The world of fanfiction writers

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 08:38 10/06/2013
Angela Oliver
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
FANFICTION START: Christchurch author Angela Oliver used to write fanfiction before she published her two books, Midsummer's Knight Quest and Aroha's Grand Adventure.

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They play in other people's universes and make their characters do things that they probably would never do.

Welcome to the world of fanfiction writers, where fans love a creative work so much they just want more of it.

Sometimes there isn't more, so they make up their own version.

"I started writing Harry Potter fanfiction because of my obsession with the series," says Christchurch fanfiction writer Rachel Carlyon.

Carlyon, 18, has been immersed in Harry Potter fandom since she was in intermediate school. She started reading fanfiction, but then began writing her own.

The positive responses to her work have been encouraging.

"It's the people on there that keep me going. They are like, 'We need more! We need more!' and I'm like, 'OK, I'm writing!' And it's fun."

Mostly, she writes romances with characters in Potter-verse who were never involved, like Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, a pairing commonly known as "Drarry".

Fanfiction is not new, but the internet has made it easier for fans to find and share stories based on their favourite books, television shows, movies, games, and any other creative works.

Self-published Christchurch author and founder of the Christchurch Writer's Guild Angela Oliver started out writing Pokemon fanfiction before she decided to publish her own original work.

Unlike Carlyon, Oliver wrote stories because she liked the concept of the Pokemon series more than she did the characters.

Rather than using existing characters, she created her own.

"I know some people like canon characters [characters that exist in the original work], but I feel it's wrong doing things with other people's babies," she says.

University of Canterbury media lecturer Zita Joyce said fanfiction was a natural outcome of a fan's emotional investment in a creative work.

"People become very connected to the world, and so they write themselves into it, sometimes literally in the form of self-insert characters, or expressing their interest or investment into particular characters when they have two characters getting together or having a romance. In terms of TV and film, there are so many layers of control over what's possible. Fanfiction is a way of getting around that."

For Oliver, fanfiction was a launchpad for her writing career. Besides getting writing practice and critique, it also made her more confident about sharing her writing in a public domain.

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"[It] started me on the whole writing seriously thing," she said.

Oliver is not the first author to use fanfiction as a starting point.

Bestselling young adult author Cassandra Clare, whose book City of Bones has been made into a film, started out writing Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings fanfiction, and the bestselling Fifty Shades author E L James started out as a Twilight fanfiction writer.

- The Press

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