Our stories end with us!

Stories end.

For some people that’s just how it is. They read a book or watch a movie or TV show, enjoy the story, finish it and move on. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Do you know that feeling? You’re reading a book or watching a movie or TV show. You’re deeply immersed in the story and reaching the finishing line. You’re reading the last page, watching the last minutes and now – What now? The book is finished. The film has ended. There are no more pages to read, no more episodes or scenes to watch. But how can that be it? You are not ready to leave this world. To let go of these characters. To move on from this journey.

So, from here on my friend: ‘Welcome to the realm of fanfiction! Where stories never end.’ Or more: where stories go to live on because people can’t let go of them.

Fanfiction are stories written from fans for fans. So, they can read about the characters and worlds whose interest they share. These stories are published on online platforms like Archive Of Our Own (AO3), Wattpad or Fanfiction.net. A German-speaking platform for fanfiction is FanFiktion.de.

Fanfiction is free and can be used by everyone. In general, that’s an important characteristic of the medium. There are different opinions on the idea of profiting of fanfiction. Predominantly, it is not well regarded and even frowned upon to make money out of your work, because it contradicts the purpose of fanfiction: To share the stories, worlds and characters you love with others that feel the same way as you.

In general, fanfiction can be subdivided into two different categories: “non-pairing fanfiction” and “pairing fanfiction”. “Non-pairing fanfiction” is based on the writers’ or original creators’ worlds and can contain new characters and new story lines. It can be about rewriting or continuing established plot lines, about introducing new characters or about crossovers between different fictional worlds. “Pairing fanfiction” are all works that include the characters in any kind of relationship with another character. But at least one of these individuals must be part of the original content or a real-life person.

Where “non-pairing fanfiction” orientates itself towards established book genres, “pairing fanfiction” can be divided in four different main genres which itself include different sub-genres. The four main genres of “pairing fanfiction” are “Fluff”, “Crack”, “Angst” and “Smut”. Each genre is supposed to let the reader feel something else and thus genres have different kinds of situations to deal with for the characters.

Fluff” includes every story with sweet or heart-warming content where the protagonists experience a feeling of security and love. It’s supposed to let the reader feel joy and the warming feeling that runs through the story. Because of that a “Fluff fanfiction” will always end with a happy ending and is in general written in a soft and calm writing style. The opposite of “Fluff” is “Angst”. The genre “Angst” deals with everything about pain, fear, death, violence, abuse and mental illnesses. In these stories the characters are in bad situations and a happy ending is either not possible or not wanted. In some exceptions there can be a happy ending but in their own way. That means the end is more about saving someone or avoiding the worst-case scenario, but the heavy feeling of the story doesn’t vanish. While reading the fanfiction the reader experiences sadness, fear for the characters or even anger. The third genre “Crack” is about any kind of hilarious or exaggerated humor. These works are more focused on the humor than on the love aspect of “pairing fanfiction”. The characters often overreact to the events of the story or get into ridiculous situations. These stories end positively, and the reader is animated to laugh, to feel joy or to even feel embarrassment for the characters’ situations. The last genre “Smut” includes every story based on sexual content. “Smut” can be found as part of the other three main genres, but it is also a stand-alone genre and often contains works that don’t have or need a plot.

Fanfiction is written for us, who have already read the books or watched the films or TV shows so that we can have a little bit more time with the characters and worlds we love. If you’re now interested to plunge into the deep pit of fanfiction here are some useful advice and tips: On platforms like Archive Of Our Own stories are diligently tagged. You just search for your fandom and there you go. But sometimes we crave for specific plot lines or elements. Either you search for the sub-genre you’re interested in, like “Domestic Fluff” or “Hurt and Comfort” or for specific tags that describe the plot elements you’re looking for, like “Alternative Universe”, “Magical Realism” or “Established Relationship”. And don’t think that the things you want are to specific to exist. There are many fanfiction writers out there writing just for us to enjoy. And if you reach the point that you already read everything that the fandom created until now, you, too, can choose to start writing your own fanfiction and contribute to the fandom. But no matter what you choose to do, just reading or also writing, if you read a fanfiction and enjoyed the story leave a nice comment for the writer and show them you appreciated their work. Fanfiction writers sometimes sacrifice many hours of their free time to write these great stories for us to read. Some of these works have the same dimension as published books.

Fanfiction is a great opportunity to read about your beloved characters and favorite worlds as often as you like. And the best part about fanfiction is that the stories you love don’t need to end. Because they live on as long as we write about them.

See you next week for a new exciting article!

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