I started this series on Bubblews, but instead of a direct transfer, as I actually lost the copy, I’m starting a new. So it’s fresh version of an old post.
For those who are newbies to Fandoms in general, a fandom is a collection of fans who share a similar love for a show, movie, book, band, sports team, etc. Although you often don’t hear people refer to sports as a fandom, it essentially is one. Any time a group of people gather and enjoy the same entertainment, it’s a fandom.
Fandom writing therefore is fan created works relating to the be-fanned subject. This is more popular in fandoms that are based on books, tv shows, and movies then other fandoms, but they still exist. And it usually comes in two types: Meta & Fan-Fiction. Mainly in this series of articles I will be focusing on the latter.
Meta is basically more in-depth fan discussion. These are the essays fans write about their favorite ship, character, or episode. These are more in depth then general fan discussion, and are usually one-way, meaning the person writes it without need for response (although many do respond to comments). It’s largely a LJ based fandom item, and its vague on exactness due to many groups disagreeing on what was actually Meta.
My basic definition is any in-depth Fan essay about a character, relationship, canon plot element, or academic comparisons. It’s usually written as informative, and not as a discussion.
Here are a few I found as examples:
Labyrinths & Coming of Age (An essay about Labyrinth and Pan’s Labyrinth and coming of age. Mentions Wizard of Oz as well.)
Chicks Dig Time Lords (This links to Amazon)
My Great Vala Meta (Not mine, that’s what the author called it. I haven’t had time to actually read this one, but I plan to as Vala MalDoran is one of my favorites)
Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom: Essays on the BBC Series (This links to Amazon)
Meta tends to be the kind of fan interaction that gets published (as you can see by two of the above links), just like in any interest. It can be made up of theories, exploration of a backstory, in-depth history of a setting. It’s a way for Fans to disassemble their fandom and understand it better. And sometimes it’s fun to read them and go “Ooohhhh” and have a completely new way at looking at something you’ve read or seen a hundred times before.
Fanfiction is more common the meta writing. Like Meta, it’s a way for a fan to interact and transform the source material in their own ways. Fanfiction has been around for centuries, although it’s not always called that. For example, The Aeneid by Virgil is essentially a fanfiction AU of The Iliad & The Odyssey.
Fanfiction, for the most part, is a open source type of situation. People write fanfiction for fun. Some lucky authors get paid to continue on series, or write tie-in novels for their fandoms, but for the most part we do it to satisfy ourselves and each other. We put it on archives and publish in community magazines and ezines and share our love for the fandom with other members.
Fanfiction comes in all kinds of genres, just like the original content. In the next essay, I’ll get more into some of the terms in general use (although each fandom has fandom specific terms). Fandoms come in all sizes. I’ll also have a post coming up explaining disclaimers and copyright problems.