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Life > Experiences

Should fanfiction be considered a valid form of literature?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Let’s be honest, whose book nerd life didn´t started with a fanfiction obsession as a middle schooler? Don’t be shy, I know that probably 90% of you all have read fanfics or at least a Twitter AU (short form for Alternative Universe, commonly used on the mentioned social media). 

Jokes aside, in the early 2010s, fanfictions began to take a really important place in the literature world. But it hasn’t always been like this. 

It is not relevant for this article to tell the story of their origin (if you are interested in the subject, after this reading, click here), but it began to gain popularity in the 70s, when Jennifer Guttridge published an actual book about two Star Trek characters – and the thing is, it was a porn material. 

However, within the rise of the internet, the fanfiction websites came along, such as Wattpad, AO3 (Archive of Our Own) and Spirit Fanfictions. Fandoms began to post their work and people read it. People got inspired, and others started doing the same. And fics became a “socially accepted” part of society. 

Once dreamers of fame, a few names among those anonymous accounts actually became famous: Anna Tood, the writer of the books that inspired the hit movies: After. Or Fifty Shades of Grey’s E. L. James, and many more examples of famous books or movies that were once fanfictions from chronically online fangirls. 

Official trailer for the last “After” movie, a sequence of five feature films based on the original Harry Styles fanfic on Wattpad

Let’s get to the point.

Is it a real form of literature? Yes. 

Sadly, within its popularization, the stereotypes began to emerge. “it’s basically porn”, “a 13-year-old wrote that, how could it be any serious?” and more of what we, fanfiction lovers, have heard of. 

Although, it is kinda true – come on, I bet a big part of all the fanfictions you have ever read had the same amount of grammar mistakes as it had of porn, and were indeed written by a 13-year-old girl who had never held hands romantically (still, could write the best chemistry that you will ever devour in your life). But sometimes, a story is so well written, within hundreds of chapters and seasons, and it becomes better and more profound than the original work will ever be.

So it is not a surprise to learn that authors cannot read stuff inspired by their works. Fanfics expand the original world and its characters in unidimensional proportions, showing that a piece of mainstream media, known to be superficial, is deep and can be seen in tons of different perspectives (similar to some classic works, huh? Whose teacher has never overanalyzed a random book from the 1800s?).

“We currently have about 2.5 million registered users and almost 6 million works in over 36,700 fandoms.”

AO3 Statistics 2020: A Look Behind the Scene| Archive of Our Own

The point is, fanfiction is for bright people who are growing, who are scared of the world and need a little comfort.

By my particular experience: my life was chaotic. I was suffering bullying at school and feeling ugly (I was 13, this age is the WORST for all of us), however, I knew I could forget all my problems the moment I opened my phone and saw that a new chapter of my favorite stories had been uploaded. 

And it is due to fanfiction that I am right here.

I used to read it a lot (I mean, I got graded F’s at school several times because I was reading instead of studying), thus I began to read published books, and write some scenarios that I would only dream to read about. I began to feel that my place was writing stories that were never told for curious and enthusiastic people like me to read them. That is why I am studying Journalism today. 

Fanfiction opened doors to me that no one ever could. It is a free form to democratize literature for young people. Those who don’t have money, or the interest, to buy a book can just go online and read it, and learn the power of stories that can change their lives.

That’s why we need to protect it and, mostly, encourage, this form of expression that is already a big part of our culture as a society.


The article above was edited by Rafaella Alcici.

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Isa Mucilo

Casper Libero '26

Studying journalism at Cásper Líbero College, I am amused by the culture world- such as movies, books, tv shows and theatre. I aim to inspire girls to develop the same passion I feel for those things by my articles and words.