A NEW FORM OF
A Senior Seminar Creative Project
the Interdisciplinary Studies Department
Ateneo de Manila University
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements of the Course
Table of Contents
a. Background of the Study
b. Description of the Project
c. Significance of the Project
d. Scope and Delimitations of the Project
e. Review of Related Literature
f. Theoretical Framework
g. Definition of Terms
i. Organization of the Study
II. A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF FANFICTION
a. What Exactly is Fanfiction?
b. The Growth of Fanfiction
c. Ethical Concerns
III. A NOMENCLATURE OF FANFICTION
a. Fanfiction and the Internet
b. Fanfiction Categories
IV. A COLLECTION OF FANFICTION
a. Masks: The Secret Life of Saitou Hajime
c. Ice Blue Tear
d. The Fittest
V. AUTHOR’S NOTES
FANFICTION: A NEW FORM OF INTERNET LITERATURE
CHAPTER 1 – On the Nature of Fanfiction
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Most people have a favorite story. It can be their favorite book from childhood, a particularly stirring drama they took up in high school, a popular television show, the best movie they have ever seen, or even a popular comic strip serial in the daily newspaper.
Media is so widespread today that almost everyone knows about popular serials such as Superman, Garfield, Archie, Dragon Ball, and Sailormoon. Normally, people will have their favorite series, and they become perfect fans of this story. They watch every single episode, read every book, and try to immerse themselves as much as possible in their favorite story.
become such big fans of a story series often find that they can’t get enough of
it. They want to go beyond what they see
and read from the official storylines released by the creators and the
licensees. So they begin making their
own stories, set in the same world of their favorite stories. Most people have done this at some point in
their lives. What person, as a child,
hasn’t dreamt of meeting up with beloved characters like Scooby Doo? Many
teenagers now fantasize meeting up with their dream persons from
Writers, who naturally want to tell a story, often find themselves thinking of their favorite settings. As children, they sometimes try to create their own tales of whimsy using their favorite stories as a basis. As a child, I often wrote stories about my favorite video games and cartoon characters, in an effort to enrich those beloved worlds. As Dr. Jose Dalisay Jr. said in his short essay on fiction writing:
“What did create an impression for me were the fun stories, the exciting stories, the Hardy Boys stories, for instance. They led me to thinking that, in my poor semi-colonial mind, perhaps I could create my own Hardy Boys stories, too. I took several sheets of bond paper…. and then I wrote my own version of the Hardy Boys.”
Of course, these home-made stories seldom get to be seen by many other people. Usually, a writer would simply show them to their friends and family, and perhaps get printed in the school newspaper. But otherwise, they would be unrecognized, definitely not published, for copyright issues if nothing else. Because of these technicalities, this form of storytelling is virtually unknown to the academic world.
However, with the advances in telecommunications technology, broadcasting to a larger audience has become exceedingly simple. Mass communication is no longer limited to radios or televisions or books, mediums which are inaccessible to most people. The internet, a relatively cheap and easily accessible medium, offers people a chance to express themselves to an increasingly growing audience.
People who write stories of their favorite serial have a place where they can publish their works for a large audience to see – on the high-tech message boards of the internet. No longer a closet hobby, these stories are now open for the public to see. Judging by the number of subscribers to these message boards, mailing lists and forums where these stories are electronically published, it is safe to assume that there is a significant demand for this kind of fiction.
This kind of fiction has been called “fanfiction” by the people who write them and the people who read them. It is a form of fiction that basically has evolved on the internet, but has its roots in the willful imaginations of each person who ever had a favorite story that he or she could not get enough of.
The internet, although in its
infancy, has already given rise to many different forms of media and
entertainment. At the time when the
internet was becoming popular among the middle and higher class people of the
Almost miraculously, while exploring the Internet, I came across a site called rec.arts.anime.creative, which seemed to have what were scripts of anime posted all over. Even though it was not in the form I was accustomed to, it was close enough, and I never had qualms over reading instead of watching. I began reading everything I could find, and the script-form stories absorbed me, just as normal manga and anime had.
It was only later on that I learned that the so-called “anime scripts” I had been reading weren’t official script transliterations of existing anime episodes, were not scripts at all. Rather, they were totally original stories written by fans! When I realized that these fans were probably people just like me, I began to realize that I, too, could write stories like this, to delight and captivate other fans. Thus was I dragged into the world of fanfiction.
Now, after four years of writing fanfiction, I have decided to make my largest contribution to the hobby – a scholarly work detailing what I had learned, and some new works of my own. What exactly is this new form of fiction that is evolving on the internet?
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
This project describes what fanfiction is in general. It gives a definition of this type of fiction, its characteristics, and the different kinds of fanfiction as classified by those who read and write it. Furthermore, I will write a collection of fanfiction, sample works to contribute to the appreciation of fanfiction as a literary genre.
The project answers the following questions:
Having answered these questions, I am including a collection of my own works to further illustrate the concept of fanfiction.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROJECT
The growing audience for fanfiction shows that people are attracted to this kind of fiction. This kind of literature, because of its derivative nature from copyrighted works, cannot be published or otherwise used for profit. Yet still, many writers are willing to invest time and effort in writing these stories. The growing number of fanfic archives on the net, with hundreds and hundreds of stories on various serials, is a testament to the popularity of this kind of fiction. Clearly, it is a form of fiction that is worth reading, even studying.
This project explains the features of this often misunderstood literary form. Being a relatively new form of fiction, not much has been written about this genre. Many neophyte fanfiction authors do not even have a working concept of fanfiction, except in the broadest sense. Thus, this study will give a broader understanding of the genre, from my experience, as evidenced by the existing body of fanfiction.
Having written various works of fanfiction in the past, I have worked with various fanfiction writers on the internet. These writers are of varying degrees of talent and skill, but they all enjoy their writing. In the same manner, I, as a fan of various serials, find enjoyment in writing these works of fiction. Fanfiction authors have an innate need to write fanfiction, the same as all writers have the urge to write. This project simply has a strong personal significance for me, and I feel that it is a good contribution to the growing fanfiction community.
In the scheme of economics, a commercial series will succeed if it has a large fan base off of which producers can make money through advertising and merchandising. Fanfiction often serves to increase the fan base for a particular series, resulting in more installments for that series. Writing fanfiction, therefore, is not only personally fulfilling for the enjoyment of it, but also helps the producers and creators of the series for which the fanfiction was written.
SCOPE AND DELIMITATIONS OF THE PROJECT
This project will seek only to describe and present works of fanfiction. It is not going to evaluate fanfiction, or to give qualitative judgements on the genre or of any written works. Rather, the project will be descriptive; it will only define fanfitction, the different forms in which it is written, and its characteristics. It will also give a collection of fanfiction, written by the author, to present to the reader with sample works for the different forms of fanfiction.
Furthermore, due to my personal interests, the study is mostly limited to the most popular subject of fanfiction – Japanese doujinshi, manga, and anime. While I will also be discussing Western sources of fanfiction such as Star Trek and the X-Files, my knowledge of this branch of fanfiction is severely limited. My expertise lies with the Japanese manga and anime. Further, these two subjects are more widespread as fanfiction. They are generally more prolific and organized on the internet than the Western sources, and consequently can be examined more thoroughly.
As fanfiction is a relatively new kind of fiction, it is still evolving. New forms of fanfiction may still exist somewhere on the net which I have no knowledge of. The study is not meant to be a final word on fanfiction, but rather a guide from which further research can be made.
Due to time constraints, the works of fanfiction in the collection are primarily limited to short stories. While fanfiction can and does exist in long voluminous stories, the majority of works presented are short, to cover as much variety as possible. The more esoteric forms of fanfiction, such as doujinshi, will not have samples because of the great amounts of time and artistic expertise required, both of which I do not possess.
Furthermore, because of legal issues, these works are written for purely academic and aesthetic reasons, and will not be published or otherwise used for profit. Any stories and serials used are acknowledged, and no plagiarism or infringement of copyright for profit is intended.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
There are very few works I am aware of that try to define fanfiction. In addition to this small body of works, however, are some articles which are relevant to the study, as they can form a basis for the further study of fanfiction.
commercial site which focuses on fanfiction is run on the internet by a group
of college people. The site, called
“Fanfiction.Net,” has some very informative essays on fanfiction. These essays are compiled at what the site
“150 Years of Mary Sue,” by Pat Pflieger, tells the rise of a very prolific yet often-reviled character type known as “Mary Sue,” a type which is regarded to be one of the premier characters in Western fanfiction. The on-line document is found at (merrycoz.tripod.com).
Gilster’s article “The Art of the List” (The New Internet Navigator)
explains many things regarding mailing lists on the internet. For a person interested in fanfiction, this
is a good guide for getting started.
Aside from detailing the necessary technical steps towards subscribing
to mailing lists (the main medium for fanfiction), it also states how mailing
lists are the easiest way to disseminate information to a large audience. This gives fanfiction authors a good chance
of exposure for their works. The article
also details the main usage of mailing lists, and its evolution from scientific
research forums at an internet service in the
“An Introduction to Doujinshi” (http://members.dencity.com/doujinshi/) by Sunfire is a short article which defines doujinshi. Doujinshi is a form of self-published art related to fanfiction, in that both are derivative works made off of an existing serial. The main difference between doujinshi and fanfiction is that doujinshi is actually published and sold for a small profit, whereas fanfiction typically remains unpublished except in the regular mailing lists and fanfiction archives of the net. Besides that crucial difference, doujinshi and fanfiction are basically the same, although doujinshi comes in illustrations and comic form, whereas fanfiction tends to come in written story form. However, there are also doujinshi that are published similar to novels or collections of short stories. The article, however, gives few examples of doujinshi and there is little information on the different types of doujinshi available.
“The White Wolf Guide to Ranma Fanfiction” by White Wolf defines all types of fanfiction that exist for the popular Japanese anime/manga series Ranma ½. The guide is very comprehensive in the different types of fanfiction that exist, and practically covers the whole spectrum of fanfiction, with regards to story style.
“The Anime Ethics and Legality FAQ” by Andy
Kent is not altogether about fanfiction, but rather about the moral and legal
issues which surround the anime hobby. This does, however, extend to fanfiction, as
fanfiction goes hand-in-hand with watching Japanese anime. The findings of the
study seem to point out that fanfiction on Japanese serials is, for all intents
and purposes, legal under
readers interested in actual works of fanfiction, there are several large
fanfiction archives found on the internet.
The Rurouni Kenshin Text Fanfic Archive (www.nabiki.com/nichan/archive)
is a site with a large collection of fanfiction dedicated to the popular anime/manga series, Rurouni Kenshin (also known as Samurai X in the
A very general site for fanfiction, which covers a broad range of fanfiction topics, is Fanfiction.Net, which can be found at http://www.fanfiction.net. This is a general fanfiction site which has works for all sorts of series. These include comics such as X-Men, TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anime such as Gundam, and games like Final Fantasy.
Another archive site, the Fanfic Mailing List archive (ftp://ftp.fanfic.com/pub/archive) is one of the oldest fanfiction archives on the internet. The works archived are mostly anime-related works, but there are also other works in the miscellaneous section.
There is also a quasi-publishing company on the internet for fanfiction writers, R&C Books International (http://members.xoom.com/RC_Books_Int/) which publishes fanfiction at its website. Published here is a wide range of anime-related fanfiction.
For further links, one can visit the Anime Web Turnpike (http://www.anipike.com), a very comprehensive listing of various anime-related sites. It has a large section for fanfiction sites.
The project employs the concept of fanfiction itself as the main theoretical framework. The specifics and technical definitions of fanfiction are discussed in the succeeding chapters. However, the basic concept of fanfiction is that it is a derivative work based on an existing serial which seeks to further explore the world created in said serial. In all other respects, fanfiction is basically fiction, and has all the elements a normal work of fiction would have.
Also, the project will also employ a basic theory of story writing, and the theory of imitation and creation in art by Hazard Adams.
Theory of Fiction
As a major part of the project, I have written a collection of fanfiction. In order to do so, a theory on fiction was necessary to a basis for all the work. Fiction is defined in many ways by many authors, and this project used several definitions as its basic theory of fiction.
First is the notion that fiction is a story which is not true. Oakley Hall states in his book that fiction is a euphemism for lies. “It is the concern of liars to give their falsehoods the semblance of truth, and a storyteller uses every device at his command to instill in his fiction the verisimilitude that convinces the reader.” In retrospect, fiction is written with the intent of having its readers believe in a reality that exists first only in the writer’s mind.
Next, fiction is an interesting form of literature because of man’s propensity for telling stories. According to Fr. Joseph Landy, this interest in stories “begins when we are little children, and continues until the day we die.” However, Fr. Landy also says that fiction can be better appreciated if the reader has an understanding of what makes up a story.
There are various elements of fiction, but the most important ones are said to be plot, point of view, characters, style, setting, and theme. These elements can be further disseminated and analyzed, but there are many other works which do this. Thus, this project will not go into further detail on these elements of fiction.
For the purposes of this project, these things are the important definitions to be kept in mind when dealing with fiction.
The Theory of Imitation and Creation
One of the
main points of Adam’s theory of imitation and creation is that art is derived
from nature, and is simply an imitation of nature. However,
“The conjunction of imitated form seems to make possible in Aristotle’s view an improvement on nature.” Adams argues that a work of art, by combining different ideas aside from what is present in nature, manages to improve on the original by providing an additional facet or point of view which was previously absent.
The idea that an imitation or a copy can further enrich the original is important to fanfiction. Taken into perspective, art or fiction is an imitation of nature, designed to be an improvement by creating a form which is different from the original. Fanfiction, in retrospect, is an imitation of the aforementioned fiction, for the same purpose – to present the fiction in a different form. The new form ideally should not be a slavish copy of the original, but will have its own unique facet which will serve to enrich the meaning of the original.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
The project’s main purpose is to introduce the reader to fanfiction. This is done with a two-part process. First, the project defines fanfiction, using theories of literature and writing. Second, a collection of fanfiction is included, to give the reader concrete examples of the concepts discussed. Having done this, the project will end with a conclusion on fanfiction.
The literary concepts and theories used were gathered from various books and articles. The main sources for these were the Ateneo de Manila library and the internet. These sources were used to define the literary aspect of fanfiction. Research was done in order to gather all these necessary concepts. First, data in order to describe fanfiction was researched. After that, research into writing techniques and theory was done to help write the actual fanfiction.
Because fanfiction exists mostly on the internet, the project also discusses relevant topics regarding the internet. This discussion centers mostly on where fanfiction can be found, and how to obtain it. However, legal and ethical issues regarding fanfiction on the net, as well as other topics relating to the net community, were also discussed. The information for this part was taken from books and articles written about the internet and fanfiction, found in the Ateneo library and from the internet.
Having discussed the concept of fanfiction, I then began to write fanfiction. Various types of fanfiction were written, to provide examples for the many kinds of fanfiction discussed. These works are included in the collection of fanfiction that comprises the penultimate chapter of the project.
In order to write fanfiction more effectively, I did further research on writing theory in the library. I also requested help and criticism from Internet authors to further improve my writing. To do so, the works of fanfiction were posted to the fanfiction mailing lists on the net, where useful comments and criticism could be gathered. The works were then rewritten before they were included in the collection.
I adapted a certain format for presenting the fanfiction. Preceeding each work is a header which contains the title of the work, the original series, the category of fanfiction the work falls under (as will be discussed later), and a disclaimer. Finally, some writers like including phrases and words associated with the series to add a distinctive feel to the fanfiction. In my case, I used certain Japanese terminologies to add local flavor. In these cases, some explanation is required. With the exception of words that are common knowledge in American English like “sensei” or “dojo,” I decided to footnote any such words.
ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
The project is divided into five chapters. Chapter I provides an overview and introduction for the study. Chapter II discusses the theoretical origin of fanfiction, and how it evolved on the Internet. The concept of fanfiction was also further defined. Further, various issues regarding fanfiction were tackled.
Chapter III enumerates fanfiction sites, genres and resources I have found on the Internet. These were classified into the various different types of fanfiction, based on the different classification systems used by fanfiction archives.
Chapter IV is comprised of the entire collection of fanfiction works I had written for the project. These works serve as on-hand examples for the discussion in the previous chapters. Unfortunately, not all topics were covered due to time constraints.
Chapter V summarizes and concludes the project with my thoughts on the writing.
Finally, an appendix section is provided to give background information on the series that were used for writing the fanfiction.
CHAPTER 2 – A Historical Perspective of Fanfiction
WHAT EXACTLY IS FANFICTION?
Fanfiction is a new genre of literature which involves an author writing his or her own stories and works based on an existing story by another person. The resulting derivative work is often referred to as a “fanfic,” because the author was a “fan” of the original story, now writing his won “fiction.” Fanfiction can be a poem, a prose narrative, a drama, or even an essay. These different forms will be discussed further in the next chapter.
has actually been done or written in one form or another for some time
already. However, it was not called
fanfiction. Palance hall of famer Jose
Dalisay Jr. admitted to having written his own Hardy Boys stories during his
childhood. On television, popular programs are often
continued as spin-offs. The 80’s situation comedy “A Different World,” for
instance, was a spin-off of “The Cosby Show.”
“Scarlett,” a novel published in 1991 by Ripley Alexandria, was actually
the sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind.” In
In each instance, the works enumerated above make use of characters, concepts and situations from another work, and place them in a completely new story and setting. These are the very characteristics of fanfiction. As such, making fanfiction was actually in practice even before the internet became prominent. The term fanfiction itself was coined when works of fanfiction began appearing fanzines, as early as 1967. However, it was on the internet where fanfiction really began to take off. Fanfiction first appeared on the Internet in 1982, on a newsgroup created by Roger Noe called net.startrek. Since then, fanfiction slowly grew beyond Star Trek to cover other genres. The first posts of anime-related stories came out as early as 1991 in the Usenet newsgroups, rec.arts.anime.
Works of fanfiction are often complete literary pieces in themselves; the only distinguishing factor is that they are irrevocably tied to the original work. This is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. Being based off of something, the writer enjoys a certain measure of goodwill that is associated with the original work. This almost automatically assures a reader base and interest from fans of the original. Thus, an obscure writer who might otherwise not have an audience for his or her work suddenly acquires a readership by default.
The downside of this is that fanfiction authors are often accused of not being “original” or “creative.” In the early 1990s, heated discussions would often erupt on newsgroups like rec.arts.anime.fandom regarding the worth of fanfiction being written. One school of thought said that these stories simply ride on the goodwill of the fans of the series, being neither well-written or novel in their story ideas. The opposing school said that nothing is really ever original; every story has been told by someone else in the past. For instance, the story of Prometheus in Greek mythology is the basic story of a man stealing fire from the gods to bring himself warmth. Variations of this story are told all throughout the world in different ways, such as King Arthur securing Excalibur, or Jack with his beanstalk stealing the hen that lays golden eggs. It is in the difference of the presentation of the basic story that originality and creativity is seen.
Despite this dispute, readers for fanfiction still abound, as will be shown later. This perhaps should be seen as an indication that the notion of originality and creativity in fanfiction should not be an issue. Rather, what should concern both readers and writers alike is how each work of fanfiction succeeds as a story – does it engross and captivate as it entertains? Fanfiction was born from the desire of people to read and write entertaining works derived from their favorite stories. Fans of a story often become fans because they truly enjoyed that work. As writers, fanfiction authors have discovered that working with familiar characters and concepts can be an even more enjoyable experience. The heart of fanfiction is entertainment and enjoyment, and if people enjoy it, then surely any assumed lack of creativity and originality can be forgiven.
Fanfiction after all is by fans, for fans, and through it people can find entertainment.
GROWTH OF FANFICTION
fanfiction is truly original or not has never been satisfactorily
resolved. However, the assumption is
that, for as long as a work has readers, it cannot be totally devoid of
worth. One fanfic archive, http://www.fanfic.net, had a total of 18,792
respondents to its reader survey (as of
allows for readers to write short reviews of the works posted. These are the statistics for the number of
reviews submitted from May 1999 to
(Unfortunately Image is no longer available for this reconstruction. For reference, in May 99 there were less than 100 reader reviews submitted for that month, whereas by September 2000 there were more than 12,000 submitted in that month alone)
There is an increasing trend towards the number pf reviews being submitted. The interest in reading and commenting on fanfiction seems to be growing, according to the statistics of this website.
The increasing interest in fanfiction can only be attributed to the growth of the internet. Around the world, the internet has evolved from being a research environment to a marketing tool, virtual banking center, and other functions. A variety of users all around the world now depend on it for their day-to-day communications. The number of host computers on the internet has grown from 1,024 in 1984 to about 1,136,000 in 1992.
The connection between the internet and fanfiction is simple. Writers may write for themselves or for others, but in order for their work to be recognized, there has to be a readership. According to Edward Schwartz, “the most compelling opportunity created by e-mail is the chance to reach hundreds – even thousands – of people all at once.” Because of e-mail and the internet, writers are suddenly able to reach large audiences, and the only real prerequisite is internet access and an e-mail address. Whereas in the past writers would have to be published before their works could be seen, now even amateur writers can publish themselves easily on the internet.
People can get information from books, newspapers, and other publications in moderate amounts, but this cannot match the efficiency of e-mail. On a mailing list, where subscribers continually exchange messages with other subscribers, the effect is likened to having a meeting perpetually taking place. For this reason, mailing lists are the main venue for fanfiction on the internet.
The internet, however advantageous it is for proliferating information, also has a disadvantageous side. Since information is stored digitally and is easily accessed by millions of people, intellectual piracy is easy and inevitable. The internet has been described as a haven for pirates and copyright infringers. The internet makes this intellectual piracy easy.
Intellectual piracy occurs when a person takes someone else’s ideas and claims them as his or her own. International copyright law as put forward by the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty mandates that authors of a work have certain rights as to the use of their work. In particular, the law states that a work cannot be reproduced, broadcast, translated, or adapted into another form without the express permission of the copyright holder.
This has become a subject of concern for fanfiction authors, who make use of characters, situations, and ideas from another author’s work. Andy Kent’s analysis of the copyright law, however, indicates that there is no real verdict on fanfiction:
Nothing in the definition of “derivative work” given in the body of law, however, seems to point at fan fiction. Indeed, the law almost goes out of its way to point out that the basic ideas behind the original work cannot be copyrighted; only the body of the material itself. Under this analysis, it seems that anime fanfic is not a violation.
As a result, fanfiction is legally acceptable, even if they are technically not completely legal. There are only some special cases with regard to specific authors, and the fans are usually well-informed as to that author’s views regarding fanfiction. For instance, Rumiko Takahashi (creator of the manga series Ranma ½) stated in a press convention that she condoned fanfiction written for her works. Larry Niven, a science fiction writer, expressly prohibited any form of fanfiction related to his novels. Anne McCaffrey (known for her Pern novels among other things) actually has a set of rules to be followed for any fanfiction written on her works.
Essentially, as long as fanfiction authors stay within the bounds determined by the copyright holder, there will be no problem. Many companies and authors also do not place any restrictions, and thus fanfiction for the most part is freely permitted. Japanese companies are notorious for being very friendly with their fanbase in that no anime or manga work has ever been banned for fanfiction. In fact, small copyright infringements by doujinshi authors (who sell their amateur works to cover expenses) is even tolerated. The companies recognize the doujinshi as a helpful form of advertisement that spreads interest for their copyrighted work, and since it doesn’t detract from actual sales, there is no reason to ban them (and risk alienating the fanbase).
CHAPTER III – A Nomenclature of Fanfiction
FANFICTION AND THE INTERNET
Different forms of entertainment are made available through different means. People will go to a book store to pick up a novel or collection of short stories, to a playhouse to watch a drama, or to a theatre for a movie. Fanfiction, which generally is comprised of written stories, is not something which can be picked up at a bookstore. Rather, because of the nature of fanfiction as discussed earlier, the only medium where it has been published for widespread consumption is the internet. One interested in fanfiction must have internet access in order to find the resources for it.
Fanfiction exists on the Internet in two main forms. The first is the main method through which most stories are first introduced – mailing lists. A mailing list is a type of internet organization where e-mail is used to establish and sustain relationships with other members of the list. Once subscribed to a list, a person can post messages which all other subscribers will receive. Information is thus disseminated in similar fashion to a bulletin board, but with the convenience of e-mail, accessible from any point in the world.
Fanfiction is often posted on mailing lists established for that person alone – the circulation of various works of fanfiction. A writer can post his work to the list, and each member of the list receives all works posted. Most fanfic lists also discuss the works in circulation, giving criticism and feedback to the author. It is a very effective forum, and one of the biggest lists on the internet, the fanfic mailing list (FFML), has over two-hundred active members (those who post works and message regularly), and a total subscription of over three thousand. The earliest lists were very general and had a broad range of fanfics from different genres. However, recently there have been lists themed to a particular series or story, so that the reader can choose his or her exact interest. The reason for this is in the emergence of “do it yourself mailing lists.” Certain businesses, like “E-Groups,” allow anyone to setup a mailing list. Thus, there was an influx of new fanfiction mailing lists on any topic of interest. Prior to this, mailing lists had to be hosted on specific servers, requiring much technical expertise to set up and maintain. This made the creation of lists inconvenient. But with the emergence of services like E-Groups, the creation of new lists was an easy step.
Mailing lists, however, are not permanent and works posted here effectively are “published” only once. Thus, the second main form of fanfiction on the internet – archives. Most mailing lists store all fanfiction posted at an internet archive. These archives are usually FTP or HTTP addresses which can be accessed through a regular internet connection. These fanfiction sites are often classified by theme, making them easy to find with internet directories and search engines such as Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Google. For instance, if one were looking for “X-Files” fanfiction, there would be a listing of these sites on most internet directories.
In turn, because of the volume of fanfiction kept at these archives, fanfiction sites often classify the works into different categories.
Fanfiction has traditionally been classified into various sub-genres to help readers find the kind of story they are most interested in. Different mailing lists and archives use different systems to classify fanfiction. For instance, the FFML has a scheme which classifies works by story-type and mood. Stories were classified from “dark,” meaning sad and angst-ridden, to “WAFF,” which stands for warm and fuzzy feeling, to “parody,” where the work makes fun of the situations and characters. Other sites, such as Fanfiction.net, classify works by genre. You would find an entire directory for Japanese anime, one for games, one for books, one for comics, and so on.
There has been no real universal method of classifying fanfiction. However, by going through the various sites and seeing the many different classification systems, it is possible to list the main categories that are most logical for differentiating fanfics.
By Handling of the Setting
In general, fanfiction is classified by the way it handles the setting of the original story. Since fanfiction takes another story’s setting and premise and uses it for its own, it would make sense to categorize fanfiction by the manner in which it treats this original premise. There are four main distinctions in this category.
The first is known as “Original Flavor.” As the name suggests, this kind of fanfiction tries to stay as true to the original work as possible. Few, if any, changes are made to the existing storyline. The author is mainly concerned with creating another installment in the story. The tone is kept true to the original in most cases, so if the original story was dark and angst-ridden, any original flavor fanfiction would have the same feel.
An easier way to think of it would be as “another episode of the series.” Most fanfiction falls under this category, and the very first anime fanfics to be written were of original flavor. A subset of this distinction is what is known as the “continuation,” where the author attempts to create a series of events following the ending of the original. Basically, it’s a sequel. An example of this would be Ripley Alexandria’s “Scarlett.”
distinction would be the “Alternate Reality.”
This is a setting where certain plot elements are changed to suit the
author’s needs for conveying a point or to tell a story. Changes can be very minor, from changing the
relationships of some characters; to monumental, where sometimes the entire
history and style of the original is given a complete overhaul. For instance, the Ranma ½ fanfic “War of the
Leaves” (available at http://www.rakhal.com)
changes the original setting of Ranma from present day
The third is known as the “Crossover.” This kind of fanfiction is very popular among fans of several different series, because it brings characters and story elements from one and puts them in the world of another. The two different story bases used for a crossover often have something in common, although this is not always the case. There are some crossovers of two very different genres, and in these cases the results often border on spoof or parody. For instance, in “Boy Meets Girls,” (available at http://www.gopinoy.com/kenibatz/) the author puts together the characters from Dragon Ball (a science-fiction action-oriented story) and the characters of Sailor Moon (a magical teenage romance story).
A subset of the crossover category is known as “Fusion.” Whereas in a normal crossover the characters from one story are simply introduced to those in another story, fusion fanfiction tries to merge everything from the two worlds into one amalgamated whole. Characters are often overlayed over those from other worlds, and story elements are meticulously worked together to form a new, sensible plot. One of the earlier examples of this would be “Ranwars,” (found at http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/8222) which fuses together the world of Ranma ½ and Star Wars.
Another subset is what is called the “Mega Crossover.” This is essentially just a regular crossover, but which uses a large number of different story bases. What was probably the first mega crossover to be published on the internet was “Undocumented Features,” (at http://www.eyrie-productions.com/UF) which put together the characters and concepts of over twenty different stories into one mammoth work.
The final subset of crossover is the “GSIF,” which stands for “Gratuitous Self Insertion Fic.” This kind of fanfiction involves the author actively placing a character, usually his or herself, who interacts with the regular cast of the story. A crossover is thus made with the “real world.” This character is often very powerful and has an omniscient knowledge of the story setting. Most fanfic authors and readers today frown upon this kind of fanfiction, dismissing it as little more than wish-fulfillment on the part of the author. An example of this kind of fanfiction would be “Twister,” (http://www.rakhal.com) where the god-like Twister arrives in Nerima to resolve conflicts between characters.
The last distinction in this category is known as the “Parody.” A work of parody, as its name implies, makes fun of the original story by spoofing. This kind of fanfiction, like most spoofs, can only really be appreciated by fans of the original who know the details well enough to understand the many in-jokes. One example is “Commercial,” where the characters of Inuyasha are shown doing a commercial for television.
A subset of parody is called “MST,” or Mystery Science Theatre. Originally, MST is a cable TV show featuring a man and two wise-cracking robots. They are forced to watch bad movies, and they make clever commentary on them as they go along. Fanfiction MSTs are based on the format of that show, where several characters (one of whom is usually the author of the MST) read a work and make a running commentary. Most fanfiction MSTs are actually done on other works of fanfiction, not on the original series. A fic within a fic, so to speak.
Fanfiction is also classified by the tone or subject matter of the story. Since fanfiction is written for a broad range of genres and topics, many sites like “Fanfiction on the Internet” (http://members.aol.com/ksnicholas/fanfic/) classify them by subject matter dealt with.
In general, these classifications are similar to standard literature categories. These include romance, action, adventure, erotica, soap, fantas, science fiction, gothic horror, and so on. With respect to tone and subject matter, fanfiction pieces are identical to other literary works. However, aside from using the aforementioned traditional classifications, there are several terminologies which are uniquely used for fanfiction categorization. These are as follows.
A “WAFF,” meaning ‘Warm and Fuzzy Feeling,’ is a work where the author focuses on making the reader feel warm and fuzzy inside after the reading. Normally, such maudlin stories are romances which are light-hearted and focus on having a happy ending. Such works are usually of the “relationship-resolution” type; many fans complain that characters in a series obviously have feelings for each other, but no relationship actually develops throughout the course of the series. Classic examples of these would be the X-Files, where there is a platonic relationship between Mulder and Scully, and Ranma ½, where Ranma and Akane never develop past a queer mutual understanding. Because of these frustrating scenarios, fanfiction writers take it upon themselves to fix the relationship and do their best to pair the characters in as realistic and in-character a way as possible. A good example of a classif WAFF story would be “Thy Inward Love” (http://www.rakhal.com).
In contrast to the WAFF category is what is known as “Dark” fanfiction. These stories are similar to the traditional classification of “Dark,” with an emphasis on dealing very seriously with subject matters like death, betrayal, violence and sexual violation. What distinguishes dark fanfiction from the regular literary definition is that the original story is usually not a “dark” work, but the author wanted to show how characters would behave in a situation if they took themselves more seriously than they do in the original. The difference is particularly apparent in a popular form that is commonly referred to as the “angst-fic,” which is heavy on introspection and psychology. The characters usually deal with very heavy personal problems, either real or imagined, which are there in the original series but never really tackled, or often totally glossed over because the original series was more of a caricature than a realistic story. A good example of this kind of work would be “Of Love and Honor,” (http://www.nabiki.com/nichan/archive/) which explores the inner turmoil of Misao, a girl who in the original story has an unrequieted love.
Another very popular form is the “Lemon” fanfic. Lemon, sometimes called ‘adult romance,’ is the term in fanfiction used for what is known as erotica. These works have the characters indulging in sexual activities. There are also two unique terminologies used for lemon fanfiction. The first is “Slash” or “Yaoi,” which refers to works having homosexual male relationships. The second is “Yuri,” the term for works with homosexual female relationships. Lemon fanfiction is very popular among fanfiction writers for the reality that sex always sells. Since there are many underage minors or people offended by such stories, these works are mandatorily tagged as lemons to prevent accidental reading, in much the same manner as the rating system for movies. Huge galleries in archives are often reserved just for lemons. An example of a lemon piece would be “A Lifetime” (http://www.nabiki.com/nichan/archive/).
The final category by which fanfiction is classified is by form. This pertains to the standard forms of literature like the novel, short story, novella, drama, poem, and so on. Fanfiction basically follows these same forms, although there are some differences. For instance, longer works which can be classified as novels are often sent in chapters, and are often called “Epics.” However, the usual basic division often used in fanfiction is that between “prose” and “script.”
Because the majority of fanfiction is based off of television shows, the earliest forms of fanfiction were written in script form. This is basically the same form that dramas are written in traditional literary nomenclature. Scenarios are given, with physical descriptions often included as asides, and the bulk of the work consists of the dialogues of the characters. This form was also, in general, easier for fanfiction writers to use.
However, fanfiction writers also began writing in prose form, and in 1996, some fanfiction writers had a sort of literary schism where one side wrote in prose, claiming it gave a more ‘literary’ feel, while the other demanded using only the script format, which was easier to read and write.
Today, fanfiction has diversified to include many more forms than just the prose or script, but most works, with the exception of verse poems, still fall under one of the two main categories. Further, there are two variations of the script format which are unique to fanfiction.
The first is what is known as the “Song Fic.” This is basically a poem piece, but what it does is it takes the lyrics of an existing song and matches it with scenes using the characters and themes of a story. The lyrics are often, but not always, modified ins ome way to fit the situation being depicted. The scenes are often interweaved with the song lyrics in the same fashion that a drama script details physical descriptions (i.e. – as asides). Sometimes, the scenes are described in prose format between breaks in the song lyrics. An example of this would be “Bizzare Love Triangle,” (http://www.nabiki.com/nichan/archive/), which uses the lyrics of the song of the same name and matches them with characters and events of the manga Rurouni Kenshin.
The other variation is the “Vid Fic.” This is basically a story or set of scenes written in similar form to the song fic, using a drama script format. However, a “video fic” is different in that it is a written work that is purposefully trying to appear like it were being viewed on the screen, as a video. There is a special emphasis on cinematography, which is often painstakingly described yet carefully clipped to keep the work flowing. Graphical effects are often indicated at specific cues, to give the reader a stronger impression of whatever vision the author had in mind. An example of this would be the “Lord of the Rings Trailer,” found at (http://www.tolkien-fanfiction.iwarp.com). This was a work written for the upcoming Lord of the Rings movie, and in all respects, it is a script of a possible trailer for the movie, complete with all the cinematography described.
CHAPTER 4 – A Collection of Fanfiction
(Note: the works have currently not been entered for this encoding of the thesis. They can be found on various sites on the net, possibly in the same place where this document was found. Refer to the Table of Contents for the list of works that were originally included in this thesis.)
So finally, the fruits of this past year’s labor have come to an end. These works of fanfiction, all of which I worked on for the past year, are laid out here for you to see. It makes me wonder – have I succeeded in my effort to weave engrossing, original tales from a source that I admire and love?
I come into this last chapter with a strong feel of apprehension. Apprehension at the thought that I have bared a part of my soul to you, the reader. Such nervousness has always been a trait of mine as a writer. Does it ever get easier as you write more and more? I suppose it depends on the person. Yet, apprehension was also there, at the thought of not having done justice to works of great story-tellers like Nobuhiro Watsuki. It’s a fear that a fanfiction writer such as myself must always face. Writing these works in the past few months has been challenging, moreso since I wrote them as a part of the requirements for my graduation! Yet in the end, I console myself by remembering the reason why I chose to write fanfiction in the first place. No, to write in general.
Fanfiction has been a long-standing hobby of mine. I have always been of the mentality that writing fanfiction is something done completely for the sheer fun of it. Most people seem to post their stories expecting lots of people to praise their work, giving them ceaseless gratification. I always found such an approach to fanfiction less pure and noble than writing for the sheer joy of writing. What others thought of my work was always second to the enjoyment I had in writing it. When I recall this litany, I always find the courage to write again in spite of the negative criticisms leveled at my work. And so, regardless of how you, the reader, have found my work, I know that I will continue to write.
Each chapter we write is a solid step down the road we call life. If we are keen enough, we will find invaluable insights that would help later on. In writing these works of fanfiction for my thesis, I realized many things regarding my hobby of fanfiction, and writing in general.
Perhaps the first, most important lesson I learned is that writing under pressure is extremely trying! When writing for fun, without the notion of a mentor ready to look down at my work, I find it extremely easy to bare my purest emotions. Further, I am able to pursue the story at a leisurely pace, with my mind as clear as an uncut crystal.
Yet, in this past year when I first began writing as part of my curriculum, I wa suddenly introduced to formal writing classes and submitting my works on a deadline. How different the environment was! Often I felt pressured, as if a vise had begun to squeeze on my chest and head. It was not conducive for writing at all, and often I was faced by a strong sense of writer’s block, unable to write for weeks at a time. When I did manage to squeeze something out, I was hard-pressed to edit and refine it, as I usually did. Somehow, I felt ashamed of what I had written, and I felt as if I did not want to reread my work, for fear of seeing how bad it was. Suddenly, my writing environment had been turned upside down.
And yet, through it all, I realized that my writing had gotten better. The strong critical element of formal writing, combined with the hardships and pressure I faced, had given a polish to my writing technique. While my current skills are still far from what I would like them to be, I think I can honestly say that my writing has improved by leaps and bounds over this past year. Looking back at the fanfiction I had written four years ago, they were a far cry from the works I wrote from this June to November. Truth be told, I had planned to include some of my older works in the collection. But after rereading them, I realized how bad they were compared to my more current works, so I canned the idea immediately.
The one downside to this exclusion of my past works is a marked lack of diversity. This past year found me confined mostly to one manga series – Rurouni Kenshin; a result, perhaps, of my exclusive subscription to the Rurouni Kenshin Fanfiction Mailing List. I couldn’t help but think of the lack of diversity in my works, but it couldn’t be helped, I was working on a deadline.
Still, when I look back at the works, I have an honest feeling of achieving what I sought to do with this project – to give an exposition of fanfiction, and provide works which could be read by anyone interested in reading, even non-fans.
I had endeavoured to make each work of fanfiction a complete story in and of itself. However, due to the derivative nature of fanfiction, it is often easier to understand or appreciate a work by having some prior knowledge of the original series. In fact, such a knowledge is often essential, because a fanfiction writer often writes with a particular audience in mind; the group of people who are the fanbase of a particular series. Indeed, it is this very distinction of fanfiction, its assumption of a priori knowledge, that gives it its distinctive flavor.
Thus have I written each work foregoing certain ideas and information which the reader is assumed to have a cursory knowledge of. Although providing short paragraphs describing the original series would broaden the accessibility of the works tremendously, I decided to refrain from such a course. Doing so, I believe, would defeat the purpose of reading literature. I would liken it to studying the book notes to MacBeth before watching the play. It would leave your mind with a closed feeling, of seeing only what the description said. It would close you to the possibility of discovering that hidden insight which even Shakespear himself might not have intended. While putting things in their context is important to understand the niceties of why the work was written in that manner, I always went by the practice of reading and enjoying a work first, and researching it later.
It is my belief that works of literature, no matter what form they take, will always carry some truth, insight, or message that any earnest reader can pick up on. So I would like to believe that these works of fanfiction can be read by anyone, and are objectively complete in and of themselves. They are still, of course, subject to a person’s individual likes and dislikes. I can only hope that they are well-written enough to be of your liking.
These thoughts, which I had perhaps realized only casually before, are now firmly ingrained in me. Lessons learned in the heat of the furnace, so to speak. Through the course of writing this project, I had been brought one step closer to my goal of becoming a great writer. And so, my reader, I now bid you farewell, hoping you, too, learned something from my experience. But more importantly, I hope that you enjoyed reading my thoughts and my works. For I certainly enjoyed writing them.
APPENDIX A – Rurouni Kenshin Information
is excerpted from the website of ADV, the official license holder of Rurouni
Kenshin in the
APPENDIX B – Master Mosquiton Information
is excerpted from the website of ADV, the official license holder of Master
Mosquiton in the
It is the early 1920’s and pretty young adventurer Inaho Hitomebore has just discovered the dusty remains of ancient vampire! [sic] Deciding that a vampire would make a fairly useful assistant, she revives the undead creature with a drop of her own blood and becomes the Master of Mosquiton! Now, with her not-quite-domesticated nosferatu in tow, she has embarked on a journey in search of the fabled “O-Parts”, which legend says will grant the holder eternal life. Unfortunately, both Inaho and Mosquiton have a great number of supernatural enemies who intend to make sure that our heroine will never complete her quest, and poor Mosquiton usually finds himself caught in the middle of the firefight! No one ever gives a blood sucker and [sic] even break in this riotous new series from Akahori Satoru, the creator of Sorceror Hunters, Saber Marionette J, Maze and Bakuen Campus Guardress.
Alexandra, Ripley. Scarlett. 1991.
“The XFU Frequently Asked Questions” available at http://shipper.simplenet.com/XFU/FAQ.htm,
others. “Undocumented Features.” Online. Internet.
Epsilon. “Ranwars.” Online. Internet.
Comer, Douglas. The
Dalisay, Jose. “Why Fiction” in Heights, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, 1995.
“History of Fanfiction.” Fanfiction.Net. Online. Internet.
Gilster, Paul. The
New Internet Navigator.
“Lord of the Rings Trailer.” Online. Internet.
“Fanfiction Page.” Online. Internet.
“Anime Ethics and Legality FAQ 2_0.” Online. Internet.
Lady A. “Bizzare
Love Triangle.” Online. Internet.
Landy, Joseph. Insight: Study of the Short Story.
“Thy Inward Love.” Online. Internet.
“Of Love and Honor.” Online. Internet.
Marine, April and
others. Internet: Getting Started.
M. “Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions List from rec.arts.startrek.misc.”
The World of Star Trek. Online. Internet.
and John Williams. The McGraw-Hill Introduction to Literature.
“A Lifetime.” Online. Internet.
Oakley, Hall. The
Art and Craft of Novel Writing.
Bryan. Internet in Plain English.
Scwartz, Edward. Net
Activism: How Citizens Use the Internet.
“FFML FAQ.” Online. Internet.
Introduction to Doujinshi.” Online. Internet.
“Twister.” Online. Internet.
White Wolf. “The
White Wolf Guide to Ranma Fanfiction.” Online. Internet.
Girls.” Online. Internet.
E-mail to the author.
Related Rights.” Online. Internet.
Mosquiton.” Anime For a New Generation. Online. Internet.
Kenshin.” Anime For a New Generation. Online. Internet.
“Zines, Etc.” Poison
Pen Press. Online. Internet.
 Jose Dalisay, “Why Fiction,” Heights, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, 1995. p. 36.
 Andy Kent, “Anime Ethics and Legality FAQ,” Usagi.com.
 Michela Ecks, “A History of Fanfiction,” Fanfiction.Net.
 Paul Gilster, The Art of the List, p. 281.
 Sunfire, “An Introduction to Doujinshi,” Dencity.com.
 White Wolf, “White Wolf Guide to Ranma Fanfiction.”
 Andy Kent, “Anime Ethics and Legality FAQ,” Usagi.com.
 Hall Oakley, The Art and Craft of Novel Writing, (Cincinatti: Story Press) p. 2.
 Joseph Landy, Insight: Study of the Short Story, p. 1.
 Andy Skuse, “FFML FAQ,” Fanfic.com.
 Andy Kent.
 Douglas Comer, The Internet Book, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1995) p. 291.
 Pfaffenberger, Brian. Internet in Plain English, p. 167.
 Douglas Comer, p. 291.
 Pfaffenberger, Brian, p. 94.
 Douglas Comer, p. 296.
 Ibid, p. 298.
 Ibid, p. 299.
 Jose Dalisay, p. 37.
 “Zines, etc.” Poison Pen Press.
 John Michaelides. “Frequently Asked Questions” in The World of Star Trek.
 Michela Ecks, “A History of Fanfiction,” Fanfiction.Net.
 Gilbert Muller and John Williams, The McGraw-Hill Introduction to Literature, p. 1-2.
 April Marine and others, Internet: Getting Started, p. 135.
 Ibid, p. 136.
 Edward Schartz, Net Activism, p. 42.
 Ibid, p. 42.
 Kevin Lee Thomason, “Internet Piracy.”
 “Copyright and Related Rights.”
 Andy Kent, “Anime Ethics and Legality.”
 Edward Schwartz, Net Activism, p. 42.
 White Wolf. “White Wolf Guide to Ranma Fanfiction.”
 Michela Ecks. “History of Fanfiction.”
 White Wolf.
 Andy Skuse, “FFML FAQ.”
 Jitou. “Fanfic Page,” Geocities.com.
 Anime For a New Generation: Rurouni Kenshin, www.advfilms.com.
 Anime For a New Generation: Master of Mosquiton, www.advfilms.com.