I may have mentioned it a few years ago, but I’ll say it again: I occasionally read fanfiction. It functions as a kind of release from the “proper”, complicated reading I do for university on a daily basis. It entertains, and mostly amuses me, to read contrived stories about some of my favourite characters without having to think about it too much. I even sometimes write my own fanfics, just to get a sense of gratification that it doesn’t matter so much if it’s illogical, badly written or stupid. There’s always worse!
Then again, I am one to actually advocate fanfiction. It has been shown that while the literary quality of the material is lacking, it is a way for teenagers and adults who are otherwise not big readers to find a way into a reading/writing community. That in itself is a positive effect. It also has the potential to make people think about their favourite franchises, question the decisions story writers have made, and take their characters into new directions.
It’s a wide field. There’s spectacularly bad fanfiction out there, just as there is remarkably good stuff to be found if you’re looking for it. But there are certain rhetoric features and narrative styles that are massively common and to be found in almost all fanfics – or at least the ones I’ve read. So here’s a random list of all the observed stylistic weirdness we love to hate. Continue reading