Writers of Tomorrow* is a Slice of Culture series where we will strive to highlight our writers of tomorrow — aspiring novelists, songwriters, fanfiction writers, playwrights and more. 

This week we will be talking about a type of writing you may not even know about — fanfiction.

But what is fanfiction?

According to Oxford Languages, fanfiction is fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc.

These fans get absolutely no monetary gain from these works — featuring the intellectual property of other people — and write fanfiction for entertainment purposes only. There are thousands of writers in the fanfiction community, and despite what some might believe, they are actually very important members of the writing community. 

These writers can breathe new life into old series, or books that would have probably been overlooked as time went by and gave way to fresher material.

In some instances, it can rekindle a love for a movie, series or books, reminding people of their love for the original works. 

Did you know that the Fifty Shades series began as a Twilight fanfiction called “Master of the Universe?”

(Goodreads photo)

The fanfiction itself was so different from Meyers’ original work that by switching out the names of the characters from Twilight to original names and reworking a few scenes, E.L. James, who wrote the fanfiction under the pseudonym Snowqueens Icedragon, was able to publish it.

Slice of Culture put out a questionnaire for all fanfiction readers and one of the respondents was an anime fanfiction writer, Janna Sheiman, 39, from Hamilton, NJ, who has been writing fanfiction for nine years.

Our questionnaire received 105 responses from various fanfiction writers. One of the things we wanted to know was whether or not our responders stuck to one fandom; it was a yes or no question with a cheeky “I’ll never tell!” as a third option, and 60 out of the 105 responders answered “No!”

These creators don’t just stick to fanfiction sites and blogs, they often create groups on social media where they can share their work.

It’s a great way for them to draw in more readers, and Sheiman herself admits to being part of a few groups on Discord and Tumblr.

We asked what fandoms our responders were a part of. The responses varied greatly, however, the top three were “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “Teen Wolf,” in that order.

Sheiman, one of the 43 responders that sticks to one fandom, revealed that she’s a part of the Inuyasha fandom. 

“Inuyasha” is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi.

(Dubbing Wikia / Fandom)

We also asked if the writers wrote Drabble fanfiction. According to Fanlore.org, a “Drabble fic” is a short piece of fiction, or in this case fanfiction, that is exactly 100 or 200 words in length. 

Our summary chart for the questionnaire showed that 42.9% of our respondents said they didn’t, while another 42.9% said they did, and the others responded that they sometimes wrote drabble fanfiction.

One of our responders who goes by the pseudonym Beccax95 wrote a Drabble fic called “Broken,” which was published on Fanfiction.net earlier this month.

Next, we asked if any writer wrote fanfiction that is over 100,000 words. 

To some, that may not seem like a lot, but “Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets,” according to wordcounter.net, was only 85,141 words while “The P.O.A (Prisoner of Azkaban)” was a few thousand over the 100,000-word mark. 

Now, you may not think anyone would put that much dedication into fanfiction, but I can assure you that there are hundreds of fanfictions that exceed 100,000 words. There is a “Harry Potter fanfiction” titled “Harry Crow” that exceeds a whooping 737,000 words! 

The fanfiction was written by an author under the pseudonym RobSt, the fanfiction was started in 2012  and finally reached completion in 2014, and can be found on fanfiction.net.

One of our respondents who goes by the pseudonym Everleigh Allen has written a Twilight fanfiction that is over 100,000 words called Into the Woods, the fanfiction was started in 2013 and was completed in 2020.

Our following question was whether they followed canon (a storyline created by the creators themselves), or AU (alternate universe, typically made up by fans) in their work and 78.2% of our respondents said that they write somewhere in between.

Canon fics such as “Metamorphosis” (a Twilight fanfiction ) follow the original storyline of the source material while at times from the perspective of another character than the one originally featured. “Metamorphosis” follows breaking dawn from Edward Cullen’s perspective.

AU, on the other hand, typically derails from canon completely. The fanfiction “Harry Crow” centers around a goblin-raised Harry throughout his years at Hogwarts.

An excerpt from “Harry’s Crow” (RobSt / Scribd)

In this series, we will delve more into the world of fanfiction writers and how this not-much-spoken-about community has a massive following online on platforms like Fanfiction.net, Tumblr, Wattpad and more.

Below is a preview for our next part of “Writers of Tomorrow: Entering The World of Fanfiction.”

Apart from your friends, do you feel like your peers accept your fanfiction work? 

 “So far, I haven’t found anyone that wasn’t supportive of it.  They may not understand what I write or the genre I write in, but they understand the need, especially right now in Covid, to have an outlet, something fun to do and focus on, something positive.”

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