I find the idea of fan fiction endlessly fascinating, because it’s so distinctly of this century. We’re in a particular age where fanatic devotion (and I mean fanatic lovingly here) can be displayed publicly. It’s a way of feeling less alone and a way to permanently declare our love for film, TV, books, or whatever we are religiously devoted to, because mass media is religion. And I love it. My life is a lot more fulfilled by the books I read and the TV I watch (except for Keeping up with the Kardashians which is reprehensible and my dark twisted fantasy, literally). It’s even hit mainstream appeal, considering Fifty Shades of Gray started as a piece of Twilight fan fiction. Even though that book is garbage, it shows the potential of imagination and the mass appeal of fan fiction.
Fan fiction is the ultimate post-modern approach to fiction; fictional stories beget their own fiction from the people most taken by the story. Is it original? Where does the creation of a story or character start and begin? Also I used to randomly read Harry Potter fan fiction in high school and read a horrifyingly bad written piece called “something unexpected” about Harry giving Ron a rim-job in the dormitory showers which has ruined the entire series for me, so there’s also that.
Recently I read about Yaoi (also known as Boys’ Love) is a distinct form of fan-fiction of homosexual romance and sex written and read almost exclusively by women (got this info from the Wikipedia page whut whut good research y’all!). I find this really interesting and in the way I do with most Wikipedia articles, it made me want to learn more about it.
LaKeisha Harris is someone who regularly writes Yaoi fan fiction and I thought I’d ask her a few questions regarding the genre. Harris is nearly 26, works at a Xerox call center and was born and raised in Colorado Springs. Her favorite band is Dethklok, who is also her main inspiration, loves drawing and video games. She enjoys role-playing and has one dog. She publishes as Perfect Sin at http://m.fictionpress.com/u/720547/Perfect-Sin and http://www.fictionpress.com/u/591129/Sweet-silent-careful
The following was through email, with a few grammatical edits on my part
BS: ifty Shades of Gray appeal, considering Keeping up with the Kardashians which is reprehensible and my ad and the tv I watch 9eSo first off, I kind of only vaguely know about Yaoi. What is Yaoi and how were you first introduced to it? Did you like it from the get-go?
LH: I was first introduced to Yaoi, very very randomly. I was looking up pictures when I was 13/14 of my favorite anime Gundam Wing, when I just so happened to see my two favorite pilots doing more than fixing the mobile suit... Needless to say I was EXTREMLY shocked, I mean Gundam Wing was probably the manliest anime I watched, and to see that was pretty shocking haha. But I ignored it for years, until I read my first Yaoi fan fiction for Gundam Wing when I was 15. I fell in love with the imagination behind it. Not to mention the pairings that went into each story.I love crack pairings, and opposites coming together, which is also why I love Yaoi, because that's an endless source of inspiration
BS: When did you start writing your own stuff (Yaoi or otherwise?)
LH: I started writing my own fan fiction when I was 12 well, I didn't really write them, more of just think about them, and even act them out when I was by myself, My first written one was when I was in high school. It was HORRIBLE Upon retrospect, it was based off a game I liked back then and yea, Horrific, I choose to ignore the fact I wrote it. I wrote my first Shonen Ai (boys love) When I was 17 I’d say what inspired me to write it was Brokeback Mountain. It was a fluffy story, and at the time, was something I wasn't used to writing, that story was good, I assume, though my heart was broken when I was told by a reviewer who couldn't be a constructive critic how much garbage it was, so I gave up on it. My first Yaoi I wrote when I was 21, it was also my first original fiction on Fictionpress.net(I have like 3 accounts to FictionPress) But I had unknowingly wrote a very fluffy cute story, and decided I’d focus on writing the genre. I enjoy the story, the struggle and the amount of cuteness that a Yaoi goes through, it’s just always writing the erotica parts that make me giggle.
BS: What inspires your writing? What other fan-fiction writers do you admire?
LH: Things that inspire me, it actually varies. Sometimes it’s an anime, I saw, or a game I played, but it's mostly music. If I hear a good enough song, I wanna base a story from it. One of my favorite Fictions I've done, was actually inspired by “don't ask don't tell”. And I had just been sitting at my computer, and listening to “The day that Never Comes” by Metallica, which made me think of the video which is a war video, and I thought about all the soldiers who had not been able to share their love like everyone else. My favorite author in fan fiction, I can't choose just one haha, But I will say in fiction Hideyuki Kikuchi the author of my favorite book series Vampire Hunter D, And My favorite Yaoi Author is Narise Konohara who wrote my first Yaoi novel “Don't Worry Mama”, which is my favorite Yaoi novel that isn't a series.
BS: So, I know some people find it confusing for a woman to be writing erotica/fan-fiction that involves two men (personally it doesn’t seem strange to me, I mean DUH IMAGINATION Y’ALL). What would you say about that? Why do you choose to write Yaoi, over say, heterosexual, or lesbian stories?
LH: I choose to write erotica about two men, because it’s different. I've written heterosexual love scenes as well, and yes I love writing them too, it is imagination, When it comes to two guys, I usually need references, so I’m usually either reading Yaoi, or calling my friend Cy and his husband Ty, and pretty much just build off from them. My buddy Cy always tells me just to imagine the things I’d want as a guy, and having someone treat you that way. He's already established that in any relationship I choose to be in, I will be an Uke (bottom/submissive) He says my demeanor, and the way I act I could never be a Seme (top/dominant) I have yet to write a Yuri just yet, I might have to challenge myself to do it soon though.
BS: Why do you think women enjoy Yaoi, besides that it’s pretty hot.
LH: I think girls read it because it's cute, there's really nothing more. The stories are interesting. It’s a fantasy to them, the sweetest cutest hottest fantasy haha
BS: I really liked your stuff, but some of the rape scenarios in some of the stories were super intense, almost hard to read. Is that hard to write? What draws you to those storylines? Are they popular in Yaoi?
LH: It was reeeally hard to write them. I usually had to stop in the middle of writing them and go do something for a few hours to make me feel happy. I feel horrible for my characters I've done that too, because like they are all extensions of me, and I feel like holy hell, what did I do to me. Non Con (non-consensual-Bebe.) is kind of popular with a lot of Yaoi authors, I actually just found that out, talking with a few writers and fans, it’s more of us admitting we are powerless in situations. I usually know if I will have a rape in a story, but if Ii can figure out some way to avoid them, or write around it, I try, but if it's going to make the story complete I will do it.
BS: If you could write these stories full-time, would you? How do people go from writing for a small audience to actually making a living off of it?
LH: I love writing them, and if I could get paid to write them full time I totally would, They all make me smile, and i love how they turn out in the end. Frankly my one drive is to at least get one story published, and I’m sure I’d be happy then in my life. But, I’d rather not know who all has read them. I just want to keep doing what i do and having fun with it. I know now on FictionPress where you can see the traffic of your story, and when I see high numbers, I’m just like, wow... cool.... doesn't mean anything. Through, someone has suggested i start publishing them on amazon kindle, and I’m considering it. At least for two stories and I’ll just see how it goes from there I guess.