What are fanfics?
The FanFic or fan fictions is one of the biggest phenomena on the Internet, with websites and entire communities dedicated to it.
It is a type of fictional story and most of the time they are based on other works of fiction. These stories are published on the Internet by amateur writers, there are also FanFic written about non-fictional scenes and people, such as celebrities and historical figures.
The length and content of these stories can vary greatly. Some fanfics are just a few paragraphs long, while others are hundreds of thousands of words long and span the length of several novels. Fanfics incorporate various existing story elements such as scenarios, characters, story elements, and even writing style.
How do fanfics come about?
Although the idea of fanfic arose in the Internet age, the genre predates the Internet. Authors have been writing fanfic since the 19th century. For example, Anna M. Richards published A New Alice in old Wonderland in 1895, based on the Alice in Wonderland books Lewis Carroll had written several decades earlier.
The modern iteration of fanfic began during the 1960s in the Star Trek fan community. Star Trek fans posted and shared around fanzines containing amateur works based on the world and the characters.
Over time, and with the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, fans began creating websites that could host fanfic. One of the biggest communities in the early years of the web was the fandom for Harry Potter, the hugely successful fantasy book series. Harry Potter was instrumental in the rise of fanfic authorship and reading, and remains one of the largest fandoms today. Other massive fandoms are Marvel, Twilight and Supernatural.
Types of FanFic
As fanfic has developed into a literary genre of its own, various subgenres of fanfic have emerged. These are some of the most common types that can be found in fan communities:
- Slash Fiction: This is the most common type of fanfic. These stories feature romantic relationships between two characters, or “ships.” Slash fics can range from canon couples to couples of characters who don’t interact with each other in the original story.
Alternate Universe: Often shortened to UA, Alternate Universe works consist of placing existing characters in a different setting. A typical example is to place all the characters of a fantastic universe in an ordinary school or workplace.
Original Characters: These fanfics insert original characters, or OCs, into an existing world. For example, you can create a story about a completely new student at Hogwarts. One such subgenre is “imaginations” or “self insertions”, which use a second-person narrative style to make the reader the protagonist of the story.
Canon Fics: These are works that try to stay very close to the plot of the original story. For example, the same plot can be retold from the perspective of a different character. One such subgenre is “canon divergence”, a speculative story about the events that would occur if the characters in the original story made different choices.
Crossover Fics: These are stories in which different source materials converge. Crossovers often come about when two characters from unrelated franchises “go on board,” and fans want to see them have romantic interactions. For example, many stories feature Elsa from the Disney movie “Frozen” and Jack Frost from “Rise of the Guardians,” two characters with magical ice powers.