Have you ever put down a book after reading or closed your laptop after binge watching the very last season of a show with an unpleasant feeling of emptiness inside you? Have you ever thought things like: But it can’t be over! X and Y were so clearly into each other, how can the writers just ignore that??
Then fear not, dear human being, for I have a simple solution:
Fanfiction is the thing where someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc., and creates their own story based on it. (Thanks, Urban Dictionary.)
Even though it’s a trend that’s older than one might think, the internet offers whole new possibilities of sharing one’s work with other fans. The websites for that purpose are huge, and people get thousands of thousands of likes for their work.
But why would somebody spend their precious free time reading what amateurs have written about random characters that are pretty much stolen, you ask?
Because it’s the best thing ever! And I’ve compiled a list of my favourite reasons, just for you sceptics.
1. It’s free.
Let’s start with the obvious. We all know that reading is an awesome, but also expensive hobby, especially if you don’t have a library nearby. All you need to read fanfiction is an internet connection and something with a screen attached to it. Boom.
2. Some fanfiction is better than the original.
Confession time: You know Teen Wolf? I hate that show. And yet, by this point, I’ve read (and written, nudge nudge) at least five books worth of fanfiction about Stiles and Derek falling in love again and again and again, which they don’t do once in the show. A missed opportunity, if you ask me.
3. It’s completely legal!
That’s right, as long as you don’t directly sell your work, you’re not doing anything wrong. Also, most authors are really tolerant or even supportive of fanfiction about their work, so there’s that.
(Well, there are also those kinds of fanfiction about real life celebrities boning each other, but they make me freaking uncomfortable so let’s just ignore that.)
4. Everybody does what you want.
Well, everybody does what the writer of the fanfiction wants, but if you know how to search for certain things, that’s basically the same thing. I can only talk for myself, but no matter how much I love a show / movie / book, I keep thinking things like “Wait, he’d never do that!” or “This’d be so much better if this and that happened” or “Why does nobody see that they’re perfect for each other?!,” which leads us to…
5. Everybody hooks up with who you want.
Maybe the most popular part of fanfiction and the reason why it’s so popular is shipping, a.k.a. taking two characters who maybe don’t even as much as glance at each other in canon and making them kiss. A great part of this is that while you still have to squint to find representation of same sex couples in mainstream films and books, fanfiction is full of it. There are several reasons for why that is, and if somebody’s interested I might write a post about that in the future, but it’s definitely awesome.
6. You can get right into the story.
Reading new books is exciting and everything I love, but sometimes, I just don’t want to take the time to read my way through character introduction after character introduction after character introduction. Sometimes, all I want is read about those two cuties falling in love at Starbucks.
7. It’s so much better than that one bad One Direction fanfiction you once read, promise.
Okay, alright, there is a shit ton of bad fanfiction out there. Depending on your standards, there are maybe even more bad than good ones. And as amusing as it is to make fun of badly written One Direction fanfiction…
… as boring does it become. But here’s the good news: There’s so much good content out there! It’s just waiting for you to find it, which isn’t as hard as you might believe.
8. It teaches you language skills.
I can proudly (or not so proudly) say that I owe my Cambridge C1 Certificate completely to 1 am fanfiction reading sessions. I’m not a native speaker (as you might notice), and as good as our education system pretends to be, it doesn’t teach you much about a language besides how to analyze poems in it. Reading is a great way to practice your skills, and fanfiction is perfect to get to know everyday language you won’t learn about in classes. And even if you are a native speaker, reading is (almost) always a good thing.
9. Fanfiction authors don’t awkwardly stop in front of the character’s bedroom doors.
In the contrary: “Smut” (or “lemon”, but I don’t think anybody still says that) is the glorious subgenre of fanfiction dedicated to all the kinky acts you can imagine. And with ‘subgenre’, I mean that in my experience, at least every second fanfiction contains porn. You might not be into this, but I think everybody can admit that it’s way more realistic. A nice side-effect is that smut fills a mighty gap in your knowledge of kinky things that your sex ed teacher probably left behind, especially about queer sex. (Be careful about this one, though. Not every author out there knows what they’re doing, believe me.)
And even if you don’t want to read anything explicit or have a certain pairing that you can’t stand or want to make sure none of your favourites die or if you’re triggered by anything, really: No problem! That’s what tags are for! By now, I’d say that reading fanfiction is a lot safer than watching TV or reading normal books due to all the warnings writers use.
So, what are you waiting for? Open up your browser, make sure that nobody’s glancing over your shoulder and get right into the world of never ending possibilities and tentacle porn. You’re welcome.
Could I convince you to give fanfiction a try? Have you already been sucked into this sweet hell? If I’ve left something out, please tell me!