Confessions of a Former Fan-Fiction Writer
I can deny it no longer.
I used to write fan-fiction.
I’m not sure when I first started. I think it was around the “Scream Tour” era, when Bow Wow, B2K and Pretty Ricky had all our young asses acting grown, hollering and driving our collective mothers insane. B2K was my personal favorite, having dedicated more hours than I care to admit drawing pictures of them, listening to their music, watching their music videos every time they premiered on 106&Park and yes, writing fan-fiction.
I could also talk about how my cousins and I formed our own version of B2K called C2K (there may or may not be photographic evidence of this…), but one embarrassing revelation at a time.
I’m not sure how I even discovered the first fan-fiction forum I came across. Threads about numerous male celebrities, boy bands and musicians with titles like “Dangerous Love vol. IV: From the Hood to Hollywood” and “I Know You Gots To Be: An Omarion Love Story”. I was hooked. It took a while for me to work up the courage to even post a comment, let alone a whole story, but when I did, you can imagine it was just as cringey and incredibly dated as you’d expect.
I thought it was fire.
It was about one of the members of B2K re-imagined as the son of a drug dealer. Yes, this was my hood novella. Keep in mind, I was (and still am) a homebody who only grew up around the hood, but somehow, I convinced myself I knew the ins and outs of the criminal underworld. As the son of this big-time drug dealer, this boy-band member found himself in a world of chaos as he struggled to take over his father’s dynasty while also building an empire of his own.
Go ahead. Judge.
But it was my first time sharing my writing. Sure, I’d written short stories before. But I had never put anything out there for other people to read. To analyze. To judge. And so when I hit submit on that first post introducing my story, I wanted to chuck my computer across the room and hide forever. I saw the other stories with hundreds of comments, dozens of updates and were viewed literally thousands of times. Ravenous readers coming back daily to read more and more. I thought “I could never achieve that” and began to regret ever attempting.
Until I got a comment. A few thread bumps. Requests for more chapters. People, though just a few, cared about what my awkward, romantically inept teenaged self wrote. I rag on the need for outside validation and approval, but when you’re sharing something as intimate as something you’ve created yourself, even just one comment can encourage you to keep going. And I did. I’d find time after homework or on the weekends to update with new chapters. The numbers, however small, continued to follow as I told this story. I can’t remember ever finishing it – I think at that point B2K had disbanded and the forum was practically inactive. But it was my first real taste of dedicating myself to writing and sharing it with others, and it was powerful.
Recently, I’ve found myself picking up a pen, spending hours typing and… writing, diligently for the first time in years. The stories I’ve had locked away as ideas or fleeting thoughts are finding their way to pages, to posts and while not as interesting as a boy band member in a hood saga, I’m more comfortable sharing them.