Can Real Literature be Fan Written?

Erika Lewis

[A writer writing fanfiction]

A topic that has been discussed more than once is “if it is written can it be considered real literature?” Some say yes while others say no, but nobody has been able to decide on one answer. There are those that argue it can be considered real literature as even though the characters and world are not always theirs it is still something people put time into. Others argue that it isn’t real because it’s fan written and not canon and sometimes they can be rather explicit. 

Yes, it’s real

Many people believe that fanfictions are real literature. One student wrote an essay and stated “Fanfic authors borrow said original worlds and characters to explore the universes they love or to explore issues that were not dealt with in the original, usually regarding identity, gender, sexuality or mental health.” This student explained that people use this as some kind of coping mechanism and plenty of people write as a way to cope. J.K. Rowling herself wrote several of the Harry Potter books to cope with problems in her life. If these are considered real literature why not fanfictions. Somebody else said “Many people consider fanfiction to be second-rate literature, but I will tell you that fanfiction is post-modern literature…”. This person believes that these are actually the future per say. 

One of the biggest arguments that fanfiction can be considered real literature is the Star Wars books that have been written and published. The definition of fanfiction is “fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc.” That is exactly what the star wars novels are. They are books that took characters from star wars and the authors also added in their own to create something they wanted to happen. All of these published books are considered “real literature” but at one point they could all have been considered fanfictions. 

Another thing to take into note is that for the longest time the longest piece of english literature was a Super Smash Fanfiction called “The Subspace Emissary’s Worlds Conquest” and was about 3,500,000 words long. A lot of work and effort is put into all fanfictions no matter what they are about and should be considered real literature. Now whether it is good or not is a different story but still real literature.

No, it shouldn’t be considered real

The other part of people believe that fanfictions cannot be considered real pieces of literature. They do have their points and a big one is the characters and universe don’t belong to the fanfiction authors. They aren’t wrong. Many people who write fanfictions take characters from literature, TV shows, or movies. They also assert their own characters and the stuff they write is not canon and could be considered theft. 

The most popular stereotype with fanfiction is that they tend to be explicit and more mature. This can be inappropriate and sometimes could be considered illegal as there are fanfictions where people couple up someone who is underaged with someone who isn’t and some of their actions are less than legal and appropriate. This upsets many people as “people shouldn’t be writing something this explicit” and “readers shouldn’t be reading this as it’s inappropriate.” Whatever is said many believe that things like this can’t be considered real pieces of literature. 

No matter what you choose to believe, it’s important to think that people still put time and effort into writing this and it is a form of self expression. People are also allowed to write whatever they want and because they write something you don’t agree with doesn’t mean you can bash said person. People can do whatever they choose but fanfiction should be considered real literature as authors put time and hard work into them and it is written words.