What up, everyone. It's currently Tuesday night, and rather than watch the RNC which is entertaining, I decided to binge-watch Mr. Robot. Believe it or not, this dire look at our society through the lens of hackers is less depressing than our current election cycle. But I digress.
I wanted to blog about fandoms today. And a little about fanfiction. Although, this might become a multi-part series because there's a lot to say about both topics. But let's go back to fandoms. Even if you're not familiar with the term, you more than likely know what a fandom is and you are more than likely part of one. You might even participate in one. Fandoms are a subculture of fans who rally around a common interest -- anything from books to TV shows to movies and music -- and typically network and share online. Although, fandoms do predate the internet.
Fandoms often get jazzy names like Potterheads (Harry Potter), Whovians (Dr. Who), and Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffet fans). Fandoms will often rally around an OTP (one-true pairing), a favorite couple such as Angel and Buffy, or Angel and Spike, or Chuck and Blair, or Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.
Members of fandoms will often write fanfiction, original stories set in established worlds. My first foray into this was reading Jane Austen fanfiction on Fanfiction.net. I was obsessed with Austen's world after seeing a wet Colin Firth in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (and before you judge me, I did go on to read all her books, including Northanger Abbey) and seeing as how Austen was dead and not producing, I went online to read more P&P works, some set post marriage. Some missing scenes from P&P. Some variations on existing scenes. It was like scratching an itch.
[Be aware when searching for fanfiction, it can get really smutty. Writers will tag their stuff explicitly so you know what you're getting into before you read. I have read amazing fanfiction (check out AO3) and not-so-amazing stuff and I love it all.]
I could write a whole dissertation on fanfiction, including a glossary for important terms. But I won't right now. The point I'm making here is that writers can learn a lot from fandoms and fanfiction. Think of a show you love, now go online and check out the fandom. What is it about the show or movie or book that draws readers? Not just pulls them in but hooks them so tight, they're spending all their free time writing and reading fanfiction. What makes them obsessed? What is it about OTPs that makes readers fall in love? Are the characters super flawed? Redeemable? Pining? What do fans want out of their fandoms? How do they want to feel?
It's hard to pinpoint why certain fandoms take off before others, but as authors, we should examine fandoms and fanfiction to inspire our own art.
Are you a part of a fandom? Do you read fanfiction? Do you write any? Please comment away.