Let’s start at the beginning. Do you know what fan fiction is? It’s hard to tell because generally, it’s not something one usually admits. Why? Embarrassment probably. I know I used to be embarrassed. And it can take a lot of explaining. Like, what is fan fiction? Why do you read it? So, as I said, let’s start at the beginning.
“What is fan fiction?”
So that pretty much sums it up, tbh. Fan fiction is a fan-made story about characters from a movie, television show, or book. Occasionally it’s about real people (i.e.*NSYNC). Pick a book, pick a tv show, pick a movie…I can almost guarantee you’ll find fan fiction out in the internet world written by people who love the show, book or movie as much as you but have a creative need to take over and deliver where they believed the writers may have gone wrong or not given enough information.
There are so many directions fanfic can go. Alternate Universe: where you take characters and write them in scenarios that have nothing to do with the actual storyline of the show, or deviate from it. Canon: where you keep the characters in their current places and continue on with a storyline or add more detail. There’s also different formats and every genre. Drabbles are very short stories, usually 100-500 words. Multi-chapter fics are exactly that, chapter stories! One-shots cover everything in one short story, usually more than 500 words. These are the most common. But trust me, people can write anything about any character in any genre, in any format. That is the beauty!
Where do I fall into all this, you might be wondering. How does one go down this rabbit hole? Well, it’s not that complicated. I love things to a particular degree. When I am dedicated to a show (LOST, The Last Ship) I NEED to explore it. I need to read the characters I ship together because the show only gives you so much.
Ship, you ask. What is shipping? “Shipping is a fandom practice that involves imagining relationships between two fictional characters from a show, movie, or book series. Ship is short for romantic relationship.” Sometimes the show or movie gives you two characters together and sometimes you prefer two other characters together. Have you ever thought “ugh he should be with her, not her!”?? Well, congratulations, you were shipping people together just then.
Oh, I got sidetracked there. I digress. I began reading at a young age, chapter books. I had no idea fan fiction existed until my friends and I decided to write a story in middle school about our crushes, who happened to be celebrities. Didn’t you do that at that age? No? Okay, well anyway…
So I dabbled mostly in that type of writing until high school when not only did I discover there was a website for this (YAY INTERNET!) but that you could write about anything and everything!! I took to a few different shows I loved (JAG, American Dreams) and began imagining different scenarios for the characters. In fanfic, you’re taking someone else’s characters and writing them in different situations. Might sound illegal, but it’s just fine as long as you never claim to own a show, character, etc. (Disclaimers are important, to protect yourself and your work).
I’ve written my fair share of multi-chapter stories. Before I was married, I had an abundance of time to write. Marriage slowed that down a little (and I only confessed my hobby about two years ago to my husband) and then once I had my daughter, one-shots were all I could muster. I write drabbles mostly at this time. I describe it as a snapshot into a scene. You pick one piece of a bigger picture and dissect it. Not a lot, just occasionally when the mood hits and I have to get something out. I prefer the Marvel fandom at the moment, but I’ll take characters and put them in AU situations at the drop of a hat. I wish there were more hours in the day…My longest story is over sixty chapters long. I can’t write like that anymore.
SO. You probably have questions. Why do I write fanfiction? Because it’s fun is the number one reason. You write it and post it for the internet world to read. It’s free to read and write. You can write anything you want. Why NOT write?! And if you get feedback, or reviews as they are called, it makes it ALL worth the time and effort.
What do I write? Usually romance or drama, sometimes angst. I have an affinity for putting my characters in heartbreaking situations to torture the reader and then bringing them back slowly from the brink until we reach the happy ending.
Did you know E.L. James wrote Fifty Shades of Gray as a fan fiction originally? It was for the Twilight fandom. It would be considered an AU version of the characters. Edward became Christian Gray and Bella because Anastasia Steele. Mind blown?
In fan fiction, everything is embraced. The sexuality of the character, the dangerous situations, the misery of the character, the hopelessness of a situation. Fandom loves to be tortured. Do you read comic books? Graphic novels? If you’re a Marvel fan, think of Bucky Barnes’ whole run in the comics. Talk about torture. He is one of fanfic’s favorites. Why? BECAUSE WE LOVE AGONY AND SUFFERING!
Some people write because it’s an easy way to start writing–the characters are created for you and all you have to do is put them in a storyline. Some write because it’s a creative outlet, but they only write about characters they deem worthy. Everyone has their own, beautiful reasons. I embrace it all. Writers of shows and movies take the time to create these characters, what better way to appreciate that than to write about them? I would be damn flattered!
Below there are several reputable websites that either display fan fiction or are talking about it, in case you wanted to check out other sources.
- “13 Things Fan Fiction Writers Are Tired of Explaining” https://www.bustle.com/articles/71438-13-things-fan-fiction-writers-are-very-tired-of-explaining
- “3 Reasons Why I Write Fanfiction” https://writersblock.loft.org/2013/07/10/2557/3_reasons_why_i_write_fanfiction
- “Fanfic Tropes” http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanFic
- “Sex, Misery, And Cliffhangers: How I Write Fanfic” https://www.buzzfeed.com/selinachurchill/drip-the-wax-on-me-edward?utm_term=.piEJp2mlqx#.puQ58LjYl3
- “Fanfiction: Unleash Your Imagination” http://www.fanfiction.net
- “An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works” http://www.archiveofourown.org
Do you write fanfiction? Want to talk about it? Comment below! I LOVE to talk fanfic!