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How Fanfiction is More than Just Wild Teen Fantasies and Plagiarism

Fanfiction is becoming more and more popular as thousands of readers are signing up to online publishing sites daily, thousands of writers publish new stories and thousands more update their existing ones. With the growth of the internet, fanfiction has become a daily practice of writing or getting their daily dose of interesting stories for many people.

Fanfiction consists of stories, created by fans of books, movies, tv shows, bands, singers and basically anything one can write about. They can include the same or new characters; continue, rewrite or completely omit the original plot and create new pairings of original characters. Although the first piece of published fanfiction came out in the 1960s, with the increasing popularity of fanfiction sites, the activity is now more widespread than ever. Sites like Wattpad, Fanfiction, and Archive of Our Own have millions of users, all due to the countless fans, invested in reading and writing.

Despite fanfiction’s ability to allow writers to channel their creativity, these stories inspired by novels, TV shows, and celebrities are practically scorned by modern society.

Fanfiction has gained a reputation for being something that a pre-teen girl would be doing in her free time on her parents’ laptop when they are not looking. Many people see fanfiction as a collection of teenage fantasies filled with new and ridiculous character romances or sexual content. However, that is not at all true: fanfiction sites have a diversity of both male and female writers who are passionate and represent all ages.

Fanfiction is controversial as writers take others’ content and rewrite them in their own way. Critics of fanfiction often claim that they’re only rushed, cheap retellings of famous stories. However, isn’t this the freedom of expression we have all been longing for? And for some, this freedom of expression provides them with an income. There are countless popular, innovative, and high-quality fanfics that have been published on paper, allowing their many fans to be finally able to enjoy the feeling of actual pages, not just their phone screen. With the high demand for new and interesting stories, it is only a matter of skill and dedication for a fanfic writer to receive their 15 minutes of fame that may be extended for a bit longer. 

Perhaps, you may have already heard about a fanfiction being published as a book, but you never realised it: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Its controversial nature certainly allowed James to enter a world of real writing, selling more than 100 million copies worldwide and making it appear on most bookshelves in local bookstores. Another example of published fanfiction is Side Effects by Jennifer M. Barry. It has positive reviews online, highly praised for the realistic way Barry has portrayed the life of a teenager with anxiety disorder.

In 2013, Anna Todd, another fanfiction writer was a girl in her twenties, doing random jobs and waiting at tables. Her passion for the band One Direction has led her to start writing fanfiction about one of the band’s singers – Harry Style. Even though she did not know about fanfiction sites at first, her passion and dedication to her hobby have led her work to be one of the most recognised on Wattpad. The simple act of having an idea and typing on the phone has brought her fame and actually, some material payment for her work too. Her novel After and its sequels have sold approximately 15 million copies in total – an impressive statistic for a writer who has started out writing on their phone.

Meanwhile, for some, fanfiction seems like a waste of time: they think that anything recreated on the Internet cannot be serious or bring any profit to the creator. For others, however, fanfiction has become a major part of their daily life. 

The internet has allowed aspiring writers to finally be heard, their dedication to their readers being praised and celebrated. Writing and sharing your novel has become easier than ever and writers are finally getting the opportunities they deserve, just from writing about their favourite tv-show or celebrity. With fanfiction, we have entered a new age of freedom of expression.

Image via Geeks

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Born in 2003, in Sochi, Russia, I have always had a passion for storytelling. For the past nine years, I've been living in and exploring Cyprus. Currently, I write and edit for Affinity Magazine Arts + Culture section, and in my free time, enjoy watching films and listening to music.

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