Fanfic: The Online Community You May Not Know About

Many people have their favorite books, ranging from the classics like The Grapes of Wrath to pop culture sensations like The Hunger Games. Many millennials grew up on a love for The Harry Potter Series. What some of you may not know about is the whole world of fanfiction (fanfic).

Recently, members of the Organization of Transformative Works collaborated to raise $16,000 for their fanfic based fandom Archive of Our Own. Now fandoms can range from any television show to movies to comic books to classic books. As a child of the 90s, I fell in love with the Harry Potter (HP) series, and therefore fell in love HP fanfic.

This is something I do not divulge to most of my friends, but it is a whole world that is really interesting. I started reading HP fanfic as soon as I started reading the books in 6 grade. I became a proud Hufflepuff at the now-defunct site Virtual World of Harry Potter (VWOHP) and read fanfic as soon as I joined the website. Quickly I got hooked on the "ship" of Harry and Hermione with these fanfics. A "ship" (short for relationship) denotes a romantic, sexual between two characters of the opposite gender and people who favor a certain pairing are called "shippers." Most "shippers" have their own names, such as Harry/Hermione pairing is HMS Pumpkin Pie. So, even though J.K Rowling chose to pair up Ron/Hermione and Ginny and Harry (Name of One Big Happy Weasley Family), I still wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together. I won't go into the debate about it, because I could write forever about it.

One of the greatest things that fanfic is that authors are able to expand upon the world that their favorite authors have created. Fanfic authors create scenarios involving their favorite ships and fabricate ridiculous scenarios. You can come across Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic or How I Met Your Mother fanfic. Originality and the creative processes are harnessed and authors develop their writing skills. Friendships develop from banding together supporting a specific "ship" and a community is created. Authors and readers are able to escape in the world they fell in love with and continue reading. For me, the world of Harry Potter stopped once the last movie came to release, but the great thing is the HP fanfic community still is vibrant and active. If you Google any ship or show you want to view, you surely can find fanfic.

Fanfic ranges from G rating to NC-17. Fics that ranges on the naughty side is called smut and has another category of their own. Slash/femme flash feature ships equate to sam-sex, male-oriented fanfic called "yaoi." Yaoi mostly equates to anime and manga fanfic but can encompass all male slash fanfic. Fanfic for anime, television shows, books, and movies have their own category, pairings and acronyms catering to the types of medium.

Some may argue that fanfic is copyright infringement, but as long as you provide a disclaimer and follow these rules, you should not break the law. Here is another source that provides a well-debated argument about copyright infringement. People might argue that it takes away from the original stories, but I believe it expands upon the universe. Without the creation of the HP fandom, I would not be able to continue my love for Harry Potter. I have read fanfic written better than J.K Rowlings's original stories and it satisfied my wait throughout the books. Some of the sites I visited were Fanfiction.com and Portkey.org. Fanfic.com isn't the greatest of quality, but Portkey has great stories supporting all the ships I favored.

Due to time constraints and my interest in reading more classics, I do not visit fanfic websites as often as I did during college. Fanfic helped provide escapism for me earlier. For some reason, I could not read a classic because I read too much for classes, but fanfic quenched my need to read and served a purpose. I have made lasting friendships throughout the fanfic community, read some great stories and have continued my love for Harry Potter. I know it sounds ridiculous, but Harry Potter really became a part of my life with VWOHP, message broads, books and fanfic. If you tire of watching the same old shows and wish for your favorite pairing to get together on a show, visit fanfic and expand your imagination.

Let me know (@usha88) if you read fanfic or support any ship. If you're a h/hr shipper, kudos to you!

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Michelle Adams

Currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness with the Campaign to End Homelessness program, Michelle is passionate about ending homelessness. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication and a specialization in public relations and a minor in sexuality and conflict/management from Michigan State University. Her interests lie in writing about culture, sexuality/gender and homelessness. Offline she enjoys quoting How I Met Your Mother, volunteering, swinging at parks and stargazing.

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