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May 1st, 2013

Honesty

Posting early in the day, so I don't have to panic about it later when I'm inevitably cramming homework into the late hours. See? I can learn. Sometimes.

This week has been rough. We had a guest comic artist talk to us about Tumblr presence/usage (since my teacher is mostly Tumblr-illiterate and it's part of our class assignment) and it was helpful and informative. It also reminded me why I had essentially removed myself from fandom in general, and forced me to start making my way back to it. People will never care about you or your original work unless they are already familiar with you through other things they know - i.e. fanart. Fanart is a great way to build an audience who may then bridge into your original work. But the only thing I've been hugely fandom-level into was KOTOR, and (though I still get multiple favorites on my KOTOR stuff each week on DeviantArt) it's really not in fashion anymore.

What's my deal with fandom? I find it too difficult to keep my finger on the pulse of fandom, to start with. It moves too fast, and I can't keep up. Typically, I get into various properties late in the game anyway. Nowadays, I feel out of touch, both with fandom and with internet culture in general (I'm sensing a generation gap, and that scares me, too). I don't understand why certain things are popular, or even funny. Sometimes fandom takes things way too far. Or, often, I'm morally opposed to particular movements that are generally accepted. I feel overwhelmed. I feel confused. I feel defensive. My practice has been to just stay out of it; how am I to overcome all this, make friends, and jump back in?

Really, I don't know. Gradually, I suppose. I think I need to remember all the things I do love (though not necessarily at obsession-levels), and figure out how to represent those to the fan communities via fanworks and commentary that are honest instead of whatever I think the common perception is. Grimm, perhaps? Skyrim? Mass Effect is still pretty popular, and I loved those. I miss playing SWTOR, but the fact that there are 8 storylines makes it harder for other players to relate to one's own experience - still, worth a try, I guess. Eventually I'll get the hang of things and start building that audience again.

In the meantime, I read something today that really helped me get over my paralysis about some of the questions I'm still struggling with, about which stories to tell and which movements to champion. It's on my friend's blog, about Spheres of Influence and how we can make a difference around us when there's so much to do. I hope you'll take a look. My personal answer: stop trying to moralize and focus on just telling a fun story. Themes that manifest can be strengthened in the second draft, and they will feel more natural. Trying to anticipate what lessons the world needs comes off as not only arrogant and self-righteous, but just as impractical as trying to write what you think will be popular. But the first thing to do will be to just let go. I keep going back to my childhood mentality that nobody will like me if I tell them my real feelings. I'm still struggling with genuineness in my work, and revealing myself that honestly is scary.

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