The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Ever watched a show and wondered how two characters that never interacted together would react if they met? Ever listened to a band and asked yourself if the songs they played were about each other? Ever seen a movie and thought that there was so much more to tell of the story? Ever read a book and felt too frustrated by how it ended?
Well then, my good friend, fanfiction is made for you.
Fanfiction is “a type of literature, usually written on the Internet, by people who admire a particular novel, movie, etc., with characters taken from these stories” according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. One of the best places to find fanfiction nowadays is Archive of Our Own, provided by the Organisation of Transformative Works, “a nonprofit organization, established by fans in 2007, to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms.” You can also read some interesting works on Wattpad.
Back when I was young (meaning 12 years old), fanfiction was scattered across a lot more websites, like Fanfiction.net, or even on blogs (have you ever heard of Skyblog? Good times. Or maybe not.) You had to dig into the Internet to find things that would suit you and sometimes you ended up disappointed, but you would never stop searching. Fanfiction writers were hiding behind pseuds and posting their work at an irregular pace that always made it hard to know if the fanfiction had been abandoned by its author, or if they just took a year to write each chapter.
Today, you can even find some fanfiction on Twitter, and most commonly Tumblr. Fanfiction has become more and more common throughout the years, to the point that it is possible to find fanfiction on literally any subject. Yes, even the president of the United States gets its own tag on AO3, and soccer players too, or singers, or actors, or fictional characters from so many shows, some you have probably never heard of, and yet here are the fanfictions about it. There are fans who believe in the power of writing and who will write no matter what, just for the sake of sharing the content they like and took so much pleasure working on.
Fanfiction has often been criticized for being made by teenage girls which is not always the case. You will come across writers who are 40 something working persons having their life together but still wanting to share their love for their favorite shows. However, it is true that fanfiction is often an escape for women to write the stories they want to read in a world where media are almost always made by men, and for men. Therefore the critiques made on fanfiction are inextricably linked to latent sexism and sometimes even homophobia. Indeed, after women, queer kids are the next group to take on fanfiction to find the representation they’re so desperately lacking in the real world.
Because this is what fanfiction is often about: representation. Even if it’s fantasies and obviously fictional stories, they provide content never found elsewhere. Some fanfictions are the equivalent of books, 300k written and available for free, and they’re not poorly written at all. It’s a wonderful thing that people will share on the Internet without expecting anything in return (or maybe just a couple of comments and kudos), because writing makes them feel happy, and sharing too.
By the way! You may actually know of some famous fanfiction already. Ever heard of 50 Shades of Grey? Well, this best-selling novel was first and foremost a fanfiction of no other media than the famous saga Twilight itself! And it sold over 70 million copies worldwide… It must definitely mean something, doesn’t it?
So go ahead and start reading fanfiction, I can assure you you won’t regret it. If, just like me, you enjoy keeping your head full of stories, most particularly when they extend a movie or a book you really enjoyed, you will certainly adore reading fanfiction. There is everything out there in the wild country of the Internet, you just have to take a closer look, and you will find something to your taste.