A long, long time ago, in 2016, teenaged Emily wrote a blog post talking about how she didn't like fan-fiction. I don't know who hurt her at the time, but she wrote about how she didn't like it when writers continued with stories that were already finished and created alternate endings. Now in 2022, adult Emily has realized the errors of her ways and has now decided to revisit this topic and explain to you all why she IS a fan of fan-fiction. Ok, now it's time to stop writing in the third person.
I credit Cee Arr @ Dora Reads and her Friday Fics Fix posts for getting me into this genre of writing. Every Friday, Cee posts a fan-fiction recommendation from a variety of fandoms. I mostly like the ones from the MCU, as it is one of the main fandoms that I am a part of and I love it when the writers put unconventional characters together, like for example, Tony Stark and Loki, which I had no idea before reading Cee's posts were a fan-fiction couple but I wholeheartedly support it. There is so much creativity in the fan-fiction world, and in a universe like the MCU that often falls into conventional tropes and predictable couples, this creativity is so needed.
The problem with my previous post is that I categorized all fan-fiction under fan-fiction written about real people, like One Direction fan-fiction. However, this type of fan-fiction tends to be a bit cheesier, and if I'm being honest, a bit creepy, because folks are attempting to create a fictional life based on real people with very public lives. I don't want to shame anyone for consuming or writing that kind of content, but it definitely is not for me. However, those same limits do not exist for fictional characters. Steve Rogers doesn't really care if we write him to be in a romantic relationship with Bucky, because he doesn't exist. So, fan-fiction writers who write about fictional characters are able to build upon the unique characters and settings from these fictional worlds and put their own spin on it. These kinds of stories are able to dive deeper into characters who may not have been fully developed in canonical content, or who may have not been treated right by their canonical texts. Fan-fiction writers have the ability to redeem characters, to give them the love stories or friendships that they deserve. And to be honest, I find that kind of beautiful.
Fan-fiction has given me the ability to revisit new stories about beloved characters, even when their canonical texts have decided that their stories are finished. I may never get a Falcon and the Winter Soldier season two, but I can continue to consume new content about Bucky and Sam to keep that world alive, and that makes me so happy! I can also read fan-fiction to keep me busy in-between seasons of a show, such as What We Do In the Shadows and The Umbrella Academy. Fan-fiction keeps worlds alive when the canon has halted them. I find that so cool.
Lastly, as a creative writer myself, I cannot deny the opportunities that fan-fiction gives aspiring writers. While it may be incredibly difficult to get published with a major publishing house right away, posting on fan-fiction sites allows writers to have an outlet to get their creativity out, communicate with fellow writers, and even workshop their works and receive feedback. Creative writing classes and workshops are not accessible to everyone, and yet, we can do it for free and from the comfort of our own homes through fan-fiction sites. Whether these stories get published or not, they help to build a community of writers, young and old, who all appreciate the same thing.
Overall, sixteen year-old Emily didn't know what she was talking about. Then again, she was sixteen, so we can cut her a bit of slack, but she's glad that she changed her mind about fan-fiction. I am so happy to be a part of this vibrant, diverse and unique community. And you should be too.
Do you read fan-fiction?
Emily @ Paperback Princess