Welcome to a new blog feature! I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, but now it’s finally happening. Every Friday, I will introduce you to more of the wonderful and divisive world of fanfiction. I read a great deal of it, from drabbles to novel-length stories, and the creativity and passion of the writers never ceases to amaze me.
So, what is fanfiction?
The simplest explanation is that fanfiction consists of fiction written about characters or place settings taken from another person’s original fiction. It is written by fans of that particular book, film, tv show, or video game, rather than the creators themselves.
So – wait. Does that make it plagiarism?
No, it does not. Though there have been questions of copyright infringement in the past, fanfiction authors are not paid for their work. They write stories as a labour of love, and readers respond by favoriting and reviewing their work. While some authors of original works have banned the use of any of their stories in fanfiction, many others are indifferent or even encouraging of fanfiction authors playing with their characters and concepts.
You may in fact be very familiar with some works of fanfiction. While its true that fanfic authors can’t profit from their work, there is an exception. Fanfiction of public domain works can be published for profit. What does that mean?
Well, any novel that you’ve seen that’s a fairy tale retelling? Fanfiction. The immense number of TV shows based on Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes? Fanfiction. You can barely walk into a bookstore without tripping over a Shakespeare retelling. Fanfiction.
Basically, any work that is derivative of another work is fanfiction.
Who writes fanfiction?
Literally anyone you could imagine. Both men and women, though for the most part female authors seem to dominate. People come from all walks of life – professors, veterans, students, housewives, and everyone in between write fanfiction.
Why read fanfiction?
But Daniella, you say, why bother with fanfiction when there are so many undiscovered published works out there? Well, the simple answer is because I enjoy it. There are many reasons to read fanfiction.
Have you ever read a book which you thought was just okay, but a side character you really loved never got any page-time? There’s probably at least one fanfic written focusing entirely on that character.
Have you ever wished that an author went more into the politics, religion, or history of the world they created? Chances are that someone else has, and that they’ve written fanfiction about it!
Have you ever wished that there was more diversity in your favourite book? Someone else has, and they’ve written fanfiction about it!
Have you ever wished that the characters from one book grew up in the setting of another book? Or that characters from your favourite TV show and book meet each other? There’s probably a fanfiction for that.
Have you ever finished a book and wished that the author hadn’t left so many questions unanswered? Someone else has, and they’ve written a fanfiction about it!
But wait, I’ve heard that fanfiction is porn?
Yes, some of it is. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find some. If not, don’t read those stories. All stories are usually clearly marked for explicit content.
Where can I read fanfiction?
Though there are many places you can find fanfiction, there are two main websites that fit the bill.
FanFiction.net is the first. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest and most popular fanfiction site in the world, with stories hosted in more than 30 languages.
ArchiveOfOurOwn is the next. With millions of stories, it has been praised for its curation and organization.
Okay, but where do I start?
Every Friday I’m going to bring you different fanfiction recommendations and reviews, both for those getting started in fanfic, and those who already love it.
Everyone has opinions on what they want from fanfiction, so you may or may not like my suggestions. The best way to go about things is to poke around the search features of the sites and see how it goes!
Don’t be discouraged by finding stories with bad grammar, or incomplete ones. The bane of every fanfic reader is finding quality stuff that’s complete (or at least updated regularly).
Ultimately, for those who love fanfiction, the brilliant stories are worth the search!
Do you read fanfiction? Why or why not? Are there specific fandoms you would like story recommendations from? Let me know in the comments below!