One of the most creative ways that fans can pay homage to their favorite writers and worlds is through fanfiction. There is a lot of stigma surrounding fanfiction, as well as so many different forms and variations it can take. It’s like the awkward Pokemon of the geek world – sometimes beautiful and sometimes really really weird. I’m here to give you a little 101 information about fanfiction.
Fanfiction terms, defined.
The world of fanfiction is seriously a world all its own! It has its own jargon that can sometimes be confusing to a beginner.
Fanfiction is as simple as it sounds. It is fiction about fandom topics, written by the fans (that’s us!). It is based on the creations of other authors, and not written by the original author. Fans in particular wish to show their appreciation for great works and creators, be it movies, books, anime, comics, musicians, and any other creations they adore. Thus, the fans began to write fanfiction to show their appreciation and obsession.
A fanfic or fic is just a shortened term for fanfiction.
A fandom is a group of people who share a common interest, which inspires a sense of community and camaraderie among themselves. They gather together to talk about the joy they have for this particular world. They chat, draw, cosplay, and of course, write fanfiction to show their love (no matter how creepy, amazing, weird, or awesome the writing is). Fandoms can arise from loving a certain universe, book, comic, TV show, band, or movie. Really anything that inspires a group of people to go absolutely geeking mad over it, that would constitute a fandom.
There are many different types of fanfiction, including songfics, AUs, Mary Sues and one-shots. Songfics are fanfics where the plot is set to lyrics. An AU is an alternate universe, where details of a story are changed. A popular AU is a high school AU, where the characters are normal students in high school, as opposed to superheroes or band members. One-shots are one chapter fanfictions. Mary Sues are when a fanfiction writer inserts an original character (who often is an idealized version of them selves) into the fic.
History of Fanfiction
Fanfiction dates back to the 1700’s, when people were publishing unauthorized sequels to novels. The first recorded example of this is the 1740 novel “Pamela” by Samuel Richardson, which inspired fanfics. Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” also inspired several fanfics. In the modern day, the Internet has played a large role in the rapid development of fanfiction in the modern world, allowing easier access and a wider range fanfiction.
What’s the most popular fanfiction on FanFiction.net?
|1||Harry Potter||727,000 pieces published|
|5||Hetalia: Axis Powers||115,000|
Who are the more well-known fan fiction authors or writings?
Recently, multiple fanfictions have been made into books, such as “Fifty Shades of Gray” by E.L. James (Twilight fanfiction) and “After” by Anna Todd (One Direction fanfiction). Other writers such as Meg Cabot, author of “The Princess Diaries,” wrote fanfiction before being published. Other authors like Naomi Novik, author of the “Temeraire” series, continue to write fanfiction, even after achieving fame. Many authors encourage and support fanfiction, though some are not as enthused.
How do I get started?
The best place to start is the internet. If you type “fanfiction” in the search bar, you will find thousands of works available for all your fanfiction-y needs. It can be intimidating with all the amazing, well constructed fanfictions out there. Never fear, because every single one of those writers started right in your shoes – With no idea what they were getting themselves into.
I am a fanfiction writer and I spent hours reading countless fanfictions before even thinking of working up the courage to write my own works. Whether that is your case, or you are completely new to the fanfiction universe, don’t worry: I have you covered.
One of the majorly important things you need is a website for your fanfiction. It is no use having a ton of writing, but nowhere to post it. But even if you haven’t written a word, don’t worry. It also can help get the writing juices flowing as you absorb all the fanfiction-ness, or just provide some fun reading about characters you know and love. There are a lot of sites out there for different needs. Here are 2 I use.
fanfiction.net (FFN or FF.net):
- Easy access to communities
– bunch of writings grouped together bases on characters, plot, or other aspects
- Crossovers (or xover)
– writings that have aspects of other fandoms (characters, events, setting)
- Tag feature
– tells fandoms, characters, and other detail present in the Fanfiction
– allows you to input elements you want to read about based on the tags it has
– choose if you or don’t want a certain fandom, character, etc.
- Real people
– includes celebrities, bands, YouTubers, and other real people as opposed to characters in a book/movie
Some sites cater specifically to certain fandoms, such as Harry Potter-centric websites. Others are a wide variety, like the two previously mentioned. Everyone has their own preference as to what site they use. Most websites allow you to give feedback on the story, such as give it a like, or follow it, so you know when the next update (next chapter uploaded) is.
Once you find a website that you feel comfortable using and posting your future fanfictions to, feel free to browse about the website. It is best to become familiar with the website and its inner workings. In particular, if you notice any special features that are provided or options that are specific to that website you may want to familiarize yourself with it. You can also take this time to read the works of others who have similar interests as you. Cause after all, fandomisLIFE.
Do you read or write any fanfiction and if so, what? Tell us in the comments!