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  1. #1
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    Fan fiction and shipping

    Since I know that there are at least three regular posters here who write "Arrow" fan fiction, I thought this article might be of interest. It was written before season three, so the situation is probably quite different from how it is now. Anyway, it is interesting to read a short academic take on the "Arrow" fandom infighting and bickering!

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile...eb18092cf2.pdf

    Here is another article by the same researcher:

    http://www.fusion-journal.com/issue/...f-fan-fiction/

    Here's Emma Bothe's site:

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gemma_Bothe
    Last edited by evaba; 04-24-2017 at 08:59 AM.

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    Forum Whiz Amarice's Avatar
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    Thanks! Will read it for sure, but right now I'm busy wiritng a fic. (Carriver of course - but in fact it's a crack about Oliver using Carrie's feeling for him to convince her to make arrows for him - he had run out of them because he doesn't collect them for reuse). I'm going to a convention this weekend, so I would be offline during a couple of days, but surely read those articles after the return.

    The curious thing (for me) about the common perception of fan fiction is that fic almost for everyone = shipping. And sure, there is a lot of fics focused on romance/pairings only. But there is also a lot using other tropes. Fan-fixs, gap-fillers, stories exploring things/characters from the far background. AUs correcting what has failed in the original story. "Arrow's" world is really very rich, and has a lot of white spots on the map.

    I'm a female, I think that in my fandom life I've written ~100 fics - from short stories to almost 200k monster that it's not yet finished. I'm getting close to having 30 fic for "Arrow" written in last two years, as currently it's my favorite fandom to write for. And only a small fraction of my fics involve any romance.

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    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amarice View Post
    Thanks! Will read it for sure, but right now I'm busy wiritng a fic. (Carriver of course - but in fact it's a crack about Oliver using Carrie's feeling for him to convince her to make arrows for him - he had run out of them because he doesn't collect them for reuse). I'm going to a convention this weekend, so I would be offline during a couple of days, but surely read those articles after the return.

    The curious thing (for me) about the common perception of fan fiction is that fic almost for everyone = shipping. And sure, there is a lot of fics focused on romance/pairings only. But there is also a lot using other tropes. Fan-fixs, gap-fillers, stories exploring things/characters from the far background. AUs correcting what has failed in the original story. "Arrow's" world is really very rich, and has a lot of white spots on the map.

    I'm a female, I think that in my fandom life I've written ~100 fics - from short stories to almost 200k monster that it's not yet finished. I'm getting close to having 30 fic for "Arrow" written in last two years, as currently it's my favorite fandom to write for. And only a small fraction of my fics involve any romance.
    I don't really write for the Arrow fandom-- it's mostly Smallville, Clark and Lois: adventures of superman and or any other Superman-related media. Outside of that I write fanfic for animes like Sailor Moon. Yet nowadays I seem to be in the same boat as you are.

    When I was younger, I was into shipping big time. Clois, Clex, Superbat (Superman and batman), Superman/Wonder woman/Batman (all three together or wonder woman with one of them). Those were my biggest ships. But now I've lost my taste for it and now focus exclusively on friendships and other things like that.

    I can't help but wonder if one of the biggest reasons why online fanfic is known for shipping, is because the reader base are typically teenagers? Teenagers do to be more obsessed with relationships than adults are in a sense, generally speaking. And then they kind of grow out of it.

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    Chlark Addict BkWurm1's Avatar
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    I don't think only teens are reading fan fiction. Or even always the majority. Most of the writers for Arrow, certainly don't seem to BE teenagers. I think it really depends on the source material who the audience reading and writing the fan fic is.

    And just in looking at the book market, desire to read romance isn't something that fades when someone grows up. Romance/Erotica still is the best selling genre, doubling the next closest category (crime/mystery) in sales figures.

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    Forum Whiz Amarice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora Moon View Post
    I don't really write for the Arrow fandom-- it's mostly Smallville, Clark and Lois: adventures of superman and or any other Superman-related media. Outside of that I write fanfic for animes like Sailor Moon. Yet nowadays I seem to be in the same boat as you are.

    When I was younger, I was into shipping big time. Clois, Clex, Superbat (Superman and batman), Superman/Wonder woman/Batman (all three together or wonder woman with one of them). Those were my biggest ships. But now I've lost my taste for it and now focus exclusively on friendships and other things like that.

    I can't help but wonder if one of the biggest reasons why online fanfic is known for shipping, is because the reader base are typically teenagers? Teenagers do to be more obsessed with relationships than adults are in a sense, generally speaking. And then they kind of grow out of it.
    I've been writting for HP fandom for years, but I kinda lost the motivation to explore it some time ago. And "Arrow" became much more interesting for me when the canon started to disappoint me in late season 3. Right now I sometimes feel as if the canon started to reach again for the motives I wanted to see - my first "Arrow" fic was about the Arrow accidentally killing an innocent person - a young woman. My second longest fic (not finished yet) contains a plot with a serial killer killing innocent people to send the Arrow as messeage. Now tell me that fanfics are only copying the motives from the canon. Of course it's pure coincidence that some elements of plot appeared in my fics and in season 5 - I just reached a bit earlier for tropes I though would fit to the universe, and the "Arrow" writers sobered up enough to explore tropes more accuarte for a story about a vigilante than in the Season of Shame (fourth one in case anyone wondered). Actually "Arrow" tried even earlier to incorporate a story with guild over killing someone by accident - in early season 3 there was that Roy and a cop he killed when on Mirakuru drug.

    Agree with BkWurm1 that reader bases varies in different fandoms, as well as the overall quality of fics. "Robin of Sherwood" and classic "Sherlock Holmes" might not have thousands of fics, but the quality of them is very high. "Arrow" is a complicated case for me. I was able to find some fics with the tropes that interest me, but I had also to create a lot of content myself. (Maybe I shouldn't mention writing Carriver while having Carrie Cutter in the avatar, but whatever). There is dominance of Olicity, but there're also other types of stories that seem to be popular (character watching the show for example). Since I'm more into niche characters I think more or less I've read everything worth reading about Quentin for example. (I'm not interested in stories when he is used only to prop up a certain pairing, sorry not sorry - nothing against the fact that they exists but I just not my type of fic to read).

    Aurora - Batman/Wonder Woman was one of my favorite ships in JLU. But I remember I was also reading Catwoman/Batman fics. (at time I wrote crossovers with Batman and Iron Man working together, for example swaping the villains). I don't watch much anime, but one of my favorites show of all times is "Monster". Have you seen it?

    As for the common perception about fics - I think that actions like making "Sherlock's" actors reading in public slash fics does more harm than good. It's as if someone took book with heavy porn content and claimed that it represents what the literature is about.

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    Thanks for the interesting input on fan fiction! I don't read much fan fiction myself, so I'm not familiar with the genres and subgenres. As for literary romance fiction, I think it has an appeal for women (and maybe men) of all ages. After all, love affairs/relationships are an important ingredient in many literary classics, from Jane Austen to Jeffrey Eugenides' "Marriage Plot" (which I highly recommend, BTW!). What I think happens with "Arrow" and many other action-oriented shows is that fan fiction writers tend to focus very much on ONE aspect (e.g. the Oliver and Felicity relationship), which means that in their fictions they are turning an action-adventure story into a story that more or less solely focuses on romance (or where the other aspects become auxiliary elements in relation to the romance story).


    As for the common perception about fics - I think that actions like making "Sherlock's" actors reading in public slash fics does more harm than good. It's as if someone took book with heavy porn content and claimed that it represents what the literature is about.
    Do you mean at conventions or such? As for the gay subtext, there are quite a lot of in show jokes/references to Sherlock and John being regarded as a gay couple. However, my impression is that this is the writers poking fun at all the slash shippers in the fandom (or maybe queer-baiting, but the intent seems so parodic that I don't think it qualifies as queer-baiting). I also know that "Supernatural" had a scene where Sam and Dean discovered some fan fiction about themselves.

    In general I think the almost symbiotic (to quote Wendy Mericle!) relationship between writers/showrunners and fans that has evolved with the explosion of various social media encourages this kind of "breaking the fourth wall" moments.....in the earlier days of television showrunners and actors didn't know as much about audience reactions and fandom activities/lore as they do now. That is both good and bad, of course....I mean, when Guggenheim claims that he isn't influenced by fandom campaigning and input, I find it hard to take him seriously, seeing how many in show elements and developments seem to be a direct response to intense Internet campaigning from the most vocal and social media active fanbases. For example, I thought the references to "Olicity" in "Broken Hearts" was just as cheesy as the episode as whole, and that it didn't add anything to the plot. Of course, I have heard that this ep was written by interns, so maybe they went overboard with the fandom titillation.
    Last edited by evaba; 04-27-2017 at 05:07 AM.

  7. #7
    Forum Whiz Amarice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evaba View Post
    Thanks for the interesting input on fan fiction! I don't read much fan fiction myself, so I'm not familiar with the genres and subgenres. As for literary romance fiction, I think it has an appeal for women (and maybe men) of all ages. After all, love affairs/relationships are an important ingredient in many literary classics, from Jane Austen to Jeffrey Eugenides' "Marriage Plot" (which I highly recommend, BTW!). What I think happens with "Arrow" and many other action-oriented shows is that fan fiction writers tend to focus very much on ONE aspect (e.g. the Oliver and Felicity relationship), which means that in their fictions they are turning an action-adventure story into a story that more or less solely focuses on romance (or where the other aspects become auxiliary elements in relation to the romance story).
    Whenever you have some spare time at you hands and when you will be interested to read something just drop me a note and I can provide you The List of something more interesting than Epic Romance Only.

    And of course, well done romance/relationship can be a very interesting part of the story. But "Arrow" has a lot of problem with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by evaba View Post
    I think I have watched almost all the "Sherlock" episodes, but I don't remember any "breaking the fourth wall" moments with Sherlock and Watson reading "JohnLock" slash fan fiction. Do you know which episode this happened? There are quite a lot of in show jokes/references to Sherlock and John being regarded as a gay couple, but I thought this was the writers poking fun at all the slash shippers in the fandom (or maybe queer-baiting, but the intent seems so parodic that I don't think it qualifies as queer-baiting). I know that "Supernatural" had a scene where Sam and Dean discovered some fan fiction about themselves.
    The scene in "Supernatural" was excellent. Wincest is a creation I truly can't understand and I avoid to speak about this ship, because this one actually triggers me. I have a close bond with my older brother (there is 8 years of difference between use) and for that I particularly dislike this example of hijacking the motive. Is sibling love something less than gay/incest forbidden (and pathological) love?

    As for "Sherlock" - it was not in the show. It was at some meeting with fans. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman got an excerpt of slash fic to read it when they were on a stage or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by evaba View Post
    I'm personally not bothered by these moments, even if they misrepresent fan fiction/fandom activity. In general I think the almost symbiotic (to quote Wendy Mericle!) relationship between writers/showrunners and fans that has evolved with the explosion of various social media encourages this kind of "breaking the fourth wall" moments.....in the earlier days of television showrunners and actors didn't know as much about audience reactions and fandom activities/lore as they do now. That is both good and bad, of course....I mean, when Guggenheim claims that he isn't influenced by fandom campaigning and input, I find it hard to take him seriously, seeing how many in show elements and developments seem to be a direct response to intense Internet campaigning from the most vocal and social media active fanbases.
    You see... there is that curious thing about certain motives. I write different stories, AUs, and about various characters (Doctor Pressnall is basically a semi-OC - she doesn't exist in the canon save for one scene, so technically speaking she has no personality/history/background) - but I feel no need to push things like Carriver (that would be Carrie/Oliver - not healthy, definietely) into the show (I doubt they would do anything else than showing "a cute stalker"). I don't want to see Doctor Pressnall again if they have no use for her. That's why I don't understand the logic of some Olicity and Felicity's fans who want to push their desired tropes into the show at the cost of the story. Olicity is basically a fanservice incorporated into the show. It was never on the table in S1, despite the legends Olicity fans created to justyify the "amazing chemistry" they've seen. I don't discuss with the fact that they see it. But telling someone like me, who doesn't see that chemistry, that I MUST see it, because it's OBVIOUSLY there won't have any effect on me. At some point we just have to agree to disagree. But when hijacking the motives happens and someone tries to seize common ground - then there is the beggining of conflict and fuel to fandom wars.
    Last edited by Amarice; 04-27-2017 at 10:23 AM.

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    Thanks for the reply! As you see I changed some parts when I understood that you weren't referring to the actual series, but a convention appearance. I have mixed feelings about incorporating fanon notions into the actual writing. I'm not bothered by the gay references in "Sherlock", because it's done mostly as a joke/parody. Sherlock and John have a strong bond, but they are not represented as gay lovers within the fiction: John is devoted to his (now dead) wife and Sherlock is basically a-sexual but fascinated by the eccentric dominatrix Irene Adler. The point is: these gay teases are just teases....it's not like the writers are incorporating JohnLock fan fiction tropes into the script, or letting the JohnLock shippers derail the original narrative or the overall direction of the show.

    I agree with your assessment concerning Olicity...it is fanservice incorporated into the show, and when the show itself is acknowledging this by using a shipper mash up name, the fandom/writer relationship becomes a bit too symbiotic IMHO....especially since most of the fandom lore elements that the writers have incorporated stem from a fanbase that in no way represents the overall fandom or the general viewers (not more than any other fanbase, anyway). I honestly don't see why the "Arrow" writers/producers have to keep winking at/humoring the Olicity shippers, especially since (parts of) that fanbase is notorious for its exclusionary practices and excessive focus on a seconary/supporting character (because that is what Felicity is, just like any other character apart from Oliver) and a fictional romance.

    I know that there are plenty of people who disagree with us, and who feel like the writers did the right thing when they changed the course of the narrative and made Felicity the main love interest, based on the actors' chemistry. However, as I've said many times before, chemistry is subjective and besides, it is not enough for a romance/relationship to succeed on screen...you need good writing and acting as well. The fact that a large number of online fans believe a couple has amazing chemistry doesn't necessarily mean that this couple is well-written, or that their chemistry justifies their romance taking over the narrative, the way Olicity did in season four.
    Last edited by evaba; 04-27-2017 at 09:47 AM.

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    One thing I have personally found to be the case for a lot of fan fiction (not just Arrowverse fics) is that more often than not, it is centered around shipping itself. Now, on the one hand, this is understandable, because many fan fiction writers started out in their teens or early 20s, when relationships and the pursuit of a partner in life is a top priority for many people, be they heterosexual or LGBT. But as time goes on and the writers evolve, we begin to see that while some writers of fan fiction move beyond the focus on relationships and simply focus on allowing the characters to tell the story, others will remain fixated on the relationship angle, for one reason or another.

    I am self-aware enough that I recognize I'm somewhere in between. Why? Well, my story focus is more often than not on letting the characters tell the story, and exploring the dynamics of the character relationships outside of romantic entanglements. I ask myself questions like "What if Oliver, Tommy, and Laurel had maintained a dynamic of best friends only before the Gambit?" or "What if Oliver's actions prior to the Gambit were due to his desire to not become his father, perhaps because he knew what kind of man Robert was deep down, just like Tommy knew what kind of man Malcolm was?"

    However, I do delve into the relationship side of writing fan fiction not only out of necessity (because regardless, human relationships eventually evolve into that arena if one stays in close proximity to someone that is attractive to them) but also because I am, in some ways, still back in that mindset due to my disability. Asperger's Syndrome has been both a gift and a curse for me; a gift as it allows me to pull back and look at things from both sides (which is why I can see why MG made the choices he did, even if as a fan I disagree vehemently), but a curse because it is a pervasive developmental disorder. In this case, as I have never managed to have a successful relationship and have often sabotaged friendships without meaning to, I explore human relationships, platonic and romantic, through both reading fan fiction and writing my own.

    I am a 30 year old man who started writing fan fiction when he was 20. Of all my projects, I have rarely finished one, though that was due more to depression and (in the beginning) lack of a thick skin.

    I agree, though, that the article is correct that shipping can and will cause friction in a fandom. But I don't even need to look at fan fiction sites to understand that...

    I just have to look at Twitter.

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    I am a 30 year old man who started writing fan fiction when he was 20. Of all my projects, I have rarely finished one, though that was due more to depression and (in the beginning) lack of a thick skin.
    Knowing that you are an (aspiring) writer, I checked @amazon and found three novels from your pen. That is more than most of us have written! But maybe you were referring to your fan fiction projects?

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    Quote Originally Posted by evaba View Post
    Knowing that you are an (aspiring) writer, I checked @amazon and found three novels from your pen. That is more than most of us have written! But maybe you were referring to your fan fiction projects?
    Yes, I was referring to my fan fiction. As for those novels... they were more or less novelettes or short story collections. Though I wonder why anyone would want to offer the White Dragon one for 20 bucks... it is hardly my most stellar work and was written, for the most part, during my junior and senior years of high school.

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    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BkWurm1 View Post
    I don't think only teens are reading fan fiction. Or even always the majority. Most of the writers for Arrow, certainly don't seem to BE teenagers. I think it really depends on the source material who the audience reading and writing the fan fic is.

    And just in looking at the book market, desire to read romance isn't something that fades when someone grows up. Romance/Erotica still is the best selling genre, doubling the next closest category (crime/mystery) in sales figures.
    I never said that only teenagers were reading and writing fanfiction. However, it does seem to be a domain that's strongly ruled by them... considering that most fanfic writers and fanfic readers start out when they're teenagers or as young adults.

    It's just a fact of life that when people get older, have kids and have jobs... that writing fanfics becomes less of a priority. It's something they can still enjoy and do on their time off, but adults just don't do it often like teenagers do.

    I still can enjoy romance and erotica... but as an adult I tend to become more pickier about what I read than I was as an teenager. When I was younger, I was all too happy to put up with pointless drama and endless angst if it still meant that there was going to be a lot of sex at the end of it all.
    As an adult--Not so much anymore. As an adult I want everything to have a point to it all, otherwise I'm just not going to bother. As an older woman I get more out of the story if the couple were forming an actual relationship first before they started boning. which was the total opposite of when I was a teenager. Back then I wanted them to jump the gun and get straight down to boning.

    Face it-- you might not realize it but our ages does factor into how we see relationships, and what we want to see in fictional relationships.

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    Forum Whiz Amarice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDBentz View Post
    Yes, I was referring to my fan fiction. As for those novels... they were more or less novelettes or short story collections. Though I wonder why anyone would want to offer the White Dragon one for 20 bucks... it is hardly my most stellar work and was written, for the most part, during my junior and senior years of high school.
    Didn't know that you have your works on Amazon. It's very cool. I envy you a bit, all people who are English native speakers/writers - for I can try everything and still never reach the same flexibility I have in my native tongue and will never have a total control over what I'm writing. It might do for fics, but not for the original fiction. I like writing in Polish, but having actually published something in a book form on such a tiny market - it's really, really hard. But well, when I finally write some original fiction I will start to worry what to do with the story.

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    Chlark Addict BkWurm1's Avatar
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    Aurora Moon;8175809]I never said that only teenagers were reading and writing fanfiction. However, it does seem to be a domain that's strongly ruled by them... considering that most fanfic writers and fanfic readers start out when they're teenagers or as young adults.
    Unless kids's parents or siblings bring them to fan fic sites, it only makes sense that it's not until people are in their teens or are a young adults when they first start reading fan fic since that's the age when we start looking for extra content beyond just what's on TV. Where would they even have the knowledge to go looking until they get older??

    I don't think it's the age you first discover fan fic that makes the most difference, but if you keep coming back to it.
    I didn't discover it existed as a thing until my early twenties and I didn't writie anything until at least ten years later and I wrote something because I felt that I needed to address something missing from the show I was obsessing over.


    That's what I think Fan fic really is. People wanting something the show isn't currently giving. Or maybe will never give. It's filling a need or a desire. What that ends up being will vary from person to person.
    It's just a fact of life that when people get older, have kids and have jobs... that writing fanfics becomes less of a priority. It's something they can still enjoy and do on their time off, but adults just don't do it often like teenagers do.
    I just don't think who is writing is that cut and dry. People that write fan fiction are usually MAKING time. And the people writing it, sure, some will only do it for a short period in their life, but others are going probably going to be doing it all their lives (probably for different fandoms.) It's a hobby. And sometimes you have more time than other times in your life. I know writers at all stages in life.

    I really think age in the end has less to do with it than interest and gender. Stats are near impossible to come by since screen names don't give it all away, but of fan fic writers that have revealed their genders in Author notes or stuff like that, I've personally probably only ran into a handful that were men in the last twenty years. I'm sure they are more prevalent in other fandoms and it's also very possible I just don't like the stories a lot of guys like writing and thus never run into them but that still supports my belief, that age isn't the be all and end all to what determines who is involved with fan fiction.

    I still can enjoy romance and erotica... but as an adult I tend to become more pickier about what I read than I was as an teenager. When I was younger, I was all too happy to put up with pointless drama and endless angst if it still meant that there was going to be a lot of sex at the end of it all.

    As an adult--Not so much anymore. As an adult I want everything to have a point to it all, otherwise I'm just not going to bother. As an older woman I get more out of the story if the couple were forming an actual relationship first before they started boning. which was the total opposite of when I was a teenager. Back then I wanted them to jump the gun and get straight down to boning.

    Face it-- you might not realize it but our ages does factor into how we see relationships, and what we want to see in fictional relationships.
    Not sure why you think I wouldn't understand that age determines perceptions and desires but I was responding to the contention that the reason shipping so heavily is featured in fan fic is because of the notion it's mostly run by teenagers. I just disagree. I think the reason shipping is so heavily featured is because it's dominated frequently by women. And women traditionally are more interested in relationships. It's not all they are interested in but I found this quote I was looking for.

    This phenomenon [that is seems women write most of the fan fiction] has been subjected to academic analysis by ethnographer Camille Bacon-Smith and MIT's Henry Jenkins. Jenkins suggests in Textual Poachers that fanfiction is a reaction on the part of a female audience trying to find their own pleasures in media that caters mostly to males.
    I said above that fan fiction happens when a viewer wants something the show isn't giving them. Most shows are never going to reach the level of romance that some of us occasionally crave or spend time on just fluffy feel good stuff since they have to be a balancing act to pull in all sorts of demographics. Or maybe we just want to skip ahead and get past all the stalling. No one ever has to cross their fingers and hope in two years the action/drama show will get around to showing a stunt. No, they get it right away while even though romance is also built right into the drama genre, it might take years of teases before we get any real movement. I think that's the reason shipping is such a big deal in fan fic, not age.

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    There are several HP Fan Fic writers who have been writing continuously since I started reading, and I've found its the same w/Arrowverse fics. Some of them are like me, in their 30s-40s, and making time where they can.

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