Hi all, I’m Matteo. I’m 19 and I’m a 1st Year Student in Professional Writing. I took that major because I want to be an Author and Literary Agent, so I actually really like editing things for people. I spend most of my time writing (I’ve been working on a sci-fi trilogy since I was 15 and it pretty much runs my life now) and if I’m not doing that then I’m probably drawing. It’s a goal of mine to someday write a graphic novel. I love Marvel movies, and Broadway, and bad 90s punk music. My friends keep telling me I should do podcasts (which is probably just a nice way of saying I talk to much), so I’m really excited to do this project!
As far as researching goes, I don’t consider myself an expert, but my one tip is Google Scholar: it filters out any ‘un-reputable’ sources and leaves you with academic links. In addition to this, I usually do the good old ‘Ctrl F’ when I get into the file, just to skip to things I’m looking for. The only downside is that it’s super streamlined, so you might miss something if you’re not looking for it. Make sure you do a quick skim of the article, even if ‘Ctrl F’ doesn’t bring up anything you’re looking for.
We’ve been creating ideas for centuries, and then fighting each other over which one’s correct, just, ‘valid’ and not ‘problematic’. At the end of the day, it really comes down to previous biases, or how you’re raised. I think of my father, because the two of us seem to differ on absolutely everything, and the phrase “well it’s my opinion that…” seems to float constantly around my house. When these issues come up, and I’m fuming because I can’t understand how he thinks like that, I have to sit down and see things through his eyes, and how he’s made that opinion. I have to think about his strict Italian upbringing, his low-middle class life, even that he was a youngest sibling (as a kid, that was perfect fodder: “well you don’t get what it’s like to be the oldest”). Maybe it doesn’t make either of us correct, but it gives new insight.
Our opinions are like a complex algorithm, nearly predictable. Everything we’ve seen, heard, felt, changes how we perceive things. A highly astute person could probably predict what I’ll say about the newest political event, based on how I felt about the last one. We really are creatures of habit, instinct. Our ‘opinions’ come down to who we are, and it’s not until we realize our biases and privileges that we can fully round out how we think of the world.
The opinion piece I’ve chosen is “Fanfiction and Alternative Worlds” by Kay Rivera. The piece argues that fanfiction is the ideal solution to flawed works that have been corrupted by problematic authors, and that fanfiction works shouldn’t be as taboo as they are perceived to be. While more vaguely opinionated than other articles, there is a clear argument as she consistently says that fanfiction is an ideal solution. She cites well-known ‘fandom discourse’, such as JK Rowling’s latest stunt with the “Fantastic Beasts” movies. Overall, the author lays the groundwork for why we need fanfiction in our modern world.
As for biases, the author has written fanfiction, and grew up alongside it to become an established journalist, proving that fanfiction writers can be successful and talented even if they haven’t written any original works. In this way, she will probably have a bias towards fanfiction being positive.
The taboo around fanfiction is largely rooted in heteronormativity, misogyny, and a devaluing of teen girls’ interests. It will be important to analyze the fanfiction that ends up published, as well as the censorship in publication houses, to see how and why there are such huge differences between fan-written pieces and things that are published. I’ll have to analyze ‘fandom’ culture, as well as the divide between fan requests and things that make it through the publishing process.
I think this will make an interesting podcast because fanfiction is starting to become more well known, but not always for the best reasons. It’s still considered childish or ‘cringy’ even though some works are not only longer than published works, but generally better received. I want to get into why fanfiction is created, and that it’s an outcry for diversity and better writing.