I’m very proud to say I am a huge fangirl, anything from Series of unfortunate events to Harry Potter to Sherlock, and fanfics (fan fiction) add a whole other layer to these beloved franchises. I mean who doesn’t want to read about Harry and Draco getting married and buying a house? Apparently a lot of people, archiveofourown.org boasts 1865000 users and 4686000 works, and there’s a lot of published novels that started as fanfics. But sadly this form of literature isn’t as celebrated as we would hope, I know I personally hide this hobby and I know of other fangirls and fanboys do the same. So why is a hobby that is essentially writing often kept in the shadows? I want to talk about this as well as how authors feel about fanfics.
It’s so easy to dismiss fanfic as silly little stories filled with sex written by people who aren’t good enough to be serious authors. But there’s a lot more to it then that, I’ve read some fanfics longer that I’m more invested in than printed novels. Fanfic also often depict underrepresented communities too, it’s often said people write about things they fell a connection to and this is seen in how fanfic writers celebrate LGBT+ relationships that just don’t exist in mainstream media. People want to see people like themselves represented and so they said fuck it and did it themselves.
I often find it strange when authors, creators and actors feel upset over seeing their work be represented in fanfic, an example of this being Orson Scott Card who has a well-known anti-fanfic stance even though he himself started out writing fanfic. Fans take a great deal of time and effort writing these stories for free, carrying on characters and franchises long after they are finished and the people involved have moved on. Even now, 10 years after its completion, the archiveofourown.org page for the BBC show Merlin is updated daily with not only fics that carry on the cannon show but also spin offs and new ways of looking at the
But of course there’s the question of copyright and if this is considered breaking the law. The simple answer? No. These writers produce these works for free in their spare time purly for love.
In 2013 Fangirl By Rainbow Rowell was released into this world and this really changed how people saw the world of fandoms. This follows the story of a fanfiction writer and how her writing fits into a normal life. Then in 2017 Carry On was released, this book being the fanfic the character wrote in Fangirl. A fanfic written by the author of the original! I feel like this was a huge step forward in bringing this sub community to the forefront. There’s also so many printed novels that started their lives as fanfics. The most famous being 50 shades, the serious starting its life as a Twilight fanfic. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare started as a Harry Potter fanfic. All these books people love started as free to read fanfics on a website.
I feel fanfics are a huge part of literature, they’re a way for young people to hone their skills before they tackle their own novels that will one day be celebrated. We need to be more accepting of people’s work and mainstream media need to use this as a window into what people what.
I also feel fanfic should be brought out of the shadow, something you can tell a first date when they ask about your hobbies or an interviewer when they ask about your interests at a job interview. People need to say this isn’t just a form of sort porn. Harry and Draco getting married and buying a house.
Find my last blog post here about Abebooks.