Today I found some time to read a book I bought about a year ago. I normally don’t read mystery novels, but this one is in a series I had been reading and considering I had some free time I thought I should start it. As I was reading I thought to myself , “It is certainly nice to relax read, why don’t I do this more often?” A moment after I thought this I realized I actually do read a lot and not just for school. Ever heard of fanfiction?
I discovered fanfiction (fanfic for short) my sophomore year of high school right around the time I started to become really obsessed with CSI. If you are not familiar with fanfic it is a surprisingly large sub culture on the internet and it is hard not to notice when you become obsessed with or even remotely interested in a book, show, or movie. In a nut shell, people take characters from any book, tv show, or movie and write stories using those characters. People have probably been doing this for a long time, but with the invention of the internet fanfic has proliferated into something huge. I didn’t really realize it when I first started reading fanfic, but as I spent more time on the internet I began to understand how popular it was.
The biggest website that hosts fanfic is fanfiction.net, and it has an enormous list of books, tv shows, and movies that people have written stories about. The great thing about fanfiction is anyone can write it and the bad thing is anyone can write it. Some people call fanfic pseudo writing because the characters have been invented and established so half the work is already done. This may seem the case, but in my experience some of the best fanfic writers are the ones that can effectively take characters and put them in a new situation and manage to keep them true to the characters nature. All of that is up the the writers discretion and depending on the reader it could be effective or fail miserably. Probably the most written genre of fanfic would fall under romance. What could be better then having your two favorite characters fall in love (even though in the book they despise each other)? Fanfiction allows the writer to have an artistic license and people who like a particular pairing can read fanfic about their favorite couple (whether they are actually together or not in the “real world”). Harry Potter is probably by far the largest fanfiction writers, stories, and readers. On fanfic.net alone there are 282,789 stories written, just a few, right? Fanfiction is also a great way for a writer to improve their writing because not only are they getting the practice from writing anybody who reads it can leave a review of the story and point out the good and the bad in the writing. Of course there are plenty of bad writers out there that make you wish you could retrieve those 5 minutes of your life you just wasted reading their story, but if you find a good writer it is just about as enjoyable as finding a good fiction novel at a book store.
So maybe I don’t spend as much time reading leisure books, but why should I have to when I can access so many stories with just a click of the mouse? Isn’t it the same thing as people who read a book series because they are invested in the characters and the plot? Perhaps the level of writing isn’t always on par with books that are actually published, but being able to have the option of reading hundreds even thousands of stories for free is always a great deal and the odds are out of those thousands they are some really well written stories.