Before I began to focus more on my own original work, I was an avid fanfiction writer. I’ve published hundreds of stories on fanfiction.net and AO3. I wondered when I began to work on original content if I would get offended by fanfiction like some authors do, and the answer is a huge, resounding, no. I love fanfiction as much as ever, and hope that someday others will be writing fanfiction about my work.
There’s many reasons why, but first I want to say that for authors who do not like seeing others write stories using their characters, I get it. It is easy to get protective of the characters and worlds we create. But for me personally, I would much prefer others write about and enjoy my characters just as much as I have. And here’s why:
My characters are not only my own, and neither are my settings. They say that it is impossible to write something 100% original, and I agree. Writers get inspired by all sorts of things, including characters from other series and people in their lives. I created the characters, sure, but I only wrote about a small part of those character’s lives. If I’m not going to write more about them, why shouldn’t others?
I want to see how others interpret my characters. Of course, I had a specific idea in mind and I hope to convey that idea when I write, but what people see in that character will vary based on their experiences.
I want to see how my characters will react to the various scenarios fanfiction authors put them in. When you’re writing a novel you have tons of ability to be creative, but the structure of a story can be very limiting in ways fanfiction is not. Fanfiction allows scenarios that are not relevant to the main plot to play out, and those scenarios are always very entertaining.
Coffeeshop AUs. Bakery AUs. High school AUs. Vampire AUs. I love AUs. They’re so incredibly fun, and by the very nature of what a novel is (AKA the original universe), nothing I write for my story will ever be an AU.
Fanfiction is a huge part of fandom, and fandom brings so many people together. I’ve met some of my best friends because of fandom. I met my wife because of fandom. I started attending conventions because of fandom. I want to encourage fandom. I want my work to be something that can help people grow closer as a community.
Fanfiction is what got me writing regularly, first small one shots, and eventually long AUs. I majored in English in college, and knew I wanted to major in it in high school because of fanfiction. Fanfiction makes writing more accessible to people.
Fanfiction often explores side characters and their backstories. When I’m writing I can’t go into the backstories of every character. Sometimes I don’t even have intricate backstories for some of them. This medium allows these other characters to shine. Come on...Matt from Death Note anyone? No one would remember him without fanfiction!
Unlike traditional media such as novels and TV, fanfiction can stray into many different genres, even within the same story. A death scene can be rewritten to become funny, character deaths can be explained away, and crossovers between different fandoms can happen whether they make sense or not. Potterlock guys, I’m just saying.
Did I mention I literally met my wife because we both wrote Death Note fanfiction on fanfiction.net?
I hate it when you finish an amazing book, video game, or movie, and that’s just...it. There’s nothing else to enjoy because the story is complete. But you can always get around that with fanfiction.
Fanfiction writers are kind of badasses. Before we had websites to post fanfiction to, Star Trek fans were putting fanfiction in zines and mailing it to people, or selling it at conventions. Someone in my NaNoWriMo writing group has told us stories about writing to people to request fanfiction. Fans are intense and I love it!
Do you love fanfiction? Do you hate it? What was your first series that you read fanfiction for? And I’m always looking for Johnlock recs so please give me some if you have any.