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Fan fiction writers recreate their favorite stories

Fan fiction keeps its writers’ favorite books going after the last page

Illustration by Aimee Wachtel

September 9, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Wave a magic wand, and resurrect the Harry Potter series, bring back everyone’s favorite characters from Twilight, or continue Friends long after their creators have stopped producing content. It seems like a pipe dream, but many young writers are making it a reality with a little something called fan fiction.

The genre allows avid readers to retell stories the way they want to and turn villains such as Draco Malfoy and good girls such as Luna Lovegood into sweet, seductive lovers. It enables readers to entertain themselves during long breaks between books and complete tangents the original authors started. Readers can introduce new characters such as Emery, Edward Cullen’s long-lost sister, into the series for a lusty romance or even kill off ones they don’t like. It’s an art for the fanatic, a true testimony to superfandom.


*Terms and definitions provided by local fan fiction writers Kailyn Rogers and Morgan Shellenberg

AU: A story that puts its characters in an alternate universe

Canon: A fan fiction that sticks to the established story line of the original without changing characters or much of the factual information

Crackfic: These are stories without a concrete plot line. They’re usually unbelievable and random. These stories could be perceived to be written by someone addicted to crack or to have a cast of characters who are addicted to crack.

Crossover: A story that blends characters, story lines or universes from multiple different series

Fanfic: An abbreviation for fan fiction

OOC (out of character): This is a character who behaves in a way that is out of character.
IC (In character): A character who behaves the way it would in the original book or show

Lemon or lime: Stories that contain adult content

Mary Sue or Marty Sue: An original character created by the writer that is just the writer putting himself or herself in the story. It is generally found to be irritating.

Ship: Short for relationship. For example, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley are in a ship.

Shippers: Fans of stories about “ships”

Songfic: A fan fiction that incorporates the lyrics of a song or is inspired by a song

Slash: A story in which the main relationship is between two males or two females

--Andrea Kszystyniak

Stephens College sophomore Morgan Shellenberg is obsessed with the Harry Potter series and has centered the majority of her fan fiction around the wizards and creatures within the pages of J.K. Rowling’s books. She has written stories about the friendship between James Potter and Sirius Black and has based more than one entirely off the song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” by Louis Armstrong.

The enthusiastic 19-year-old has written fan fiction since her best friend introduced her to the art form at 13. She has written more than 50 stories, which are viewable on under the pen name Shalan the Magnificent.

“It appealed to me because then I didn’t have to go through the character development process,” Shellenberg says. “It’s a good way to start writing.”

There’s fan fiction for everyone. If writers have a passion for Glee, Naruto or even Hamlet, there is sure to be a community willing to accept, read and critique their remix of the original.

Shellenberg has written a number of humorous stories including a Fullmetal Alchemist parody called “Ramen, Mince Meat and Beano.” It comes with a disclaimer that says not to read it if you’re “prone to peeing when you laugh.”

Fan fiction is certainly a confusing world to navigate, with abbreviations and slang galore signifying all sorts of critiques and character types. Fan fiction writers rip one another apart in reviews left on the site and are especially tough on new writers, Shellenberg says. People have written reviews on Shellenberg’s stories that were so scathing they nearly made her cry.

“Fan fiction writers are really jealous of other fan fiction writers,” Shellenberg says. “If you’re really good, they’ll leave you a message and tell you you’re awful.”

But once a writer is accepted, the community is a warm and welcoming place. Shellenberg has many fans on who religiously read her work. Her most popular story, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a romantic parody about the popular anime Bleach, has more than 395 comments, most of which praise it. As an established writer, she calls fan fiction a serious self-esteem booster.

Fan fiction is making it easier than ever for young writers to hone their skills. Shellenberg is convinced that most writers on can write better than Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.

Twilight is a great example of a fan fiction and all the things you shouldn’t do,” Shellenberg says. All of the characters are perfect and projections of the author, she says.
Although somewhat of a Twilight fan, MU sophomore Kailyn Rogers started out writing fan fiction through a Harry Potter fan site.

Rogers often focuses on expanding the next generation of characters in a book and loves to read drama and romance in fan fiction. She says interpersonal conflict is what drives a really good story.

Rogers has written several stories about Ron and Hermione’s children at the end of the seventh Harry Potter book, a topic she says is popular.

“I find it interesting to be able to explore those new characters and give them personalities of their own,” Rogers says. She also loves to read Harry Potter fan fiction and stories based on popular television shows such as House and Bones.

“It’s a fan’s way of saying, ‘We’re upset that the series is over,’” Rogers says. “And this is our way of keeping it alive.”

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