Ryan Birchfield, Photojournalist

Fanfiction is when a fan of a book/movie/TV show writes a story about the characters and world of that book/movie/TV show.  The book/movie/TV show is the fan’s fandom.

Fanfiction causes two main reactions from people: 1. they love it and begin talking obsessively about their favorite fandoms, or 2. they hate it and begin to rant about all the bad qualities of fanfiction.  For all its faults, however, I firmly believe that fanfictions is outweighed by its good points.

For a voracious reader (a.k.a. me), the wide variety of stories available always helps quench that thirst for new reading material., which is the most popular fanfiction site, has millions of stories just waiting to be read, and that is just on one site.  A quick internet search of one’s favorite fandom will most likely have several websites devoted just to that one fandom pop up in seconds.  Readers everywhere can rejoice at the vast amount of reading material at their fingertips.

Secondly, fanfiction provides an outlet for creative people to express themselves.  It gives people the freedom to invent stories without having to worry about building a world or focusing on a character backstory.  They have the freedom to borrow another author’s world and put their own unique stamp on it, which is cool.  Writers can work on honing in their craft and gain valuable practice and confidence by writing fanfiction.  This confidence can help inspire people to write their own stories with original characters.

Finally, fanfiction answers the unasked questions and serves as a sort of wish fulfillment by fans.  Ever wonder what would happen if Harry Potter met Edward Cullen?  There’s a fanfiction story for that.  What about if Percy got together with Rachel instead of Annabeth?  There’s a fanfiction story for that too.  Want to see Ender’s Game as a western drama?  There just might be a fanfiction story for that as well.

Clearly, fanfiction has lots of great qualities.  Caroline Birchfield (10) agrees with me.  She said that she “really enjoys reading fanfiction because it offers a chance for readers to imagine themselves in the author’s world or write from a side character’s point of view.”  Next time you’re on the computer, try and read a few fanfictions.  You never know what you’ll find.