What Is Fanfiction, anyway?

“But what is fanfiction?”

My hairstylist questioned me this last week while I sat in her chair with her hair iron steaming my hair straight. Myself, my mother, my hairstylist’s daughter and the hairstylist were talking about Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray and discussing my book.

As most people should know by now, Fifty Shades of Gray was originally a Twilight fanfiction that was posted online and gained a lot of attraction and a large following. Then after character names were changed from Bella and Edward to Anna and Christian, the fanfiction Master of the Universe became the novel series Fifty Shades of Grey.

Talking about that is how the question “but what is fanfiction?” was asked.

I was already planning on making a post about what fanfiction was, but having Miss K ask me out directly really spurned me to write this.

Here’s a good way to get your mind wrapped around what fanfiction is, if you’re reading this and haven’t ever heard of it, like my hairstylist.

What are you currently into? A book you’re reading. A TV show you’re watching. The newest series on Netflix you’re binging.

Let’s pretend your answers are The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead and…Voltron, Legendary Defenders.

Each of those things…there is fanfiction of it online. More than likely at this site, here, Archive of Our Own. If you were to go on, you could search up each of those by fandom, and you’ll have tons of fanfiction there.

Fanfiction is works of fiction written by fans based on whatever fandom they’re into.

Now fanfiction comes in many forms, there’s art, songs, video.

I’ll stick to stories for my explanation.

Romance, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, all of these fanfiction stories can cover. However the trick with fanfiction is all the characters inside of those stories are the characters from a fandom.

All the Harry Potter characters in a romance story, that may or may not take place in Hogwarts. A Star Trek horror story with Star Trek characters, it can take place on the USS Enterprise, or not.

See, fanfiction takes characters and settings and plot points, and then the fans do whatever they like with them. Play and mix and match and twist things on their head.

A lot of writers get their start from writing fanfiction, because fanfiction is quick and easy and tons of fun. You can share it online, and contact readers and start to learn how to accept constructive feedback and how to make your writing better.

Also note that anyone can write fanfiction. Even people who can’t write write fanfiction. I’ve read fanfiction with horrific errors, both spelling and grammar, with punctuation either missing or completely wrong, in fact, it’s amazing at how oddly formatted and clearly never edited fanfiction that appears online. Yet people can still read and enjoy it.

That’s what fanfiction is about. It’s a purely entertainment media. The story doesn’t have to be perfect or correct or even legible. Its about being entertained, not about being grammatically correct.

If there is anything you’re into, there’s more than likely a fanfiction of it out there. And if there isn’t, you can still make your own.

There’s no shame in liking or writing fanfiction. Literally, there’s hundreds of thousands of fanfictions out there, if not millions. It’s probably millions. I’ve written plenty of my own fanfiction, and I have a few published online.

So if you’ve never read fanfiction before, why not try out this site, Archive of our Own? The site is easy to navigate, so go on, pick the fandom you’re into, and delve into all new stories about characters you love, written by other people who love those characters too.

That’s what fanfiction is and it’s awesome!

If you want to hear more about fanfiction, here’s a great post on the Fantasy-Faction site about it.

And as always, while I write my cat Aomine keeps me company by my side.

sweet dreams, Aomy

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