My two cents on fanfiction as requested by a good friend.
It may come as a surprise to some that even though I grew up as a nerd in the age of the internet I had no interest in fan fiction. In my mind anything other than the canon material was not worth reading as it wasn’t real. I held this view for an incredibly long time. Even towards anime adaptations of manga. Scenes that didn’t happen or filler irked me. On the other hand as a ten year old I would often roleplay original characters and Pokemon with my friends. I would never actually look for someone else’s work to read.
In the last year or so I began to be linked to a lot of awful fan fiction as a joke by people I knew. It became a ritual at parties that post 2am we would find ourselves in the darkest corners of Fanfiction.net reading creepy stories to each other. This consisted of anything from ‘Lips of an Angel’ (Naruto) to Severus Snape, Professor and Lover (Not surprisingly it has been taken down from Fanfiction.net. DO NOT READ if you have a weak stomach or a soul) in what I can only describe as the orgy from hell. Think of Snape and then Teletubbies and then cry to yourself as you realise someone in this cruel world wrote the thing. There’s something amusing about listening to someone read these abominations out loud.
I am not embarrassed to admit that more recently I have begun to find good quality fanfiction in an attempt to dive deeper into universes of series that are finished or on hiatus. My eyes have been opened to a whole range of new ideas and character development. An example of what I mean would be in my favourite fanfiction Scar Tissue by JBMcDragon. The story is long as the author does their best to create the relationship between Naruto characters Kakashi and Obito in a way that would be true to canon. I appreciate that.
That brings me to last night. I was at a friends house and the topic of fanfiction came up as it so often does. I suggested that we go on YouTube and see if we could find videos of people reading bad fanfiction out loud as opposed to us doing it ourselves as admittedly it gets a little awkward doing those poorly written sex scenes.
She mentioned that there is a really bad Harry Potter fanfiction called ‘My Immortal’ so we looked that up and were submitted what felt like hours of listening to the wonderful story of Enoby and her emo friends.
At first I thought it was legitimate and the work of what I could only assume is an eleven year old girl. Towards the end I started to doubt myself as the spelling of characters names is different every single time. This story is like a train wreck. I wanted to get off so many times but the doors were locked. I sat and looked out of the window as I accepted that my life would never be the same again.
Upon listening to ‘My Immortal’ it is clear as to why fanfiction is seen in a negative light by such a large number of people. Though like anything there is both good and bad. I feel like a good fanfiction builds on the original story and characters. Either sticking to canon or manipulating events in such a way that new character development is realistic. A sudden change of character (Yuna FFX-2 anyone?) is jarring and off-putting to anyone reading for that specific character.
Fanfiction is probably good writing experience too. You already have the world and the characters. All you have to do is tell the story the way you want it to be told.
So what is your opinion on fanfiction? Did you write it growing up? Read it? Or have you always hated it?
Thanks for reading!