The Art of Fanfiction

by Marielle Sabbag about a year ago in fan fiction

Why We Need to Introduce the World to This Unique Writing Form

The Art of Fanfiction

Have you ever finished a movie or read a book and felt as if there could have been more? Will the creator ever add to the work, you wonder? Sadly, creators decide to end where they please, but for you, the story will always be incomplete—unless you add more by writing your own take, and then sharing it with other fans. That’s fanfiction. For me fanfiction is both a unique form of writing and the way I developed my own ongoing skills. The literary form known as fanfiction is centered around any kind of published, original work inspired by previously existing books, films, TV shows, music and even tales of celebrity life. This pre-existing work is then reinterpreted or expanded by those who value it. In our technological era, fanfiction has become a popular internet craze. Critics and accomplished writers believe that, for developing writers, fanfiction is a wonderful way to gain training wheels into the world of writing, as author Neil Gaiman remarks. I believe that fanfiction should be considered an important writing form, as it tests writers’ imaginations and challenges them to practice creative writing without having to worry about being published in the traditional way.

The first story I ever wrote was a fanfiction story when I was eleven years old. It was a crossover—a fanfiction term describing two separate stories which are combined into one. I crossed over the stories of Wallace and Gromit to The Poseidon Adventure. Wallace and Gromit was my favorite series and movie as a kid. It features a crazed inventor and his dog who have countless strange adventures together. I was, and still am, quite the movie fanatic. I thought up a ‘what if’ scenario, putting Wallace and Gromit into The Poseidon Adventure, an Irwin Allen production made in 1972. The plot of the film centers around a passenger ship capsized in the middle of the ocean on New Year’s Eve, and the handful of passengers who have to make their way through the overturned ship to safety. Replacing the 1972 characters with Wallace and Gromit and writing them into this scenario was a fun and creative process. Maybe it can happen, maybe it can’t, but I tried to make it happen. Because of fanfiction, this new idea exists.

Writing has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I have written stories ranging from short stories, drabbles and little novels, but I keep coming back to fanfiction. There is something about fanfiction that pulls me in, and critics agree: “Fandom and fan-like feelings are a key made by which many viewers can approach the world’s saturation with texts, and assign personal or communal meaning and value to any given text” (Harrington 84). Being a part of a fandom is just as important as the writing itself. The pleasure is in sharing my take with the fandom. I have written fanfiction to add an element that was missing from the original work, and it’s a pleasure for others to read.

Fanfiction writers are always fanfic readers. I never read fanfiction before I was 11 years old, and since then, I have come across a lot of inspirational fanfiction. Each of these fanfiction stories have helped me understand this unique community. The number one quality that all fanfiction readers are trying to find is for the new story to be in character. Fanfiction, whether reading or writing, is a way of thinking critically. When it comes to watching a film, I have analyzed so much between the lines that I go overboard. That’s the purpose of a fan. We discuss, analyze and obsess, as Jonathan Gray discussed within Fandom: Identities and Communities In a Mediated World. I value the world of fanfiction because it makes me who I am. I get to go back and read the story five billion times if I want to. It’s not like a library book where you check it out and only have minimal time to read it.

If we want to become fanfiction writers we need to study the show or book we’re writing off from. This is my biggest regret upon looking back on my first fanfiction. What I dislike about my first fanfiction, even though I was only 11 when I wrote it, is that I didn’t write dialogue to correspond with the characters’ natural dialogue. Rather, I created characters who would have no relation entirely to the canon characters within the stories. (Canon characters are characters original to the work.) Some fanfiction writers use canon characters and some don’t. Other fanfiction writers insert their own characters into the original narrative, rather than bringing in the pre-existing characters. This often happens when fandoms believe that the author could have added more; they create another character who could help the main character blending new characters with original ones. Doing fanfiction takes time and requires studying. You have to pay close attention to the characters and the setting. That part may be difficult, but the ending results of a story are amazing. This is what I have come to understand in the past eleven years.

As Neil Gaiman said and I discovered, fanfiction is a wonderful starting point for people who want to be writers. New writers can slowly grasp the world of writing as they distinguish different forms of dialogue, character work, and the many other challenges we face when writing stories. Fanfiction can range from being silly, serious, in depth or just short ideas, called head canons. (Head canons are little brainstorms about plot or character; an idea of a story that is not mentioned by the original work and comes to be accepted among a fandom; a subculture composed of fans characterized by feelings of empathy and camaraderie who share common interest.) Fanfiction writers, like me, are motivated to share our imagination. It’s all about doing things with those existing characters and worlds that creators couldn’t or wouldn’t do, as Anne Jameson, author of Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, says.

Without fanfiction, we wouldn’t have movies like Clueless, West Side Story or even the Lion King. West Side Story is a fanfiction based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In our Romeo and Juliet, or Tony and Marie, the Sharks and Jets represent the Montagues and Capulets arguing, and the ending has changed to only one of the lovers dying. Some works of literature or film are works of thinly disguised fanfiction—re-imaginings and interpretations of stories passing as new ideas. The infamous book Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic romance novel by E.L. James, started off as a Twilight fanfiction, according to the article "Imitation is Flattery: In Defence of Fanfiction." James originally posted the story on Fanfiction.net under a different title, Master of the Universe. Many have different opinions of James’s work, varying from positive to negative, but James shows the world that writers can make a fanfiction from anything, no matter how old or new the source material is. Fanfiction is simply another aspect of literature.

Harry Potter has one of the largest social networks of fans of a single series. On different fanfiction platforms, writers and readers vent about what they consider to be unfair scenarios or plot developments and write their own fanfiction. “This shift of writing as a social, communal activity is already having a profound impact on the economics and production of fiction as well as on the relationships this fiction represents and itself forges and relies on” (Jameson 154). According to Deirdre Straughan, readers are drawn to the relationship aspect of Harry Potter fanfiction. The series has caused controversies. Harry Potter also taught a generation that it is possible to interact with the pop culture you loveto write about it, to make music and art about it, and to even build business around it.

Fanfiction has become increasingly popular over the last decade because of a plethora of websites, like Fanfiction.net, that are home to expressing the art of fanfiction. The first fanfiction ever written that we know about was in 1893, based around the world of Sherlock Holmes—perhaps because fans were outraged when Conan Doyle killed off their beloved character. J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, wrote a fanfiction of Sherlock Holmes titled, “The Adventures of Two Collaborators,” as a present for Doyle. Blogger Scott Brown discusses that readers wanted to enter the world of Sherlock Holmes because they felt as if they didn’t have enough just by reading. Doyle didn’t mind his works being written by others. Doyle was so moved by the plethora of Sherlock stories that he gave his blessing to this undertaking, feeling that those fan-critics had as much right to define Holmes’s fictional universe as he did. Later, he brought the famous detective back to life, perhaps because of fan enthusiasm, as seen in all of the fanfiction. The popular series created one of the largest devoted fanfiction communities of all time. This same devotion has inspired today's new fanfic writers, dedicated to Sherlock and many, many other characters and novels.

Harsh criticisms have been brought about fanfiction, such as how one can make a profit. “(Fanfiction) preserves the nature of fan works as a labor of love and averts copyright infringement claims” (Fanfiction Has a Place in Literature, Cathy Young). Other questions, such as why not make your own characters, has been thrown around. Fanfic writers like to write from creators' characters, as they’ve had a heartfelt effect on those who adore the fandom. Cathy Young states that copyright has become more of a blockage for the world of fanfiction. Copyright laws were meant to encourage creativity, protects authors' work or profit from their own work.

Fanfiction has created a generation of people who ask “what if?” Instead of just asking, though, we do something about it. We act. We Write. “Studies of fan audiences help us understand and meet challenges far beyond the realm of popular culture because they tell us something about the way in which we relate to those around us" (Gray 10). There are many examples of this. Fans have expanded on series' such as Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire, and Twilight.

Harry Potter has been the most popular fanfiction world to explore. Fans have created 773,456 works of Harry Potter fanfiction, according to FanFiction.net. Each fic, or piece of fanfiction, explores different scenarios that Rowling could never have fathomed, or had time to work on. J.K. Rowling herself has talked about the importance of fanfiction as fans have delved into the pages of her famous book series, Harry Potter, to add more. Rowling believes “that so long as it was simply for fun, not monetary gain, it was an amazing thing” (J.K. Rowling, The Importance of Fanfiction). Essentially, the popularity of fanfiction brought the world A Very Potter Musical, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The history behind A Very Potter Musical is based in fan enthusiasm for the original source. The creators were inspired by thinking about a relationship between Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy. From there, they developed an entire musical. It’s not a musical about J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter, it’s THEIR own vision of Harry Potter.

FanFiction.net is considered the world’s largest fanfiction archive. It’s a little overwhelming when users first enter this website, as there are countless fics to choose from. Every writer has their own imagination on how they can expand what they love. This site was launched in October of 1998. Nearly two decades later, FanFiction.net has earned two million+ users, hosts stories in over 30 languages, and an estimated total of published pages (not stories) is almost 8 million.

My favorite fanfictions I love to read about are Ed, Edd n Eddy; Toy Story; UP; Wallace and Gromit and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney has become a popular fandom to write about. Viewers are left with multiple questions after watching Disney films. Did Boo’s parents notice their daughter missing in Monsters Inc? Did Pinocchio continue to grow up after becoming a real boy? Why was Anita friends with Cruella Deville in 101 Dalmations? After reading between the lines, fanfiction writers come up with their own headcanons. This leads to writing fanfiction and creating many new ideas which add in elements of surprise. This is what keeps people coming back. The feeling of surprise and a fresh angle.

One writer that exemplifies the ideas of the fresh angle is NintendoGal55, who writes on Tumblr, a blogging website that covers all sorts of creative works and analyzations. One fanfiction that I absolutely adore and would read over and over is a crossover fanfiction of a Cartoon Network show called Ed, Edd n Eddy and Jurassic Park, a 1993 film centered around bringing dinosaurs back through scientific DNA. "Jurassic-ED" follows closely to the story of Jurassic Park, with different characters taking the place of the main characters from the movie, it brings in a new tone. Jurassic Ed is a touchstone for me. One of the most famous scenes from the movie is when the first dinosaur is discovered. The characters' reactions, the music, and the dinosaur walking on screen was an amazing scene for audience members to witness. Some of the dialogue remains intact, such as the famous scene where the dinosaurs are seen for the first time. The Eds replace original characters Allen and Ellie, the main scientists, and make similar remarks about the first dinosaur encounter such as, “It’s a dinosaur,” and “You have a T-Rex?” However, different subplots, character actions, or lines of dialogue are added or replaced. As I have said, it is very important to make your fanfiction its own unique form. This is what NintendoGal55 does. This work of fanfiction is also about the friendship between the Eds, how they grow closer and learn how important they are to one another. It resembles Jurassic Park’s main character, Allen Grant’s, relationship with the two kids in Jurassic Park.

Although I first wrote fanfiction when I was eleven, it took some years before I started reading writers such as NintendoGal55 regularly. One of the first fanfictions I read was a Snow White fanfiction, Grumpy’s Change of Heart by SpiritStallion on FanFiction.net. The dwarfs are very important characters to Disney as they are very expressive and each has a unique personality. Honestly, they were more fun to watch than Snow White. These seven little men all have their own unique story, which was not brought out in the movie. Why are they who they are? Fanfiction is a way to expand on the characters’ personalities and their backstory. Minor characters are popular to go off on. Grumpy’s change of heart struck me emotionally; and fanfiction should grab a reader through emotional response. It was the first time I thought about Grumpy’s feelings. What did the dwarfs do and feel through that length of time when Snow White was in the sleeping death, especially Grumpy who goes through the biggest character change when he grasps the true meaning of emotions and love. Reading this story made me want to continue reading more fanfiction as a way to analyze the dwarfs behaviors and explore it myself.

Reading fanfiction led to it becoming my main writing outlet. I am a film, TV show, and book fanatic. There is a lot to explore beyond the creative work itself. I like to explore little moments that we would have liked to see in the original work. I look especially at the characters, and at the character dynamics. I look for the opportunity to expand relationships and ask the “backstory” questions that we don’t have answers to. I create those moments in order to feel closure from the original work or to extend the experience just for my own pleasure. This desire to explore through fanfiction has inspired me to do more with my writing and fuels my desire, and gives me courage, to take a step further to write outside my comfort zone.

You cannot silence your inner writer, and I’m no longer afraid to write fanfiction. As soon as I think up an idea I immediately write it down on paper. A story is always pleading to be released. When I was 11, I never knew there was such a world as fanfiction. I hesitated releasing my story on paper, believing I was copying something that already existed. Silencing my inner critic I wrote my favorite characters into the scenario. To this day whenever I think about my Wallace and Gromit Poseidon Adventure story I cringe. I didn’t follow along with the characters’ personalities, which is the most essential part of any fanfiction story. Still, you can’t let that stop you. “Today, hundreds and thousand of new writers—young people, children are growing up writing, not in isolation, but with a ready-made community of readers and commenters… that’s very different” (Jameson 20).

The internet is home to many fanfiction websites. The most popular are Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, Wattpad, DeviantART, Tumblr and many more. I have an account on each of these websites. Fanfiction allows people to come together online and build fandoms. I have published my works to all five of these websites and have received endless amount of feedback on what I can do better with either my stories or my own writing style. This feedback has helped me with my original stories too.

Writing fanfiction prepares you for the reality of the writing world. If you want your original works to be read, the reality is that everyone is not going to receive the best criticism. I have received negative feedback about my fanfiction. However, the negative feedback is always offered constructively and gives me ideas on how I could write the story better. I wrote an Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfiction titled, "The Bloody Nose." It is centered around one of the Eds getting a nosebleed and having a panic attack after a traumatizing experience from his youth. One comment I received was to keep the story in the perspective of one character as I had been writing in two perspectives. Up until then I didn’t take advice because I wasn’t interested in using feedback, but experimenting on one character’s perspective made the story better formatted. This piece of advice helped me decide which character who was going to be my main focus. I realized that being a part of the fanfiction community had enabled me to take more risks and accept changes as part of the writing process.

Different suggestions have been made throughout the years on my stories on Fanfiction.net. I have written countless Toy Story and Snow White fanfictions. Emotional response plays an important role within fanfiction. It depends what a reader values from the original work. For me it’s always character dynamic. I love how the dwarfs interacted with one another and I wanted to see more of that outside the movie. Especially Toy Story. Every character in this popular film series has a different relationship with one another. Upon posting fanfiction I’d have countless reviews come in telling me to finish the story because they want more. That’s the goal for every writer. I also love when reviews comment how my writing has improved over the years. One comment that compliments my growing writing style is from another-eene-blog on Tumblr, “You’ve developed a style that encapsulates how the characters feel through action, rather than just saying what was felt.” Comments to help me improve my writing range from making things more organic to using lots more exclamation points. Fanfiction writers improve because readers enjoy reading others work so much. That’s my favorite part about being a part of a fandom.

Fanfiction communities provide support for their members. Although fanfiction writers, like me, are only talking to one another through a computer screen, online friendships form. I know that I am not alone and that there are other people out there with wacky imaginations. For me, writing fanfiction is an outlet for both my creative energies along with my emotional health and that may be the same thing for others. For example, I asked a question about motivation for writing fanfiction stories on my Tumblr page and most agreed that it’s a great aesthetic and a healthy outlet. My admiration for those who write fanfiction has grown as I’ve read so many stories. Fanfiction has created important communities and friendships. For example, fandoms give girls and women an opportunity to connect on their own terms. Research also says that younger girls are given a safe space to discuss serious topics. I have made friends online through the world of fanfiction. Fandoms can read and discuss their works in depth, sharing theories and different ideas.

I believe that fanfiction plays a role emotionally for writers. It’s a release of emotions and self expression. “You have to weave around character design and personalities… it sounds like a pain, but it gives you a rush and becomes my favorite thing when I write a scene that I can actually see and hear in my head” (Dramabeany, Tumblr). Fanfiction has always made me feel happy, and also increased my love for writing. Knowing that I can write just about anything, and knowing it can reach the world in some way, makes me feel overwhelmed with emotion. That’s a wonderful feeling to have. In the end, we all want to love what we do. Fanfiction is also a hobby for many. Everyone has their own favorite activity, one that they can sit back and do at the end of a hard day. That’s what writing fanfiction has done for me.

Fanfiction has given me permission and encouragement to do something countless fans and myself never imagined. Anna Wilson, author of the blog The Role of Affect in Fan-Fiction, determines that we can access a mental technology that facilitates understanding of a text by means of an effective hermeneutic, which is a set of ways of gaining knowledge through feeling. I know there is at least one someone out there who reads and enjoys my stories. Like many fanfiction writers, this access to an audience has inspired me and now I have an overload of stories piling up in my mind that I want to share. Writers are always writing. Fanfiction provides new ideas and a way to experiment, and platform to share those ideas and experiments with others.

Along with Ed, Edd n Eddy, another work of fanfiction that I adore reading is any story that explores what happens after Toy Story 3 ends. Toy Story 3 was a box office success which captured audience’s emotions as the film ended and the toys entered a new life with another owner. Toy Story 3 also brought us the relationship between fans, a ship (or newly imagined relationship) many fans have wanted to see for a long time—Buzz Lightyear and Jessie. Their relationship is canon (an event established by the original work) as they finally become a couple at the end of Toy Story 3. However, we never get to see moments of their actual relationship unfold other than their dance they share at the end of the film. "Hold My Hand in the Rain" is a fanfiction written by Samuraistar and published on Fanfiction.net. The fic takes their readers on a heartfelt journey. Jessie awakes from a nightmare about the infamous incinerator and is comforted by Buzz. They’re alone to talk. During their talk they finally come to terms with their feelings and share their first kiss. What makes this piece impactful is the dialogue. For example, here is one exchange between the two characters,

"'If it’s a choice between dying with you holding my hand,' she said quietly, 'And spending the rest of my life inside that box alone… I think I’d rather die with you.' She smiled sheepishly at the soft look of surprise in his eyes. 'I love you Buzz. I don’t want to be without you ever again.’”“Then you never will,” he said. He then surprised her with their first kiss, gentle and tender. They touched foreheads with blushing faces.

I can feel their love. The dialogue, setting and characters are beautifully written, capturing how Pixar showed the characters. This is an example of a fanfiction written with true heart that readers feel as though could be an actual scene in the movie, series or book.

Although I love the Toy Story series, my focus as a fanfiction writer has been Ed, Edd n Eddy. Ed, Edd n Eddy is my favorite TV show of all time. It was a Cartoon Network show that ran for about ten years. The TV show centered around three best friends with the same name, but with wildly different personalities. One is the leader, the other is the smart one, and the last is the goofball. Every day, the Eds played scams on the neighborhood kids to get their money to buy massive jawbreakers. After not watching for about six years, almost three years ago I fell back in love with this show. There is a lot more to it than the Eds’ scamming and wacky antics. Ed, Edd n Eddy is about three outcasts trying to understand their place in the world. A movie was produced to finish the series. After ten years it is revealed that the main character has been leading a lie his whole life. He wasn’t the person he was portraying over the course of the series. Still, the series ends on a happy and satisfying note, but we will never know, and can never know, what will happen to all the characters in the future. That’s where fanfiction comes in. I have continued to expand on the series with my own works of Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfiction. I have created moments that happened in between episodes, moments that happened before the series, and moments that happen after the movie. This last type of fanfiction is the most popular with the EENE community.

What I love about the world of fanfiction is that it gives anyone the opportunity to continue a story that they feel either never had a proper ending or missed out on a key element. Whether it’s a prequel, a sequel, a midquel, anything at all, fanfiction writers are inspiring an established fan base to deepen their relationship with the original work. We can encourage people to both think more deeply about the original work and/or write stories that fill in the gaps they wonder about.

I believe that creators of all fiction and film want us to expand, and there is evidence to support my hunch. And creators are watching. They want to see what their audience can come up with or have learned. The creators of Ed, Edd n Eddy like, reblog, and post analyzations or fan art on their tumblrs or Facebook page. A lot of Harry Potter fans have made up their own scenarios about Harry and Hermione becoming a couple, feeling they weren’t meant to marry Ginny and Ron. J.K Rowling has actually made a comment about how Harry and Hermione would have made a more suitable couple. Instead of growing angry and forcing fanfiction writers to delete their works, creators should be happy. Creators want a huge fanbase, right? Writer Joss Whedon encourages the fiction, “There’s a time and place for everything and I believe that’s fanfiction” ("Should You Stop Your Fans from Writing Fanfiction?").

Still, there is danger that lies in the path of the presence of fanfiction. Fanfiction has been threatened. Many writers and television networks feel that fanfiction is a violation of copyright and threatens legal action and, in some cases, have sued young writers for all they were worth. Many fanfiction writers, myself included, don’t agree with this action. We’re only expanding and speculating, not creating or stealing. We’re building a community which allows fanfiction authors to create their own work, which grows out of respect and admiration for the original. As Emma Lord discusses, "A lot of [fanfiction writers] take plots and research that go into them very seriously, and work very hard to create an open and supportive community” (13 Things Fan Fiction Writers are Very Tired of Explaining).

These online fan communities evolved to give as much space as possible to all the different stories people want to tell. Our fanfictions are our own works. We are the copyright owners. This is something I never realized until now. I own my fanfiction. It’s my work of art and I can give permission to those who want to use my original characters or plotlines. Heidy Tandy, an intellectual property lawyer explains, “For people, it’s another way of discussing the book… people like exploring their creativity in a communal format.”

Each member of the fanfiction community has their our own story. Fanfiction is a way of bringing those who are uncomfortable with bringing their works into the a world a chance to connect and encourage to write more. In fact, Jane Hu, writing manager of "The Revolutionary Power of Fanfiction for Queer Youth", explains that Fandoms combine the undeniably awesome power of fanfiction with the unflaggable support of a community; in fact, science says this high level of amalgamation actually makes writers happier and better adjusted, she writes. I have to agree with this because each time I log onto one of my accounts I feel at home.

Fanfiction has been a positive outlet for the LGBTQ community. “Sometimes, the online space is the place [queers] can be out, they are still negotiating what they want to be called—like what their pronouns are—and coming out as trans online allows them to explore their identity” (Kristina Busse, Founding Co-Editor of Transformation Works and Culture).

Slash has become popular in fanfiction as a way to explore identity. Or as it’s called, NSFW [Not Suitable For Web]. NSFW means that the story is not appropriate for audiences under 18. According to Lev Grossman, slash or NSFW is about extending fanfiction into new territory and creating projects that break rules and boundaries and address taboos of all kind. A lot of sexual content has been produced in fanfiction, and it has been very popular with readers. AO3, Pinboard and even Amazon are sites where one could find NSFW fanfiction.

Not only does fanfiction allow us to expand our imaginations, but fan practices provide insight into moral rights of all. It’s a place where people can find one another, release their stories into a welcoming community. It can also open up others to thinking about the rights of all. Surprisingly, I enjoy writing slash fanfiction. I have been inspired by other authors who write along these lines. Our world has gone through many changes throughout our lifetime. The LGBTQ community is one of them now being more open. Upon joining a fandom, I came across the practice called “shipping.” Shipping is when you bring two characters together as a couple. They may not have been a couple on the show, but what if they were? Fans have even shipped different celebrities together. John and Paul from the Beatles, Watson and Holmes from Sherlock Holmes, and even Draco and Harry from Harry Potter.

I have written slash fanfiction with a fan favorite shipped couple in Ed, Edd n Eddy. “Studies of fan audiences help us understand and meet challenges far beyond the realm of popular culture because they tell us something about the way in which we relate to those around us” (Gray, Sandvoss and Harrington 10). Writing slash fanfiction has opened up my comfort zone more. It may not be suitable to the original audience of the work, but fans have a unique right to write this type of fanfiction. We’re using it as a platform to study other ideas. Gay relationships have gotten so much hate over the years, and now we’re starting to be more open about them. This topic has been controversial throughout the world but it has helped our community grow and learn.

A fic that inspired me is Carnal Cabernet written by sweeteggy on Fanfiction.net. It is an original Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfiction. The story centers around Edd and Eddy, two of the main characters from the cartoon, moving into an apartment together. While living together they finally admit the feelings they have been hiding for a long time, and then they explore their sexual relationship. The story is mainly about their sexual relationship which may turn off readers. This author’s writing style is so deep and VERY detailed that it makes you feel warm inside. Edd and Eddy’s exchanges or dialogue make this story heartfelt. They have learned so much and have one another grow. That’s what I want my own stories to be like. We want our fanfiction to hit our readers in some way.

EddEddy is a major ship within the EENE fandom. The relationship is only subtle within the series but through the deepening friendship, fights, and forgiveness between Edd and Eddy, fans have read between the lines the maybe their friendship will be something more after the movie. Through writing fanfiction that has centered around that relationship and the character's sex life, my writing has grown. As bizarre as that sounds, I am not alone. Fans have written about gay sex lives between Holmes and Watson, Star Trek characters, and more. I have written about certain topics that I’ve never thought about writing. These stories inspire many other writers who want to write about touchy topics, but don’t feel comfortable.

Throughout the years, my writing has grown stronger through writing fanfiction. Comparing to the cringeworthy Wallace and Gromit/Poseidon Adventure story, I have greatly improved. I have walked out from my comfort zone to write a whole fanfic novelization based off Ed, Edd n Eddy Big Picture Show, the TV movie which ended the series. I took the script and wrote it as if it were a novel. Much research needed to go into writing that novel. The movie deleted many scenarios as the creators did not have enough time to fit everything into the hour and half time slot. A few of these scenarios would have made the movie and characterization stronger. In my version of the novelization I describe character emotions, scenarios and even add in the scene that could have made the movie better. I wrote a whole scene which could have put the characters in a new light. I am proud of myself for taking the opportunity to write this story as it helped me learn the process behind writing a novel. I have learned so much through the world of fanfiction.

One way for fanfiction writers to publish fanfiction work that keeps their inspiration in plain view is to gain appropriate permission to publish online or through social media. Fanfiction should never be published in the traditional way. “In the age of social media and ereaders, publishers are always looking for innovative, effective ways of selling books… The [fanfiction] writer is equipped with not only a group of devoted readers, but a brand” (Vanessa Willoughby, Imitation is Flattery: In Defense of Fanfiction). These writers shouldn’t be making money from their work. However, many published writers have come out of the fanfiction world, such as Neil Gaiman, S.E Hinton, and Meg Cabot. When Gaiman was 9 years old he wrote a ‘Conan-meets-some-Ken-Bulmer-meets-sword-and-sorcery characters.’ Cabot used to write Star Wars fanfiction when she was a tween. And Hinton wrote fanfiction about the show ‘Supernatural’. Getting an early start and finding an audience is what makes writers bloom and can be just the inspiration a young writer needs.

The fanfiction world can be a training ground for serious writers to develop their skills. However, they must be sure never to benefit financially from the fanfiction they write. If a source is in public domain then it can be used freely in any work. Still copyright stands in one's way. One has to do extensive research in order to find out what you can take from the original work and write in your own fanfiction. There are three ways in which fanfiction authors can can use copyright. Parody, an imitation or style of a particular writer, and Satire, which refers to the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule, fair use referring to a doctrine which permits use as long as it’s only a certain percentage of the original work (That percentage is very small), and author's permission. For example, the estate of Agatha Christie recently gave approval to a writer by the name of Sophie Hannah who created a mystery novel starring Christie's famous character detective Hercule Poirot. Depending on what copyrighted work you write off from how writers use copyright matters. We hold copyright on our own original material we used in our fanfiction stories. Amazon.com lets customers submit fanfiction through a portal called Kindle, but only has minimum amount of fandoms fanfiction writers can submit to.

I also see fanfiction as a way to develop my own writing. I have struggled with writing dialogue or putting in enough detail about setting and character description. Writing fanfiction is a way to experiment on what you struggle in. I never think of my fanfiction as a waste of time. You’re teaching yourself to become a writer. I don’t know where I’d be without fanfiction. In the end it's not about wanting to get published to the world, but publishing to a whole community where you can show the world a take off of a fandom they love. Fanfiction will also increase a fandom, a community of fans that surround a movie, TV show or a book, and gain creators or the original work more new followers. Fanfiction writers are eager to build new fans for the original work. It’s not considered illegal to sell one's fanwork. Courts may also try to find out if the work is transformative. They’re promoting through their own imaginations making stronger connections to the original work. Fanfiction is like an army of promoters. Fanworks are an important part of our cultural landscape.

Fanfiction would not be what it is today without the technology. Technology has expanded the world of fanfiction over the last two decades making it more public. Through increases in technology fan writing easily reaches more writers. When fanfiction was being written in the days where the use of technology was practically nonexistent, there was no easy way of getting ones made up stories out into the world. There have been some instances where some fanfics writers have been published due to posting on Wattpad, a website where any type of stories can be published. Young author Ashley Royer published a fanfiction story on Wattpad titled ‘Remember to Forget’ and immediately became a sensation for her engaging storylines. Royer was hesitant to publish at a young age but went ahead and made the best decision of her life. Never let fear hold you back. Wattpad has become one of the best platform builders out there. Without websites such as Tumblr, Fanfiction or Wattpad “Fanfiction writers enthusiastically share their work and follow other writers. Part of the fun is the community that develops around specific characters, plot lines, authors, and subjects” (Caroline Knorr, Fanfiction: You Won’t Believe the stuff Kids are Writing About).

And that’s why we need to introduce the world to this unique writing form. There should be classes in school which teach this form of writing. Fanfiction are pieces of fiction. It can teach us to open our minds and explore our favorite works of film or literature. This art of fanfiction can also gives writers and readers the ability to take their favorite characters and manipulate them to make them more identifiable. You can do anything in fanfiction such as making a character a different race, write two characters as gay and even bring your favorite character who was killed off back to life. Fanfiction is the opportunity to see the impossible happen. Pretending is fun.

Fanfiction has helped me grow as a writer. Being a fangirl has made me who I am as I have learned to analyze between the lines. I learned that there is a universe which discusses the importance of fanfiction. Fanfiction takes you on a symbolic journey. I will continue to write on with fanfiction. Even though I may never have it published to the world it means more that I can express my imagination to a world online. Fans have passed along their imaginations for decades which continue to grow stronger each day. Take chances and don’t let anyone or yourself talk you out from doing what you love. I was hesitant to write a thesis regarding fanfiction believing that it wasn’t a popular topic. I was wrong. Fanfiction has done so much to help beginning writers, especially myself. Writing or reading fanfiction has helped me through the stressful times in my life. I can easily say that writing is the best quality about myself. I want to inspire others. Fanfiction has helped my improve with other genres of writing such as short stories. I want to leave behind stories to inspire anybody who reads. Whether that’s a writer's main goal or not writing is one of the most essential parts of life. Write what inspires you.

Works Cited

Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World by Anne Jameson, [email protected], Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Fandom: Identities and Communities in the Mediated World, Edited by Jonathan Gray, Carnal Sandvoss, a C. Lee Harrington, Copyright 2008 by New York University

Fanfiction Studies Reader by Karen Helickson, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 52242, Copyright 2014

The Odyssey Online.com/importance-fanfiction, The Importance of Fanfiction: How writing short stories based on popular literature is changing the game by Micah Coons, Jul. 5, 2016

Kowalczyle, Piotr 15 Most Popular Fanfiction Websites, updated Feb. 19 2017, Sept. 18. 2017 http://ebookfriendly.com/fan-fiction-websites/

Clive Thompson, The Importance of Fan Fanfiction, http://www.wired.com/2012/05/st_thompson_fanfiction/ , 05/08/17, Sept. 18. 2017

Hu, Jane, The Revolutionary Power of Fanfiction for Queer Youth, May 16, 2016, Sept. 18, 2017 http://theestablishment.co/the-importance-of-fanfiction-for-queer-youth-4ec3e85d7519

http://reddit.com/r/writing/comments/2qy0p4/what_do_you_guys_think_of_the_writing_of/ Open submission 12/2016. Sept. 18. 2017

Willoughby, Vanessa, Imitation is Flattery: In Defence of Fanfiction, 11-18-15, Sept. 19, 2018 http://bookriot.com/2015/11/18/imitation-flattery-flattery-defence-fanfiction

Mora, Maria, 6 Reasons Fanfiction is more Important than you Think, Dec. 11, 2014. Sept. 19, 2017 http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1066597/why-fan-fiction-is-more-important-than-you-think,

Young, Kathy, Fanfiction Has a Place in Literature by Cathy Young, August 19, 2012, Sept, 20, 2017 https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/08/18/young/4TrgBkw4BhNPnEzXKh803I/story.html

Brown, Scott, Scott Brown on Sherlock Holmes, Obsessed Nerds, and Fanfiction, 17-05, Dec, 4, 2017 https://www.wired.com/2009/04/pl-brown-6/

Gilbert, Matthew, Fanfiction: A World of What-ifs, December 10, 2013, 11/30/17 https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2013/12/10/fan-fiction-world-what-ifs/blecTQ0ECgBJsmEVEe4gsL/story.html

Wilson, Anne, The Role and Affect in Fanfiction May 2, 2016, Oct. 8, 2017 http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/684/570

Knorr, Caroline, Fanfiction: You Won’t Believe the stuff Kids are Writing About, 6/5/2017, 11/15/2017 https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/you-wont-believe-what-kids-are-writing-about-celebs-book-characters-and-other-pop-culture-stars

Gaiman, Niel, Neil Gaiman Journal, April 8, 2002, 12/5/17 http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2002/04/in-relation-to-current-burning-topic.asp

Bertrand, Natasha, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ started out as ‘Twilight’ fan fiction before becoming an international phenomenon’, 2/17/15, 11/16/17 http://www.businessinsider.com/fifty-shades-of-grey-started-out-as-twilight-fan-fiction-2015-2

Cabot, Meg, Fanfiction by Meg Cabot, 3/8/2006, 12/4/17 http://www.megcabot.com/2006/03/114184067156643148/

http://www.ashleyroyer.com/ Copyright © 2017 Ashley Royer | Developed by GraVoc Associates

Lord, Emma, 13 Things Fanfiction Writers Are Tired of Explaining, March 23, 2015, September 20, 2017, https://www.bustle.com/articles/71438-13-things-fan-fiction-writers-are-very-tired-of-explaining

Jurassic-ED by NintendoGal, Published June 6, 2017 http://nintendogal55.tumblr.com/post/162179425580/jurassic-ed-master-post

Carnal Cabernet by sweeteggy, published April 10, 2017, https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12442076/1/Carnal-Cabernet

Hold My Hand in the Rain by Samuraistar, Published July 23, 2010, https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6172952/1/Hold-My-Hand-In-the-Rain

Grumpy’s Change of Heart by spiritstallion, Published March 23, 2009, https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4942893/1/Grumpy-s-Change-of-heart

fan fiction
Marielle Sabbag
Marielle Sabbag
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Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction, and I even enjoy writing reviews about movies and plays. I would love to become a freelance writer and leave the world inspiring minds.

See all posts by Marielle Sabbag