Now, Wanderers, in case you hadn’t noticed, we writers are all part of at least one fandom. Some of us are part of two, or twenty, or two hundred.
Okay, the last one’s a bit silly. But whichever or however many fandoms we belong to, we all have one thing in common.
We are fans.
We’ve talked about how being a fan can be a form of identity … at least, I’m 90% certain we have, and if we haven’t, then we should.
But you’re never just a Potterhead or a Whovian or a Twihard. You are one of many.
At any given time, no matter what episode or book or movie you are watching, it is almost guaranteed that someone, somewhere, is doing the same thing and probably reacting in the same way.
Whether you join the huddled masses live-tweeting the latest action, or take to the web the next day to celebrate (or commiserate) the sailing (or sinking) of a ship – or, alternatively, celebrate (or commiserate) the sinking (or sailing) of a ship, because, let’s face it, some canon couples are a little controversial – you are one of many.
And your fellow fans are often as interested in you as they are in your theories or your writing or your artwork. My personal fanfiction blog, for example, receives as many messages asking me about my degree and sympathising about various life dramas, as it does about my writing.
And the best part about these particular families is that they have sub-families, if you will.
Ship those two together? Sub-family!
Prefer the movies to the books? Sub-family!
Thought the series ended at the right place unlike the apparent hordes clambering for a new season? Sub-family!
In fact, you can find a family pretty much anywhere in a fandom if you care to look. And the best part is, you don’t have to break all of those nice rules that your parents yell at you before you go online.
I mean, you can if you want, that’s your call, but you don’t have to. Because it doesn’t matter where you live, what your name is or how old you are, you only need one thing in common to make a friend, and you only need to care to form a family.
And if there’s one thing fans are good at, it’s caring, let’s face it. We care a boatload. Not that I’m too sure what a boatload is when it comes to caring, but we do.
If I had the energy (and no deadline), I could work out exactly who’s who in this crazy family of ours. The writers, directors and producers, I’m guessing, would be the parents. The actors and characters would be the oldest siblings, doing what Mum and Dad say and keeping the rest of us in line…
Yeah, it doesn’t really work, does it?
Okay, so we’re not a conventional family. But then conventional just isn’t fun, as far as I’m concerned.
Fandoms, much like families (most of the time), are very good at pulling together in times of need. Right now, the Sherlock fandom (well, most of them) are doing a very good job of forming a virtual protective barrier around the set (see our earlier articles about how to behave around people you’re a fan of).
Several fandoms pulled together last year, when a well-known fanfiction site began enforcing their Terms of Service with rather more vigour than they had been for the last few years – within weeks, new sites had popped up all over the internet and support forums were appearing for the authors.
I could go on about how fandoms pull together, but we’ve covered that as well when we talked about Fandom As a Force for Good.
The point is that they do pull together, and they are family, so next time you feel alone, like no one sees you or understands you, look to the fandoms you belong to.
Talk to someone about that plot twist, or that new episode.
Have a friendly debate about the merits of the canon couple over the fan favourite (alliteration not intended, I swear).
Speculate and theorise and hypothesise to your heart’s content, and maybe the conversation will turn to what happened at school last week or the work deadline that’s coming up, or maybe it won’t.
But that’s your fandom, and we’re your family.
Roxanne Williams (thinks we should have a good ol’ family reunion one day)