The Revelation

Fans and Their Fiction

Elizabeth Panter, Staff Writer

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Though it’s popularity and even existence is unknown to many, fanfiction is quite popular. Simply typing the word into a search engine will pull up thousands of results. However, what exactly is fanfiction?
Merriam-Webster.com states fanfiction is “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet.” The social media site Tumblr has quite many fanfiction stories, or usually called fanfics, but nothing compared to fanfiction-oriented sites such as ArchiveofOurOwn.org and Fanfiction.net. Some people might scoff at the mere notion of fanfiction-what is the purpose of it when people could just watch or read the actual material?
Fanfiction provides a creative outlet for material involving their favorite characters and tales the canon1 simply does not provide. Imagine the characters of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter in an AU2 where instead of wizards and witches, they were all Muggles and worked at a coffee shop? Fans like to imagine these scenarios for their own enjoyment. And if it’s harmless, as fanfiction writers create content for readers and only payment expected consists of comments and likes, what is the problem?
Not all authors support this. George R.R. Martin of the widely popular Game of Thrones series, dislikes the idea of fanfiction, at least with his characters. The Sydney Morning Herald states that at an Australian conference, Martin knows fans write fanfiction out of love, but thinks they are lazy.
“I would rather they make up their own characters and their own stories and not just borrow my world,” Martin said.
However, fanfiction can lead towards new ideas and rewritings of classic books. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was rewritten into a zombie-infested world by Seth Grahame-Smith. This story, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was received so well it was made into a film. Also, famous authors have written fanfiction before they published novels. Rainbow Rowell is one of these authors and wrote romantic fanfics of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, or commonly known as the ship3 Drarry4. Now she’s published multiple bestselling books which have won awards.
Fanfiction is quite imbedded in society without raising much awareness. Dante’s Inferno falls into the category called self-insert, where the reader is written within the story as a character. Self-inserts typically have the reader written in with third person, using pronouns, or in the second person, using “you.” However, Dante’s most famous work fits into this category has he places himself within the piece of fiction, as he truly did not go to Hell and meet Virgil and countless other historical figures. With so many novels falling into the category of fanfiction, is it actually literature?
“I think [fanfiction] should be considered a subgenre of literature,” Sophomore Dani Maposa said.
Fanfiction appears to be harmless, but there are many reasonable arguments against it. No matter your view, fanfiction is growing and allowing fans to create and view more content of their favorite stories.

1. Slang for original content
2. Alternative universe
3. Short for relationship
4. Most ships have names created by the fans, and typically these names are their first or surname mashed together

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Fans and Their Fiction