by Hillary Keating
While online one night perusing the internet, you suddenly encounter a short story passage amidst a fight scene between Edward Cullen of Twilight and Count Dracula. Or, perhaps one detailing the life of Holden Caulfield after The Catcher in the Rye. You read on and on, encountering familiar characters in new places and having new adventures. Is this a new realm of literature that you haven’t seen before? Well, not exactly..
This is what we call Fan Fiction. It’s a new form of storytelling involving many popular media characters and subjects. For those out there who have never heard of Fan Fiction, let me break it down for you. Fans of certain books, movies, TV shows, and comics or animes write their own stories using the characters from their chosen texts and sometimes even inserting themselves into the stories.
In recent years,the creation of FanFiction.net has allowed many aspiring writers to write these stories. Under a chosen pen name, they can use characters and setting the way that they want to. One feature even allows for crossovers, so if you think pairing Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series and Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings would make for great fiction, you can make it possible.
When writers begin a story on this site, they have several options. You can write and publish one individual story in a single sitting, or they can break it up. Many writers choose to create “installments,” an option which allows them to format and publish their work as a mini-series. On the flip side, if a certain story appeals to you, you can choose to receive alerts when the author posts a new chapter of the story, or receive alerts if he or she starts and entirely new story. Sites like this have generated a whole new level of “internet fame;” oftentimes a particular author can become famous by amassing a large number of followers.
I became a member of Fan Fiction in order to poke around and check out the sites. I was surprised at some of the stories that were posted. For instance, plays and musicals have their own following. Even classic books such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby have stories. Well-known bands and singers in pop culture have stories written about them, includingo Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, and Michael Jackson. In a category dubbed “miscellaneous”, you can find stories about mundane, even random, topics such as wrestling, radio dramas, mythology, and marching bands. A partner site with a similarly addictive lineup is FictionPress.com. It shares the same idea and goal as Fan Fiction, but doesn’t require its users to follow the structure of a previous story.
If you think that reading Fan Fiction isn’t for you, then you just haven’t found one that suits you. There are so many different stories out there that if you look hard enough, you can find something that suits your tastes and captures your attention. So go ahead–poke around! These aspiring writers will appreciate it.