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Articles > Entertainment November, 12, 2015

Fanfiction Isn’t What you Think It Is

Alison Etheridge
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I’d just finished the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I felt that all too-familiar gnawing feeling of ‘I’m not ready for it to be over.’ So what do I do? I log onto Fanfiction.net and find some stories that fill the void the shows ending left behind.

Fanfiction isn't just porn

Photo by
Kars Alfrink

Everything and anything goes in fanfiction – pairings you hadn’t even imagined become deeply seated in your heart, plot holes previously unfilled become complete, infinite possibilities and ideas are explored – and yet, the reputation fanfiction gets goes along the lines of ‘well, it’s just porn, isn’t it?’

You couldn’t be more wrong!

But from the discussions I’ve had with my friends and peers, the overall consensus is that it’s just an excuse to write ‘adult situations’ about your favourite characters. In all honesty, I do not know exactly where this portrayal of fanfiction came from; a quick scan of many fanfiction sites doesn’t give away very much to the contents that lie within. Maybe it came from places like Facebook and other social media pages (I’m looking at you, College Humor), where sexualised posts of cartoon characters are common – this maybe contributed to the idea that all fan-made art is of a sexual nature. It only takes a little digging to see that it’s not.

From my experience, porn hasn’t made me cry. It hasn’t made me care deeply about the characters who are portrayed. I do not exactly empathise with the struggles characters in porn go through (the example springing to mind is the old cliché rent-money situation) and I haven’t been able to lose myself in porn for hours on end, for days at a time.

Fanfiction is as much about porn as Harry Potter is about the Sorting Hat. It’s definitely there, and is occasionally used as a plot device – but it is not the be all and end all. Not by a long shot!

Speaking of the Sorting Hat – there are even filters in place so you don’t have to investigate whether a story will contain any adult themes; there are a few rules of fanfiction, one of which is to warn what themes the story will explore. Some writers go as far as to warn if a ‘lemon’ (a sex scene) is coming up in the chapter so you can skip it and just enjoy the story itself.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and some stories are just written as ‘smut’ – but to reduce the entire branch of literature as ‘porn’ is just plain ignorant. And it’s intensely frustrating.

I enjoy sharing my passions and hobbies with others yet the stigma around fanfiction has caused me to stop sharing it with friends. I feel like it’s my dirty little secret rather than a hobby, and I don’t want it to be like that anymore.

So, I urge whoever is reading this – go online and immerse yourself in a good fanfiction, smut or not! Good, bad and everything in between, there is an entire community waiting to welcome you with open arms and you might just surprise yourself with what you find. And with book prices on the rise there is no better time than now to get into fanfiction – a completely free service which will cost you nothing but hours of your time.

As an avid reader of fanfiction for many years – hear my plea, and just give it a chance! Comment and let me know what you read 🙂

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