From Our Readers
May 14, 2015 7:00 am

Everybody has their thing they do to chill after work. Once I’ve made sure the kids aren’t going to eat what I was going to serve for dinner or invite half the neighborhood over, I head to my bedroom to change, grab my tablet and pull up some…fanfiction.

Fanfiction, for the uninitiated, are stories about already established characters written by, well, fans. They’re riffs on the plotlines made by the creators, exploring the universe. I read fanfic for escapism. In the past couple of years, my family has dealt with a lot of terrible things so I enjoy having a fun, free, easy escape. The ones I prefer have less to do with gory fight scenes and more to do with characters coming together as a family. I knew I wasn’t the only one who wondered what the Avengers would be like in a grocery store, or if Darcy went drinking with Pepper and Natasha. These scenes will never be in a movie, but happen often in fanfic.

I prefer Star Trek and Avengers, although a couple of Harry Potter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fanfics have found their way onto my favorites lists. I tend to alternate which I read, based on which movie is coming out next; right now I’m inhaling Avengers fanfic like a college student at Starbucks during finals.

My favorite fics show the everyday sides of Avengers, as well as the high drama we all pay good money to see. I don’t know how it became canon, but apparently the Avengers are just a bunch of snugglers. I love after battle snippets of everyone eating pizza, Natasha sticking her cold feet under Steve’s leg (super metabolism = toasty body temps), Tony and Clint arguing over the movie while Bruce eats Tony’s bread sticks, Thor in bunny slippers…admit it, you’d watch for a while in a movie theater. You’d pay good money just to see Thor wearing bunny slippers. That’s a nice, funny mental picture to have after work and before dinner, especially on days when the news has been rough.


Of course I love the longer, multi chapter stories too. It’s not like there are spoilers, so that means lots of extra drama. The more compelling the story, the more you’re on pins and needles for the next chapter. I’ve been reading the second story in a series and it ended on a cliffhanger, then a note from the author saying she was going to start another story to finish it. AARRGG!! I felt so Empire Strikes Back. I am never going to find out what happens to Steve and his clone daughter.

Fanfic doesn’t always have the best reputation. Some of it gets posted before going through spellcheck and some makes you think, “Tony would not leave the Avengers and his lab because this character makes great pot roast.” But there are extremely talented writers out there who have created entire worlds for characters created by others, and purely for the enjoyment of others. It’s like an unlimited, free Netflix for stories for your favorite characters. You just have to dig through and find out what you like. Once I find authors I like, I look through their bookmarks and usually find even more authors and stories. No, it will never be considered great literature, but not every single thing you read has to be Important and Worth Discussing. Sometimes you can just read to unwind and relax.

I’ve poked around the fanfic sites, looking at other types and reading some, but I just can’t seem to get into anything that’s not Star Trek or Marvel related. I love Ocean’s Eleven but I don’t want to read the fanfic.  It might appeal to somebody, but it just doesn’t seem to lend itself to a wide variety of plot ideas. Same thing with Mary Poppins and Addams Family. That’s just my opinion, and that’s the great thing about fanfic: there’s something out there for everyone.

Even though I’ve read fanfic for years, I’ve never written any myself. I’m more than happy to let somebody else do all the plotting and writing. Meanwhile, I’ll be putting the “fan” in fanfic.

Sharon Wren is a freelance writer who lives on an island on the Mississippi River. When she’s not chasing deadlines, she’s hanging out with her cat, 12 chickens and her “chicken dog”, Hershey. If you visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sharon.wren.568, you may spit beverages on your monitor.

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