This blog is more than Duran Duran and more than being a Duran Duran fan. As any regular reader would know, we are in the midst of editing a book that features extensive research on fandom, including what is fandom, what it looks like, why someone would want to be a part of fandom and why someone stays in fandom. This blog has certainly allowed us to explore Duran Duran fandom both as observers and as participants. Over a year ago, I asked people who participate in either different fandoms or who participate in Duran fandom differently than we do to fill out a questionnaire. The reason for this was simple–to help me with research and to show how all fandoms experience similarities. One of the people who volunteered is someone who participates in the Twilight fandom. Here is how she responded to my questionnaire.
What fandom are you a part of?
What drew you to this fandom? What did you like about the object(s) of the fandom?
Friends had been telling me for years that I should read the books but I resisted. I already had an active fandom. I didn’t think I had time for a second one. I saw the first movie on t.v. one night and knew I was hooked. I then read all four books in less than a week and saw all the movies. I even took a “mental health day” from work so I could see Breaking Dawn in the theater. The iconic love story of Edward and Bella appealed to me on a level I hadn’t experienced in years.
Since November 2011.
Through different forms of social media- message boards, twitter, FB, tumblrs, various blogs and websites. I have become active in the fan fiction part of the fandom. Most stories are on one website and you can also leave reviews for the stories there.
Yes, usually the bloggers who review fanfic and the BNA – the Big Name Authors, those that have written popular fanfic stories. They are valued for their opinions on the various stories and getting a recommendation from one of these people can really raise an author’s profile.
There are three general areas: The films/books, fanfiction, and the obsession with the actors who played the characters in the films, most notably Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
The films/books are over so discussion is limited to recalling favorite moments or things that could have been done differently – hindsight. The biggest discussion in the book world is whether Stephenie Meyer will ever finish Midnight Sun, the unfinished manuscript of Twilight written from Edward’s point of view (EPOV).
I usually stay in the fanfiction realm. Fanfic is widely accepted in the Twilight fandom. Since these are fictional characters, there is no controversy about reading and writing fanfic like there is in the Duran fandom. There is an incredible amount of Twilight fanfiction- literally thousands of stories. I could spend years and years reading nothing but Twific.
I try to avoid the Robsten/Nonsten (those for and against the real life relationship of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) at all costs. However, I will say I’ve become a fan of Robert Pattinson as a result of being a Twilight fan. He is nothing like “Edward” but he seems to be a genuinely nice, humble person and I’ve enjoyed the other films he’s been in besides Twilight, most notably Remember Me and Cosmopolis. Yes, I also think he’s really, really, really um… attractive (I mean hot!). But then again, I seem to have a thing for 6’2″ British guys with great jawlines and long fingers. It’s definitely a pattern for me.
Yes. There are various informal and formal meet-ups and fan conventions throughout the year. Some focus on just the movies, some on just fanfiction. Fans would camp out for days before the movie red carpet premieres whenever a new movie was released. Also, the Comic-con in San Diego has attracted scores of Twilight fans over the past several years. There are Twilight specific panels at the convention as well.
In addition to fanfiction reading and writing, there are weekly fanfiction trivia contests on twitter. Fans also make banners, blinkies, and “manips” (photoshopped pics) relating to the stories. There are highly competitive fanfiction writing contests as well as weekly and monthly polls about the fanfiction stories. The prizes are usually banners or blinkies but the real prize is the “glory” of winning the contest. There are usually several categories for winners.
One thing that impressed me the most are the causes- Twilight fans have raised thousands of dollars over the past several years by having fanfiction auctions where bidders donate money to causes everything from the tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in Haiti, to various cancer charities. In return, authors will write specific stories- either “outtakes” of stories they are currently writing or those requested by the bidders. These stories will only be available to those who have donated for a certain length of time (3-6 months usually).
Yes. The usual rules of any fandom apply. I think also like tends to go with like. Someone who doesn’t care for a certain character or actor isn’t going to spend a lot of time with those that are fans of those characters/actors. In fanfiction, I think the easiest way to get “higher status” is for someone with higher status to recommend your story. One or two mentions on an influential blog or by a “BNA” (big name author) can bring hundreds of new readers to a story.
Some of the same controversies in the Duran world about “stalking” vs. “being in the right place at the right time” apply here as well. There are those who go to film sets or to the actor’s homes in hopes of seeing them. Then there are those who frequent concerts of friends of the actors. Interestingly, Stephenie Meyer, the author of the stories attracts far less attention than the actors who played her characters. There is definitely tension over what is crossing the line and what is appropriate behavior. It is very reminiscent of the D2 fandom.
There is also tension in the fanfic world over “P2P” pulled to publish. Many, many Twific writers have removed their stories from the free fanfic websites in order to rework and then publish them as original works of fiction. The most famous (and one of the first P2P) is Fifty Shades of Grey. Like it or not, the book has made its writer rich and famous. Some fanfic writers don’t think fanfic should ever be published, regardless of how different the fanfic story is from the original story.
What is the range of behavior and statements regarding the object(s) of the fandom? Basically, what is said and done? What are common behaviors and statements and what are the extreme behaviors and statements?
Most of the extreme behavior occurs among those who follow the relationships of the actors from the Twilight movies- the “Robstens” vs. the “Nonstens”. Again, I try to avoid that part of the fandom at all costs. I have no interest in the personal lives of the actors. There are twilongers and twitter arguments between those who believe that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are still together and those that either never believed they were together or that they were but are now broken up. The fans argue everywhere – on blogs, fan websites, in the comments section of entertainment news sites, on facebook, etc. It isn’t just the teen-aged fans. There are fans in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s engaged in these disputes.
Some of the P2P debates have gotten ugly too. I’m not into drama (unless it’s in a story) so I avoid those arguments.
Most fans of Twilight and Twilight fanfic are older than the stereotype. There are readers in their 20’s-60’s who are active in the fandom. They are mostly female so that part of the stereotype holds true. I’ve actually met many Twilight fans who are also Duran Duran fans- Twiranies.
I’m sure there are some but I haven’t been in the fandom long enough to know. That said, I think there are definitely those who are fans of the actors that fall into different groups- those that follow them relentlessly, those that just take an interest in their careers, and those that are interested in their careers and their personal lives but try not to be too instrusive (i.e. looking at paparazzi pics or paparazzi sites).