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If I really fall in love with a story, I can't imagine having it be over; I don't read fanfic for every fandom, because sometimes what I got was enough. Like Dollhouse, for example, I don't read fanfic because what we got was enough, perfect even, and I don't need more to be satisfied.
Depending on the fandom, my reasons for getting into it vary:
When it first began (with Twilight) it was a need for more story and not being able to wait until the second movie came out (I had read all four books but Twilight the movie had only just come out in theaters), over time it grew into a love for the one-dimensional characters that I could so easily build off of in an AH setting; Alice is energized and loves clothing, Emmett is competitive but a teddy bear inside, Bella likes to read and is clumsy, all the characters have two-three traits and the rest is a blank slate to do with what you want; that's heaven for a fanfic author!
When I moved on to Buffy, it was a need for different stories than what we got in canon; same characters, different tale, basically. To this day, my least favorite stories are the ones that could slot into canon easily, take place between episodes, because I want something that changes everything. I want to read about Buffy finally standing up to her friends about certain things that I never got in canon, I want my Spike/Dawn friendship the way I felt it should've been, I want Kennedy to die that awful death that Deadly always goes on and on about P); I can get all that by reading or, as a last-ditch effort, writing fanfic.
Getting into Supernatural fanfic was also a different experience, especially as I'm unused to reading fanfic for a show that is still airing. I kept it light at first, case-fics, but like the Canon Buffy they didn't do it for me, regardless of how well-written they were. I didn't (and still don't) ship Destiel, but that seemed the biggest chance of finding something because most fanfics were that pairing; I delved into it and loved it, devouring fic after fic in a very short time. It allows me the freedom to see Dean and Cass together without having to deal with the issues I'd have if it was happening on the canon show. It's like an escape, the way fanfic often is.
It's never about smut for me, the way it is for so many others, in fact I skim through sex scenes about 95% of the time in any given story; it's about the story. Give me an immersive world, flawed characters on a journey, preferably a fantasy element to keep me engaged. Some of my favorite stories are set somewhere unfamiliar or change up the canon events until it's barely recognizable anymore.
Like the story where Buffy is kidnapped by aliens and sent to their world to become a slave, where she starts a revolution.
Or the one where Xander was the one who started doing magic in S2 and he got to meet the Charmed Ones, too.
How about Illyria traveling back in time, just a few years, to save the world in an epic series of well-written stories.
The more original a storyline, the more it'll draw me in. I've read about a ton upon a ton of stories where 'Spike and Buffy snark through some fights, then a common enemy unites them, then they cut to the UST, then they're in love, and they do all of this with little input from friends or family' and I cannot sit through another. The idea of reading something that mainly has two characters only? I want ensemble, I want massive world-building, I want believable villains (like we got on the show for the most part) and it doesn't even have to have a happy ending.
Would say it's mostly a question of priority.
It's hard enough to keep up as it is without adding non canon stories.
Also feel that it is much harder to predict what is good and what is, let's just say not as good, when it comes to fanfics.
I read Buffyverse fanfiction because it's often so well written that it could with some allowance be canon. I can't see the harm in it- it is a part of canon in the sense that reading certain fanfics can change your perception of the actual show and the sort of fanfic that is popular can tell you about the experience the canon has given fans. It's so interesting psychologically
I used to read loads, kinda obsessively, stay up all night to read it, even though I had school the next day. I started reading it around 2001/2 and I got hooked quickly, Buffy, Angel and Harry Potter which the ones I mainly read. It was just great escapism, Harry Potter was in between books, so I started with reading fanfic about what people thought book 5 was all about, and then found pairings which led to Buffy fics.
Now I don't have the time really, and if I do want to read something it has to be complete.
Sigh... why don't I? Aside from the fact I tried to read one or two and they were horribly written, but I don't get it. It's just... not real.
It's not like these are real stories, or are part of canon. I don't understand the point of it.
Maybe because I wasn't allowed as a kid. I was always writing growing up and I wanted to write stories about GI Joe (I was ten, bite me!) and I remember my mother saying they belonged to other people and I needed to write my own stuff. So maybe that's where some of it comes from... I dunno.
Back in the late Nineties, I read some lovely "Phantom of the Opera" fan fictions that were suggestions of what could have happened in between what Gaston Leroux wrote in his mystery novel. That is still largely the kind of fan fiction I read and enjoy, fan fictions exploring the internal life of characters that we see mostly from the outside. I also enjoy stories exploring what my favourite characters did next.
I very rarely read fan fiction these days, as there are so many books to read and so little time. When I do, I tend to look for short pieces that can move and entertain me on a train trip, when waiting for a doctor's appointment or something like that. I have a soft spot for well written hurt/comfort that isn't just a bad excuse for writing a sex scene, but sifting through the works that don't interest me in the hunt for what I want takes too long to be worth it. The last years I read a couple of good "SKAM" fanfics, a good "Deutschland 83" one and a few enjoyable pieces about the Ninth Doctor, that's about it. As for Buffy fanfics, I don't think I've read something I really enjoyed since "Phoenix Burning", which I printed and read like a book, ages ago.
(By the way, @Spanky , I wrote some pretty bad "Elfquest" fan fiction as a child, but I never told anyone and hence could not be told off. I also wrote a half-decent, allthough sappy, "Phantom of the Opera" thingy once, but I think it is just as well that it was written with pencil, on paper, and is long gone.)
I did read one item by @sosa lola at one time and thought it was well done. The pacing was right but my own deficiency is that I sort of lost track of the characters and what they were thinking after a while. My wife is the one who can read a murder mystery and know whodunit long before the story ends - I wish I could do that. It is said that if you want to be a good writer, you should read a lot and short fanfics are just as good at introducing you to a particular style as novels and in a given time, you can read more short pieces than long ones.
I have contributed drabbles on occasion as contest entries here and I did one fanfic blurb about how Buffy would adapt to the modern era of cellphones and apps that did everything for you.
I used to think it great to post fan fics, to read fan fics but some of late seem to have lost the ability to promote a or any character. I do prefer to only read fan fics that are on this site, as such I have only written fan fics on this site.
I just generally feel that cribbing someone else's characters is a no-no. Let your own creativity shine and come up with your own people. They will be infinitely more interesting than anyone you're trying to force into behaving certain ways in order to force your storyline.
Started reading them for the same reason that others here have stated.....I wanted to know what happened next, I needed more & the show had ended 😢
This was before the comics appeared on the scene of course.
I mainly read Buffy fics, but found loads of them, & spent many a quiet nightshift working my way through them.
But a lot of them left me cold, either because of the pairings or the bane of any fic reader.....they were unfinished! 😡
That being said, there are some really good one out there too & a few I've gone back & read more than once.
After getting told off on one site for getting frustrated with a really good idea that hadn't been finished & posting my own ending to it I decided the only way to get what I really wanted was to write the damn things myself.
I do find coming up with ideas for stories difficult, but when I do finally manage to kick the old grey matter into gear I can normally get the whole story to flow pretty much in one sitting. The trick then is to get it written down before I forget it all. I'm normally happy (Well as happy as I'm ever going to be) with my first draft & rarely change much more than the odd bit of dialog in later versions.
Oh and most of my fics are first written by hand in notebooks. I'm not the best typist in the world & find it easier to 'Brain-dump' with pen & paper than trying to get my fingers to type something I'll actually be able to read at a later date..... That of course means the first proofread is when I copy it up on my laptop.....
As for my fics. I started writing them down really to get all those stories out of my head. They were just for my own amusement. I never really considered letting other people read them as I thought no one would seriously be interested. But one or two folk keep on at me to post them somewhere (You know who you are ) So I might put them out there...one day!
@Last Watcher and anyone else who is writing or thinking or writing fanfic, hope this doesn't sound patronising, but you really should publish your work. I know how scary it is, but there are people who would love to read what you've written, no matter what you think about it.