How Web-Based Fanfiction Fosters Narrative Writing
Ashley Hennefer, M.A. candidate, Literacy Studies
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6-12 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-12
• Key Ideas & Details
Text Types & Purposes
• Craft & Structure
Production & Distribution of
• Integration of Knowledge &
Research to Build and
• Range of Reading and
Level of Text Complexity
Range of Writing
Understand what fanfiction is, as a writing movement
Learn new terms pertaining to web-based fanfiction
See the most popular online outlets for fanfiction
View many examples of fanfiction produced by teens around
Apply concepts to projects you can do with your students
(some of which you might already do)
Who are you?
What do you do? (Profession,
Who are your friends? Your enemies?
How much do you have to change to
be a part of this world?
Myself—24 years old
Ravenclaw, Hogwarts alumni
Hogwarts librarian or professor—
teach Potions or Ancient Runes
Would have my cat, Sofie, as my
Friends/potential colleagues with
Hobbies would change—couldn’t
play video games or dabble in
Stories/artwork, created by fans, based on existing
works of original literature
―Fanfiction has been hailed as 'the
democratic genre' (Pugh, 2000), its
proponents celebrated as 'textual poachers'
(Jenkins, 1994) who radically disrupt but
also reinvigorate canonical texts.‖ (Thomas,
―Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were
reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by
a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a
sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not
what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online
just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not
silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture
talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its
50 Shades of Grey - began as a
Kirk/Spock – early fanfic communities
Harry Potter and the Methods of
Can be a part of any fandom
Not divided by age/gender
Very popular with teenagers
Interested in archetypes
Concerned/critical of character accuracy
Focus on plot and dialogue
Understanding of audience
―Bad writing‖ = less readers
Great for English Language Learners (Black, 2007)
Commercial texts become models (Jwa, 2012)
Renews/revamps canonical texts (Thomas, 2007)
Passive viewers active writers, interpreters of texts and
media participants (Rust, 2003)
―Buffy [turned] the fans into authors and allow[ed] them to not only play
with any aspect of the show, but also to influence the direction of the
narrative itself.‖ (Rust, 2003)
FF/fic - short for ―fanfiction‖
Ship - a relationship
Fandom - refers to a specific fan
OTP - ―one true pairing‖--the relationship
universe. Popular fandoms include Harry a fan supports the most
Potter, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Star
Slash - refers to a relationship pairing,
Trek, Percy Jackson
sometimes homosexual. Specifically
AU - alternate universe
refers to the ―/‖ between two characters’
names (Harry/Hermione, Kirk/Spock)
RP/RPG – role-playing game
Meme - a concept created and shared
Face claim (FC) - using the appearance
rapidly on the internet
of an actor on which to base a character
Tagging – adding a word/phrase to blog
Headcanon - an accepted belief that may post that helps others find your work
not be in the existing fiction
Easy to connect with
others who share interests
Archive of Our Own (AO3)
Features: Tagging, long posts, ability to leave
notes, post in chapters, emphasis on
Features: Long posts, chapters, tagged by
fandom, tagged by medium
Form is as important as function
Design serves as a motivator
Digital natives are highly visual
Customizing writing space is sacred
Have students make collages of images
Create a new character in an existing universe
Create a new universe for existing characters
Select a ―face claim‖ and create an origin story
Let students make a mixtape/playlist that
inspires their story
Fanhand: A Tumblr-based literary journal that reviews fanart
Using Facebook & Tumblr to engage students
Classroom Collective Tumblr http://classroomcollective.tumblr.com/
Symposium Tumblr with examples http://ashleyhwrites.tumblr.com
Authors on Tumblr: Neil Gaiman, Travis Beacham, John Green—all
active and very popular with their fans
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