Fanfiction is fiction written by fans of something, be it a book, a movie, a TV series or, frankly, anything you can imagine. In this or that form it existed for a long time, although without getting prominent due to rarely seeing publishing. But with the advent of the Internet everything changed – without the restraints put on them by the publishing costs, the would-be writers are now free to put their creation on the Net for everyone to see. They don’t do it for money and, generally, not even for fame (even if they achieve it this fame is only among a rather limited community of other fans, and they still hardly can expect to get favorable comments from the original authors).
Mostly, they do it for fun.
Fanfiction May be Very Different
After reading a little bit of fanfiction you will most likely understand that publishing houses and editors appeared in this world for a reason. They help to weed out the texts that are better left unpublished and turn the ones that are poorly written into something that can actually be read.
Yes, frankly speaking, the vast majority of fanfiction is bad – sometimes so bad it’s good, sometimes simply awfully, ridiculously bad. Poor grammar, juvenile humor, horrible plot twists only a twelve-year old may think about, lack of consistency and, again, poor grammar turn most fanfiction into unreadable mess.
But, as usual, there are rare gems, and while there are not editors and publishers, there is another entity that plays the role of a selectionist – the community. The community generally understands what is good and what is bad, and gives the better writers an opportunity to attain certain level of recognizability. Through word of mouth the information about this or that work of fiction will spread and, if it is really good, it will be read.
Sometimes one can only feel amazed why these people don’t try to actually start a writing career – sometimes fanfiction is really excellently written and can be a fascinating reading in and of itself.
Yes, Fan Can Make a Difference
And it has been known for fans to influence the writings of their favorite authors considerably. For example, according to one theory the large gap between the publication of the fourth and the fifth books in the Harry Potter franchise was caused by the fact that the author, J.K. Rowling, unwisely disclosed some aspects of her future novel, and one of the fans managed to write his own The Order of the Phoenix that was remarkably alike to what Rowling was writing at the time. As a result, she had to implement a lot of changes before the book could have been published.
Anyway, fanfiction is a widespread movement in the modern world and is likely to maintain this status. While writers are unlikely to actually address their fans and ask them for advice, the very fact that their creative work become the basis of someone’s writing pursuits shows that they indeed have the power over minds.