My life as a seventh-grader is built on running: running towards the brink of school-induced insanity; running away from the bullying thoughts of “If this is middle school…what will high school be like?”; running from one required activity to the next, conditioned to be comfortable with chaos. Amidst a torrid storm of bad scheduling and looming due dates, I have one savior that anchors me down to the mortal realm: fanfiction.
Fanfiction (often called fanfic) has a bad reputation. Society at large assumes that it’s all pornographic in nature, when in reality, it began with the sole purpose of harboring a community of creative individuals.
It’s not a new phenomenon–fans of the Sherlock Holmes series have been writing fanfiction since the 1880s, and Shakespeare himself wrote plays that were (arguably) forms of fanfiction. It hasn’t been until the advent of the Internet that fanfic has taken the web by storm, becoming a melee of activity on the Internet. Thousands of fanatics worldwide write stories based off of original works.
It’s a complex web that would take thousands of hours to explore–and many parts are best left alone. Fanfic stories lurk on the web that are too explicit and too perilous for a meek thirteen-year-old to venture into.
Since the day I discovered fanfiction, my experience with it has been purely fun and educational. A quick Google search driven by a desire for more content led me to an online bonanza of stories. Curiosity might’ve killed the cat, but in this case, it resurrected it.
I found excitable fandoms teeming with anonymous souls on the Internet, churning out fictitious words by the trillions. Every fandom was a complex community that had preferences, dark histories, ship wars, and more. There was new fanfic slang to be learned, websites to find, authors to follow; I had opened the door to a limitless playground.
Finding stories more fun or more ingenious anywhere else is a futile task. Unfettered by bestseller lists and monetary income, amateur fanfic authors write the most outrageous stories: stories that would have no place in the publishing world otherwise.
Only in fanfiction can readers read about Edward Cullen going shopping; Harry Potter buying a new broom; the tragic, never-before-seen backstory of Valentine Morgenstern; that fresh, new k-pop boy band spontaneously turning into werewolves: absolutely nothing is off-limits in the realm of fanfiction. The thousands of ideas that individuals come up with never cease to surprise me.
I make time for fanfiction because the creativity inspires me. In my own writing, I’ve never had more license to write whatever I want—however, and whenever I want to. The beautiful anonymity of fanfiction makes me feel safe in what I post, as I garner constructive criticism and share ideas with other fans as obsessed as I am–all while building my own online persona. I write and read fanfiction simply for fanfiction’s sake: to have fun.