Fan fiction writes favorite characters into insane situations

March 27, 2009 — by Sarah Hull
sarahhull

Freshman Sarah Hull

Sprinting across the shiny hardwood floors after completing my homework, I race into the office and quickly boot up my computer. Anxiously, I wait for Internet Explorer to start up, tapping my fingers nervously against the keyboard. Finally, the page loads and I urgently type in the URL, begging it to speed up. A few seconds later, a wide grin spreads across my face as I read the title “Updated: 03-2-09.”

It may seem strange that I get so excited for a simple updated webpage, but fanfiction.net has become my main source of reading material, containing millions of stories based on characters and settings from popular books, movies, and television shows. The website provides anyone with the means to publish their writing and receive feedback in a completely anonymous setting.

A fanfic is defined as a piece of fiction written by fans of a book, movie, television show, etc. using existing characters to generate new plots. The website allows amateur authors to express situations that did not happen in the original work and often answer the “What if?” questions people have while viewing or reading the original publication.

Most students look forward to the publishing of the next book in their favorite series, a new issue of a magazine, or even the daily newspaper. However, over the past few years, I seem to have started reading more fan fiction stories than books. Every day I check my favorite stories for updates and recently added chapters, which usually include outrageous plotlines, crazy schemes and heart wrenching moments.

Many people criticize fan fiction because they believe all the stories contain atrocious grammar and completely unrealistic scenarios. Yet, if you look past a couple spelling mistakes and a few grammatical issues, you can see the time and effort someone put into the story and the courage that it took for them just to post it on the Internet, where anyone could read it. They may involve unrealistic plotlines, but that’s the entire point of fan fiction, to convey one’s personal opinion on what might have happened if a certain event had occurred.

Reading these stories is not always productive though. I frequently spend hours reading fanfics, my eyes permanently glued to the computer screen. Currently, fanfiction.net is considered the largest and most popular fan fiction archive online, and home to millions of stories in dozens of languages. It’s not surprising that I, and many other avid fan fiction readers, can become so immersed in the website, wasting an inconceivable amount of time just reading one story.

Fan fiction allows me to escape the real world, even for a short amount of time, and get wrapped up in the insane situations our favorite characters, including Harry Potter, Edward Cullen and Doctor Who, repeatedly find themselves in. Hopefully I will continue this bizarre routine of reading fan fiction every day, at least until I’ve exhausted all the interesting, well-written stories out there. Or, perhaps it will have to end once my vision becomes so impaired from staring at the monitor that I am no longer able to decipher the words.

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