I wrote fanfiction for nine years

Kaoru-and-Tsukasa-WTF-facesHO-LY CRAP.

Yes, it has been nine years to this day since I made an account on FanFiction.net. My account is now as old as the average fanfiction writer. Clearly, I must have been feeling patriotic if I chose to make my fanfiction account on the fourth of July. (Yes, yes, the post says it’s the 5th of July, but I’m writing this from the future or at least GMT+10.) Let’s also momentarily disregard the fact that I am an Australian and that my country voted against becoming a republic.

All jokes aside, I feel a weird sort of nostalgia for my fanfiction gig. For me, it’s basically the same thing as writing blog posts or translations. It’s a form of creative fan writing, that’s it. Fanfiction might have a worse reputation, but it’s an art form like any other. If my writing sucks, it has nothing to do with the medium and everything to do with my skill.

Technically, I retired from fanfiction in 2013. I left because fanfic culture is insular as hell and I wanted to try new things. But occasionally, I still get that itch to write fanfiction, because there are some ideas and emotions that are best expressed through fiction.

Here are my user stats for anyone who cares:

You are on the favorites list of 302 members.
You are on the author alert list of 272 members.
You have submitted a total of 2094 signed reviews.
Total words archived : 700,741 words.
Average number of words per story : 10,949
Total views to Profile Page : 25,910

Bear in mind that over the years I deleted some stories because they were so abominable. Who knows how high the real word count is?

Also, here is the full list of fandoms I have written for: Chrono Trigger, Inuyasha, Bible, Ranma, Naruto, Prince of Tennis, Evangelion, Professor Layton, Code Geass, Golden Sun, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, World Ends With You, Hunter X Hunter, Tales of Symphonia, Tsubasa Chronicle, Hikaru no Go, Gundam Seed, Eureka Seven, Kuroshitsuji, Card Captor Sakura, Tales of Graces, Legend of Zelda, Chihayafuru, Kimi to Boku, Kuroko no Basuke, Kimi ni Todoke, Haruhi Suzumiya series, Hyouka, Sket Dance, Sword Art Online, AnoHana, My Little Monster, Special A, Fullmetal Alchemist, Pet Girl of Sakurasou, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, Barakamon, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Aldnoah Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Durarara!!

…Yeah, I was pretty busy there for those last nine years.

A Short List of Noteworthy Fanfiction

For reasons I still can’t entirely fathom, my stories were most popular with the SAO fandom. My most popular story overall was Double-Edged Sword, a “what if” story where Kirito is the damsel in distress. You can tell it was a NaNoWriMo novel because two of the battles last for three entire chapters each.

My two Suguha-centric oneshots, Game Over and Reset, were also popular. Reset was about Suguha pining for her oniichan’s dick, while Game Over dealt with the heavier theme of euthanasia. Neither makes for feel-good reading, I must admit.

The other fandom I found mild success in was Kurobasu. The Legend of Kuroman was a series of humorous sketches, featuring a running gag about Kuroko being a superhero who saves the world from the shadows. My personal favourite was Equilibrium in Vertigo, which serves as a (non-canon) prequel to the anime series proper. The story was about Aomine and Momoi’s strained friendship and was as accurate a depiction of the confusions of adolescence as I could muster.

My most “literary” fanfiction is The End of the Affair, which I have mentioned a couple of times already on this blog. It was also my most polarising work of fiction to date, in that it made people on Anime Suki mad. One reviewer described it as “if Urobuchi wrote a rom-com”, which never fails to make me laugh. I also thought it was amusing when someone on Reddit called it “a fanfic for yukino shippers“.

Looking back, the foundations of The End of the Affair lie in an earlier fic: Tatsuta River (Chihayafuru). The story is bleaker and the prose is less refined, but it deals with similar themes. There’s also The Colorless Green (Sakurasou), which is an adult future fic as well, but miraculously doesn’t end with suffering.

Finally, there’s my most recent story Knight and Princess (Aldnoah Zero), which is still an ongoing work of feminist propaganda.

My advice to aspiring fanfiction writers? Read widely and try to write outside your comfort zone. Also, read reviews and criticism, not just about fanfiction but about the series that you are writing about. Bonus points if you write your own criticism as well.

Shipping is not everything. If you like romance, go ahead and write it, but don’t feel the need to base your story around pairings simply because everyone else is doing it.

Being “in-character” is not everything. A strong author’s voice is far more important. If you want to find out if your characterisation is consistent, you should show your story to someone who is unfamiliar with the fandom you are writing about. If they can grasp the overall tone of your story and the personalities of the characters, then you’ve succeeded in writing “in-character” in the way that matters.

Plan your shit. You don’t have to write a step-by-step outline or multiple appendices, but at least have an idea of what you’re doing and how you’re going to get there.

Mary Sue litmus tests are full of crap. Badly written original characters usually piss readers off because everyone else in the story acts inconsistently. Focus on internal consistency and believable relationships between the characters and I guarantee that none (or barely any) of your original character’s surface traits will make them seem “Mary Sue-ish”.

And finally, remember that your OTP is shit. I mean it. If you can’t imagine your OTP not being together, it’s a shit OTP. People are individuals with complex desires before they are one half of a couple. Try to understand the people you write about. Try to empathise.



    On other notes, I have been one of those lurkers. Ty for the reads (was depressed for a week or two for some, but worth reading…). Hope you still write despite saying you won’t :P.

  2. What if I can’t imagine my OTP not being together because I’ve damaged my hippocampus and lack the ability to create new memories and thus forget anything new I think of? (anterograde amnesia)
    Therefore, if I hadn’t imagined them apart in the past, then I literally would not be able to imagine them together when the time came to write.
    Time to jump off a bridge, can’t write without that OTP!

    On another note, congratulations on your nine years of fanfiction though. I wonder what it’d feel like to compare one’s current level of writing to that of their writing nine years prior. I’m sure it’d be an amusing experience.

    • What if I can’t imagine my OTP not being together because I’ve damaged my hippocampus and lack the ability to create new memories and thus forget anything new I think of? (anterograde amnesia)

      Not gonna lie, I would read a fanfiction about this

      Also, thanks! My reactions to my earlier writings range from “hahaha oh me” to “christ what is this shit”. Most of it I can live with but I do get disappointed at my past self’s casual homophobia and sexism.

  3. Hey Froggy I have a thought but it doesn’t really have to do with fanfiction. Although on second thought it could be but it’s mostly unrelated. I know you are a fan of both Oregairu and Hyoka, so have you ever thought of what would happen if Hachiman met Oreki. I think it would be interesting if they interacted (if they bother to interact with one another). If this comes off as interesting, what are your thoughts?

    • To be honest… not much would probably happen! I mean, the two of them are low-energy people who very much keep to themselves, so they probably wouldn’t get into a conversation about anything. I dunno, what do you think?

  4. >>Plan your shit. You don’t have to write a step-by-step outline or multiple appendices, but at least have an idea of what you’re doing and how you’re going to get there.

    Yes you do if you write something that’s longer than 5k words. And I’m serious here.

    • Well. Writing a physical outline does help, but it’s still not strictly necessary. At least, that’s how it’s been from my own experience. Of course, on some level you do need a detailed plan, even if it remains inside your head.

  5. It’s a sad story, really, about a writer who did not meet his ‘right’ audiences. Blame the mindset – a lot of fanfiction writers find themselves with double standard: one for writing, and one for reading.

    But that is just the responsible ones to their works.

    Anyway, a shame that you couldn’t write anymore. That Aldnoah.Zero stuffs still amuse me.

    But I’ve got to admit, fanfiction did has a good effect one me. For example, I realized how disastrous is Harem to you work.

      • In a sense that keeping all the character development at a ‘plausible’ level. Let’s just say that a love quadrilateral requires 6×3=18 flag (And 6 flags per girl isn’t that enough.)

        Anyway, on the topic of author and community, how good is the relationship between Japanese directors and their foreign fans?

  6. Reading this article reminded me that I had an old FF.net account. It was so old that I hadn’t even used the e-mail it was associated with in years. Even more horrifying, I opened it in 1998…. Yikes, feeling old now.

    My writing has definitely improved over what was there, but I still liked the stories I had completed. It was especially fun writing the Einhander fanfiction. But man, some of the writing in them make me cringe. Ah well.

    Good advice, btw. Will need to take a look at your fics when I get the chance.

  7. Hi frog-kun,

    When I first read The End of The Affair (the fic), I was kind of turned off by it because it seemed to pervert the characters that I had come to know and love in Oregairu. Usually I’m a person that enjoys melancholy literature that deals with tone and mood, but I guess I just wasn’t ready to see my characters deal with such adult themes yet, so after finishing it, I felt incredibly ambivalent about it. But that being said… I revisited the story recently and gave it a complete re-read and I have to say, it really is brilliant. I’m really impressed by your ability to fit such an engaging and complete work into such a tight narrative. Also, I really liked what you said about the whole “in-character” aspect that you mentioned in your post as well. I feel like you captured the characters well despite the shift in story and mood, and all in all the motivations and characterization seemed consistent.

    I actually liked your story so much that I picked up a copy of The End of the Affair (novel) and it’s now one of my favorites. Graham Greene’s writing is my ideal style in terms of what I like to read, and the story is right up my alley.

    All in all, thanks for your service in churning out such great fiction. I’m not a huge SAO fan, but I took a look at the beginning of your SAO fic and just the writing style alone is compelling me to give it a closer look.

    • Wow, I’m really flattered that you liked my story so much! About your initial ambivalence, I can totally understand. I felt incredibly ambivalent as I wrote the thing. Just between you and me, ever since completing the story, I still haven’t read my own fic from start to finish.

      I’m also really happy you like Graham Greene’s writing as well. (It’s so cool that you discovered The End of the Affair through my fic!) You should read The Quiet American – that’s my favourite novel of his. Also, The Power and the Glory is his most well-regarded work and it totally deserves the reputation. It even made me cry.

  8. “Shipping is not everything. If you like romance, go ahead and write it, but don’t feel the need to base your story around pairings simply because everyone else is doing it.”

    But froggy… these are the only things I read!

  9. Ahh, I remember being very into good and bad fanfiction alike. It wasn’t as long ago as I like to pretend.

    I actually found your blog from reading your The End of the Affair and then proceeding to internet stalk it back to Fantastic Memes — not that it required much effort on my part (thank you for that!)

    Reading The End of the Affair was kinda like eating my last meal before my execution, but in a good way. I just wanted to tell you that I loved it, your writing is amazing, and the characters were exactly right for their bleak adult selves. I have no idea what made it so fantastic, but it was. I don’t care whether it’s fanfiction or normal fiction, please keep doing creative writing. Please?

    On that semi-obsessive note, I’m also putting it on my list to read the books that you’ve recommended. Muchos gracias.

    • Oh, thank you! I’m very flattered you liked my story so much. Creative writing is something I enjoy very much so I don’t think I’ll ever give it up entirely. I’ll keep writing as long as I feel that there’s something I want to say.

      And yesssss, glad I could introduce you to some cool books!

    • Augh. I wrote a super long comment and when I clicked post comment and refreshed to see, there’s only “hbn”. Why? And I can’t even delete it. Double why…?

      In summary, I talked about how my favorite fic of yours was a Tales of Graces one called A Matter of Education because it was on point and free of pretensions. Then I rambled on and on about how I really liked The End of the Affair despite only having watched 5 episodes of the anime and as a result not being very invested with any of the characters beforehand. The fic really has fantastic prose (very Murakami-ish), even if the plot got a bit ridiculous and over the top in the later chapters.

      Now excuse me while I go to sulk in a corner. This will teach me to write all my comments in a word document before trying to post them. ;_;

      • hbn = Herbalife Broadcast Network…? lolol

        Anyway, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, especially since WordPress ate your first iteration. It’s really annoying when something like that happens.

        I have to say it’s interesting that you’d like A Matter of Education and The End of the Affair since they’re about as alike as chalk and cheese. Also, you’re not the first person to describe my writing as Murakami-ish, which is actually kind of fascinating since I’ve never been able to finish any of his novels from cover to cover. I do adore his short stories, though.

        • Just because I like chalk doesn’t mean I can’t like cheese, right? ;)

          If I had to make a comparison, I’d say I like A Matter of Education in the same way I like Hidamari Sketch (it’s cute and charming and funny), whereas I like The End of the Affair in the same way I like Welcome to the NHK (an exploration of the main character’s isolation). I’m also prone to be less critical of a work that was written purely for the sake of comedy as opposed to a more literary-focused work, if that makes any sense. Or maybe I just like the Tales of Graces cast better, lol.

          Though I do think I would have liked The End of the Affair more if I had the background knowledge of the main series. I really want to finish the anime just so I can re-read your fic and see how that added knowledge changes my perspective of the characters and their actions in the fic.

          And I also think Murakami’s writing shines the most when he writes short stories! I have a copy of his Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman short story collection at my bedside, which I keep re-reading over and over and over, lol.

  10. You could say I’m also one of the sheep that flocked to your SAO fic because it is actually my most favorite piece of fiction that I’ve read from you. Then again, I’ve recently been riding on a sort of SAO high and it has yet to subside. Even still I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading it the most.

    And as you recall, I was one of the reviewers who pointed out a different direction The End of the Affair could have gone after chapter 6. I’ll admit that my mind thinks up pretty morbid stuff but you can’t really blame me in that regard – your fic was really depressing.

    I have yet to read most of your other works. I’m currently reading The Knight and The Princess and have plans to read Intellectual Cruelty Is The Worst Kind of Cruelty. Not sure about the rest though. I might need to resort to the old dart board to see what to read next.

    Either way, I’m happy that with your contribution to fanfiction and equally as happy to know that you’ll keep writing – though not necessarily fanfic

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed my fanfics. I did really enjoy writing that SAO fic because it reminded me what I love about gaming. I actually quit gaming around that time so the story has some extra significance to me.

      Most of my other works are pretty short and experimental. That definitely applies to Intellectual Cruelty Is The Worst Kind of Cruelty, which I never finished. Oh well. Knight and Princess might shape up to be my longest and most ambitious fanfiction, so I hope you enjoy it!

      Anyway, thanks again for the encouragement. I’ll probably always keep writing in some shape or form.

  11. Thanks for your motivations, Frog-kun. I’m apparently writing a fanfic, not so crossover actually, but i didn’t have guts to uploading…. Now with the newfound vigor, maybe i’ll uploading soon to Fanfiction.net.

    • Oh yeah, about my username, i’m apparently like writing Nisekoi Tsukkomis in Mangahere.com.

      Go and watch it, if you like Modern Warfare Series deeply you’ll laugh and know the similarities between the two series.

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