Hey there, lovelies! I have a confession. I….am a closet fanfiction reader. Well, sorta. Only a few of my friends know that I read fanfiction. Actually, very few of them even know what fanfiction is.
For too long now, there has been a weird taboo around the concept of fanfiction. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, fanfiction is basically exactly what it sounds like: fiction written by fans based on popular works, including books, movies, television shows, or any other form of media. There are plenty of places people go to for write and read content on the web, including the Internet staple Fanfiction.net , Tumblr, LiveJournal, and Archive of Our Own (basically a third parent to me growing up).
Many of us fanfiction devourers are ashamed of admitting that we enjoy this kind of stories for fear that we will be judged or ridiculed by others, as some of those who are familiar with the term think that it’s only about fictional characters getting it on, which is only half-true. This kind of thinking is absolute shit and is the reason why extraterrestrials refuse to visit our planet (probably). We need to change this and encourage more people (especially young adults) to read and write more fanfiction, and here are some of the reasons why.
1.You can read fix-it stories.
If your favorite character dies or gets abducted by tutu-wearing space monkeys or whatever, you will naturally want to change that character’s fate, but it’s not like you can harass the creator of the show/movie/book on Twitter to make them do what you want. Well, technically you can, but please don’t do that. The world is already full of assholes as it is. What you can do instead is to search for fan-made stories where the character is alive and not held by extraterrestrial prima(te) ballerinas—unless you’re the only one who cares about that character, in which case you’re screwed.
2.You can read about your favorite pairing.
Whichever pairing you ship, whether they be popular or, uh…..peculiar, chances are there are a couple of (or more than 50 thousand) stories about them that you can find on AO3 alone. Want to read about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy getting creative with their wands? Go ahead. In the mood for some Mycroft Holmes/umbrella? Here at my Treasure Trove, I don’t judge.
3.You can find your favorite characters in another universe.
Admit it, at least once in your life, you’ve dreamed of being transported to another universe, a universe that exists only in fiction: Hogwarts, Middle-earth, Narnia, the Capitol, you name it. As scientists have yet to invent a device that would enable us to do so, we are stuck here in our own. Sigh! There are multitudes of stories with reader inserts in them. Where you, the reader are a part of your favorite universe. Or the very opposite. Your favorite characters in a whole new universe. For example, we can find Harry Potter stories set in a world where all the characters are present and Lily and James Potter never died and everyone is living happily ever after. How utterly perfect.
Sometimes, when two or more fandoms love each other very, very much, they have wild, passionate sex and a crossover is formed from their unholy union. The Doctor meets Sherlock!? Derek and Stiles with Dean and Cas!? A Brave meets How To Train Your Dragon movie? An everything crossover with Harry Potter!? *grabby hands* Sign me the heck up!
5. “Oh, you read fanfiction?Isn’t that basically a bunch of porn and stuff?”
Before Fifty Shades was even a thing, this was an assumption I heard often. It’s true that there is plenty of adult fanfiction material online, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For the most part, the mature content is clearly marked, so for any readers who start out young like I did, it’s pretty hard to accidentally stumble on. And are we really going to sit around and shame writers for writing about sex? We don’t bat an eye when it’s in a published novel, but for some reason people wig out when it’s free on the internet.
But growing up, this was a weird accusation to have thrown at me. For Christ’s sake, I was 13 the first time someone brought this up. I didn’t really even know what he was talking about, and I was embarrassed into silence for the next eight years. At that age, I clearly was not on there to write or read porn. A lot of us are on there to create works with genuine plots.
And yes, many works with plots have sex in them, because surprise! Sex is a part of life. Yeesh.
6.“But you don’t do weird stuff like ship two guy characters together, right?”
Dude. C’mon! THIS IS 2017. It’s embarrassing that we live in a society so unprogressive that people think it’s “weird” to explore sexualities between characters of the same gender, or any kind of sexuality, for that matter. I refuse to answer this question regardless of what characters I ship, because I feel like it comes from a place of ignorance. And so what if my major OTP is gay. It shouldn’t matter in this day and age.
7. “Don’t you want to read actual books?”
Yeah, and I do. Just because they are FANfictions doesn’t mean they aren’t proper books. They are for all those readers who are as ridiculously passionate about something as we are. When an obsession runs this deep and your friends and family know nothing about the topic, you have to find some other way to spill out all the insanity inside you, or else it’s going to start leaking into every day conversations (and I’m pretty sure nobody wants to hear me rant about the misrepresentation of female characters in comic book movies for the seventieth time at the dinner table.)
It’s still reading.
No matter what you read—a novel, a poem, a fanfiction piece—it’s still reading, so when you read fanfiction, you get all the benefits of reading, plus all the things I’ve mentioned above. Who cares if what you’re reading is not a “real book”? Who cares if it’s not written by a “real author”? As long as you’re enjoying what you’re reading, continue doing so.
Never apologize for what you’re reading. Life is too short for that.
Your-friendly neighborhood reader,
P.S. This rant originated from a true story. At my college today, I found a girl who was reading one of my favorite books. Discussion ended up at fanfiction and she was so totally against it! This is for her.
P.P.S. If you agree with these points and totally agree with them being a fanfic devourer yourself, feel free to share your experiences down in the comments below! Give this post a like for more such content and I will speak to you soon! Ciao lovelies!!