With the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades and the new venture that is Kindle Worlds, fanfiction is rapidly becoming mainstream.
As a fanfiction reader of 16 years, I’m actually feeling a little sad about it.
Not because I don’t think fanfiction is good or that the authors don’t deserve recognition but because for me, it was a world to escape to that existed outside of mainstream.
Back in the days of dial up connection, Angelfire and Tripod, I remember sneaking onto the PC to devour fanfiction at all times of the day and night.
It started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Buffy and Angel to be precise. Then it was all about Spike – Buffy and Spike. In fact, it was Buffy and Spike for a long, long time.
After perusing Angel and then Leverage fanfiction (because of Eliot who happened to be Lindsey in Angel which was an offshoot of Buffy…) and not quite getting the same buzz, it’s now all about Vampire Diaries fanfiction.
Damon and Elena, to be more precise. This generations Buffy and Spike – but not quite as raw or broken.
I think fanfiction is an amazing world to be a part of. I have even dabbled with writing some myself over the years. And guess what, everyone was encouraging and supportive and genuinely happy to read what I had written.
As a writer, it was an incredibly rewarding experience and gave me some of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had.
I didn’t write for profit or fame, I wrote for love. I didn’t read to criticise, I read to escape and live a little longer with the characters I had grown to love during the course of their series.
For me, fanfiction is a compliment to a writer – they have created something so special that viewers/readers can’t bare to let it go; the prospect of living without those characters or in that world is just too difficult to comprehend.
And sometimes, some of those worlds were a lot better than the reality that was my life. `
Now those worlds are expanding to incorporate more traffic, I worry that the fanfiction world itself will expand and transform beyond recognition for someone like me who remembers the magic of the ‘good old days’.
In a world of technological evolution, looking at the next cycle of innovation, I’m aware that this makes me sound old.
But for me, the fear is that the commercialisation of fanfiction will eventually wipe out one of my most precious sanctuaries of which I have the fondest memories.
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.