Fanfiction is Good for the Soul

"Fanfiction" is becoming a household word, and we should embrace that.
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Created by tiffanymurnaghan

Published on Mar 6, 2024
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Fanfiction is Good for the Soul

Fanfiction – still such a dirty word isn’t it? It’s becoming a much more well-known concept in mainstream media, but we still view it as a weird internet thing, and we associate it heavily with 12 year old girls writing stories about their celebrity crushes. It’s bad. It’s trashy. Why on earth are people reading this?! 

Well, if you are one of those people thinking that, I’m here to open your eyes. Take my hand and like Aladdin, I’ll show you the world – of fanfiction, that is. Into the Cave of Wonders we go!

Now, I’m going to debunk a very obvious myth. It’s not just 12 year old girls writing this stuff. There’s older teens click-clacking away on their laptops about Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or Star Wars, yes, but there’s also many adults writing fanfiction as well. And why, you might ask? I’ll tell you: it’s because it’s super fun, and like all forms of writing, it’s self-expression. 

To explain further, I’m going to admit something here. I have written fanfiction before, and I may or may not still write it – but you can’t prove anything! Just kidding. In all seriousness, it has taken me a while to come out about this fact to other people. It was a secret that brought me shame and embarrassment, because fanfics weren’t cool! They were cringy. Awful. Gross. Weird. My reputation would be ruined. 

But fanfiction is where my love for creative writing began. If it wasn’t for little 11 year old me writing about characters from beloved book series or shows, I wouldn’t have become the writer that I am now; I wouldn’t have been published or won competitions. I don’t think I would be happy either.

I first got into fanfics after a pretty terrible event in my life. They offered me comfort and escapism. I was able to process feelings I couldn’t verbally articulate. I used to be very shy at that age, and to be honest, I didn’t really grow out of my shyness until I was 15. Fanfiction helped me through my problems when talking to people wasn’t an option, and I know there will be others out there who resonate with this experience.

Fanfiction is good for the soul in many different ways. It can bring us out of our most negative headspaces and make us feel unfiltered joy by giving us another way to enjoy things that we already love. It can encourage and nurture creativity; before you know it, you have developed a skill or discovered a talent. 

There’s another misconception that fanfics are poorly written. Sometimes, they don’t have the best quality, and that’s normal and completely fine! However, I have come across novel-sized fanfictions, where each word is given much thought, each sentence carefully crafted. I have followed the most engaging, moving, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping plots; I have witnessed the most accurate portrayals of characters. The amount of time and dedication I’ve seen put into some fanfics is genuinely amazing. 

There is a lot of variety within fanfiction, as many different individuals are writing about their own interests. Fanfiction is its own genre at this point, and I can’t see it dying out. There will always be someone typing or scribbling away about something as long as a piece of media exists. 

While I’m under the impression that fanfiction is typically harmless, there are issues that need to be addressed. Considering there are adults writing this type of content, there will inevitably be adult themes in their work. Websites such as Quotev or AO3 may give a warning about this, but that won’t stop kids from looking at this kind of stuff. Some young people are also writing about mature topics, which is concerning, and there could be a correlation here with what they may be reading. 

The solution would be for these websites to enforce stronger viewing restrictions, maybe add an age-confirming process (which isn’t just “Are you 18?” with a “yes” button and “no” button), and for parents to keep a closer watch on how their children interact with the internet. The internet, in general, can be a dangerous place, so it’s always best to be careful. Fanfic writers can also be mindful about what they post, because ultimately they are choosing to put their works out into the public. 

Fanfiction should be enjoyed by everyone, especially in a healthy and safe manner, and we shouldn’t be afraid to express ourselves. That’s how we grow as writers and as people. Now go write that one-shot; you know you want to! 

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