I mentioned this in my last post and a friend in my program did a presentation on fanfiction the other day, so I feel like now is the time, while I still have someone else’s brilliance and my thoughts on it rattling around in my head.
So, what is awesome about fanfiction, you might ask (especially if you’ve never written fanfiction)?
I should mention that I don’t write fanfiction. I attempted to write fanfiction a couple of times when I was younger and super into Harry Potter, but it always felt too much like playing with someone else’s toys. Oh, quick digression here: I have never liked playing with other people’s toys. It always felt weird to me, like there were rules that I didn’t know. And sometimes they had marks on them that I didn’t understand how they got there, what the backstory was, and it made me feel weird to make up a story about what had happened because they weren’t my toys.
Yup, there’s something weird about me. Do with it what you will.
Anyway, here are some of the things that are awesome about fanfiction
- It can be a great way to learn the ropes of storytelling. Yes, there are some terrible fanfics out there, but a lot of these people are just getting their feet wet. It may be the first thing they’ve ever written that wasn’t for school. So if you’re not a fanfiction reader and you brave the waters of fanfiction, be kind. They’re probably doing their best.
- For the most part, readers of fanfiction understand and accept that the writers are at the novice level. As a result, they are often very good at bolstering confidence.
- It shows an engagement with characters and stories that I can only applaud. I’m not going to claim that every piece of fanfiction is good, but every one is the work of a person who really liked something. And I like when people like things. As long as they don’t try to make me like the thing, too. I will watch Apocalypse, Now in my own damn time, and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop pushing me, okay?! … Sorry.
- When you write fanfiction, you don’t have to worry about finding your audience, finding your niche. You are in your niche already, and you know your audience well because you probably belonged to it before you started writing for it.
- There’s miraculous freedom in fanction, whether freedom from the constraints of genre, form and structure, social taboos. As long as you tag your shit, you can do whatever you want.
- It gives people who aren’t fluent in a language an opportunity to practice.
- Strong communities are grown in fanfiction.
- Some book series and TV shows have giant gaps between books/seasons, and sometimes you really just need some Sherlock Holmes right NOW.
- Everybody loves a remix. Well, no, not always, but remixes can be really cool. But maybe that’s just me.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I think it’s enough. Not every list needs ten items.
So, what are your thoughts on fanfiction?