About a year ago when I joined Tumblr I discovered something magical . . . fan-fiction. I'd known about its existence for a long time (thank you Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) and I'd written some before I even knew what it was called (I have Harry Potter 8, 9, 10, and 11 written by my seven-year-old self tucked away underneath my mattress as we speak). But I didn't realize just how huge it was until I started following a few fandom blogs.
|Me upon discovering how much there was to read.|
Still not convinced? Let me list out a few of my reasons of why fan-fiction is so important.
1. It makes you feel like a part of the fandom
And I'm not just talking about being a part of the fandom as a fan (though it certainly does that, too). I'm talking about becoming an actual character in the story. Ever heard of reader inserts? I didn't either until last year, but I absolutely love them.
The basics are it's a normal fan-fiction story, but it's told in the second person. "Y/N" is the main character, which stands for "your name." So "Y/N" becomes "Kate" (in my case), and suddenly I'm the protagonist in the story. I'm a student at Hogwarts, or one of the Doctor's companions, or riding shotgun with Dean Winchester on the way to hunt down a demon. And I can do all of these things just by reading a story in the safety of my own bedroom under the covers. Here's an example of a reader insert:
“I so owned those guys!” Charlie squealed happily. She held up her hand for a high-five, which you accepted with your own grin. Leave it to Charlie to look like she'd been dropped in the middle of Disneyland when in reality you were covered in blood outside an abandoned bar.
“Yeah you did,” you said, beaming at her. “Are you sure this was your first vampire hunt?”
She rolled her eyes. “Totally sure. Couldn't you tell after that first one?”
You giggled, remembering how Charlie had had to swing three times before she could get the head completely off. It was funnier now that you weren't in life-threatening danger.
2. It's great for exercise
There are all kinds of fan-fic stories, but some of the most popular kinds are definitely ones that involve the impossibly cute couples from all of your favorite fandoms. I've read some pretty adorable Tenrose fics that have made me flail and squeal, and all of that helps to burn a few hundred calories. Reading and exercise, all in one. ;)
|Me after reading about Rose and the Meta-Crisis Doctor going to the park with their daughter and being so freaking cute and aoidjgoasdl;liaje.|
|Me after reading the Stolen Dance Supernatural Sam/reader fan-fiction series. Go look it up immediately. Or just click HERE for part 1. It's fabulous. Clearly, considering it's shipworthy and heartbreaking all at the same time.|
I'm not saying that it's always going to be easier to write, or that it's somehow this magical genre that flows effortlessly from your fingertips at all times, but the already developed characters and storyworld certainly help. You don't have to come up with the complicated backstories of your main characters or figure out all of the rooms and secret passageways in Hogwarts. It's already been written for you! Now all you have to do is plop those characters somewhere and make them move. Easy as pie.
4. It's a fantastic warm up
|Me writing fan-fiction. Apparently I have a thing for gifs of people--or animals--typing like their lives depend on it.|
And even just staying in the habit of writing was great for me, because eventually the writer's block vanished and I was able to pick right back up where I left off. Even now I'll write a page or two of my fan-fiction series before diving into my NaNoWriMo novel. It's my favorite kind of warm up.
5. It can be adapted for publication
Though you should never try to make money off of your fan-fiction without the express permission from the original creator, you can take those fan-fiction pieces and rework them so they read as regular short stories. Just take out the unique elements and characters that make it fan-fiction and replace it with characters and elements of your own design.
One of my fan-fiction series that's still in the works has hit 20,000 words and is still going strong. I'm loving it! And when it's finished I'm planning to edit it so it reads like a novella. I just have to change a few things, replace Dean Winchester with a character of my own, and voila. Instant story with the possibility for publication.
6. You can make new friends
This is definitely my top reason to promote fan-fiction. I've bonded with so many people over a shared love for different fandoms. (And as bloggers, you should know just how important online connections are, too!)
In about January of this year, I discovered a fan-fiction writer by the name of Kazzy. She has thousands of faithful followers who read every story she posts (and I'm one of them! She's an awesome writer and the author of the aforementioned Stolen Dance series.). One day, she had the idea to host an online "sleepover." So she set up a Chatzy room so all of us who wanted to could join and talk about "Supernatural" and get to know each other as fellow fangirls/boys.
That night, a girl under the pseudonym Sam Winchester invited me to a private chat so I could participate in a Supernatural roleplay with her and nine other girls. We connected instantly. These girls were so welcoming to me and when I say we've spoken every day since, I'm not exaggerating. We roleplay on nearly a daily basis, text each other all the time, and Skype frequently. I've even met one of roleplayers offline because she only lives a couple hours from me! Even though we've known each other for maybe ten months now, I feel like I know these girls like sisters. We're one big family, and I love it.
|My friend Charlie and me being nerdy dorks, as usual, after she surprised me by showing up at my house when I had no idea she was coming!! (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping to set that up. :) )|
|Charlie and me at a book festival.|
What are some of the best fan-fiction stories you've read? Any personal stories of your own having to do with fan-fic you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about your experiences with it! Leave a comment!