Breaking Down Fanfiction: Important Elements of a Fanfic

Fanfiction is a beloved form of writing. But what makes a fanfiction well, a fanfiction? Come follow to learn the exciting elements of fanfiction!

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Fanfiction (sometimes called fanfic) is an engaging type of fiction. It borrows from the source material, but changes the story, characters, or events. Every fandom has fanfiction, or at least every popular fandom has fanfiction. Different types of fanfiction interest readers. Some of them are more interested in fanfic than books! But elements of these fanfics keep readers and writers coming back for more.

Beginning, Middle, End

A group of people sitting at a large table and laughing. The group is in a white circle and the background is blue.

Every story requires a beginning, middle, and end. This includes fanfiction. Fanfiction takes this format and implements new concepts or places characters into an alternate universe. These concepts branch the story or its events into new areas. Or it develops character relationships differently than in the canon. Additionally, fanfiction writers also use heartbreaking scenarios to share their “what if” thoughts. However, this covers a small part of fanfiction because there are many ideas getting posted.

Who Are They?

Characterization is crucial no matter what type of media the character is from. These fanfics are fan-created works, and some fans misinterpret characters’ personality traits. It is nothing to be ashamed about. It takes time to grasp the personality of a character. In fanfiction, a character regularly has the same temper, values, and morals. This is true for most fan fiction. However, some fanfics go against a character’s personality or what they value the most. An example of this is having a bubbly and joyful character be cold and angry. Or a grumpy character treasures money over their friends.

A gray and white background with a question mark in the middle. On the left side is a woman's silhouette and on the right side is a man's silhouette.

Other times, there are exceptions to this. A writer may decide to twist a character through traumatic events that change them. Or a writer will take an aspect of a character and explore it. If done right, this type of characterization can keep the character’s nature intact. But it changes them into a different character that aligns with what they have been through. These types of fanfics are fun to read. But they have darker themes, so always look at the tags to see what type of material is in the fanfic.

Fitting In

Finally, writers sometimes add to the preexisting world or use alternate universes. Adding to the preexisting world is accepted. It opens up more opportunities for world building and learning how systems operate. However, AUs (or alternate universes) are extremely popular. These AUs place the characters into a world or period that is different from their world. These AUs include a coffee shop, mirrored universe, historical, modern, and many more! The AUs mentioned here are not the only ones. Different types of AUs cover a variety of character types, places, periods, or fusions.

A medieval town lighted by lanterns. There is a man climbing a tower.

Besides this, writers can beautifully intertwine elements of a story into a new world. One of these elements is the magic system. An example is the Avatar: The Last Airbender characters put into a Western. Their bending would be used in duels, demonstrations, or the military. These AUs give fanfiction readers a variety of their world and tropes.

Fanfiction is a world unto itself with its different elements and impact on the original story. These fan-interpreted works show how fans can interpret and display their creativity. It also describes how fans change the world to have new elements. Or they think of ways to incorporate the parts of the original world into a new one. But it is inspiring to see writers create new material that readers can enjoy.

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