In the last decade, at least online, fan fiction has taken the world by storm. It is how many authors got their start in writing and honed their skills. One author told me that she wrote the stories for the pure pleasure of it because she was a diehard fan and wanted to see her favourite characters live on.
Dictionary: fan fiction (also informal fanfic) noun: fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc. Which also includes video games, manga, anime series and comics.
And now fanfic has become so entrenched in our modern culture, events that used to be classified as perhaps a sci-fi convention or anime convention or comicon are now simply referred to as fan conventions. People like to read never-ending sagas about their much-loved characters, especially when a certain series has ended. Crossovers or mixing universes is also popular—hell Wolverine can date Buffy or anyone else that might turn his crank. And although there are rivalries between such fans as Trekies and Star Tards, and they can be fierce, there are many people who love both.
This type of writing has even found a home in modern publishing. In North America artists make fan based comics, and in Japan they print doujinshi, rewriting entire plots or creating completely new and exciting ones. Slash is another hugely popular branch of fan fiction.
Dictionary: Slash fiction is a genre of fan fiction that focuses on interpersonal attraction and sexual relationships between fictional characters of the same sex.
I don’t know if fan fiction will change any of the original creator’s minds, but it sure as hell makes things interesting. It is inspiration at its best. One thought can lead to another and another and then suddenly the author is writing about a totally different universe, something they can call their own. So I think fan fiction has its place. Some argue it’s a rip-off of the original works and of course that brings the issue of copyright infringement to the forefront. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support piracy, it’s wrong and costs the hardworking author. But if the fanfic is written for the sheer enjoyment and not to make profit, then it isn’t hurting anyone. As I see it, it’s a huge ego booster to have so many people admire your work, and admire it in such a unique way.
Just for the fun of it, I’ve added a bunch of slash images. Do you know the pairings?
All these fantastic drawings belong to their respective creators!