Fangirl Nostalgia: Rereading My Teenage Fanfiction
Adolescent adventures in shipping, self-inserts, and questionable romantic subplots
October 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm
My crash course in fanfiction came in junior high, when my best friend got me into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shortly thereafter into Buffy fanfiction. After I started writing my own fanfics for multiple franchises, there was no looking back. I had fallen headfirst into one of the most defining (and fun) hobbies of my fangirl life.
After a recent deep clean, I came across my old spirals and folders containing these vintage, handwritten fanfics. So, I dusted them off and decided to share a few exceptional gems with the world. Part of the fun, I think, is comparing and contrasting the choices I made as a young writer: I was really unabashed about these self-inserts, wasn’t I? Wow, did I really think this cringey moment was hot/romantic/funny?
Diving into these old stories was hilarious, and occasionally mortifying, but I want to be totally clear that I don’t regret writing any of them. I had the time of my life dreaming up these silly scenarios, and hey, I still do.
Without further ado, please join me on an adventure into my pubescent mind… If you dare. (Spelling/grammar errors are left intact for all fanfic excerpts.)
1) “Precious”—Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Buffy/Spike
Age written: 14
Filed under: Did I Really Think This Awful Scenario Was Hot?
This fanfic begins with Dawn finding a lost cat, which she immediately calls “Precious,” near the Magic Box (Giles’s magic shop). Buffy takes the cat home to get a photo of it for “found” posters, while Dawn stays behind to do homework and chill with the rest of the gang. She ends up distracted by a spellbook and, in an incredible coincidence, discovers an entry about an identical cat under a “Switching Bodies” section, which reveals something troubling: The cat can possess the body of a “female human” if it becomes frightened and there’s a man present. That oddly specific scenario has come true for Buffy, of course, thanks to Spike dropping by the Summers house.
Tragically, feline demons that possess people never bother to learn how to walk down stairs on two legs:
Spike was sitting on the couch when he saw Buffy come falling down the stairs, and land on the floor face down.
Spike: “Slayer lose her footing there?”
Buffy lifted herself to her knees and hands, but her focus remained on the floor.
Spike: “You alright there, Buff?”
Buffy’s head snaped up and she starred at him. Then she began to crawl toward him, still starring.
Meanwhile, the gang is on their way to Buffy’s house.
Xander: “So the cat, like, takes over?”
Dawn: “Only when a guy’s in the room, and Giles left, but he didn’t say where he was going.”
Xander: “Buffy and Giles *cringes* Walk faster.”
Anya: “Or, worse, what if it’s not Giles, what if an unfortunate Pizza guy shows up or or something?”
Xander: “Yes, because we all know every Pizza Guy out there would hate to have a strong, sexy, blonde girl jump them and start a ‘licken.”
Dawn and Anya both looked at him for their different reasons, with their eyebrows raised.
Xander: “Besides, Pizza guys don’t come unless you order pizza.”
Anya: “I never understood that.”
As gross as it is that I had the characters assume that this scenario would lead to a man mistaking cat-possessed-Buffy’s behavior for sexual interest, I kind of have to appreciate my fledgling attempt at characterization.
Skipping ahead, Buffy has started to climb into Spike’s lap:
Spike was clearly turned on, but he didn’t know what to think. He grabbed her shoulders, shook her, and she looked him in the face.
Spike: “Slayer? What, the hell, are you doing?”
Buffy stared at him blankly, then looked down at his thigh, and eased her way out of his grip. She layed down in his lap.
Spike, although enjoying it, was a bit uncomfortable with Buffy’s behavior. He shook her shoulder.
Spike: “You alright, love?”
Let’s give thanks that I abandoned this fanfic before anything else happened. That I decided to place Buffy in a scenario where her agency was completely removed, presumably for Spike’s benefit, is pretty alarming—until I remember that this was a Joss Whedon series, and it’s not hard to see where I got the idea, given the treatment of many women characters in the show. And as much as my bestie and I fawned over Spike back then, I’m pretty sure that if I were to rewatch now, I’d have the opposite opinion. But, at the time, we were all about Spike. While my friend was into Spike’s bad-boy vampire personality, I fell for him in a flashback episode that showed him pre-evil, as an awkward aspiring poet in 1880s England. So that’s, uh, something to keep in mind as we move to the next fanfic!
2) “Alisya Khlanchetta”—Star Wars: Episode II—Myself/OC
Age written: 15
Filed under: Unabashed Self-Inserts + Questionable Fandom Mixing
This fanfic, which I wrote sometime after seeing Attack of the Clones in theaters, doesn’t have a title, so the title I’ve listed here is the Extremely Legit name I gave my self-insert character, who I was shipping with… Obi-Wan’s Jedi brother? Truly, the key element missing from the prequels was ME in an angsty story arc. I based the new character on William, Spike’s dorky former human-self in Buffy (and my preferred version of him). The story starts with Alisya arriving at the Jedi Council to report that the Jedi have restored peace on a faraway planet.
Afterward, she meets her future love interest:
Wil-yab: -taps A’s shoulder- A request of pardon, Alisya?
Alisya: -turns to him- Granted, of course.
Wil-yab: It is a pleasure to finally make your aquaintence. I am Wil-yab Kenobi.
Alisya: Then you are Obi-Wan’s brother, I presume?
Wil-yab: You presume correctly.
Alisya: Then the pleasure is mine.
Obi-Wan: – joins them-
Alisya: Obi-Wan. So good to see you again.
Obi-Wan: You too, old friend. It seems ages since last I saw you in the Core Worlds. I imagine it must feel even longer for you.
Alisya: Indeed, but it proved worthwhile. Still, I dare say I am most refreshed to return.
Obi-Wan: -to W- I’m going to see to a few matters of personal business as the day comes to its end. I’ll see you later, or perhaps on the ‘morrow, brother.
Wil-yab: -nod- May the force be with you.
Obi-Wan: And you. -nods to each of them, leaves-
Wil-yab: -faces A- If it would appeal to you, I would be most willing to help re-acquaint you with the city, and familiarize its new features?
Alisya: It would, and I’ll look forward to your tour.
Wil-yab: If you feel there are enough hours left in the day, it won’t call for a period of wait.
Alisya: -faces Yoda- I presume that a tour of such effect is not against your judgement, Master Yoda.
Yoda: With the city’s details, become familiar again, you should.
Alisya: -faces W- Then go we shall.
I love when men offer to give me tours of places I’ve been before, don’t you? Afterward, Alisya is in the elevator with Wil-yab, who is obviously already IN LUV with her.
Wil-yab: -focus does not move from wall in front of him- In my travels, I’ve noticed that there are less female Jedi than male, regardless of race or species.
Alisya: -also focussing straight ahead- Gender is irrelevant when speaking of skill.
-The elevator stops and they begin walking in a corridor-
Wil-yab: I wasn’t. It’s just that, even rarer is a female Jedi of such effulgence to the eye. -faces her w/ head-
Alisya: -glances at him- Such observations will not get you anywhere. Your focus should be on things of possible progression and importance.
Wil-yab: ‘Twas merely a compliment.
Alisya: Then I accept it. But as you come to know me, you may also find that such compliments will not get you onto my “good side” or grant us friendship.
In the Buffy episode that reveals William as a socially ostracized poet, he is mocked for his use of the word “effulgent” to describe his crush, so I dutifully latched onto that word. Even with this super cliche cold shoulder setup, I sort of want to high-five myself for how Alisya asserted herself in the face of shitty pickup lines(!). It’s such a step up from my earlier fanfiction, where my self-insert would often wax poetic about my “one true love” ad nauseum from page one. And speaking of those other fanfics featuring swoony-me…
3) “Dragon Ball Z: Romance Style”—Dragon Ball Z—Future Trunks/Myself
Age written: 12
Filed under: Unabashed Self-Inserts + I Am A Tween But I Deeply Understand Love
This 8th grade fanfic begins with crucial description of what Future Trunks is wearing. (In the show, present-day Trunks was a baby and Future Trunks had time-traveled to the past as a young adult.) I explain that he dropped Future Alicia off at the “time training chamber,” where Goku and Gohan are helping her/me train while Future Trunks is back at “the battle.”
As the story beings, I’m lamenting that I’ve never turned Super Saiyan:
Future Alicia: (sigh) I didn’t want to leave him there, but he made me come. It almost… makes me flintch to think what might be happening to him.
Goku: He’s probably fine. He’s pretty strong you know.
Future Alicia: Oh, I know, but I still miss him. I love him so much… I can’t imagine losing him… (bites lip)
Gohan: I bet if you imagine him getting killed, you’ll be able to turn Super Sayin!
Future Alicia: That has always been my biggest fear… I guess I’ll try it… but imagining that will be painful.
Goku: Just think how happy he’d be for you if it worked.
Future Alicia: Right. (tightens fists and yells as she imagines the horrible scene) (After a few minutes her hair blinks Gold for ½ a second, in a flash she quits yelling and falls over hard.)
Future Alicia: (lifts up head) (looks at Goku and Gohan) (smiles) I—did—it. I really did! But (stops smile) it was really hard to imagine that.
In case it isn’t clear that my character is SUPER IN LOVE, she launches into a long monologue about how she’d never be whole again if Trunks really died. I’ll spare you the projectile vomiting and jump forward to when—gasp!—one of Trunks’s energy blasts from the battle has veered away, busted through the training facility, and injured me. I’m placed in a recovery room, and Trunks shows up a little later, suddenly speaking with a Southern US dialect.
Future Trunks: Did y’all see a blast come this way?
Gohan: Um… well, Alicia saw it better than us.
Future Trunks: WHAT?!
Goku: It hit her, she’s inside in a bed.
Future Alicia: (sits halfway up & looks out window & sees Trunks on porch) (says quietly) Trunks. (tears of joy fill eyes, but go away after a second)
Future Trunks: (comes in) (kneels down next to her)
Future Alicia: (smiles)
(Alicia & Trunks hug) (hug stops)
Future Trunks: How bad is it.
Future Alicia: I’ll be o.k.
Future Trunks: Let me see. (If that sounded nasty—I have clothes on sicko!)
Future Alicia: (Pulls off sheet)
Future Trunks: (small flintch) The sensu beans are coming, hang on.
Future Alicia: I am. It feels like all my Sayin energy is going to that one spot to keep me awake. By the way, I turned Super Sayin—breifly.
Future Trunks: I know, Gohan told me.
Uh, no he didn’t? But also, wasn’t Trunks supposed to be happy for me for going Super Saiyan? Seems like that would be a pretty important thing to acknowledge since I’m on my deathbed or whatever. The scene continues with the two of us having an emotional conversation, and the story ends with us kissing. I remember a DBZ-loving friend throwing this fanfic at me after I made her read it because she wanted to know if I was going to live. But of course I was going to live in my own story! I never wanted anything other than happy endings for myself and my imaginary boyfriends, whether they were anime characters or… hobbits.
4) “Elvish Garden”—The Lord of the Rings—Frodo/Myself
Age written: 14ish
Filed under: Alicia & Friends + Questionable Fandom Mixing
This fanfic is another that lacks a title, so I’ve titled it here based on the story. Occasionally, I wrote stories featuring myself and my BFF, pairing each of us with our fictional crushes, and that’s the case here. In this particular fanfic, I’m dating Frodo, and even though this is happening in the LOTR universe, my friend is coupled with… Spike from Buffy.
This story begins with us waking up in the Lothlórien forest, where my friend, who I’ll call Jackie, is complaining about being hungry. Oh, and she and Spike are both vampires, but apparently immune to Elvish sunlight (sure).
Jackie: …Now I’m all empty inside.
Spike: We’ll stop 4 a bite later.
Frodo: Not anyone who lives here.
Spike: Watch yourself 3-foot’er. You have a very fresh looking neck… and my pet, here, is “empty.” That’s it, be scared.
Frodo: (lays back down)
Alicia: (cuddles up to him & rests her head on his chest)
Frodo: (runs his hand through her surprisingly ungreasy hair) Baby?
Frodo: (looks down at her) (whispering) Spike is scaring me again.
My morning hair is still a greasy nightmare, so that line is pure fantasy! (Sorry, teenage Alicia. Your skin clears up, though!) I explain to Frodo that Spike is just joking, so he doesn’t have to worry about the explicit death threats. Yay? Spike and Jackie venture off, while Frodo and I head up one of those swirly staircases.
Alicia: Gosh this place… I love it here. Sometimes I wish I lived here.
Frodo: With the elves?
Alicia: (turns to face him) And with you… but I know you love the Shire. And I do too. And y’know? Sometimes I feel sorry for anyone who lives in a place this beautiful… because, how could they ever experiance this wowed feeling of their surroundings.
Frodo: I’m sure they appriciate it.
Alicia: Yes, but how can you take trips to exotic places and be in awe about them if you live in one of the most beautiful ones?
Frodo: (nods) I get it. (looks up ahead) Look there. (points)
Alicia: (turns around) (face lights up)
It later turns out my character was noticing a rose growing nearby with color-changing petals. I’m also pretty sure I was writing myself as a human in this fic—not a hobbit—but I can’t totally remember that part. (What I do remember is the “I ♥ Frodo” t-shirt I made and wore to see the following two movies.) Meanwhile, Jackie and Spike have discovered an Elvish garden with enchanted fruits.
Spike: Looks like an apple.
Jackie: I am hungry… not that this’ll help, but eh, what the heck? (bites into it) (eyes go wide) Whoa!
Spike: Easily excited there, love?
Jackie: This does not taste like an apple.
Spike: Let me see… (brings J’s hand up 2 his mouth & bites the apple) Slayer blood.
Jackie: Not to me… (bites it again) Oh! (points at him) I know! Peach, with a slight touch of vanilla.
Spike: (grabs another apple) (bites it) Slayer blood, unmistakably.
Ah yes, the magical apples taste like the best thing ever, and because he’s a vampire, his is slayer blood. This scene was meant to be a little surprise for my friend by giving her and Spike a happy moment, and what could be more romantic than referencing a Buffy-verse vampire’s most murdery fantasy? Naturally, I also later troll Jackie by making her character eat a blueberry that simulates her most hated food (coleslaw). I mean, what are friends for?
Thank you for joining me on this wild ride. Re-visiting my early fanfics was a weird, nostalgic adventure, and I encourage other writers to do the same. If I’ve learned anything today, it’s that I’m my best self as a Jedi and that Willy Wonka apparently moonlights as an Elvish gardener.
While I’ve happily moved on from the days of self-inserts, I still love fanfiction, and I’m glad it gave me an exciting outlet for creativity at a young age. Through these stories, I was able to go on any adventure I imagined and meet all my favorite characters. The quality of the writing wasn’t what mattered; it was purely for fun. And just for the record, I’m a lot better at finishing fanfics these days. Mostly.