Almost like a rite of passage, my friends and I traded the library for Wattpad. No more “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or “Geronimo Stilton” for us. It was a logical transition; there was less of a risk of getting caught reading very late on our phones than reading with the lights on.
The thing with Wattpad is that as a platform, it caters not only to original publications. Many of the authors start out writing fanfictions, and as they progress and become better writers. As such many of them take on the risk of writing and publishing their work.
What is truly exciting about platforms like Wattpad is the engagement between authors and their readers? Authors of original novels and fanfictions incorporate their readers’ preferences in their works. For example, if the audience expected character C and A to be a couple but the author made character A and B fall in love, then they me express their concern; oftentimes explaining why they think the relationship between Characters C and A would have been canonical.
Criticism mentorship in these venues tend to be unique and constructive, unlike the criticism that their official (meaning books published in the market) counterparts receive. This type of criticism seems to be a part of something called distributed mentoring (DM).
Aragon explains how DM is formed, “millions of authors and readers communicate via multiple channels—including Skype, official beta reader groups, fanfiction user groups, and other messaging and social media platforms, as well as story reviews.” (2019, para.22) Through all these interactions, authors get a holistic view of their writing. This cycle is not going to end anytime soon.
In the modern world, fanfiction is probably one of the greatest outlets for creativity. If you do not know, fanfiction is a work of fiction produced by a fan of a particular book, show, or movie series. These fans choose to alter numerous aspects of the canon text. Or they could write a novel from the perspective of a character they believe deserves more action. Changes can range from making characters gay, changing universes, or even including crossovers from other books, movies, and shows.
As a creative outlet, it enables people to explore unimaginable realities. People can write about topics, plots, character relationships that may or may not be accepted by the general public. Furthermore, it allows fans to question their sexuality freely and explicitly express their desire without feeling an intense fear of homophobic retribution. Fanfiction in this regard can be considered as a discursive practice. This label can explain why writing and reading are stigmatized and why it is frowned up.
When talking about fanfiction, we cannot ignore the fandom from which fanfics are born? People in these fandoms write or produce fan art simply because they enjoy the content itself and the process of production. This process, however, is not solely the author’s responsibility. As I previously state at the beginning of this article, readers often influence the storyline and possible relationship matches. Thus, complicating authorship questions, but the threat of copyright laws is absent in fandoms and fanfic communities.
To get you started, here are two of the best- and well-known works
As you can tell, this novel is a fanfic of “Pride and Prejudice,” with the addition of zombies into the plotline. Though marriage and love are still present, Lizzie and her sisters are now katana-wielding fighters. They have mastered the martial arts and use their advanced skills to fight and hordes of zombies. Contrasting romance with senseless violence with such wit is complicated, Grahame-Smith makes it look so easy.
This fanfiction is written in a post-Hogwarts world where Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione try to live life after defeating Voldemort. Be aware that this fanfic was written before the release of Order of the Phoenix. This seems to be one of the best-written fanfictions in the Harry Potter universe.