slog starts. I whine and complain and procrastinate until the knitting is done and I have a comprehensible story to work with.  I edit as I write. So if I call in a beta at the end, it’s usually to catch any typos I missed. 

If I call in a beta or cheerleader halfway through, it’s because I’m stuck, or wallowing in misery and lack of confidence.  Once it’s all polished up and pretty, I copy it all to AO3. (I write on my laptop in Microsoft Word.) I give it a final read-through (because typos are sneaky buggers), and once I’m happy with it, I post!

Advice For Up-And-Coming Fanfiction Writers From Rebelmeg

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? 

rebelmeg: This is haaaard… but I’d probably go with Tony Stark as a character, and Pepperony as a ship.  They’re my OTP flagship, those two, and Tony is my favorite character.  There’s incredible depth there, and whether I’m on the wading pool end or the deep sea diving end of that depth, I love it all.

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

rebelmeg: Go for it, babycakes. Just go for it. Write what you love. Write what makes you happy. The kind of thing that you can go back in a year or two and read and still enjoy.  I have a favorite quote that has served me well:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

Cyril Connolly 

And don’t ever be afraid to turn off anon or moderate comments.  Your fic, your rules, and if you don’t want to deal with anon hate?  You don’t have to.  Also, make friends in the fandom.  Comment on other people’s work, tell them if you love what they’re doing, because you know what?  Most of the time, they’ll answer you back, and sometimes you get a really great friend out of it.  And having fandom friends is kind of the best thing ever.

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