Why Fan Fiction? A Series

Why Fan Fiction? A Series

Figure 1: Fan Fiction, yall.

Figure 1: Fan Fiction, yall.


I have the pleasure knowing several women who are very smart about the subject of fan fiction. (Okay, they are also smart about other subjects, like why Norman Reedus needs to come be my houseboy and feed me red licorice, but just hang on already.)

Recently, I became infected with the need to stare at Norman Reedus all day long and in the hiatus between season 3 and season 4 of The Walking Dead, I dipped my shy toe into fan fiction.

Holy shit, you guys.

*disco dances, shakes butt with excitement*

Anyway, I’ll spare you my opinions for the moment. Instead, let me give you some answers that the aforementioned smart ladies gave me when I asked them, “Why fan fiction?”

Alanna Ault:

Ooooooh, fanfics. Well, I don’t personally read or write them avidly, but I will go through phases where I’ll just splurge on a certain fandom or ship. Personally, I’m a huge fan of crossovers, where multiple fandoms occur in the same story, because I feel it expands the limits of the original stories alone and it’s a lot of fun to imagine how characters would interact. I think in general fanfiction is a good thing. It’s a great place for aspiring authors to test out new ideas on established characters/settings, and for them to receive feedback concerning their writing quality. It’s practice and wish fulfillment rolled into one. 

Follow Alanna on Twitter: @Alanna_Ault


Figure 2: Your fanfic flatters The Reedus.

Figure 2: Your fanfic flatters The Reedus.


Jeanne Bain:

Until I started teaching Fabulous Fan Fiction at the Loft Literary Center, I didn’t realize I had actually written it as a child and teen. Maybe I blocked it out of my memory because I wanted to be a literary snob. Maybe I’m just old and forgot all about it. Maybe my parents should have sent me to therapy. But I like to think that having Benny kill the evil grandfather in the Box Car Children gave the story more depth and made that whole family a little less bourgeois. I needed that. Stephen King meets Gertrude Chandler Warner. It worked for me, just like it works for so many teens. 

Follow Jeanne on Twitter: @mashajeanne

Figure 4: Norman Reedus, being his unreasonably handsome self

Figure 3: Norman Reedus, being his unreasonably handsome self, which is perhaps one reason why he is often the subject of so much fic



I’ve been reading fan fiction since the 90’s, starting with The X-Files. I was poking around on search engines looking for just about anything I could find on The X-Files at the time, and stumbled across fan fiction. The writing was so brilliant, that I was confused at first, thinking that perhaps these were rejected episodes or something. LOL. Then I found “NC-17” fic and was really confused.

I fell in love immediately, with the imagination and the possibilities, and I started drafting my own ideas for fic in my head. I never wrote any The X-Files fic down, but I was so in love with the idea of taking the characters and worlds that I loved and saying “what if…?”

What I like about writing fan fiction is the celebration of certain things that I love about those characters or worlds. I like to expand on those characteristic or themes and share those with like-minded people. It’s interesting, too, to read how different people interpret certain themes or characteristics. I like debates that come from sharing fan fic and I love the friends I’ve made as a result of those like-minded or debating moments.

Follow Incog_Ninja on Twitter: @incog_ninja


I have been writing fan fic since I was about 14, before I even realized other people did it or that it had a name.  Kinda like masturbation, it was something I did in the privacy of my own room, usually at night, and for my own enjoyment.  It was never something I shared with ANYONE!  OMG!

I wrote original fiction throughout college but read fan fic, mostly for the smut. [Who doesn’t? – Carrie] A few years later I discovered Real Person Fic (RPF) and began writing that. I wrote a 500 page fic about a self insert and a famous actor.  It has never been published. It was a massive undertaking.  I strove to make it perfect over almost 2 years of my life.  Obsession was an understatement, and I quickly backed out as soon as I realized that was the case, and swore up and down I would never go back.  

 I never really stopped reading fic.  I enjoy the creative juices that flow from other writers.  I love to see what their brains come up with.  

Follow Siarh on Twitter: @siarh

Figure 5: Every time Norman Reedus smiles, a new Caryl Fic is born.

Figure 4: Every time Norman Reedus smiles, a new Caryl Fic is born.



I’m very new to both reading and writing fan fiction. Twitter introduced me to it. Honestly, I had never read a bit of fan fiction until I joined Twitter. Thank God for it because it’s seriously turned my world around.

When I fall for a character(s), I fall head over heels, and I can’t get enough. Fan fiction gives me an outlet to overdose on the fictional people that I adore.

In television and film, there are often so many ambiguities that leave me both frustrated and hungry for more. Fan fiction allows writers to build on already amazing material and fill in the gaps for ourselves. This is especially important to me during television seasons like The Walking Dead, my personal favorite. I love reading other writers interpretations of what happens on the off time or when we weren’t able to see everything that was going on at once. Sometimes, the idea for a piece of fiction can spark from just one simple look between two people and the incredibly talented fic writers come up with what that look could have meant.

Follow sunsphrerespots on Twitter: @sunsphereshots


Figure 5: This has nothing to do with fan fiction. OR MAYBE IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT

Figure 5:  This has nothing to do with fan fiction. OR MAYBE IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT



Fan Art (also called Fan Work) is a fan’s reaction to art, be it TV, movies, books, video games or even celebrities. The artistic expression can take many forms – including Fan Fiction about Lord of the Rings, a Wizard Rock song about the Deathly Hallows, or even a painting of Darth Vader. No matter the medium, the unifying factor is it is an artistic expression inspired by, or talking back to, someone else’s creation.

There is a common misconception that fan art is an amateur art form used by the young and unpolished to become “real” artists. It is true that many newcomers get their start with fan art; there are also many professional artists who continue to create derivative art even after establishing themselves with their own original creations. We shouldn’t mischaracterize fan art as the realm of amateurs, but rather a different form of artistic expression. It is no less valid to any other art forms because the subject matter references another work. In fact, given the right presentation and timing, fan art has known mainstream acknowledgment and success.

Rock band White Zombie had a hit single, “More Human Than Human,” which was not just inspired by the science fiction film classic Bladerunner, but the lyrics are a first person narrative told from the perspective of the antagonist of the film, Roy Batty. Fox’s hit show House is a modern medical take on the classic Sherlock, where the famous unsociable, drug addicted crime solving detective is transformed in a surly, drug addicted medical detective. James Joyce’s literary classic Ulysses is a derivative work (aka fan fiction) of the Greek classic the Odyssey. While not everyone who writes fan fiction is guaranteed to create something as complex and timeless as Ulysses, there is nothing stopping anyone from trying.

Fan Fiction is unique in its accessibility; anyone with the means to write and an idea can be a Fan Fiction author.  It also has the flexibility of having no rules, thus creates limitless possibilities. It can be a way for a fan to transport themselves into their favorite stories, often called “self-insert.” Some fans even seek to correct issues they see with the source material, or “fixing canon.” In this way, fan fiction can serve as a kind of wish fulfillment, where a fan can alter the story to suit their desires, be they to see two characters as a couple or change the entire course of the story. They can even transport the characters to different countries, times and even into the universe of another story they love. 

Follow Einfach_Mich on Twitter: @Einfach_Mich


Ash Parsons:

I’m a total newbie to writing fan fiction.  I’ve only written two, but I have started on a third. I started writing fic because two writer friends of mine told me I needed to write it – and they were right. See, I was blocked. And my friends told me to quit thinking about the “market” and that I needed to connect with readers.  And fan fic is the easiest way to do that. They were so right! I enjoyed “playing with other writer’s toys” and I really enjoyed the feedback. That was the best part, when I would post a chapter and would get immediate responses. Also, since it’s anonymous and not anything I could ever monetize, there’s a freedom there.  I can literally write whatever I want.  It’s about the story, about the words, not about me.  I’m a fan, pure and simple.  And fan fic is a natural extension of that, I guess.  

Follow Ash Parsons on Twitter: @ashparso


Next Installment –  How Is Fan Fiction Different from “Regular” Fiction?



  • Carrie Mesrobian on Sep 13, 2013 Reply

    What’s so fascinating to me, as a N00b to fan fic, is how many different purposes it serves for people, whether they are readers or writers or both.

  • Sarah Ahiers on Sep 10, 2013 Reply

    I’m a big fan of fanfic. I don’t read it all that much, anymore, but I pretty much started as a writer with fanfic that I wrote with all my high school friends (over an anime series with cut boys. Oh god, the Mary Sue characters we added were GLORIOUS!). After that, I realized there was no reason why I couldn’t keep writing original stories with original characters.

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