Fanfiction has been a part of my life since I was a young girl, and one of the reasons I think I became such a fan of geek/nerd culture. I got my first e-mail address when I was eleven or twelve, I joined Livejournal back when it still had invite codes, and I of course posted my first fandom scribblings to Fanfiction.net (or the Pit of Voles). Fanfiction was a great way to encourage my early writing because I could play with a set of characters that already had been developed and add the types of stories that I found most fascinating. It allowed me to try new styles and attempt new stories without feeling like they had to be perfect. They could be small, or they could be epic, but they were always a way for me to feel part of those worlds.
When it comes to fanfic I generally tend toward the romantic, the grand romcom of it all. I love AUs where these characters, usually ones who have some sort of strife or constant drama, can just exist in a world where their relationships are enough. I just love spending time with them.
When I was a teen, it was during the prime years of the Harry Potter fanfic wars. I was and will forever be a fan of Ron and Hermione, and I will not deny that there was a sense of victory in seeing them find their happy ending in book seven. I started out on Star Wars message boards and rejoiced at the fact that Han and Leia had had twins that were having their own adventures in the Expanded Universe that I could read about. I joined a General Hospital message board all about my favorite couple of the time, Jason and Elizabeth, and met other people like me who loved to read and write fanfic. It was a great way to spend my adolescent years.
Even now, as a 30 year old, I still love fanfiction. I love reading new ways for Jake and Amy to fall in love on Brooklyn Nine Nine. I love seeing the Doctor and Rose visit new worlds, and then the Clone Doctor and Rose navigate the parallel world. I join the 100 through all sorts of AUs where they get to be regular people without the constant threat of death or destruction. I can visit a world in which there was no curse on Once Upon a Time, where Anakin found out about his children before A New Hope, where the Avengers can just hang out together and eat food and have fun without an alien invasion. There are always amazing fanfic gift exchanges like Yuletide where you can see oodles of fics and try new fandoms, discover new authors that you’ll read anything they write. There’s always something new to discover.
I love seeing these unbelieveably talented authors crank out these epic stories or short drabbles, solely because they have a love for those worlds. That is why I cannot understand authors who are so anti-fanfiction. Fanfiction allows fans to feel a stronger bond with the works they love. And it keeps them interested in these stories, long after new content is produced.
Some times I will read a fanfic that will give me a better understanding and appreciation of the work that it was based on, and many a times I will want to revisit that show, that book, that movie so I can slip back into those worlds. Now there are even more great places to find these stories. I am a particular fan of Archive of Our Own, a fan-run archive that has thousands upon thousands of stories. Whenever I have the urge, I can fall down this rabbit hole and rediscover old friends and new acquaintances. They’re just a click away.