Online Fanfiction website: The Underestimated Grassroots literature

Are you a fan of something, whether it is a movie, a historical figure or even a football player? Have you ever read a fanfiction online and write your fiction about the people (or even the non-human) whom you love?

In the past 20 years, over 60 billion words of fan fiction have been written and posted on Fanfiction websites. They may be texts written by primary school students, as report shows the majority of the fanfics industry is teenagers, and half of them are under 15.

The Fanfiction readers used to be defined as “creative material featuring characters [from] works whose copyright is held by others” by Francesca Coppa, in her book, The Fanfiction Reader. They gain inspirations from other intellectual property, such as a movie or a book, extending it’s worldview or using it’s characters to create their own narratives.

Creativity being underestimated

However, in light of the current situation, the fanfictions cover a even bevener spectrum of topics and themes. fanfiction readers are so creative that they can write a fanfiction about literally anything, not necessary other intellectual property. For example, there are online fanfictions about some contemporary celebrities or historical figures like Thomas Müller and Mozart.

It can be imaginable when you see the fan-made fictions and paintings depicting the Iron Man and Captain America as a couple, because yes, they are close friends, it is reasonable that some people see tensions between them. However, can you imagine there are more than 1,000 fanfictions about the romance between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump on the website Archive of Our Own?

-Influence being underestimated

Theoretically speaking, it costs nearly no fees for the fanfics reader to read and write online, the large fanfic-reader group that consists of mostly young people respect their own rules and protect the harmonious environment of creating.

According to MIT technology review, some elementary school students claim they make great progress by writing fanfics and comments. The only reason for them to start writing is always the love for the original work, when they are using the fanfics to advertise the original work, they also fall in love with writing itself.

The online fanfics websites not only provide a stage for the normal people’s imaginations, but more importantly, they build a community for establishing identity, and exploring new trends that are not accepted by mainstream. The fans share their interest and writings while establishing relationships with others online.

Achievement being underestimated

Among the fanfics, there are countless works of quality, but because fanfics are production of fan circle and written under the name of other intellectual properties, they are usually thought inferior to common literature.

If fanfics writers want to have the same status as book writers, the first thing is always to deny the connection with other works in their fanfics. For example, E. L. James famously converted her online “Twilight” novel, “Master of the Universe,” into the 2011 blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey” by removing elements like names, vampiresthat that might infringe a “Twilight” copyright. Only then can she be regarded as an original writer.

From this case, we can conclude that fanfics can be seen as a writing mode, you borrow the elements from other works to create your own stories. But if you want your works break the fan circle, the elements that you borrow should be hidden to show your originality. The debate on whether fanfics is appropriate is heated nowadays, but just as Roland Barthes said: “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author, the achievements of online fanfics show the great power of contemporary readers.

The Promise and Potential of FanFiction