[[quoteright:250:[[Website/FanFictionDotNet http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/logo_strawberry_1149.gif]]]]

->''Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker.''
-->-- '''[[http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2081784,00.html This Time article]]''' [[MostFanficWritersAreGirls discussing a certain phenomenon]].

''[[LetsSeeYouDoBetter If you want something done right, do it yourself.]]''

Fan Fiction is a form of Alternate or Expanded Universe created by the fans of a work, rather than the work's original creator. Fan Fiction, or "Fan Fics" as they are often called, are written for several reasons: [[ContinuationFic To continue a story that ended prematurely,]] [[AlternateUniverseFic to see what would happen if certain characters are placed in unusual situations]], [[{{Crossover}}to see what happens when the characters of one franchise encounter the characters of another franchise.]] [[{{Shipping}} Or sometimes to get the characters to have mad passionate (or occasionally just mad) sex with each other.]]

Due to the inexperience of many fan fic writers, fan fiction has gained a reputation for being a source of [[SoBadItsGood horrible, ''horrible'' writing]]. However there are fan fics out there that are [[FanFicRecommendations INCREDIBLY good]]. Sometimes being just as good as, if not better than, the original work.

Fan fic is the place where EpilepticTrees are planted and cultivated. Expect many, many, ''many'' more fics to star the EnsembleDarkhorse than TheHero.

Saying "It was a fanfic episode," though, is not usually a compliment.

Some franchises -- such as ''Franchise/StarTrek'' -- have actually turned fan fiction into a profit center by creating {{Tie In Novel}}s. These books are usually penned by young and upcoming authors, often former fanfic writers, and represent an intermediate step between fan fiction and completely original fiction.

Although fanfic exploded along with the Internet, it existed ''well'' before the Net did. Such luminaries as John Stuart Mill contributed unauthorized, original stories set in a fictional universe. Before medieval French troubadours were shipping [[ArthurianLegend Launcelot and Guinevere]], the ancient Greeks were writing plays about relationships between characters in ''Literature/TheIliad''. In Creator/{{Plato}}'s ''Literature/{{Symposium}}'' one character complains that a play by Creator/{{Aeschylus}} got the characterization of Achilles and Patroclus wrong. [[SlashFic Namely, that it got the]] LoverAndBeloved dynamic backwards.

Not all fanfic is written, though that's the most common form. It can be in any [[{{Formats}} format]] that can tell a story. In Japan, ''{{doujinshi}}'' (amateur "comic books") is a common vehicle; and with the increasing ease of their production on personal computers, [[FanVid fan videos]] (ranging from {{anime}} series, to ''Franchise/StarWars'') have already appeared.

The distinction between fanfic and original fiction, as we know it today, is largely created by modern copyright law; much of classical writing is actually "fanfiction" based on older sources. The major distinction between fanfic and a story inspired by another story is that the story a fanfic is based on has one or more "official" versions, usually owned by a company, a creator, or both. Thus, things like ''[[http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancythomas-a-mrjames.html The Infancy Gospel of Thomas]]'', a piece of biblical apocrypha featuring [[CharacterizationTags Angry!Uber!]]Baby Jesus, or variations on [[ArthurianLegend Arthurian legend]] where there is no Holy Grail and Lancelot's affair with Guinevere never happens, would not "count" by this definition.

No statement on the legality of fanfic has ever been given in American formal law or in its courts. Some argue that it's a form of copyright infringement; however, see [[http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/elr/vol17/iss3/8/ "Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction, and a New Common Law"]], and note the above precedents. The two most common arguments for fanfic being legal involve either implied consent - companies and authors have every right to enact a FanworkBan as evidenced by fanfiction.net's banlist but are mostly tolerant - or fair use - the non-profit, educational and transformative use of the work justifies its existence. The latter is the main argument that sparked the development of the Organization of Transformative Works, a fan labor advocacy site.

Authors often have conflicted reactions to fan fiction set in "their" universe, which sometimes leads to the aforementioned FanworkBan. Creator/JKRowling has largely embraced Franchise/HarryPotter fan fic, albeit with certain limitations, for example, and Creator/TamoraPierce [[http://tamora-pierce.com/faq.html#fanfic advises aspiring writers]] that fan fiction can be a good way to hone one's writing skills. By contrast, Sir Creator/{{Terry Pratchett}} acknowledges it exists and is cool about it, pointing out that ''everything works so long as people are sensible about it.'' He adds two caveats: anyone doing Literature/{{Discworld}} fanfic shouldn't even ''think'' of doing it for money, and authors should take care not to put it where he might see it. Creator/GeorgeRRMartin, author of the epic fantasy series ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', [[http://grrm.livejournal.com/151914.html expressed his disdain for the practice]], saying that "creating your own characters is a part of writing." He's even gone so far as to threaten legal action should he become aware of any fan fiction set in the Westeros universe. In contrast, writer/journalist James Bow [[http://bowjamesbow.ca/2010/05/07/in-defence-of-f.shtml makes a rather firm case]] for supporting fan fic, pointing out that it forms a stepping stone ''towards'' creating your own characters and setting. As far as media businesses are concerned, reactions have ranged from Franchise/ArchieComics demanding immediate removal to ParamountPictures taking some of the better ''Franchise/StarTrek'' fanfics and having them published in print books.

It should probably be noted that several big-name authors are ''themselves'' writers of fan fic. Both Creator/StephenKing and Creator/NeilGaiman have written (for example) stories dealing with Cthulhu, Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes, and label these stories fan fic.

In the end, more and more media outlets are recognizing that fanfiction and other fan works are a simple fact of life. And as art imitates life, it's now possible to find "fake" fanfiction created as part of a marketing campaign. For example, the 2010 season of Showtime's ''TheUnitedStatesOfTara'' introduced a new character, an artist who had created and published a comic book character named "Princess Valhalla Hawkwind". As part of the promotional buildup for this, Showtime actually created a [[http://www.princessvalhalla.com "fan site"]] complete with fanfic, fan art, and fan video.

Some fanfiction becomes well-known enough to influence other fanfics, which themselves influence more fanfics, and so on in a domino effect. This can and does result in the creation and perpetuation of {{fanon}}, when one author comes up with a "cool detail" and others blindly copy it without realizing it was her invention. Furthermore, characters can become [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] by the feedback loops of fanfiction, sometimes [[MemeticMutation changing dramatically from their original form]].

Eventually, this accretion of fan-born details and mutations turns into things that "everybody knows" about the series. Those new to or unfamiliar with the original material are frequently confused into believing that it ''obviously'' must be {{canon}} if so many people mention it, even "facts" of the EpilepticTrees variety. This is especially the case with series that have long runs and which gloss over details which are unimportant to the plot but are of interest to the fans and the fan writers.

One famous example of this is the anime ''[[Manga/{{RanmaOneHalf}} Ranma 1/2]]'', released well before the Internet became ubiquitous and when many fans had no easy access to the original source material. All manner of details (including the explanation of Akane's mallet as either a [[KiAttacks ki attack]] or as residing in a [[HyperspaceMallet hyperdimensional pocket]], her {{Flanderization}} into a "psychobitch", her [[LethalChef lethal cooking]] (rather than being just bad), and the names and fates of the many [[ParentalAbandonment missing mothers]]) were never touched on in the show but became standardized in ''Ranma'' fan fiction over the course of approximately a decade. The process was accelerated and exacerbated by the appearance of fanfiction written by people who had never actually ''seen'' the show itself and whose only exposure to ''Ranma'' was other fanfiction.

Another famous example is the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' fanfic ''FanFic/TheDracoTrilogy'', which was apparently so widely read that details such as Blaise Zabini being female and Ginny's name being Virginia were taken to be canon, [[{{Jossed}} although they were both refuted by later books]].

It's not surprising that fans of some shows occasionally pen [=FAQs=] solely to reduce the accumulation of {{fanon}} in this way.

Currently, the [[NotableFanfictionArchives largest source of fanfiction on the Net]] (and probably anywhere else) is the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin aptly named]] Website/FanFictionDotNet, which as of 2013, offers approximately nine million stories across all but a select few canons (which were banned due to creator request) and an automated system for posting. A newer site called an Website/ArchiveOfOurOwn is starting to nip at Website/FanFictionDotNet's heels though with over half a million stories and less restrictions on what can and can not be posted. And to top it all off, in mid 2013 Amazon joined in the act with its Kindle Worlds program, which allows for the publication and sale (!) of fan fiction from specific 'verses.

See also MemeticMutation and {{Shipping}}. Compare with other FanWork forms, such as {{Fanart}}, {{Fanvid}}, and {{Fanime}}. See also the latest SubTrope LiteraryMashUps.

For fanfic-specific tropes see FanficTropes. Of course, [[FanFicRecommendations the hive mind have a few favorites.]] [[SoBadItsGood/{{Fanfic}} There are also a few favorite unfavorites]], if that doesn't [[LogicBomb confuse you too much]]. [[TroperWorks Some here have even written a few.]] [[FanFic/FanFics And here are some that people took the time to make a page for.]]

One problem with fanfiction is sometimes writers don't do their research even when it is very simple. A common occurrence is when an author from a country other than the original work's country of origin writes characters as if they are from their own country. An example is Harry Potter where non-British writers (particularly American) make characters act and think like an American would; this also happens vice versa as seen in Fifty Shades of Grey.

For the Eastern equivalent, see {{Doujinshi}}.

(Fun fact: Website/KnowYourMeme considers fanfiction a meme, even though it clearly is not.)
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!!Categories of Fanfics

[[index]]
''By format'': Please note that Fanfiction.net doesn't allow the last two.
* AfterActionReport
* {{Drabble}}
* {{Lemon}}
* {{Lime}}
* LogFic
* {{MST}} (verb form of [[MysteryScienceTheater3000 Mystery Science Theater]])
* PoemFic
* ScriptFic
* SongFic


''By genre'':
* AccusationFic
* CrackFic
* CurtainFic
* DarkFic
* DeathFic
* FusionFic
* GenFic
* HighSchoolAU
* HurtComfortFic
* KidFic
* {{Lemon}}
* {{Lime}}
* NextGenFic
* PeriodFic
* PornWithoutPlot
* PornWithPlot
* RationalFic
* [[RecursiveFanfiction Recursive Fic]]
* SeriesFic
* SlashFic
* {{WAFF}} (Warm And Fuzzy Feeling)
* WarFic
* ZombieFic

''By relationship with canon'':
* AlternateHistory (where "canon" here is RealLife)
* AlternateUniverseFic
* {{Continuation}}
* DeconstructionFic
* ElsewhereFic
* FilmFic
* FixFic
* HateFic
* OriginalFlavour
* ParodyFic
* PatchworkFic
* PeggySue
* RevengeFic
* SuperFic
* TrollFic

''See also'':
* FanFicRecommendations
* NotableFanfictionArchives
* FanficTropes
[[/index]]
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