Anybody here played Mass Effect 3? Yes? Disappointed in the ending? What if I told you there was a place you could go, where the trilogy’s epic conclusion didn’t suck so badly? How about Harry Potter fans? I know somewhere where over 600,000 stories exist, continuing, re-telling or expanding the saga of Harry, Ron, Hermione or any other character you can think of from the series. What about Game of Thrones fans? Or Chuck fans? Or even Shakespeare buffs? Is there anything about your chosen, favourite medium of entertainment that you’d like to see a bit differently? At the risk of a lawsuit from Apple, there’s a site for that.

I’m talking, of course, about fan fiction. It’s a word which, unfortunately, has a lot of bad connotations. It was certainly the case with a recent article from The National, which stated “all fan-fiction is inappropriate. Loving a piece of fiction so much that you feel compelled to recreate it repeatedly in your head is fanatical and a bit unbalanced.”

Errm… no. That’s called having an imagination.

If I need to make a case for fan fiction, however, then I will. So, what is fan fiction? Well, probably fiction written by fans, if we go by the title (bet that tested your brain cells a bit.) And it can be fans of anything: I listed some examples above, but if you go to one of the more popular fan fiction site like, then you’ll see the intense size and scope of the genre. This isn’t just an isolated, five person thing. Hundreds of thousands of fan fiction authors exist, all writing about their favourite pieces of fiction: whether it’s new endings, obscure characters, or completely alternate universe versions of certain ‘fandoms’.

With such a vast amount of creators, it’s not surprising that there’s a reasonable amount of poorer quality fics to get through: but that’s just like any form of media, and it all depends on personal taste. And occasionally, there are some true diamonds in there. I’ve added a list of my favourites to the bottom of this article. Don’t think it’s a waste of time either: aside from various cash prize competitions, some of these fan fics might just get you noticed.  Whatever your opinion on the Fifty Shades series, it has been, commercially, quite successful, and it started off life as a Twilight fanfic.

It’s a form of fan support which allows for unlimited creative opportunity and potential, which allows anyone to come up with their own ideas, write them down, and post them for other people to read, for FREE, online. So, yes, there’s some weird stuff but to be fair, there are plenty of far worse things that creepy fans could be doing. I’m not going to be simple minded enough to suggest that, if odd fan fiction writers weren’t creating stories, they’d be out shooting people: But we’ve seen all kinds of headlines about what stalkers do to celebrities, and in the long view of things, writing some slightly strange stories doesn’t weigh up against some of the things fans have done.

Of course, I’ve left out the big point in all of this. Anyone on an English course may already have gotten there: Isn’t all fiction copied from somewhere? For example, Romeo and Juliet is based on an old Italian folk tale: that means it’s written by a fan of the fiction. Or how about Paradise Lost by Milton? A whole poem devoted to Passages from the Bible and widely considered to be one of the greatest literary works in the English language (at least, according to Wikipedia) is a piece of fan fiction. Pretty much all the Disney films were based on old tales: The Lion King is a love letter to Hamlet, without even going on to the tales of Snow White and Cinderella. These, under the most obvious definition, are all examples of fan fiction.

It seems impossible that anyone can think of any form of written media as wrong (well, no legal form anyway: but that’s a whole other kettle of fish), and yet the attitude still exists. But for the life of me, I can’t see why. It’s a form of media that’s creative, fun, evocative, and enjoyable and, certainly at the moment, free. Go and check it out:

  • P0ST: These Black Eyes. One of the longest and best fanfic’s out there: It’s Teen Titans, and it’s stellar.
  • Ashbear: Dancing in Time. A fantastic Final Fantasy 8 Epilogue.
  • Alzzu: Cat and Mouse. A really interesting, Post 7th year Harry Potter fic. Give it a try.
  • Chris Dee: Cat Tales. another huge series, this time dedicated to Catwoman and Batman.

What side of the debate do you lie on? Any strong-held opinions about Fan Fiction? Comment below or find us on Twitter @labelonline


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