Candace: Will you guys read my fanfiction?
writers are female, specifically teenagers and young women.
This is the most common conceptualization regarding fanfic writers in general. Usually this comes down to thinking that fanfic is the domain of the 13-year-old Yaoi Fangirl
, or Het Is Ew
. Those who do
actually know something about today's realm of fanfic know differently, and are often less than happy with the insinuation that fanfic is badly written and childish as a whole.
But let's look at where those assumptions come from, shall we?
Certainly most young writers get their start taking ideas from popular culture and going from there, and using your favourite characters in your own story isn't an alien concept to most young teenagers. A lot of young people writing gay or lesbian themes and relationships - something that is rarely a serious focus in the mainstream media they watch and read - or fantasizing about gay, lesbian or just Het romantic imagery in general, will start with characters and ideas they are familiar with, often with characters that engender such imagery. Some writers will deliberately start with fanfic to attract readers and feedback before starting with original characters. For young teenagers, this is certainly the place to start writing about their Shipping
fantasies - gay or Het - and to get into writing generally, particularly for those with specific stories or even fetishes they want to explore.
All over the internet there's been a build-up in fanfic written by young teenagers over the years. As they grow older, they may move onto original works or stop writing out their fantasies and drop it all together, but a lot of writers do
stay on and refine their stories, becoming the OldGuard
. It surprises many people how adapting to someone else's canon and learning not only to write well, but how to fit their own literature into the continuity of a series can be very useful and unique skills that few other forms of writing can teach. The analysis and appreciation of the source material that is necessary to write good
fanfiction is an amazing asset for any aspiring writer.
However, as for the on-going interest in fanfiction - and the associated prevalence of this trope - on the one hand, it's certainly no secret that writings with gay characters or gay or LGBT thematic imagery are significantly marginalized in main stream literature and other media, particularly romance. Fanfic writers often try to fill in this deficit with either alternate universe stories that use well-known characters to attract readers, or trying to alter their favorite works in order to compensate for unexplored potentialnote
. It hasn't been unknown for published authors to build their confidence and reader base in fanfic or online original works, exploring genres that usually are niche with few opportunities - a particular example of this is in Japan, where well-known manga authors and artists make doujinshi that can be sold in paper-backs without copywrite accusations.
Or, specifically in the non-erotic section of Fanfiction (which is much larger than most give it credit for), the cause may be related to the fact that a lot of Fanfiction is written for fandoms that presumably lean heavily male, such as Star Trek
, and other Sci-fi or action adventure genres. The hypothesis is that women notice the missing female perspective in the stories, and add it themselves
. That tends to fall apart when women write fanfiction without said missing female perspective, hence it remaining a "hypothesis".
Various theories abound as to why this trope has persisted so promiently, but the cause is most likely related to the theory that most visual porn is male-oriented (see: any adult video store or site) while most written porn is female-orientednote
, and Fanfiction, like porn, trades heavily in Author Appeal
. This trope is extremely common regardless of the reasoning behind it.
This trope has been in effect since well before the internet made it much easier to proliferate fanfic. Studies of early Star Trek
fanfiction showed as many as 90% of authors were female in the 1970s, even though at the time such stories could only be shared through fanzines or through sending self-addressed-stamped-envelopes to the authors and having them mail you a manuscript.
This phenomenon has been subjected to academic analysis by ethnographer Camille Bacon-Smith and MIT's Henry Jenkins. Jenkins suggests in Textual Poachers
that fanfiction is a reaction on the part of a female audience trying to find their own pleasures in media that caters mostly to males
regarding fanfic writers though, is that there is a huge
contingent of both male writers, and writers in their twenties to thirties - and even lesser numbers in those much older as well. Whether in the non-romantic or the erotic sections of fanfic-dom, you will find a large variety of people from all different backgrounds - including different genders and ages - who enjoy writing fanfic. Even though, yes, there is a lot of Old Shame
works that exist on the internet as teenagers past and present write their ideas couched in their favourite characters, there is a very
large number of works by people who do
have a mature sense of writing structure, and to ignore fanfiction as a ridiculous waste of time with nothing worthy to offer would be a huge mistake.
It is important to remember that this is a trope
, not Real Life
. Much like Most Writers Are Male
is a trope that relies on a background of male-dominated writers but which now is a falsity in an age of equal opportunity, so Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls
is a trope which, although may have been true at some point, is now more of an urban myth (although, like in any fandom or community, the contingent of teenage girls do
tend to be the loudest and most active, for good or evil).
See also Shipping
, Slash Fic
, Everyone Is Gay
, Estrogen Brigade
, Het Is Ew
. Compare Most Writers Are Male
and Most Tropers Are Young Nerds
. Combine with The Internet Is for Porn
to get All Women Are Lustful
Creates a paradox
when faced with the trope There Are No Girls on the Internet
Only examples where a character in the work writes a fanfic are to be added.
Parodies and deconstructions should not be added.
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Anime & Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima! Haruna draws her own Doujinshi which is based of Mahou Shoujo Biblion and sells her works at Comiket.
- Genshiken: Ogiue also draws Yaoi Doujinshi, much to the great trouble of her Editor boyfriend who is...not a fan. Well, Sasahara gets the appeal of yaoi to her... it's just more than a little awkward when she draws him and ships him with one of his best friends. Other than being featured himself, he's surprisingly accepting.
- Harumi Fujiyoshi of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei draws Doujinshi as well — one of them about her Teacher Itoshiki-sensei. As well as a pairing of Apple × Pine when everyone else likes Pine × Apple (the characters in question are expies of Coco and Nuts). In the third series she is seen drawing a Gundam 00 Tieria (also voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya) Doujinshi.
- Darker Than Black had an entire OVA episode devoted to a character who writes in-universe slash fanfics about the protagonist.
- Nobuko Yokokawa of Ojamajo Doremi writes stories loosely based on her friends and classmates with her best friend Aiko she idolizes as the Mary Sue protagonist in most of them. Later joined by the shy artist girl Miho Maruyama, who starts creating similar comics with her. With their stories involving romantic plots with their own self-insert characters along with Aiko's, it results in awkwardly heavy doses of Les Yay for a kids' anime.
- Hikaru Amano of Martian Successor Nadesico portrays this in the English dub. She writes Self Insert Slash Fics.
- Erika from Durarara!! openly discusses writing Slash Fics about her friends. She also ships Izaya/Shizuo.
- Supernatural has an entire in-universe slash fandom, implied to be primarily female, writing about the show's main characters. The show also features a female slash fic writer as a recurring character, with serious stalking tendency.
- In the season two Psych episode with the case at the school for smart kids, one of the (male) students says to Shawn:
Any leads? I'm adapting this into a Nancy Drew
- Inverted with Glee; Sandy openly admits to writing fanfiction.
- It's implied that Willow of Buffy the Vampire Slayer used to write Doogie Howser, M.D. fanfic. (This is probably a Shout-Out to Neil Patrick Harris, the star of that show, who is a friend of Joss Whedon. And funnily enough, her eventual co-star on How I Met Your Mother.)
- In Degrassi: The Next Generation, Clare starts writing Mary Sue fanfic based on a fictional vampire book series called Fortnight.
- In an episode of Monk, Monk's self-proclaimed biggest fan asks him why doesn't he use his gun during a case. When he tells her that he doesn't carry one, she remembers that she made that detail up in a fanfic she wrote about him.
- Inverted in Parks and Recreation. Ben Wyatt is known to write Star Trek fanfic.
- In Dragon Age II, Isabela writes "friend fiction". We only get to hear a bit featuring Aveline and Donnic but according to Isabela, she does it for everyone.
- However, she does it only as a fan of Varric, who is also a professional writer, who uses his friends as thinly veiled "inspirations" all the time.
- In the Fable III side quest, The Pen is Mightier, one of the books is entitled The Pangs of Sunset. It is essentially just an erotic novel featuring the Heros from the previous game. It is implied to contain both Slash and Femslash and is written by a woman named Ilona Pureheart
- Garnet and Gure features this strip, wherein the largely female culture of fanfiction is explained.
- Questionable Content features two female fanfic writers, Tai and Marigold; Tai's stuff is apparently good (she writes a raved about Harry Potter piece), Marigold's, not so much. After a near miss where lesbian Tai hits on straight Marigold, the latter seeks to make up for the awkwardness by posting a story to Tai wherein Hermione and Ginny "go all the way."
- Aeris from VG Cats writes erotic fanfiction about Tidus and Auron, has dreams about Fox and Falco, and likes the idea of a hot molotov throbbing in Bill's hand.
- In Homestuck, the female Cherub Calliope (UranianUmbra) admits to writing fanfic about the Alpha Kids.
- Vriska has a diary from her ancestor who she strives to emulate, the notorious pirate Marquise Spineret Mindfang, who writes in an overwrought, awkwardly sexual, fanfiction-like style. When we meet Mindfang's alternate universe self, she is a fanfic writer. We also discover Meulin, who writes 'friendfic' speculating on ships.
- In Shortpacked!, Amber writes a Web Serial Novel that is a pastiche of Twilight.
- This Time article on fan fiction mentions this phenomenon.
- An article by the Guardian also mentions this observation, linking directly to this very page.