Bridgette Ramirez

1) Romeo & Juliet Alternate Ending (Aliens, rebels, and more!) by Conman98
When the classic tale of love and loss is about to close, the star crossed lovers find themselves abducted by aliens…

2) Better Be Slytherin! by jharad17
As a first year, Harry is sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor…

3) The Rainbow Games by amberheart19
Hunger games with my little ponies…

Fanfiction gets a bad rap, but I’m always intrigued with the unique places that fanfiction writers will go on their optimistic quest to contribute to the world.  The above stories are real fanfictions that fans have posted, with varying degrees of successful spelling, on a site called FanFiction.net.  I don’t know why that last person thought it was a good idea to have little ponies fight to the death in a post-apocalyptic society, but there you have it.

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Modern fanfiction began with Star Trek fanzines in the 1960s and exploded when the Internet made publishing fast and easy.  Fanfiction.net describes itself as the ‘world’s largest fanfiction archive and forum where fanfic writers and readers around the globe gather to share their passion.’  This passion no longer involves just Star Trek.  FanFiction categories include books, anime/manga, cartoons, comics, games, movies, plays/musicals, and television shows.  New subcategories continually pop up within the larger categories to feed the fans’ hunger to re-experience their favorite stories.

Some denounce fanfiction as mere plagiarism.  I believe it falls under fair use, although discussing all the legal nuances would require a whole other post.  Beyond that, however, fanfiction usually serves more as a tribute that popularizes the work rather than as theft.  If I thought a book sucked, I wouldn’t waste time writing fanfiction about it.  If I enjoyed a book, I would spend hours reading, writing, and reviewing fanfictions that continue the characters’ exploits.  I would make my experience with the book last far beyond its last chapter.  After all, who likes when a good thing ends?

Generally, fanfiction follows the events of the ‘canon,’ the official universe that the original creator has established.  Some fanfiction writers, however, like to add their own elements.

Slash fics change a platonic same-sex relationship into a romantic one.  Don’t think Spock and Captain Kirk are secretly in love?  I’d like to see you argue with the slash fic writers.  They bring out romance wherever they please, as many fanfiction writers do when they write opposite-sex friendships as blossoming romances.

AU (alternate universe) fics transplant characters from their original universe to a new one.  A fan can place Marvel superheroes in a high school and take away their powers while maintaining their personalities.  Crossover fics make another book, movie, comic, or show the alternate universe.  The Avengers meet Harry Potter.  The Little Mermaid meets Doctor Who.  Twilight meets… oh for the love of good writing, let’s not do anything else related to Twilight.

Slash, AU, and crossover fics may modify the canon more than some people are comfortable with, but all fanfiction does the same thing; fanfiction comes from a desire for something more—sometimes because the canon is lacking in the fans’ eyes, but more often because they find the canon so wonderful that they don’t want it to stop with the words ‘The End.’  They want to explore the what-ifs, renew the characters, prolong the adventures, and more.  More, more, more.

Harry Potter has around 758K stories on FanFiction.net.  Naruto has around 410K.  Twilight *shudders* has around 219K.  (1) The numbers grow daily thanks to rising demand for fanfiction, which writers happily supply in every fandom.  Again: more, more, more.

A healthy greed fuels all fanfiction.  This greed refuses to give in to the original story’s insistence that nothing exists outside its pages or runtime.  Most of us have wondered what came after the final chapter, or what happened between scenes, or what backstory motivated a character.  Fanfiction writers push the canon to its greatest limits with their stories.  They may be less refined than literary scholars, but they still engage in dialogue with the original story—albeit in a more informal context.

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Fanfiction sticks it to the Man—the ‘Man’referring to literature, pop culture, endings, and even death.

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Fanfiction extends, subverts, and revises the stories’ canon according to the fanfiction writers’ values.  Optimism influences all these writers—even the ones who write depressing, angsty, or even parodic fics.  They have confidence that they have something else valuable to say about the characters, and I consider that optimism at its finest.

Fanfiction transcends the end.  It resurrects Romeo and Juliet.  It stops the zombie apocalypse.  It kills Edward Cullen with a giant wooden stake (sorry Bella). (2) Even when fanfiction fully accepts the canon, its very existence proves that for the writer, their favorite book/show/movie continues.  Fanfiction promotes the same hopefulness that allows many of us to believe we live on after our deaths, just as the characters live on after their story ‘concludes.’  Maybe I have an extreme opinion, but I think that in a lot of ways, fanfiction sticks it to the Man—the ‘Man’ referring to literature, pop culture, endings, and even death.  Sometimes we as humans just want to laugh at what the canon—and life— tell us and continue writing our own story.  Fanfiction helps us do just that.

Yet perhaps fanfiction can only offer so much to us.  After all, stories don’t go on forever—even the fan-written ones eventually come to a stop.  All fanfiction writers must wake up to that pinch of reality.  As much as they deny the end, they must acknowledge the futility of doing so or else risk slipping into delusion.  They have expanded the canon’s universe, but, as with every human effort, their work has finitude.  These writers’ persistence despite such brutal reality may make them seem foolish, but don’t we all keep trying in life despite our limitations?

(1) In case I haven’t already made it clear, I hate Twilight.

(2) Really hate it.

 

Bridgette is a hardcore nerd who hopes to find a wardrobe to Narnia, tap into the Force, and join the Avengers, but since she hasn’t yet, she writes to compensate.  Originally from West Covina, California, she is a creative writing student at Scripps College.   She reviews books and movies on her blog at goldengatebridgette.blogspot.com.

 

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