Written by: Billie Clark
If you look the tags for most of my posts, you might notice a few reoccurring ones: Get Involved, campus events, TDSA, Study Abroad, and posts where I talk about being a huge nerd.
I’ve written about anime. I’ve written about manga. I have even written about my obsession with stationary. But one thing I have yet to write about it the thing that started it all: fanfiction.
Okay, don’t scoff. Fanfiction is a valid form of artistic expression, and it has even been on the syllabi of English Lit classes at Trent University (both in Peterborough and here at TrentU Durham). Just because the ones that are most well-know are also cringe-worthy and terrible doesn’t mean there aren’t good fics out there.
I started reading fanfiction around grade 6 or 7. I wasn’t a big reader until I bought a copy of Twilight from a Scholastic book fair. From that point on, I was hooked. But the wait between New Moon and Eclipse was sooooo loooong. I had a couple hours every night on the internet and I discovered Fanfiction.net. It was amazing! There were people out there, writing about characters I loved, and taking their stories new places. When I read Artemis Fowl, I found the series on the site. I found Harry Potter fanfiction, and became obsessed with the “characters reading the books” stories.
But when I started reading manga I stopped reading fanfiction. I couldn’t reconcile the different genres—I couldn’t read novelizations about characters I knew as images. It didn’t make sense to me.
My interests continued to grow and expand; I picked up some new adjectives to describe myself—nerd, geek, weeb. I started using social media and learned more nerd jargon (shipping, OTP, fandom, and so much more). Then, eventually, I found a fic for an anime I was obsessing over.
My previous issues with reading about characters I had watched didn’t matter when the prose was good and the characters and stories were interesting and well developed. I found Archive of Our Own, which lets you download PDF versions of the works on their site. I fell back in love with fanfiction.
I like fanfiction because of how creative it can be. Seeing the way other people take the characters you love and change them, make them new or different; force them into new situations and universes while retaining a sense of familiarity—I find that so amazing. And the length of some of these stories. I have read fics ranging from 50 words to over 1000 pages.
I’m not saying everyone should love fanfiction, or even read it, but try to keep an open mind. It isn’t all My Immortal and it is a great way to inspire and improve creative writing. Plus, Harry Potter Alternate Universe fics exist, and who doesn’t want to read about their favourite characters attending Hogwarts?