Rule 34: if it exists, there’s porn of it; or so says the laws of 4Chan and, for the most part, it is bizarrely true. It can be in any format – pictures, artwork, literature etc. but I’ll talk more about this in a minute.
Hello. I can be a massive fanfreak, and when I discover a book, game, film, comic etc. etc. that inspires me I must always find pictures. I adore seeing fan-art and have been a visual learner all my life. When I see art, especially of people, I tend to study it for many minutes. Appreciate it, absorb it, and think of stories behind it. This has been especially true for the various fandoms I never truly participated in. As a teenager, I had a folder of over 1,000 images from the comic W.I.T.C.H. (which I first read in Greek, weirdly enough) and these pictures pleased me because of the story I knew they represented.
Yesterday I was browsing good ol’ deviantArt for Dragon Age: II. I found many hilarious parodies and mini-comics, gorgeous portraits and romantic scenes; but one thing I did not expect to find was Dragon Age fan-fiction. It made be think, “I’ve found fan-fiction for nearly every fandom I’ve image-searched. It’s like rule 34.”
At first I was terrified to open the link. What would I suffer reading? As DA is a roleplaying game did that mean the main character would be someone’s cringey OC Mary-Sue? Would it be written by teenagers wishing they were burdened heroes in need of a partner like Fenris or Isabella? I was troubled by how personal these fics could be, because I really don’t want to know the writer’s deepest sexual and emotional desires. The simple answer is of course: don’t read them, but I was curious…
What I discovered was surprisingly fulfilling. It wasn’t a diary entry of someone’s innermost fantasies about the DA companions, it was…well, it was a story. It may have helped that it was written from the perspective of Anders, one of the companions rather than the main character, and the story content itself wasn’t anything new – it was simply a written version of the game. Having read the Dragon Age novels by David Gaider, I already know I love to immerse myself in a written experience of the world. I get to spend more time with the companions.
Using the preset characters (Maria or Garret Hawke) to write fan-fiction or compose fan-art also helps to put distance between the content and the creator. I stop thinking, “who is this original character among people I’m familiar with,” and enjoy the piece for what it is. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing personal fan-fiction; placing yourself in the world. That’s one of the liberties of a roleplaying, create-your-own-character game. Heck, I create outrageous fan-fic stories in my own head, but that’s where I like to keep them. It was a nice surprise to learn that DA fan-fiction is accessible to all fans and not just the creator.
Anyway, here is the short story that led me into the world of Dragon Age fan-fiction: [Heeding] by SurelyForth. Do not read if you have not reached ACT II as it has SPOILERS.