Fan fiction

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Fan fiction or fanfic for short or just FF , German sometimes also fan fiction or fan story (s) , is the designation for works by fans of a literary or trivial literary original work (for example a film , a television series , books , computer games etc.) or real existing people (e.g. by well-known actors , musicians or athletes ) who represent the protagonists and / or the world of this work or the respective people in a new, continued or alternative plot.

Although similar further developments of popular stories were once an important creative driving force in many cultures, this is now limited by copyright law , so that fan fiction now mostly takes place in the non-commercial "underground" of fan communities.

With fanfiction, as with all types of literary work, the quality of the stories can vary greatly. It is usually difficult to find well-written stories, especially in automated archives, which, due to the simplicity of publication, usually offer many stories. Therefore, some archives consist of beta -gelesenen stories - so stories that practically a proofreading have undergone.


There are three assumptions made by Abigail Derecho regarding the origin of fanfiction:

  • Fan fiction is just as old as fiction itself. It developed thousands of years ago in parallel with mythologies. This type of fanfiction describes, for example, the endless sequels of the myth of Arthur .
  • Fan fiction is a product of fan culture that originated either in the 1920s with books by Jane Austen or stories about Sherlock Holmes or in the 1960s with the Star Trek fan community.
  • The third assumption means that the first thesis is fan fiction too extensive and the second thesis is fan fiction too narrow.

Regardless of these three theses, the following development of fanfiction can be seen: The first fanfiction authors probably appeared in the 1930s when some fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories got together and began to write down further adventures of the detective. What is certain is that the further development was carried by the (American) science fiction fan base. But fanfiction did not become more popular until 1967, when the first Star Trek fanzines appeared, which also contained fan fiction. In 1975, so-called slash fan fiction appeared in the fan base of this television series . H. Fanfiction about a sexual relationship between two characters of the same sex (in this case Kirk and Spock). Fanfiction with pornographic content appeared a little earlier in this circle.

In Japan, fanfiction exists mainly in the form of so-called dōjinshi , but these also include original works.

Until the mid-1990s, fanfiction was still a rather exclusive thing, mainly played out by mail and fanzines between a few participants, but with the advent of the internet it became a mass phenomenon.

Über-Fanfiction has established itself particularly in the Xena universe . Here traits of the protagonists are transferred to characters in other historical times, often at least implying descendants. Building on this, many authors have now developed their own characters who only vaguely resemble the "originals". Since there are no legal concerns in this case, a number of these works have now been published as books.

Xena fanfiction writer Melissa Good , who has published seven novels to date, was invited by the series' producers in 2000 to write three scripts for the sixth season of Xena, only two of which were actually made into films.

Copyright and personal rights

Using characters and locations from original works raises the issue of copyright. Anne McCaffrey and Raymond Feist don't want fan fiction. Anne Rice has accused her fans and various fan sites of getting hold of her ideas. The author has published the following message on her website:

“I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes. "

“I don't allow fan fiction. The characters are protected by copyright. I get really excited just thinking about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write their own story with their own characters. It is very important that you respect my wishes. "

- Anne Rice :

Paramount Pictures even sued fan-created websites about Star Trek. Currently, the production company seems to tolerate these productions as long as they follow strict rules, for example remain purely non-commercial (for details see fan fiction legal situation at Star Trek ).

However, such requirements are not legally binding in Germany. According to Section 14 of the Copyright Act, authors may prohibit measures that endanger their legitimate interests in their work, but independent works that have been created in free use of other works are also permitted without the consent of the author according to Section 1, Section 24 of the Copyright Act . This means that fanfictions, since their aim is not to change the original work as such, even if they may do so in terms of content, can only be legally pursued in Germany, so they should copy and edit the original work.

If authors who are more open to fan fiction about their own work expressly allow writing them, this only shows that they stand behind fan fiction, but is of no legal relevance. Nevertheless, according to Section 23 of the Copyright Act, authors can also grant fans more rights, such as copying and editing the work, which, however, rarely happens.

Joanne K. Rowling , the author of Harry Potter , for example, is flattered that there are fans out there who take the time to write stories about characters in the Harry Potter universe. Rowling only calls on her fans not to write obscene stories, as her books are principally intended for children.

Similar restrictions apply to fan fiction about celebrities who, in order to protect themselves, do not want stories to be published about them.

Beta reader

Beta readers make themselves available to fan fiction authors to check their stories for errors. Mostly beta readers correct spelling mistakes. According to Elizabeth Durack, a good beta reader is someone who:

  • Reads fan fictions critically: draw attention to stylistic problems, plot holes, ambiguities, etc.
  • makes the author aware of problems rather than just improving them. (The author should be able to improve.)
  • Beta-reads stories that interest him too.
  • gives precise suggestions for improvement.
  • is tactful about honest criticism.

Age ratings

It is common practice to give fanfiction an age rating. These are mostly based on the ratings of the Motion Picture Association .

Non-literary fan fiction

Fan art can be seen as a type of fan fiction that uses videos or pictures. Sometimes new fan fictions are created on various video platforms. Video material from films is used, re-edited and re-set to music. Drawings and especially comics put original characters (e.g. Harry Potter) in a new context.

See also


  • Henry Jenkins : Textual Poachers. Television Fans and Participatory Culture. (Studies in Culture and Communication) Routledge Chapman & Hall, New York 1992, ISBN 0-415-90572-9 .
  • Karen Hellekson, Kristina Busse: Fan Fiction and fan communities in the age of the Internet: new essays. Mcfarland & Co, Jefferson (North Carolina) 2006, ISBN 0-7864-2640-3 .
  • Bettina Petrik, Stefanie Zurek: With Love, Mary Sue - The Phenomenon Fanfiction In Farbe und Bunt Verlags-UG, Germany 2015, ISBN 978-3941864238

Web links

Commons : Fan Fiction  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Abigail Derecho: Archontic Literature - A Definition, a History, and Several Theories of Fan Fiction. In: Karen Hellekson, Kristina Busse: Fan Fiction and fan communities in the age of the Internet: new essays. Mcfarland & Co, North Carolina 2006, ISBN 0-7864-2640-3 , p. 62
  2. Kelly Simca Boyd: One index finger on the mouse scroll bar and the other on my clit : slash writers' views on pornography, censorship, feminism and risk. Thesis (MA). Simon Fraser University, Burnaby 2001, p. 10.
  3. ^ Anne Rice: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ANNE ON “FAN FICTION”. In: Anne Rice, 2010, accessed on August 7, 2012 (English): "IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ANNE ON" FAN FICTION "Anne has posted the following message regarding fan fiction: 'I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes. '"
  4. Darren Waters: Rowling backs Potter fan fiction. Harry Potter author JK Rowling has given her blessing to fans who write their own Potter stories online. In: BBC News Online, May 27, 2004; accessed August 7, 2012 .
  5. Helge Thiessen: * NEWS * Changes to the regulations on prohibited celebrities. In: IdeaFactory Geiler & Thiessen Gbr., June 7, 2012, accessed on August 7, 2012 .
  6. Karen Hellekson: Fan fiction fan communities in the age of the Internet: new essays. North Carolina 2006, p. 179.