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Fanfiction, just as the name describes, is fiction that is written by a fan to satisfy imaginative curiosity and devotion. Anything that has a fan base has Fanfiction being written for it. The current strongest example of Fanfiction at this time would be Harry Potter. With more than 500,000+ stories based on the Harry Potter universe, it has become a thriving hub of fandom and fan expression.
Written in more than 36 languages and with some stories reaching a 500k word count, this is a powerful force not to be taken lightly. Writers of Fanfiction may change the story to suit their own interests, but one thing that remains unyielding is the respect for the original author or creator.
Often including an anonymous username, a standard disclaimer exists for each story and usually becomes an ode to the original creator. Fanfiction writers often pay homage to their favorite creators in lengthy paragraphs before a story begins. This not only sets the stage for the changes that a Fanfiction author makes, but also legally covers the new writer from infringement issues.
One aspect of Fanfiction writing that is vastly different from the regular publishing medium is that there are rarely editors at the beginning of a first chapter publishing. Often, first chapters are published with only the editing done by the writer. The Fanfiction is in its most raw form here, and even veteran Fanfiction writers need a beta. A beta reader helps catch mistakes in grammar, formatting, and spelling.
Successful writers and editors of Fanfiction are often also writers and editors of some kind in real life. Many Fanfiction authors grow to become published writers of original fiction. Thus, Fanfiction helps their development as writers. Conversely, there are also published authors that sometimes publish Fanfiction to experiment with different plots or even gauge fan responses.
The mind of a writer, regardless of traditional fiction or Fanfiction, is a curious mind, so it is not surprising to see either of the aforementioned actions developing. Yet, beyond the edits and the changes, the act of writing is very much like a conventional authorship. The path to writing a Fanfiction is the same and is actually often filled with just as much research as a traditional writer. The research a traditional author does is usually specific to their niche of writing.
Science fiction writers will research science, and military fiction writers will research the military. A Fanfiction writer, on the other hand, has another layer of research on top of that. Fanfiction itself builds on a world that is already formed, so research into the rules and history of that universe is also a key aspect to developing a good Fanfiction story.
In the case of Harry Potter Fanfiction, there are writers who know nearly as much about Harry Potter as J.K Rowling herself. It may be hard to believe, but every interview, every piece of literature and movie that is publicly visible is taken into account for the vast database that is compiled for Harry Potter research.
The same process is true for Fanfiction on virtually any other entertainment medium that the human race has invented. In some cases, there is even Fanfiction created by Fanfiction authors that spawn their own Fanfiction. A complex case of Fanfiction life that imitates Fanfiction art imitating original fictional writing.
Fanfiction on Harry Potter, specifically, has grown into its own subculture, with websites that come up with data on Harry Potter through scientific knowledge and educational guesses based purely on a world created by one person. That is the power of Fanfiction, to influence lives and to build on worlds that fans love so much they cannot help, but write more about it. The media is not blind to it, so there have been authors and actors interviewed about Fanfiction based on their characters, created or portrayed.
Only recently, Ralph Fiennes from the Harry Potter movies read a few lines of Fanfiction on a nationally broadcasted program during an interview on Bravo TV. Thus, as an extension for another aspect of writing, technology has now allowed us in the last decade to shape and change the way stories are spread between different cultures.
Other notable Fanfiction topics that have developed a large following are the Japanese Anime Naruto, the Twilight literary series, Marvel’s X-Men, Star Wars, and Glee, just to name a few. Written in more languages than most major universities teach and with more growing acknowledgement, Fanfiction is sure to grow stronger, so long as there are worlds created by others to further expand and connect the imaginations of everyone.
Image Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/harrypottermovie