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[personal profile] mannadon
I get this question all the time, especially when I meet someone new, and they see me scribbling away in a notebook on my lunch break. "What are you writing?" often turns into, "Why fanfiction?", if they even bother to use that term. I've found that, more often than not, people skirt around the word, even when they've learned its meaning.

So to keep things simple, "Why write something that you know you'll never get paid for?"

I can't speak for every 'ficcer out there, but I write because I love writing. Typing is one of the most relaxing things I know how to do. I just sit back, stare at my screen, and type what I think or feel or feel must be typed. Asking someone why they write fanfiction is like asking a good artist why they draw fanart!

So let's break this down.

Fanfiction is, when put in the simplest of terms, fiction written by fans, for fans. Hence, fanfiction. You write about characters and worlds that have already been established by another person. If you write a story about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, then you're writing fanfiction, because Jane Austen already wrote about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. She established their world, their personalities, everything.

'Fic can be written about any book, any movie, any video game, and any television show or cartoon, from Romeo and Juliet to Star Trek to Stargate SG-1 to Pokémon. Sometimes people even write what's called RPF (Real Person 'Fic), about real people, actors or comedians or singers.

I write fanfiction because that's what I love writing. I fall in love with the characters, and the more I write about them, the more I love them, until I'm so attached to their quirks and habits that I can't let them go.

It's hard for non-'ficcers to understand the happiness that 'fic brings to people, sometimes. After all, it sure doesn't help you rake in any money! But there's something relaxing and fun about sitting down to read a story about characters you already know. The lazy man's reading material? Maybe. But it's something that everyone in a fandom (or, group of fans sharing a common interest) can relate to and enjoy.

Fandoms are divided up by common interest. The Pokémon fans are a fandom, the Tales of Symphonia/Abyss/Phantasia fans are a fandom, and so on. Since everyone in each fandom is familiar with the source material (be it a game, TV show, movie, book, et cetera), they can sit down to read any story that catches their eye or their interest. Members of a fandom often have forums or groups where they can get together and chat about their respective interests, particular plot arcs, what will happen next (in an ongoing series), et cetera.

Fanfiction has the fortune of finding itself appealing to everyone in its fandom. Will everyone in the fandom read it? No. Will everyone who reads it enjoy it? No. But that holds true for any book; it all depends on the reader's tastes.

To conclude, why do we write or read fanfiction?

Because we love it.
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Mannadon

October 2009

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