Why do people read fanfiction


Fanfiction, a form of literature based on existing characters and storylines, has amassed a notable following in the past few years. Communities of fanfiction writers and readers have cropped up all across the web, and it's natural to wonder why this genre holds such wide appeal. In this article, we discuss multifarious reasons behind the ever-increasing popularity of fanfiction, examining the various aspects that draw people into this distinctive world of stories.

1. It negates unresolved story elements

One of the main reasons people delve into fanfiction is to confront the unresolved elements in the original work - narratives that feel incomplete, plotlines that simply disappear, or character relationships that never reach their full potential. Fanfiction allows readers to explore these open threads and find closure.

Why do people read fanfiction

For example, consider the intricate worlds of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Fanfiction writers might create stories that expand on lesser-known characters, or invent entirely new plotlines that further develop the wizarding world. This enriches the original narrative while providing an outlet for fans to process unresolved story elements.

2. It fosters a sense of community

Fanfiction platforms, such as "FanFiction.Net" or "Archive of Our Own (AO3)" often host forums and online communities where users can interact, discuss their favorite works, and share recommendations. This fosters a sense of belonging among authors and readers alike. The shared passion for a particular work of fiction or character can develop a sense of kinship and camaraderie that is well-respected among fan communities.

Additionally, these platforms provide avenues for feedback and encouragement that aren't as prevalent in traditional publishing. Writers often form supportive networks and collaborative partnerships, strengthening their writing abilities and enhancing their creativity.

3. It provides a space for representation

Fanfiction also serves as a platform for representation. It allows marginalized voices to depict themselves in characters and narratives that mainstream media often fails to represent. It serves as a platform for people of color, people from the LGBTQ+ community, and many others to share their perspective in a creative space that is inclusive and flexible.

Furthermore, fanfiction can provide a platform for depicting mental health issues, disabilities, and other important topics in a way that is sensitive, destigmatizing, and encouraging open conversation.

4. It offers satisfaction of 'What if' scenarios

Another fundamental appeal of fanfiction is its freedom to explore 'What if' scenarios. Elements of 'alternate universe' (AU) are common in fanfiction, allowing authors to maneuver characters and plotlines outside their original context. This unravels unique, unexpected possibilities and provides a captivating experience for the readers.

For instance, imagining a medieval fantasy character in a modern office setting allows readers to dissect characters from new perspectives, examining how they might act and react within a completely different context.

5. It encourages creativity

Fanfiction is a breeding ground for creativity. Utilising an existing framework of characters and settings, writers are free to invent unique scenarios, relationships and dialogues. This creative expressions not only expand the fictional world, but also helps to cultivate writer's storytelling skills.

Moreover, many notable authors including Cassandra Clare and E.L James began their writing careers through fanfiction, demonstrating the potential for this platform to nurture literary talent.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some popular fanfiction platforms?

FanFiction.Net and Archive of Our Own (AO3) are two of the most popular fanfiction platforms. Both sites provide an extensive collection of fan-created works, covering a vast array of genres and fandoms. Additionally, they offer forums for discussion and writer resources.

2. Isn't fanfiction just amateur writing?

While some fanfiction is written by individuals new to the craft, others are crafted by experienced authors. Regardless of experience level, fanfiction can showcase impressive narrative skills and creativity. Certain fanfictions have even been adapted into bestselling novels and successful TV shows.

3. Why is fanfiction often looked down on?

Some critics view fanfiction as unoriginal or as infringing on copyright, resulting in a degree of stigma. However, fanfiction can be seen as a tribute to the original work and a platform for creativity and community-building.


1. Rowntree, S. (2014). The History and Rise of Fan Fiction. Pop Matters. Retrieved from

2. Tushnet, R. (2007). The romantic author and the romance writer: Resisting gendered concepts of creativity. In D. Coppa & C. Scoppa (Eds.), Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. Jefferson: McFarland.

3. Thomas, C.A. (2012). Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. Routledge.

Explore your companion in WeMate