My Not-So-Guilty Pleasure: Fanfiction


My Not-So-Guilty Pleasure: FanfictionI have always prided myself on being an avid reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a very little girl diving into my first “big” chapter books and really even before then. My mother likes to say that I had The Tales of Peter Rabbit memorized and would correct her if she skipped a page. And so, I grew up enjoying as many books as I could get my hands on. 

Now as an adult, I feel like my palate for books has been refined over the years. I’ve got my preferred genres (typically a mix of fantasy, cozy mystery, romance, and the newest sub-genre that’s trending — cozy fantasy), my favorite authors who I will follow forever, and a Goodreads list that’s filled with my reviews so I can easily remind myself what I liked and disliked. I still love digging into a good book or series and meeting all new characters. But sometimes, there’s a series or world I discover that I’ve been so engrossed in I just can’t stand to leave it when the ending comes. 

So what’s a woman to do when the series or TV show was so good, she can’t believe it’s over? Dig into the wonderful, wide world of fanfiction. 

Fanfiction has a lot of controversy surrounding it, and you might have a very different view of it depending on what side of it you’re on. If you’re unfamiliar with it, fanfiction is exactly how it sounds: stories written by fans to add to, enhance, or dabble in a world they love using characters they’re familiar with. It might sound unethical at first, but the whole reason fanfiction is as popular a hobby as it is is because every author of fanfiction acknowledges — or should acknowledge, anyway — that the works they write are not salable. In other words, it’s a free medium fans use to indulge in their favorite works a little longer. 

I discovered fanfiction in my late teens and delved into a website that hosted tens of thousands of fanfiction stories across multiple genres of works. It opened my eyes as both a reader and writer that I could read stories written by fans for free or even write my own stories to share with others and get their comments and reviews of said stories.

The world of fanfiction is a wide one, my friends, so let me tell you a little more about it. 

You can find fanfiction on a huge range of subjects. I’m not just talking about book series or TV shows, either. Yes, there’s fanfiction for books, movies, TV shows, and video games. But there’s also fanfiction for real live people. Admittedly, I don’t read much of that as it’s a bit odd to me, but there are audiences for almost anything these days. 

If you jump into fanfiction reading, be prepared to learn a whole new lexicon. There are loads of acronyms and terms you’ll want to learn as you begin reading (or writing) fanfiction. As an example, you might read a story labeled “canon compliant” and discover that this means the story doesn’t change the original plot of a book or movie. But there are loads more terms to discover as you delve into fanfiction. 

Mind the tags and warnings. One of the largest fanfiction sites, Archive of Our Own, has an interesting system of tagging stories wherein authors can add tags to their stories. This might include spoilers or trigger warnings. As a side note, if you’re extra curious about jumping straight in, you might want to make sure you mind any tags that read: Dead Dove Do Not Eat. That tag specifically means you should take any tags seriously on the work; as an example, if the story has the tag “Major Character Death” alongside the Dead Dove warning, you can expect that a major character will, in fact, die and not be resurrected. 

Last but not least, there are fanfictions for any and almost everything out there if you look hard enough. If there’s a couple you thought made sense but never got together, I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts you can find a fic for that, even if it’s a rarepair

So why do I tell you all about fanfiction?

Because it’s my not-so-guilty pleasure. I write and read it. I love it and have for years and years now. It’s a free hobby that gives me joy, and I’m able to explore worlds I love in more depth, even if it’s not the original creator’s version of it. I connect to other people online in the same fandoms I love, and I get to indulge in silly fan theories and even see them share stunning fan art in these spaces. 

And if that wasn’t enough, my other not-so-guilty pleasure? Downloading fanfiction to my computer, creating a cute cover in Canva, and then popping it onto my Kindle to read later. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve created way too many covers in Canva of late and my Kindle is chock-full of not just books but also fanfictions waiting for me to read them. 

If you loved a series and couldn’t get enough, it can’t hurt to head into one of the fanfiction spaces and see if there’s more to read. There’s an entire world of amazing writers out there posting stories for free if you just know where to look.

Do you like fanfiction? Please tell me your favorite fandoms! I’m always looking for more to check out.

P.S. The only major caveat to reading and writing fanfiction that you need to know is we do not sell it in any form or fashion. If you’re wondering why, this is a great place to start learning. 


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