I am a Nerd, a Geek, a Trekkie, a Whovian, a Potterhead, a Browncoat, a Tolkien fan, and a Star Wars fan. I am sure there are a few more fandoms I fall into as well. I love all things fantastical, science fiction, and fantasy. I have never understood enmity between fandoms, perhaps someone can explain it to me? I suppose when I think of the fandoms I follow and the general nerdy/geeky -ness that pervades my being, I cannot fathom putting someone in the unworthy category because they like something different.
Honestly? How different are these fandoms really? I mean I can understand the dislike of all things Twilight as I am no Twihard myself, but I enjoyed Stephanie Myers’ books – Twilight and the rest. I still don’t think vampires should sparkle, but I am not going to hate on the fandom for their love of the stories. To segue, look at JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Many fans hated the movies and others loved them. Speaking as a kid who grew up in the 80’s with Captain Picard and later Janeway I absolutely loved Abrams’ take on Star Trek. I loved that he used Time Travel to give himself a means to write a different story.
On the other hand, many hardcore Trekkies were appalled by the stories. This is something that makes me wonder as an author. What kind of stories are people looking for? There was a post on reddit regarding the Star Trek movies by Abrams, I think the person summed it up well:
The original was about competent, intelligent people who worked hard to attain their positions, acted in ways that were consistent with their characters and the Abrams ones are about people who got their jobs just “because” and act in ways that are inconsistent with their characters and situations they experience. A good example of this is Spock (who shows more emotion than pretty much anyone) who is in the volcano in Into Darkness for some reason and as he is about to (he believes) die he closes his eyes and spreads his arms in a super cinematic pose of supplication or jeebusness when the character of Spock would remain calm and keep his eyes open the entire time because he would find the situation and the approaching unique experience of death in this manner ‘fascinating’.
You can see the full post here.
I can understand this point of view. It basically says it is not how the originals were, it is not the stories I grew to love. It is new and different. I ask though is that so bad? Star Trek fell off the radar and off of television because it was not fresh. So where is the blend of new and different and nostalgia? As an author, I cannot steep myself into nostalgia so hard that I forget to look forward, but on the other hand, I cannot peer so far forward that I forget what was great about the past.
I think enjoying fandoms for what they are is good and well as a consumer. However, to be an author, to be someone who brings something fresh and new, I need not only to enjoy the fandoms but understand why they’re enjoyable. Contrary to popular belief I do not think there is a grand plot plan that wins all. I think there are components needed to make a great story, but they are not the end all be all components. There are two things that are needed above all else, A well thought out and well-organized world (or universe) and well thought out and compelling characters.
I will spend months researching and taking notes, digging into scientific theories, and plotting the course of history for my settings so that when I begin to write characters they can interact with a real environment. All of the above fandoms I mentioned, every one of them had a completely fleshed out world or universe, whether that was on the scale of a school, a starship, or the stars. So perhaps JJ Abrams turned too far from the established world, or Stephanie Meyers turned too far from established Vampire lore, or maybe they both wanted to bring something newer and fresher that some were not prepared for. Food for thought. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,