You have read “Fanfiction-The Writer’s Playground” by Nate Fahmi and now you want to start reading/writing/publishing fanfics, the problem is you have no idea how to start. Do not fret because Fanfiction 101 is a series in which I will walk you through the things I wish I knew when I had just started reading transformative works.
Today’s article is (like the title says) where to read and post. I will introduce you to some websites, their pros and cons and what type of works are expected from them. If you want a more in-depth explanation of how the sites work I suggest you watch “How to read fanfiction” by ColeyDoesThings.
The next three are the most popular sites and archives in which fanfiction is stored/published to be read FOR FREE (if you have to pay for reading fanfiction it is likely the work was published without the author’s consent and is illegal).
In order to read any work in Wattpad you first need an account and the same goes if you want to publish a story. Now because Wattpad is not a platform exclusively for fanfiction you would have to click on the browse window and select “Fan fiction” and when publishing your work you will also have to specify that the genre is fanfiction. If you want to get more specific for what your story is about or what you want to read is where the hashtag system comes into play where you can use the key words for the fandom, lets say: Avengers, and if you want a specific character, lets say: Steve Rogers.
Now the reputation fanfics have in this platform is not great, as it is with a lot of works in Wattpad people expect “amateurish” writing of people that are just getting into the craft. While this is not completely true, it is somewhat rooted in reality (my own experience goes from publishing in Wattpad to fanfiction.net to AO3, as I gather more knowledge).
Because of this, readers may click on the story because the premise is interesting even when the execution isn’t, just to have a good time or read the comments others have posted. This may be a good thing since the readers will then be much more forgiving of mistakes and there would be less pressure if you’re just starting, another pro is that Wattpad has its own app, if you don’t want to have to browse for it every time.
FanFiction.Net a.k.a. FFN
This site (and the next) differs from Wattpad in two key aspects: 1) it is an archive explicitly for fan fiction (though it may contain meta sometimes) and 2) you do not have to make an account in order to read the works. The fanfics are sorted by fandoms and then in “advance search” you can specify: genre, length, relationships, characters, world, rating and status (if it is completed or not).
FanFiction.Net is the oldest archive of the three I am talking about so a lot of the works you may come across on the site are from the late 90s-2000s-2010s however people are still publishing on the site. Here is where the most infamous fanfic of all reside: “My Immortal” for the Harry Potter fandom, although unlike Wattpad the fan reading community does not think of the site as a place where “amateurish” writing exists- it just happens to appear from time to time.
The reason a lot of people decided to leave this site however, is because of the strict rules you have to abide by so that your work isn’t taken down, for example, no songfics. Apart from that the site has that distinctive look 90s-2000s web pages used to have, however they also offer an app who gets rid of that “retrograde” style and allows you to change the font, font-size and color of the page and they also have a text-to-speech function.
Archive of our own a.k.a. AO3
This archive made in 2008 has quickly made itself as the place in which fan made works thrive with their two most attractive features: an impressive tag system that makes sure the works find the readers it was made for and a group of lawyers protecting the works on the site- meaning that for better or for worse “everything goes” on AO3 as long as its tag correctly. Apart from those there is the ability to create series (different works that are link to one another), a separate part for author’s notes (so that the word count doesn’t get increasingly long), kudos (likes), participate in collections, and being able to download works in epub, pdf, html and much more else.
Three key differences from FFN are: 1) the archive doesn’t offer an app, if you find an AO3 app on the internet it is not official, 2) even if you can access works in the site without an account the archive offers the authors the possibility that only those with an account can read their works and 3) you need to ask for an invitation in order to make said account, it sounds fancy but is just an email and the process is easier than it sounds.
Here is where the (out?) famous fanfic “All The Young Dudes” from the Harry Potter fandom resides, and readers/writers tend to be more critical of the work in the site unlike those in Wattpad (though to be fair fanfic readers do not ask for a lot). And because of its tag system it has become easier to notice fanfic tropes, archetypes, conventions, and trends making the work of fanfiction scholars much easier.
There are other sites where you can read or publish fan fiction like LiveJournal, Tumblr and Amino, there are also sites made for a specific fandom, so you don’t have to choose just one platform. A lot have their favorite but some writers are known to cross-post their work across two or more archives, and readers are also very likely to at least read fan fiction from two different archives in their life.
If you want to know more about this literary genre you can visit Fanlore the wiki of transformative works and fandoms. Or you can stay tuned for the next entry of Fanfiction 101.
In the end fanfiction is self-indulgent writing, so just have fun!
Ari Ochoa Petzo
is a Mexican-Venezuelan bi genderfluid writer. They like dancing to old music and history. In their free time you can find xem trying to coerce their friends to participate in another of their crazy projects.
MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR: