OTW Signal

OTW Signal, November 2021

In the News

In a post on Book Riot about her fanfiction history, Danika Ellis discusses things many fans can relate to:

I built a whole community of people around this interest. We went from fanfic reading to roleplaying to creating new, original worlds together and our own characters. We grew up together on this message board, across ages and continents. These connections were formative in my adolescence. And then, at some point, I stopped reading fanfics.

As with many other people who drifted away from fandom, whether because it was focused on a specific canon or because of other life events, Danika discussed her return to fan spaces and the enjoyment it’s brought her in a year where so many other things had been interrupted.

To be honest, I’m a little annoyed with myself I haven’t been reading fanfic this whole time — in the same way I wish I had discovered manga and romance earlier. They’re comforting, entertaining, and engrossing in a way that is rare for me to find in other genres or formats. While I love all kinds of books, I suspect my inner book snob has prevented me from a lot of reading joy in my past. But no more! My AO3 invite email finally came in, and I’m ready to keep exploring this new world of content, just as my teenage self would have wanted.

We certainly welcome Danika and anyone else who has decided to sign up for an account (4 million of you as of September 2021!). As most readers know, one is not needed to use the site, but having an AO3 account brings a variety of additional benefits to one’s reading experience. One of them is that some works are locked to logged in users, meaning there may be things you’re missing if you don’t have an account.


People haven’t just been trying to find fanworks as a result of this last year; many fans have also been creating them as a way of dealing with and reflecting what’s been going on. A September article focused on how fanfiction can reflect our world and record its history.

“There weren’t Jedi masters deployed to save people in real life, but for some of the fanfic writers working today, the world of Star Wars might feel just as removed as the world before September 11, 2001. Fiction serves as a powerful playground for processing cultural events, especially generational trauma. The act isn’t neutral though; a decade’s worth of fanfiction that takes place on or around 9/11 shows how our own understanding of a traumatic event can shift with time.”

Because AO3 is set up for maximum inclusivity in preserving works, it’s possible someday fans will be looking back to 2021 works to read about how favorite characters faced life then. In the meantime you can look at works written about the events of the September 11 Attacks which were written both that year and later.

OTW Tips

Want to know about other features that you can get with an AO3 account? Whether it’s the Mark for Later feature, or being able to subscribe to authors, works, or series and tags, it certainly makes it easier to return to works that interested you if you have one. And with bookmarking you can easily share your enjoyment with others by clicking on the “Rec” ticky box so that people can find and read your recommendation!


We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or news story you think we should know about, send us a link. We are looking for content in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in an OTW post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

4 thoughts to “OTW Signal, November 2021”

    1. Hello Neymat

      Thanks for catching that! It’s been fixed now.


      Claudia Rebaza
      Staffer, OTW Communications

    1. Hello Danika

      We enjoyed reading it! Thanks for sharing your experience.


      Claudia Rebaza
      Staffer, OTW Communications

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