There’s no denying the fact that I’m a massive geek – it’s a description that I take pride in. One of my many geeky hobbies includes a love of Fanfiction, both reading and writing it. What is Fanfiction though? Despite the millions of people worldwide reading and writing it, it’s not so commonly known.
Essentially, Fanfiction is a story that is written about an already established fictional universe and the characters within it, including books, movies, TV shows, and video games. Some of the more popular Fandoms include Harry Potter, Supernatural, Sherlock, and the Marvel Universe. It sounds like something that would appeal only to teenage girls, but the demographic is wide and varied, with writers ranging from high school kids through to grandparents.
So what’s the appeal? People write Fanfiction for lots of reasons, either as a ‘fix’ or just to explore the ‘what if’s’. Do you hate the way your favourite TV show ended? You can write a different ending. Are you sad that they killed off a particular character? You can change that. Do you wish that two characters who had a certain chemistry got together and opened a coffee shop together? You’re not the only one! Fanfiction gives us an outlet to explore these worlds in more depth, to see the characters in different settings and scenarios, and to share these stories with other likeminded individuals.
Being written by amateur authors, the quality does vary from absolutely terrible all the way to better than published works and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. With millions and millions of stories across the main sites (Archive Of Our Own, Fanfiction.net, Wattpad, and Tumblr) you’re bound to find something that you like. Just be sure to check the ratings and on the sites that allow authors to tag, the tags as well. Unlike a standard novel, Fanfiction ratings and tags will give you an idea of how mature the story is so you won’t be taken by surprise by certain themes.
While it’s certainly not for everyone, Fanfiction is a wonderful way to connect with other fans, to discuss and debate your favourite fictional works, and to try your hand at writing your own stories. Readers are generally happy to offer constructive criticism and I for one have found the quality of my writing has improved in leaps and bounds from my participation.