On October first one of my friends and I were oohing and aahing over the new merchandise in the NaNoWriMo store, and somewhere in there I made a comment that NaNoWriMo was my fandom. We agreed on this comment, but I found myself thinking about it. Is NaNoWriMo a fandom? After a bit of thinking, I came to the conclusion that yes, NaNo is a fandom but never put much thought into it.
This morning Kelly over at Narrative in the Blog wrote about her hypothesis about NaNo as a fandom. She hit most of the major points, but what else does a fandom have? Based on my experience in watching and occasional participation, fandoms often include:
* Drama. Can you tell I’ve been reading fandom_wank for too long? The NaNoWriMo community has a occasional bursts of heated threads that get locked. Compared to other fandoms I’ve watched in action, those heated threads are tame. Still, the drama exists.
* Big name fans. While big name fans are never called such in the NaNo community, they certainly exist. The staff are looked upon as higher beings. As Kelly described, people squeal when they met Chris Baty. I had to hold my squealing in when I got to talk to him (and Lindsey and Tavia) this summer. There are other well-known Wrimos in the community, and they’re well-known for different reasons: being around NaNo for ages or their post count or their word count. Some people think I’m one of them. Since no one ever admits they’re a big name fan, I’ll let you decide.
* Fan conventions. The Night of Writing Dangerously can definitely be thought of as a convention of sorts, one where writers travel from all over the country and world to write for hours and eat lots of candy. One could make the argument that write-ins and other local NaNo events are miniature fan conventions.
* NaNo terms that no one else gets. These terms exist in fandom as well: pairings, terms that come from the canon, and other inside jokes. NaNo terms have evolved to include NaNoisms, Mr. Ian Woon, the Traveling Shovel of Death, and the Trebuchet Club, among many others. The number of terms led me to compile all of them and their histories into Wikiwrimo, yet another fannish activity.
* Just as there are people who write only fanfiction, there are people who write only for NaNo. There are lots of these people, actually.
* And of course, there have been novels written about NaNo. I did it last year on a whim. I wasn’t the first to do it, and I’m not the last; at least one person is doing it this year. The stories about NaNo aren’t the only NaNoWriMo-related tales out there. The OLL staff have encouraged it on NaNoWriMo Facebook page. One day the staff asked users to write a story of what happened when Sarah, Tavia, Lindsey, and Dan went to the bakery next door, and Wrimos responded.
It looks like NaNo has become a fandom to me. I now feel justified in using NaNoWriMo as an answer to the “What fandoms are you in?” question. In fact, I think it’ll be my only answer.