By Kitty Felde
Ever wonder why networks keep rebooting old TV shows? There’s a special place in our hearts for characters we wish we could spend time with again and again. But what happens when we run out of episodes?
Fan fiction. These are original stories by writers who “borrow” the characters of books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, etc. to create new stories. You might say it’s where the geeks meet to find their own kind. It’s particularly appropriate for teens. There are stories for fans of everything from The Baby-Sitters Club to Dr. Who to the most obscure manga imaginable.
It’s not a new phenomenon. Fans of the Sherlock Holmes series were frustrated when Arthur Conan Doyle ran out of stories, so they wrote their own.
Cecilia Aragon, who heads the Human Centered Data Science Lab at the University of Washington, is a fan fiction fan – particularly for kids. “They’re not only learning about writing,” she writes in the MIT Technology Review, “they’re finding community, establishing identity, and exploring new trends that have not yet found mainstream acceptance.”
Stephanie Burt writes in The New Yorker that fan fiction lets readers “ask and answer speculative and reflective questions about our own lives, in a way that might get others to pay attention. What will college be like? What should summer camp have been like? How can an enemy become a friend?”
Fan fiction is a great way to get a child reading – particularly the kid who wouldn’t be caught dead with a book.
There are lots of places to find fan fiction. Archive of Our Own does a good job of categorizing the stories. Commaful has a wide variety of Star Wars, Percy Jackson, and superhero fanfic. Remember The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? You can find it, Lizzy McGuire, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories at FanFiction.
Fan fiction identifies that little niche of the universe that we are passionate about and lets us live there a little bit longer. Oh, and by the way, it gets kids reading.
Kitty Felde is host of the Book Club for Kids podcast and author of the children’s mystery State of the Union and The Fina Mendoza Mysteries podcast.
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Young Readers Event at Southwest Library
Kitty Felde will be at the Southwest Library on June 18 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m to discuss State of the Union, the second book in the Fina Mendoza Mystery series. A free copy will be given to the first 15 kids who attend. The event is sponsored by the Southwest Library and the Friends of the Southwest Library. Kitty will read from her book and autograph copies.