Well, that's not necessarily true, of course. I read fanfiction even if I have money to buy more books! It's free, it's there, and it's utterly fun. Fanfiction.net is a great place to start your fanfic hunt, though there are some sites out there, run by adoring fans, that can be leagues better in story selection. If you're a wee bit clueless what fanfiction is, it is fiction based on the characters of a television (usually) show. However, fans have written fanfiction based on certain books as well, such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and even comics like X-Men.
Wanna see Aragorn ditch Arwen and hook up with Eowyn instead? Never fear! It's merely a fanfiction away!
I discovered fanfiction through my sister, who was reading Sailor Moon fanfiction. I thought the whole exercise was incredibly weird at first, but nevertheless curiosity won out and I tried my hand at reading Star Trek fanfiction, and I got hopelessly hooked from that day onwards.
The one fascinating thing about fanfiction, and the whole addictivness of it all, is that you see your favourite TV/Book characters placed in situations you would never see on television.
Like seeing Chakotay and Capt Janeway having a wild, romantic night out in the holodeck. Or Gil Grissom (of CSI) doing the liplock with Sara Sidle.
I'm not much into the whole romance thing, but am more interested in the action/adventure aspect of fanfic.
But finding good fanfiction can be a painful endevour at times. Since most fanfics are written by fans, not all of them are great writers. Some fanfics are downright painful to read. Characters are out of character, and although I'm very forgiving of spelling and grammatical errors (since I'm no Grammar Queen myself), these errors do get tiresome after a while.
I notice that certain shows attract better writers and stories for some reason. Shows like X-Files, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek have a wealth of good stories. Don't be surprised to find novel-length stories. But for some shows, especially those with a big teen audience like Buffy, Angel, Smallville and The O.C., finding good fanfiction can be an incredibly frustrating endevour. Maybe it is for me since it's always about who is with who, who is in love with who, and who wants to sleep with who.
Yes, there's a whole debate on whether fanfic is legal or not. However, fans are not stopping anytime soon, worshipping their favourite characters on stories they've created, placing them in weird, weird, weird situations.
And when I mean weird, it's usually in the pairing department. Fanfic writers love to pair up their favourite characters. Sometimes it something all of us want. Sometimes it's something few of us ever want (Boromir + Faramir [Lord of the Rings] love relationship anyone? Incest is not taboo in the fanfic world). Fanfic writers can sometimes speak in code, and for the first-timer, they'd probably get confused by the various terminology used. Such as:
- slash: male and male relationships
- UST: Unresolved Sexual Tension. Used a lot in the X-files universe!
- Hurt/comfort: Where a character gets hurt, and another comforts the poor fella
- Smarm: Imagine tough-looking guys talking about their feelings and dreams around a campfire and you'll get the idea.
- sibcest: Let's not even go there.
- fluff: A story of little substance, but read/written merely for the heck of it.
- Smut: I don't think this needs translation
Pairings are indicated by "/". For example, if you have written a story where Scully and Mulder are lovers, you indicate: S/M.
Fans have even invented cute little names to indicate their favourite pairings. In the smallville universe, the Clark and Lana Lang pairing is "Clana". Hehe.
Well, since I've joined a gym, and my expenses will inevitably go up, one of the first things I'd have to cut from my spending bill is books. So ... looks like it's a raid at the fanfiction archives for me from now on!