Notes on a Fandom: Fan/Fic/Tion

Now dear readers, as you probably already know, the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James is based on Twilight fan fiction. Yes, three current New York Times bestselling books came out of the world of fandom. Beautiful Bastard, a book based on another Twilight fanfic, called The Office, is set for publication this spring. Not only did all these books evolve out of fan fiction, but they also happen to be full of erotic and mature content. I posed a question about mature/erotic fan fiction on Tumblr, and here are some of the great responses I received, both for and against it.

Living in NYC, I ride the subway, and I’ve seen many people reading Fifty Shades of Grey proudly. No matter what you think of the books and the fics they are based on, it does seem that we getting more comfortable having a dialogue about desire. Obviously, with television shows on major networks, there are major limitations for our ships in the romance department. Fans are putting down in writing what goes on in their heads as shows cut to commercial. I talked to Rcampdel, writer of the popular Paily fanfic, Red Velvet about writing mature stories.

My fan fictions I write have always been under a mature rating. For Blue Lace it was sexual content and my reasoning was mostly because I didn’t want to limit the characters or myself as the writer. It can be beautiful when written in the right way and that’s always my goal. I don’t write for shock value I wrote for a more raw emotion. Red Velvet it the same way though sexual content has just started working itself in and the language keeps it at M rating… Sex is part of life and I don’t want to sugar coat the emotion it brings by having “and the door closed” the end.

This is why, why we write

Fan fiction is a place where everyone has a chance to be on equal footing and it attracts all kinds of people. Professionals looking to challenge themselves. Amateur writers who discover a talent within, and go on to pursue dreams they never knew they had. Sometimes its just fans looking to have a little fun. I think that writing fan fiction stems from our ancient desire to be heard and have our stories told. It’s also a way to have a little control within the medium that we love.

“Fan fiction allows me this whole avenue of creativity that I don’t think I would have discovered otherwise. I can try my hand at writing funny stories, angst ridden tales or a combination of many different genres and I find out right away whether something is working or not.” @DebatingDykes (betterleftblank on

Fanfic can erase a broken heart, right a wrong, and speak our truths without fear or repercussion. Another amazing outcome of fan fiction is that it encourages writers to expand and develop their own stories and characters. Now, not everyone is going to be the next Jane Austen, but there’s no harm in working to better yourself or discovering a craft that you may find you love. Speaking of Jane Austen…

Why not? It was good enough for the Brontës.

Omg Charlotte, I’m totes flailing over Wellington/Dickens. I ship it so hard.
Photo courtesy of

Finally, one of the things I personally love about the fan fiction universe is the support and community atmosphere it encourages amongst writers and readers. People love talking about and reviewing their favorite stories, and promoting other writers. Coming from the rather cutthroat world of performing, I find this beautifully refreshing. Fandom should be a safe space to explore and commiserate about common interests. Supporting and building up your fellow fans, is one of the things that make you fangirls so special. So go on, write what’s in your head and your heart. You have nothing to lose. And as always, flail on fangirl. Flail on.

Bi-weekly, Notes on a Fandom will feature a different fandom-centric topic. Tweet me your thoughts on what you’d like to see covered, send me links to your Tumblr. I’ll be including them in each week’s column.

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