There’s a very good reason why I’m writing this article and not one of the reviews waiting for me. While on the internet, it’s easy for me to forget that not everyone around, not even some of my friends, share my interests. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me. But there are other times when I get annoyed, even angry, because people tend to judge my choices because of preconceptions they are unwilling to leave behind. So, for all the times I used to spend inventing all kinds of stories and for all the people I’ve met through various sites throughout the years, I give you an article on fan fiction.
“What is fan fiction?” Now that’s one question I’ve heard one too many times. Fan fiction (aka fan fic) has its roots in that question that pops into our minds when we see a movie – maybe even an anime, they’re very popular – or read a book: what if? A fan fiction is a story written by fans (hence the name), using certain elements from the original source, and turning it into something new. Usually, something beautiful. Honestly, I’ve read fan fictions that were better than some of the new novels that are so praised nowadays. Have a look at the stories written by Kyla or Ali (bubblygal92), they are brilliant; especially fans of Doctor Who, go and read them. There are also a lot fan fics for Harry Potter, Supernatural, Sherlock and for any other fandom you can think of. Side note, a fandom is what the group of fans is called.
So, before you start writing fan fiction, you should always use a disclaimer. It’s better to be safe than sorry; these stories aren’t for sale, nobody makes money from them. Even if some are poorly written or bordering on porn, most of them are worth reading, even if it means spending a couple of days with them or waiting anxiously for the next chapter. Yes, I’ve done both. And, as a teenager, I used to write stories or one-shots myself (a one-shot is basically a short story, just one chapter long). It can be the first step – or at least an important step – towards something grander. You are encouraged to be creative, to dive into your imagination and free your ideas. Never be afraid of putting your thoughts on paper… or of criticism. Of course, once your work is online, you risk receiving bad reviews (or flames), but people usually offer constructive criticism and never back away when it comes to praising what they love.
Now, if you think that only children and teenagers would spend their time with fan fiction, think again, my lovelies. Sure, a lot of these writers are teenagers, mostly girls, but just as many are adults with families and careers. So why would they write? Because they can, because they do something they love. Because you, the one who chooses to do this, meet people who share your interests and you can become friends and learn new aspects about a different culture. Or, as it once happened to me, your love for a foreign language might grow so much that you will no longer let it go. You become more open-minded and more confident when it comes to expressing your ideas.
Children should try this, write their own stories. I’ve noticed that they love it and they can learn by playing. Teaching literature can be difficult, but fan fiction is a great way to help them understand the message of a text and come up with their own interpretation. Side note: has anyone read Wide Sargasso Sea? Or any other sequels for classic novels (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind)? No, I’m not calling them fan fiction, but we can see here the same principle: start from the canon, the official story, and write your own. Encourage creativity, regardless of the form in which it presents itself!
The second part of the article will be an interview with Kyla Andersen, about art, fan fiction and everything in-between. As a final point, here are some more terms linked to the writings of the fandoms:
– A/N: author’s note… at the beginning or the end of the fic;
– AU: alternative universe; it does what it says on the tin. The fan fic is either a crossover or it deviated (quite a lot) from the original plot;
– Crossover: elements from two or more universes are brought together. Their love-baby is a whole new world, with brand new adventures. Or just a love story between two characters who would have never met otherwise. Personally, I’m not a big fan of crossovers; most of the stories I’ve read were either incomplete or the writing style was… not that good;
– Drabble: short-story, around 100 words long;
– Fangirl (or fanboy)/ fangirling: the former is self-explanatory; the latter refers to the reaction said fan gets when finding something, anything related to his or her fandom.
– Fluff: the baby of romance; it’s usually a short story focusing on intimate moments of the couple (cuddling, kissing, nothing too graphic). Or parts of a longer story, which describe those actions;
– Headcanon: unlike canon (original story), this is an idea not mentioned by the author, but accepted by the fans nonetheless because of the way it explains certain aspects of the plot or the motivations of a character;
– Lemon/lime: to put it bluntly… sex;
– Marty Stu: male version of Mary Sue;
– Mary Sue: the ban of our existence, the one we all hate, but seems to pop up more often than it should. She’s that one character who’s so perfect she’s obviously fake; she’s bloody annoying. No, it’s not a reflection of the author, as some claim. It’s simply an idealized version of what some find feminine. That apparently means knowing anything and everything with little to no effort, looking like a model, being a virgin (in most cases), maybe being a kind-hearted orphan, one who faced the hardships of life… but there’s no character development. Unfortunately, we also find her in well-known novels, so you can’t really blame amateurs for creating one;
– OC: own character; when the authors of the fan fic introduce their own character in the story ;
– OTP: one true pairing, the couple you love/ship the most;
– Ship/shipping: two characters forming a couple (even if they weren’t together in the original story)… and liking said couple;
– Slash: homosexual relationships ahead;
– Songfic: it’s usually a one-shot and it contains either a few lyrics of a song or all the lyrics, in which case we might find them broken in stanzas and placed within the story. The lyrics reflect the plot, the main theme(s) and/or feelings of the character.
What do you believe about fan fiction? Have you ever written such stories?
by Elena Atudosiei