How would have Romeo and Juliet ended if Rosaline had loved Romeo? What if the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy’s house were to fuse? What if Clark Kent had never met Lois Lane? Questions like these have intrigued the minds of fans for years. Many of these fans have taken to writing stories to address these “what ifs” and write their own twists on tales both old and new.
Fanfiction is writing that takes an original work, like a book or movie, and turns it into something else entirely. It can be anything from alternate endings to different romantic pairings with any number of characters. Additionally, they can serve as a means of exploring themes or ideas through personal interpretation. They are often works of fiction but the use of fan-created universes or settings can make them non-fictional in nature as well.
There are tons of different kinds of fanfiction, from original stories to character backstories to parodies and everything in-between. Writing fanfiction is an outlet for fans. Though controversial, fanfic has its own specific communities, writers, and reviewers who guide new writers and give feedback on their work.
It is a hobby for some fans, something that can fill their day with creativity and joy, and a way for budding writers to practice and perfect their style. Some authors even got their start writing fanfiction!
To many, fanfiction is a new way of exploring one’s imagination. It can also serve as a possible gift for others who enjoy the original work. Fanfiction can be very diverse and allow its writers to indulge their ideas in ways that are not allowed in the original works they are adapting. Many fanfic writers forgo original ideas in favor of writing experiences that feel more natural. This can be anything from a Kripkean spin on Supernatural to an AU in which Severus Snape was not killed by Voldemort in time, or a RomCed where Draco isn’t Mr. Wrong and Harry isn’t dead.