Have you ever thought what if you were your idol’s love interest? What if the characters of a certain universe end up together? All these are possible in the realm of fanfiction.
What Critics Say About Fanfiction
Others look down on this genre of fiction because of the connotation that it is childish or counterproductive to a writer’s growth. The ‘fandom’ behaviour is worth noting as well, especially because it affects the reputation of fanfiction. Arguments would range from the domination of smut fanfiction to the hostility and fanaticism that other fans resort to. Critics also contend that fanfiction lack in depth because its demographic—the young—does not respond well to a nuanced personal conflict of characters.
Even then, the magic of fanfiction has proven to be stronger than its critique, as more and more people devour this kind of media. Take, for example, Fifty Shades of Grey. The whole series is initially a fanfiction for the Twilight Saga, and because of its popularity, it became a publication. Unfortunately, the critique surrounding this work is not positive. It is even safe to say that it checks the boxes of fanfiction disapproval mentioned above.
For instance, Christian Grey’s personality is that he is filthy rich. He hires luxury private car transportation services in different countries and uses a helicopter for a romantic gesture. Moreover, BDSM, the premise of the story’s smut fantasy, is misrepresented in the book, masking the lack of consent with romance. These critiques have not touched on a Formalist approach yet, but it could take up an entire essay.
The Power of Daydreaming Through Fanfiction
The appeal of fanfiction may also stem from the endlessness of possibilities and fantasies. It’s like daydreaming but on paper. As David B. Feldman PhD concludes his article in Psychology Today, “If we’re going to do it [daydreaming] 46.9 per cent of time anyhow, we might as well make it work for us.” One way to channel this daydreaming energy is to make it tangible and post it for other people’s consumption.
When you come to think of it: the postmodernism of fanfiction is amusing. It’s almost a multi-layered fiction, where you take a fictional character to play in another fictional work apart from their origin. Fanfiction also takes real people—actors and actresses—to play fictional roles as themselves that are somehow based on the work they starred in.
Postmodernism, in its format, is also made possible by technology. AU’s, or Alternate Universe, have become popular, especially on Twitter. Today, these AU’s on Twitter are composed of supposed screenshots from different social media platforms of the characters. It shows their fictional conversations, posts and other interactions to convey a story. Gone are the prose and the omniscient point-of-view, as screenshots give a feeling that you have a window to the characters’ personal lives.
Again, the possibilities are endless.
Apart from Twitter, fanfiction can be found on various long-form content platforms. The most popular one could be Wattpad, but some have also used Tumblr to share and promote fanfiction. Fans also patronize other sites such as Archive of Our Own (AO3), Commaful and Fanfiction.net.
The discussion surrounding fanfiction’s literariness and validity is not much of a concern. Besides, postmodernism would ask: What really is literature?