Is Fanfiction Really That Bad?

JaCarla Anderson

Have you ever read a book and was utterly disappointed in the ending? Did you want to call up the author and curse them out because they just so happened to ruin your favorite book? If you answered yes to at least one of the two questions asked, then you my friend are not alone. There are millions of people out there who have been just as angry. So angry that they took matters into their own hands.

What this means is that people have began rewriting their favorite stories with an ending of their own. Thus, producing the term fanfiction. The term fanfiction means works of fiction written by a fan of characters from tv shows, movies, or even books.

Fanfiction was popularized back in 1960 when the Star Trek fandom created fanzines and used them as an expression of their fandom. These fanzines were sold at some science fiction conventions for a small fee, they were even mailed out to other fans.

Something interesting that I learned, was that unlike other parts of fandoms, the fan fiction was dominated by women. “[Fanfiction] fills the need of a mostly female audience for fictional narratives that expand the boundary of the official source products offered on the televisions and movie screen,” said scholar Camille Bacon.

One of the more modern examples of fanfiction comes from the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” E. L. James. The fifty shades series was originally written as fanfiction for the Twilight saga after the characters Edward and Bella. But to avoid copyright infringement, James changed the main characters names to Anna and Christian. Fifty Shades of Grey has since won multiple awards and had been made into a movie trilogy.

Now, not all fanfiction stories become award-winning novels-turned movies, but that is not to discourage you. Rewrite the end of a story because you genuinely want to and not because you want to make the money.

Fanfiction is considered the better deal in a lot of people’s eyes because it gives people that sense of fulfillment that they didn’t receive in an original. One story that comes to mind that broke a lot of young girls hearts was “The Fault in Our Stars.” When John Green killed off Gus Waters, I know my tears got to flowing. The character that stole so many girls hearts, including the book’s main female character Hazel Grace Lancaster.

While other girls such as myself sat in sadness over Water’s death, other took to a fanfiction site; they rewrote the ending. Some endings included Waters and Lancaster living happily ever after, while some killed off Lancaster instead.

While some fanfiction authors set out to become real authors of their own original book someday, others just write for the enjoyment of others to read.

When it comes to fanfiction, literally anything is possible. This is the time to let your imagine run wild. To be able to come up with endless ideas for what happens next in your favorite movie, tv show, or book.

Fanfiction is also a way to further your writing, or to harness your craft. What better practice can you get other than writing an alternative ending to a book that already has full character development laid out for your advantage?

I’m not saying to go and take someone else’s work and pass it of as your own, but to take someone else’s writing to help improve your own. Go and study the technique different authors use, study how the plot line truly makes the story what it is. Make sure you pay attention to the type of details the author uses to develop their characters across a novel.

While your everyday novel is all well and good, don’t forget out the wide range of fanfiction out there.