OTW Fannews: Democratizing writing

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  • The University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Daily ran an article claiming that fanfiction has revolutionized literature. “Fan fiction is a perfectly competitive industry into which anyone, regardless of age, sex, or economic status, can enter and in which anyone can prosper…Ours, then, will be the first generation in history to have a durable literature written by the common individual. Until extremely recently, authors were predominantly rich, educated males with leisure time to write and enough money to be published…Fan fiction, for better or worse, will one day be studied alongside Homer and Dickens…Historians will be able to look back on our time and see the interests of everyone, not just a select minority.”
  • The Sydney Morning Herald followed up on the idea that fanfiction may reveal wider interests than mainstream commercial work previously allowed, stating ‘The alpha male’s seductive power may be waning’. “[A] new generation of romance writers and publishers are beginning to embrace metrosexual and bisexual heroes to reflect changing sexual tastes…Melbourne-based author Anna Cowan has caused a stir with a Regency romance that twists the gender role of her hero, a character partly inspired by gay fan fiction. Penguin’s ebook, Untamed, features a dark, deeply damaged, cross-dressing duke who is bisexual. The Duke of Darlington sleeps with the heroine’s sister, and with men, and is attended by a bunch of overtly gay dandies.”
  • A researcher who asked for help from OTW News readers in 2012 has since completed her work, which reveals some of these same issues of diversity in taste. Dianna Fielding wrote Normalizing the Deviance: The Creation, Politics, and Consumption of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities in Online Fan Communities. “Communities of fan producers have been creating and consuming works labeled deviant by both laypeople and academics for decades. Fan producers take the popular media they enjoy and rewrite it to fit their needs and desires. Online, these fan producers have found a new space to re-write what it means to be normative. These fan producers often write about slash, which depicts homosexual relationships as normal, and genderswap, which plays with the idea of gender by physically switching characters’ sex…Through content analysis, a series of interviews (n = 26), and a survey (n = 224), of fan producers directly, this study gains a better understand of these producers’ motivations for producing fan works.”

How have you seen fanfiction democratizing writing? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.