I was bored.
Third Fang is a fan fiction writer. He is known for writing epic length stories, which expand the lore of a particular fandom. So far, he has written four stories, two of them are Naruto fan fictions titled Yet Again, With Little Extra Help and its sequel Take Two Round Two, and a fate / stay night fan fiction titled From Fake Dreams. he has also written a Highschool DXD fan fiction titled Go Away, I’m Watching Porn.
He has been writing since 2008, and so far is not showing any signs of stopping. Despite having a highly technical job, he continues to write his story, and publishes a chapter of his story once a month.
Me: I always enjoy putting this question first. So, tell us a little about your self? Describe yourself in your own words.
Third Fang: I’d describe myself as a pretty stereotypical geek. I’m 33 years old and currently live just outside of Detroit, but I grew up on the border of Connecticut and New York, near Stamford. I have a job in engineering. I enjoy anime, gaming, and engineering since forever. Oh, and if anyone cares, I am Jewish with my family history spread out all over Europe once you hit my great grandparents’ generation and beyond, but I honestly suck at being religious and don’t practice save for a few major holidays with the family.
Me: What kind of interests do you have?
Third Fang: Gaming. Anime. Writing. Technology. I also invest a bit with mixed luck. And travelling. Ironically, I haven’t been to Japan yet given my interests, but I have been to China, England, Germany, Mexico, and Mauritius. I also dabble a little bit into cooking in my spare time recently. Binging with Babish is a great way to impress the family during the holidays.
Me: When did you start writing, and why?
Third Fang: I was bored. Seriously. This was way back during college, and I didn’t have much money to work with since most of my spending cash was used on food and the very occasional videogame, and the area directly around my small campus and the living area wasn’t the ideal spot to go walking around at night or hold parties (in other words, I had no car, and this was before Uber was a thing). So anyways, this was when the Naruto and “The big three” hype was at its peak and fanfiction wasn’t as… abundant as it is now. I came across one of the few notable Naruto fanfics out at the time by sheer chance, a time travelling one that was pretty dark, but very well written. After that, I started looking around for other fics, and while there are a few more decent ones out there, there weren’t any that matched anything I was looking for at the time, capable but amusing and entertaining. Meta-ish. I swear I had not heard of Deadpool at this point in time. And I thought “I got nothing better to do. This is something I can do that won’t cost me a penny! I can do this. Hold my beer roommate who is not here!” And I just kept on typing for the hell of it since.
Me: Why did you choose to write fan fiction instead of your original thing?
Third Fang: The reason why many people do Fanfiction instead of writing their own original material is because several of the hardest steps in making your own story are already done for you: countless characters and designs. The settings. The world history. Cities. Rules. Laws. Societies. Etc. These steps are even more of a labor to make from scratch if you’re working with a straight up fantasy story instead of one that’s modeled off of the modern world. Sometimes people just want to write without putting in the absurd amount of effort it takes to come up with all of that. On the flip side, the appeal of fanfiction is that sometimes, these aspects AREN’T expanded upon as much as one would want or desire in the original work, and thus give way to a potential “what if” and take things in a completely different direction. We enjoy the already established worlds, characters and setup, but we simply want to write and push it all in a different direction and let it all go from there.
In my case, it is really a bit of both. I didn’t want to make up everything from scratch, and I just enjoyed the original setups and worlds that my stories take place in. Like I said before, this originally just started as a way to kill time in college on a budget.
Me: Judging by your notes, you have the knowledge of engineering and physics. How much of that knowledge plays a role in your writing?
Third Fang: For clarification and reference for the readers, I currently have a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, and work on Electric car systems and components for a major automotive company. As for how much that plays a role in my writing, it depends on the situation. I admit, early on in my writing, I went full ham on the mechanics and intricacies on how many powers worked and their effects. I still do that from time to time. That level of in depth meticulous detail is sort of ingrained into you in this sort of occupation. That said, it’s not exactly the best for storytelling, so I’ve managed to lighten up on that obnoxious level of detail over the years. To an extent. The attention to detail is useful for coming up with new powers and abilities though, or excuses for said powers and abilities, or counters for… you get the idea. Not just with powers and abilities, but details in the characters, plots and setting overall. Scenes feel empty to me if I don’t add enough.
Me: You are known for writing large chapters; even your side projects have large chapters. Personally, I call it the Third Fang syndrome. How do you do it, and what are your thoughts about stories which average chapters lengths from 1500 to 4000 words?
Third Fang: Haha. Ah, that’s honestly one of the things I’m trying to work on. It’s hard for me to write smaller chapters. Like I said before, scenes feel empty to me if I don’t add enough setting and character detail into them, and at least a few major plot moving or character growth points are hit. Likewise, whenever I write a chapter, I feel like I need to hit at least an unknown minimum number of these points or else the chapters feel half assed from my perspective. As for the stories with lengths between 1.5k to 4k, I don’t really have any real thoughts one way or another with them. So long as they are written well, go nuts. If the author wants to make bigger chapters, go nuts. The only real differences in the results between chapter sizes that should be taken into account are 1. how much detail and progress a reader expects each update, and 2, how frequent each update is. I update once a month on average, and for some people that’s too slow. But in terms of content its still more than the average 5k chapter coming out every two weeks. So, to each their own I guess.
Me: What do you think about advice like writing daily? I even asked a programmer once about this, whether we can apply this advice to programming or not, writing one program daily, for example.
Third Fang: It depends on person to person. Much like working out. Some people can do a bit every day, and others are a chaotic mess that just get rushes to do it in a single go after putting it off for two weeks because Elden Ring came out… strictly hypothetically of course. That said, I personally don’t recommend forcing it. Forcing creativity is almost always a terrible idea and kills motivation to do the job in the first place. That said, what I do recommend is having a standard cutoff and deadline for writing chapters or segments. Like you said, my chapters are around 20k words, and I try to update monthly. While the chapters are big, the schedule is much more flexible and easier to work with according to what I feel at the time. If motivation is a problem, I do on the other hand recommend having a scene or part planned ahead that you are interested in getting to either in the current chapter or coming up. For me, that makes things easier since my personal style is rather, chaotic and entertaining at times, but this logic should apply to everyone across the board if they truly are interested in writing in general. Why write if you aren’t having fun?
Me: You have a great set of developed characters. Have you planned to do something original with them? Perhaps reveal their backstory in an original series of their own?
Third Fang: That’s actually my ultimate side project. Like I said earlier, making your own story from scratch is incredibly difficult and time consuming to make sure it all fits together. Especially with some of the overly intricate nonsense I come up with at times. I have made some progress on that front, but I won’t go at it in earnest until at least one of my current fanfictions is finally concluded… and I finish crying in the background in sweet relief.
Me: Are you aware that you sort of wrote a biography through your author’s notes?
Third Fang: Truth be told, it would be a pretty boring bio outside of a handful of particularly chaotic events in my life that I decided to rant about. It’s a bit of stress relief if anything, and I am far from the only fanfiction author that does it. But I guess if I do go insane one day, my author notes would be as good place as any to start an investigation.
Me: You’ve been doing this for a long time. I want to know, does it change you? Do you ever get terrified of exploring new territories, now that you have spent so much time writing in a few select universes?
Third Fang: Not really. Outside of improving my writing skills in general and meeting people, it’s fanfiction. I’d be more concerned if it was taken seriously. As for writing in new territories, or genres, not so much terrified as, uncomfortable I guess. It depends on what genre it is. You’d be surprised how much research goes into writing a story in general, especially if you aren’t as familiar with the setup as the ones you are. At the end of the day though, if its something I really want to make, I’ll just go in without a second thought and likely only regret it after around chapter eight.
Me: When do you think you will be done with your stories?
Third Fang: That, is one of life’s greatest mysteries. Oh, except for From Fake Dreams. I fully intend to finish that one within the next year and some months.
Me: Will you retire from fan fiction after you are done with your stories? If not, what kind of fan fiction would you like to write? (Personally, I would like to read a Harry Potter fan fiction from you.)
Third Fang: Probably. These stories are fun, but I do want to put more effort into the original stories I mentioned earlier. My style would probably stay the same as always, madness, plot and world deconstruction, overblown hype, childish jokes, breaking the established power scaling, and everyone questioning what is and isn’t rational in the world. As for a Harry Potter fic… I see you saw my small omake about that. If I ever did get to that, it would be called “Hey Cool! A Free Baby!” Though, most likely, I’d just spew out individual random scenes of Harry’s disastrous time at Hogwarts to make people laugh and entertained.
Me: Do you think that writing or any kind of creative activity has a future, now that A.I is getting better at those? I saw Chat GPT writing some impressive pieces of short fiction when I prompted it.
Third Fang: I haven’t seen many AI generated stories just yet. As far as I can tell, they are admittedly good for a quick short story that sounds more like a pitch than anything, but it’ll be a while before they can come up with an intricate and more importantly entertaining longer story or epic with plots, subplots, and the like that all chain together in a chaotic mess that can only come about from everyone screwing up all the time. AI aren’t good at conjuring up the abstract chaos that is people making mistakes, and I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon.
Me: Do you plan to write a web serial in the future?
Third Fang: A Web Serial? If you mean an independent story, I might start posting my original story like that. If you mean a full web comic, I have no idea where to start to do something like that. I know a couple of guys that do, one of which is actually a former fanfiction author himself that’s doing very well for himself writing his own original stories now, but I haven’t asked.
Me: Can you explain why you didn’t like the concept of world tree so much in Naruto? My only exposure with that concept was through Tree of Might film of Dragon Ball Z.
Third Fang: World Trees show up in a load of video games and fantasy stories if you read enough in some way shape or form. So much so that they become a pretty common trope. And they usually come in 1 of 2 flavors: either they’re a key component of the planet/local reality that helps sustain the world and killing it would do bad things, or, the World Tree is secretly, as I put it in my stories, A giant alien weed used by lazy despots to harvest the power of worlds into weed fruits to make themselves stronger because they are too lazy to find a better or more interesting way. And killing it would do good things, but also bad things for the plot. And they are almost always killed in some way shape or form if the story goes far enough. Truth be told, whenever a world tree shows up, it kills my interest in a story in some way shape or form a bit. Especially if “protecting it” or “investigating its mysteries” becomes important.
Thank all that is reasonable that God of War just used it as a fast travel mechanic and minor plot device.
Me: Moving on from writing, you’ve been on the internet for a long time. Would you like to describe how things have changed, and some old memes or some old work on the internet which has been forgotten?
Third Fang: How things have changed? Well, its weird. Anime as a whole is vastly more accepted now than when I started writing, and there’s many more stories to write and gain inspiration from. Which means more people are reading my work, for better or for worse. Some people like what I do. Other’s don’t. That’s perfectly fine and normal in the grand scheme of things. Some of the older names I remember writing when I first started have long stopped as well, which is kinda depressing, but again, expected. I get asked advice on how to write every now and then as well, or permission to use my original material for their own fics, which I help out with when I can. I don’t mind people using my work so long as credit is given where it is due, and there’s nothing wrong with helping others get started if they are unsure about what to do.
As for Memes and other jokes, I would say that there’s plenty, but I’m pretty sure that the entirety of the Dragonball Abridged and Yu-gi-oh Abridged series has most of the good stuff documented perfectly for review.
On the other side of things, I noticed there are far more people online that are just… overly sensitive about everything. The kind of people that can’t stand it when a story they don’t like actually has a following and bash it endlessly as if it gives them purpose. I do occasionally cover some pretty sensitive topics at times in my stories, but at the end of the day, I’m still just writing fanfiction in settings where these things are very much possible, and it’s not like I hide that my stories are supposed to be for mature audiences. There are hundreds of more worthy things to get that angry about in the world than my nonsense. Constructive criticism is always welcome and encouraged, but I could do without the occasional kids that go out of their way to post insults, with hilariously bad grammar, on every single chapter. It’s actually impressive how dedicated they are to it at times.
Me: You’ve been writing on the internet for close to 15 years. Was there any time where you ended up in a controversy, if yes, then why? Did you ever regret it in the end?
Third Fang: Aha. Yeah. I’ve been in a few of those. The thing is that I have a habit of pushing the boundaries and limits of what is and isn’t reasonable at times. As a result my reputation isn’t exactly ideal in some fanfiction circles. I’m more infamous than famous these days. The biggest two controversies I’ve been in though are for how I handled Nasuverse lore in From Fake Dreams, and how dark my Highschool DXD fic can get at times.
For the former, I have to point out that I started FFD long before Ufotable made a reputation for pleasuring eyeballs whenever they came out with something, so FSN was still a pretty niche fandom, and a good portion of the fanbase was… dedicated. Still are to be honest, but they’re more patient now at least. I myself had played the original light novel when I was in high school so I think I can consider myself one of the original English speaking fans myself.
Anyways, the point was that this was before FGO, Fate Apocrypha, and about 80 percent of the fate universe stuff we know now had even been in book forms, let alone animated, so material on the in universe lore was limited to an extent. There was still a ton of it, but there were plenty of gaps when it came to the mechanics. And I was, and still am, an electrical engineer with an eccentric personality and a sadistic glee when it came to exploiting the system for my personal amusement.
To put it bluntly, being particularly creative with the original material and pushing the lore’s boundaries and mechanics using advanced real world physics does not mesh well with dedicated fanbases. Especially when it so happens when your story winds up inadvertently being what a lot of people use as an intro into said fandom itself.
Which understandably led to a good deal of confusion, frustration, and people saying I jumped the shark because I had poorly written one character jump on a floating sword and float it straight up like an elevator with all his strength about a hundred feet to avoid getting completely butchered and left him completely drained. Not exactly the most elegant or well written scenes I’ve made, but I still stand by the mechanics I used and the end results regardless.
I had tried for a time to explain the mechanics of some of the more creative spells I made up throughout the series (one actually incorporated some physics principles I learned for my college graduation project working on satellite coordinate data), but to be blunt it was arguing in a circle with the other side saying the same thing over and over again as if they didn’t hear me. You tend to hear the argument “if its not explicitly stated in the original material it doesn’t count” in one form or another far more than you’d like. I’ve never been a fan of forum chats, and trying to argue my case in one only underscored that. I gave up trying after a while and felt it was too much effort to bother with them, and I just stopped paying attention to the bulk of their complaints. Getting that heated up about fantasy science lore in fanfiction, which is a headache and redundant as far as I was concerned, just wasn’t worth it. I just wanted to write my story. Admittedly, it was poor form to give them the cold shoulder like that, but I had tried to talk it out for a while and was just having all my arguments flat out ignored for my efforts.
Fortunately, the Nasuverse fandom has calmed down a bit since then. Most of the stuff I’ve come up with now looks pretty tame compared to what cannon’s come up with these days. That isn’t to say that the bridges between me and the bulk of the dedicated fandom is mended, but they aren’t spectacular displays of fire either. They are the guys you go to for exact lore, and I’m the guy you go to for some entertainment on a slow day.
The other half of the issue regarding FFD was, like I said, the Fate franchise was still pretty niche at the time I started it, and I had already gotten a following with my earlier Naruto story. So, I had inadvertently “tainted” a small wave of newcomers into the fate franchise with some misconceptions from my unique spin on things. I still do every now and then since FFD is one of the biggest and most popular FSN fanfics out there, and you don’t have to be a hype dedicated fan of the original story or universe lore to enjoy fanfiction. To put it bluntly, some of the stuff I made up ultimately just sounds like it fits in the original material to people that aren’t dedicated to every fact and bit of lore in the nasuverse. And sometimes it causes confusion.
On that particular bit… yeah. Totally my bad. I don’t regret it, but the guys that are annoyed because they constantly have to correct people’s assumptions based on my work (though by all rights the readers should know better than to base all their lore off of fanfiction, especially one that made an interdimensional eldritch chicken of doom in his other works) are absolutely justified to be with me for that one. Intentional or not.
As for the discourse around my DXD fic, I won’t get into the details, but essentially I made my story go down a darker path than what most people were expecting, and many didn’t like it and were more than vocal about it. More so when I stuck to my guns, albeit I certainly could have done so in a better way. If I were to do things over, I probably would not have changed what happened in the story at all, but I would have approached how to deal with it and the backlash differently.
At the end of the day, you can’t appeal to everyone when writing. Especially if you get a large fanbase. And you shouldn’t try to either, otherwise the story will probably just wind up doing the same thing as all the other popular ones out there and wind up losing interest. Its perfectly fine to write your stories however you want, especially if its Fanfiction. Because it’s fanfiction. Just fanfiction. If there ever was a hobby that people shouldn’t take too seriously, its this one. Save for a few people out there with their own circumstances, it’s not supposed to or should be some sort of job or way to make ends meet. It’s just supposed to be your version of a story that everyone knows already, and you’re letting everyone else read it because you want to. Not theirs. Otherwise, they’d be writing it or have written it already. The only person that should be happy with how it turns out at the end of it all is you.
… Just so long as you don’t write something that would have the local authorities busting in through your roof. I know what I said, but there’s got to be a line somewhere.
Me: Any advice for the younger people, writing or otherwise?
Third Fang: If you mean writing advice in general? Ramble. Ramble on about whatever you damn well please. Ramble until the cows sing hymns of your glorious story of nonsense, and you get awarded countless accolades to pay for your chefs so you may not have to cook or buy groceries another day in your life! For is that not the ultimate glorious goal in the end of the successful?! Glorious, glorious hymning cow meat bought and cooked for you by people under your employment?!
… Did you see what I did there?
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, and it is easier to press the delete key than it is to meticulously plan out every step perfectly ahead of time. Get what you want out on paper first and have fun with it. Seriously. I wouldn’t have stuck with writing for so long if I didn’t enjoy what I did and how I did it. Worry about the details and imperfections afterwards. Once you have the rough idea of what you actually want right in front of you, then bother to care about the annoying stuff from middle school Language Arts class that virtually everyone made a point to forget the moment they graduated. There’s no five paragraph essays here.
Oh, and abuse the enter key like it owes you money. Nobody likes large paragraphs, aka, wall of texts. Break them up whenever you can. They make reading in general a pain and easy to lose where you are on the page. Its a major quality of life thing for prospective readers.
Me: I do hope you enjoyed that interview. You can check out Third Fang’s work, which I have linked above, and check out my own web serial here. see you in the next interview!
4 thoughts on “Fan Fiction Author Interview: Third Fang”
I did enjoy this very much. I like how he just decided to start writing since it doesn’t cost anything. It’s encouraging to think that way–even if we don’t have money, no one can take away your imagination. Totally random aside, I know the general area where he grew up, so it’s interesting for me to read from that angle.
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Glad you enjoyed the interview. I think the similar way. Because if I got stuck in the money, I would never write again.
But since it doesn’t cost me anything for continuing writing, I will do it for the rest of my life, as long as my brain and fingers work.
Ooo. Another one in the fan-fiction genre. Third Fang is pretty well travelled for sure. And you’re getting really good with your questions. If you’ve ever thought about breaking into journalism, you’ll have a pretty handy portfolio on standby, that’s for sure. And I love his tip of rambling for writing. I guess as a pantser at heart, it almost seems like his tip was meant for me. Awesome effort, Tanish!
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I doubt anyone would hire a blind journalist, not that I mind doing that kind of work. Sitting with someone, and speaking with them over their interests and work is exciting to to do.
Maybe I’ll open a podcast one day. Until that happens, I will do these text interviews. I’m glad that you like my questions, I actually think hard about what kind of questions to ask someone. Thanks for swinging by, Stuart!