On fan-fiction and fill-ins

I am a fanfiction author. I dabble in fandoms. I do fanfic. 

My fanfiction is mainly Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To be more precise, I write stories about Faith and Xander. I’ve done a few Doctor Who things but nothing too exciting. My big thing is Faith and Xander. I write them because I get their voices and because I love the characters. I write Faith and Xander like a musician tunes up their instrument. It’s practice for when I kick into *my* writing. It’s the stretch-out before the race.

The appeal of fanfic for me is twofold. I get more about a world I am invested in. I fell into writing Buffy stories just because the series cancelled. Same reason I fell into graphic novels. I wanted more of the Buffiverse, more of the world that had come to mean so much to me.

And it is, with that knowledge, with that history behind me, that I am surprised that I don’t really care about the Chalet School fill-in novels. I broached the topic of this earlier this week on Twitter and was reminded me (thanks to the fabulous @actuallyaisha who blogs here  – check out the Marlow readthrough she’s been doing recently) of this monstrosity.

I’m sure it’s perfectly lovely but there’s something so madly Stepfordian about it, it just makes me want to run away screaming. And possibly gouge out my eyes more than a little whilst doing said screaming. This cover, dear reader, was partially where my problems began. I think I can cope with fanfiction and fill-ins when I’m in control. All I could think of when looking at this was how much I wanted to redesign it and COULD THEY BE PUSHING LEN MORE TOWARDS REG WHEN ALL I WANT TO DO IS SCREAM RUN SISTER RUN SAVE YOURSELF FROM A LIFETIME OF DRUDGERY!!!

I am a selfish reader and I’m a pernickety reader. I make no bones about it. I’m so connected to the Chalet School world it seems slightly sacrilegious that somebody else dare write about it.  I think this is why I really don’t click with much in the world of CS fanfic and fill-ins. There are the odd moments of genuine brilliance (somebody on Twitter referred me to the most amazing diary thing set on Facebook during Kathie’s first term with the staff bitching ten to the dozen). And it was after reading this one that I thought I have to bite the bullet. I have to get over this. Not every CS fill-in can be as bonkers as Chalet Girls Grow Up.

I’ve downloaded a sample chapter of Two Chalet Girls In India. Wish me luck.

PS – I’m still not going anywhere near the Chalet School Librarian.

PPS – I read Chalet Girls grow up when I was sixteen. Nearly thirteen years later I’m still spectacularly scarred. “Bonkers” really does not even begin to describe it.

6 thoughts on “On fan-fiction and fill-ins

  1. Chalet school librarian is actually quite a nice read. With you on the chalet girls grown up – eeugh – took a while to get the taste away

  2. Blaargh. Stupid internet ate my comment. Anyway, I loved CCGU – unpopular opinion, I know, but I loved Margot the angry nun, Con the historical novelist, and Len’s kids, and I thought Miss Annersley was handled very well (I can totally imagine her being one of those people who remains active well into their old age). I did think the misery was a bit gratuitous, and you could tell who the author liked and hated (I’m looking at you, Mary-Lou), but I didn’t think the book was actually that bad and think some of the reviews on Amazon were a major overreaction (I think someone even burned it).

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