Fan fiction should be considered literature
Despite the reputation it has for being written by amateurs, fan fiction is something unique that writers put work into and readers enjoy. Therefore, it should be considered literature.
Fan fiction is stories written by fans inspired by an existing work of art. It has risen to internet prominence on websites like Ao3, fanfiction.net and Wattpad.
People read Harry Potter fan stories, Marvel stories, crossover stories of Harry Potter with Marvel and more. These stories are very popular as popular fan site Ao3 has tens of millions of views a day.
Fan fiction is often written off as bad because it’s made by fans who are amateurs rather than professional authors. Because anyone can post these stories online, many of them may not be very good, but that doesn’t mean the entire art form is bad.
Many of these stories are millions of words long, meaning the authors spend days writing and planning. The only difference between these people and other writers is that fan fiction authors take characters from already existing works and write new content with them.
However, with alternate universes and different storylines, the authors who write fan fiction make these characters fit their own unique narratives. Many writers will have characters from one intellectual property be set in an entirely different universe.
It’s because of the unique spin that these writers give their work that many published books today started off as fan fiction. There is of course “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is known for once being a “Twilight” fan story. “The Mortal Instruments,” which is popular among young adults, came out of the author’s interest in Harry Potter.
There are many more examples such as the “After” series by Anna Todd and “Sempre” by J.M. Darhower.
Clearly, many people think that fan fiction is literature if they are willing to read it as physical books.
These stories should also not be written off simply because they repurpose characters from other works. TV shows such as Supernatural and Good Omens repurpose characters from theology and the Christian bible.
Many popular movies could be considered fan fiction of popular literary works like Clueless, which is based on a Jane Austen novel, and 10 Things I Hate About You, which is based on a Shakespeare play. It’s okay when Hollywood does this, so it should be okay for web-based stories as well.
Websites like Ao3 are also a great place for literature to be democratized. These web pages are easily accessible, which gives young writers and readers a place without monetary barriers.
“Fan fiction to me was a way to read things I was truly interested in with all different genres and works online for free and easily accessible,” said political science senior Sydney Young.
These stories give the writers an audience and readers a chance to dive into some of their favorite universes from different perspectives. Young writers have a safe space to write and develop their writing skill and improve their writing into real literature.
“I wrote one direction fan fiction, and I am not ashamed to admit it,” Young said.
While fan fiction may have a bad reputation, it should be considered on par with actual novels, especially since many of these pieces have been turned into stories sold in bookstores.
At the end of the day, fan fiction is something writers work hard to make unique and readers enjoy, which should make it literature.
Atirikta Kumar is a journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]