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Discussion Article- How FanFic Inspires Kids to Read and Write and Write and Write

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by mavjade , Sep 20, 2020.

  1. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    I found this great article that talks about how fanfic inspires and helps kids read and write. The article talks about things like representation, language development, community, etc. It also talks about Star Wars quite a bit! :D I thought it might be fun to talk about it a little bit!

    Article Link: How FanFIc Inspires Kids to Read and Write and Write and Write

    One of the parts that really resonated with me (and there were several) where it talked about English Language Learners:
    While English is my native language, I have a few learning disabilities that always made it difficult. I used to be so embarrassed to let anyone look at anything I wrote in school because my spelling and grammar were terrible. And while they still aren't spectacular, my mom (who was a teacher before she retired) still talks to this day about how much of an improvement she saw when I started writing fanfic, that it was a marked difference. Having a supportive community (which the article also talks about) who encourages and helps without making things embarrassing really did a lot for me when I was younger, and still does today!

    Fanfic was kinda always this underground thing hiding in shadows so I'm really encouraged to see in the article that there are teachers who are embracing fanfic and using it as a tool to help kids learn.
    jcgoble3, Kit', Kahara and 9 others like this.
  2. clone commander bossk

    clone commander bossk Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 5, 2019
    Oh man,i would've given anything to write fanfic in school.
    Kit', Kahara, mavjade and 4 others like this.
  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Thanks for sharing the article, @mavjade. I'm always happy to see positive things being written about fanfiction.

    When I was in school, we didn't have any assignments that were formally called fanfiction, but I can remember writing some assignments where I was asked to write about what came after a cliffhanger ending or to write an alternative ending, and really that is a form of fanfiction although we did not use the term.

    I've also been thinking lately that there are many published works that are essentially fanfiction as well. Like the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It's a great play, but one could argue that it is Shakespeare fanfiction.

    I think fanfiction is very valuable for teaching people a different type of writing than they tend to learn in school. Much of what we learn in school is a sort of formal, academic writing, but writing fanfiction gives us a chance to write creatively and from our imagination. Fanfiction writing gives writers a chance to develop their own voice and makes the reader part of the literacy conversation in an active way. I think it can be seen as one of the ultimate products of the democrization of reading and writing. With fanfiction, every reader has the opportunity to become a writer, and I think that is wonderful.

    With the proliferation of fanfiction sites, everyone can share their work and receive feedback on it.
    Kit', Kahara, mavjade and 5 others like this.
  4. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Something else that I thought was great in the article was the person who said it brought kids that said they didn't like to read into a reading world. I really think that the vast majority of people who say they don't like it don't dislike to read but they just haven't found what they like to read. If reading fanfic is what gets a kid who otherwise wouldn't read to do it, that should be celebrated! We all know that some fanfics can be better written than some published stuff!

    Right?! That probably would have changed a lot for me.

    That's very true, I remember writing such things as well! I've debated with people many times that fanfiction is in a lot more things than most people realize, and assignments like that are one of them. RPGs of TV/Movies/Book= fanfiction. New stories with media that's fallen into public domain (Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes stories, etc.) are all fanfiction in their own ways.

    I think this sentence is so important. Everyone has the opportunity to be a writer. Not everyone will ever publish something, but it gives everyone the opportunity to be read and bring joy to other people through their writing.
  5. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    My favorite parts of this article?

    1. The shameless plugging of and AO3.

    2. The picture at the top, which includes Spock riding a tauntaun. Spock. On a flipping. Tauntaun.
    Kahara, amidalachick, Kit' and 3 others like this.
  6. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I tell my students that the reason I moved my English mark in high school from a C- to an A- was because of Fanfiction. I don't care what they think, it's more about letting them know that any writing of any description is good. I'll cheerfully tell them that my first fic was awful (because it was) but that wasn't the point, the point was the feedback and the community. I once got very, very angry at an author whose workshop I'd paid to go to who said that fanfic writing wasn't real writing while simultaneously being paid to write 'official' books for StarGate. Lady, you are a fan fiction writer. The only difference between you and I is age and the fact you have found a way of getting paid to do what I do for free.
  7. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 3, 2003
    I was prolific in High School, but it wasn't fan fic, it was more just my imagination running wild. I did do some SW Stuff and the teachers were very amused. I had an English teacher who would assign the class a task and she'd single me out and and say 'You write me a 5 page story'. I know my stuff isn't great but it's my outlet, has always been my outlet.

    My daughter used to write smutty fan fiction at 16 or so. I never read it but my son said it was .........descriptive :eek:

    I have always encourage writing and even did a writing course years ago. Didn't help much, but I did it! :p
    Kahara, amidalachick, Kit' and 6 others like this.
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @mavjade I absolutely agree that with most people it's not that they dislike reading; it's that they just haven't discovered what they like to read. And fanfiction gives people a chance to find what they like to read in a new way and to create stories they and others would like to read. So that is incredibly awesome. And works that have fallen into public domain are definitely sources of fanfiction that tend to be known by other names like "adaptations" of Sherlock set in the modern era or with female Watson are arguably AU fanfic of Sherlock Holmes.

    I also think that it is so awesome that with fanfiction everyone can become a writer and share their work with readers and other writers. It creates a great collaborative community, and for many of us, we will never be published authors in the traditional sense, but we still have a wonderful opportunity to be creative and participate in an activity we love. Same how my brother isn't a pro hockey player, but he still enjoys playing recreational hockey and that's a good source of exercise. Fanfiction is like the recreational league for writing. We can do something that stretches our creativity for fun without the intention of earning any financial compensation. Just for the pure satisfaction we find in writing.
    Kahara, amidalachick, Kit' and 3 others like this.
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Great article! I've mentioned this before but my English education was SEVERELY lacking in high school and I think, of all my english classes in high school I had one "write a short story" assignment (and I only took one intro to English class in university - it was all about writing for academic purposes. There was a creative writing class I always wanted to take in undergrad but it never fit into my schedule). Thankfully I was already an avid reader but Fanfic really helped me develop my writing and gave me a really fun hobby and a creative outlet. As Mav and devil and others said, not everyone will become a published author, but that doesn't mean we cant have fun writing and sharing stories.

    I'm still a bit shy when it comes to my fanfic and letting people I know in real life read it... not that anyone would understand the context of my proudest works (both West Wing and SW Legends fics) but it's nice to see fanfic becoming a bit more mainstream both for educational and entertainment purposes.
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Briannakin I'm totally shy about letting people I know in real life read anything creative that I write. Maybe it's also that I put so much of myself into my writing that I get a bit embarrassed if it's people I know in real life reading my stuff. Whereas online I seem to have more confidence sharing my creative writing.
  11. darkspine10

    darkspine10 Chosen One star 7

    Dec 7, 2014
    Fanfic was definitely the thing for me that got me out of my shell and led to me starting writing regularly. Before January 2019 I'd barely written a word for years. But getting into a specific fandom eventually led me down the garden path into Fanfic. Lots of fanfic. I spent a few months basically bingeing anything and everything I could find in that one fandom.

    Eventually I found a short fic I really enjoyed. Only problem was it was like 2000 words, and a one-shot. I wanted more. Much more. So, one night with some time to spare, I decided that if no-one else could make more, then perhaps I could.

    A year and half later, with over 600,000 words under my belt, I'd say yes, I could make more, definitely ;)

    I think there are several in-built advantages fanfic has over traditional publishing that make it so attractive. For one, there's no need to deal with the nightmare of securing a book deal. Anyone can write and publish there work for anyone to see, a rapid turning over from initial conception to release.

    The common nature of shorter chapters or one-shots supports short-form fiction, something that's not as readily available elsewhere. It's easy to bash off something short, rather than toiling away on a single longer work that might never see the light of day. And the existing framework of a story you enjoy can make crafting plots and characters easier with some of the heavy-lifting taken care of (and an in-built audience who already have attachments to the setting).

    That said, it can be hard to branch out and eventually make the jump to original fiction, something I'd like to try someday. It takes time and effort, while my muse prefers to expand on concepts I've already worked on in my fics. Who knows though, anything could happen. For now I'm content continuing writing whenever the mood strikes, knowing I can turn it from idea to finished work without anything other than my own steam is very freeing.