Fanfiction is fiction written by fans about characters and/or settings created by someone else for a TV series, movie, book, comic, video game, and so forth. Basically, if you didn't create it, but you're writing about it, and it wasn't commissioned by the original creator (or rights holder), it is fanfiction. Fanfiction writers use the characters and situations from these works to develop their own personal and, sometimes, preferred views of the story.
A fanfiction story is called a fanfic or fic for short.
History of FanfictionEdit
It is believed that as long as there have been stories, there has been fanfiction. The modern phenomenon of fanfiction as an expression of fandom, however, was popularized and defined via the Star Trek fandom and fanzines published in the 1960s.
In 1998, FanFiction.Net came online. At the time of its initial creation, it accepted any sort of writing, original or fanfiction. It has since separated its original fiction section to another website and banned several sub-genres, including explicitly sexual stories, real people fiction, and stories featuring song lyrics. The ability to self-publish fanfiction at a common archive like FanFiction.Net, and the ability to review the stories directly on the site, became popular quite quickly. FanFiction.Net now hosts over ten thousand South Park fics, among millions of others, and is widely considered the largest and most popular fanfiction archive online.
Classification of FanfictionEdit
- See also Category:Fanfic Classifications
Fanfiction can be classified by format, story type, and quality.
Formats of FanfictionEdit
Fanfiction is available in several different formats. The most common is the regular story, although these could be further distinguished according to length. A chaptered fic is written in a similar manner to traditional serial stories, with each chapter released separately as it is finished (though there are a few authors that first finish the entire story before they start releasing the chapters at regular intervals). Chapters may take anything from a day to several months to be updated.
Single-chapter stories of any length are usually referred to as oneshots. Stories with two chapters are sometimes called twoshots. There are various terms for different lengths and they are sometimes used interchangeably. These include flashfic for stories under 500 words, and short-short for stories between 500 and 1,000 words. The term ficlet is also commonly used for stories under approximately 1,000 words.
A drabble is traditionally a story of exactly 100 words in length. A proper drabble is often a short scene or idea that does not tell an entire story. It is simple a refection of a moment in time. Many drabbles are humorous in nature. A lot of the time the term drabble is also used for stories that are considerably longer than 100 words.
Fanfiction is occasionally written in script format, although these are banned from FanFiction.Net. There are several sub-genres of scriptfic. Some are written in the style of screenplays, while others are chatfics, stories which are written like an instant messaging or chatroom conversation between characters. Chatfics are somewhat similar in this sense to an epistolary novel, though usually much shorter. The quality tends to be much less as a result of the fast pace of the action.
Another format of fanfiction is the songfic, where authors take the lyrics of a song and, with the song as inspiration, construct a piece of writing around the lyrics. Usually, this is done by quoting lines of the lyrics in order and inserting original writing in-between.
Types of FanfictionEdit
Fanfiction is written for many different reasons. Though all of these reasons could be filed under the heading "What if I took these characters and put them in that situation?", they are subdivided into the following:
Missing Scene: In the original episode, a certain situation is not elaborated on. For instance, in the episode "The Coon", Mysterion asks Kyle for help providing background checks, but Kyle doe not make another appearance afterward. The author explores what he could have been doing to help Mysterion.
Missing Adventure: Some authors prefer to write stories that have the taste of a canon adventure, do not contradict canon in any way, and could seamlessly fit into the canon... at least until a later canon occurrence retroactively contradicts that story and in one blow turns it into an AU story (see below). That is the risk taken by any author working with a canon that is still under development (i.e. the series is still in production). Sometimes these stories can have small additions tacked on to the canon (i.e., more character development for a flat and minor character, or an undescribed setting put into more detail), which is also grounds for the fic to be classified as an AU.
Alternate Universe: As the name says, this fic explores the possibilities of an alternate universe, AU for short. There are two main possibilities here. One is that the author didn't like a certain canon event, such as the death of a character, and writes a story where that event is ignored or undone. The other form is the High School AU, where all the canon characters are suddenly of high school age and each other's classmates. High school AUs are extremely popular in South Park fanfiction.
A sub-genre of AU is when characters from a canon universe are put into an entirely different setting (the fourth grade boys as take a trip to New York, for example), but are kept true to the characterization put forth in the canon universe.
Crossover: In a crossover the characters from two different fandoms are brought together for a mutual adventure. See further the main article on crossover fics.