OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Lindsay Ellis

Every month or so the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Lindsay Ellis is an author and video essayist who creates humorous educational YouTube content about media, narrative and film theory. In addition to her own YouTube channel, she co-writes and hosts the fiction-focused YouTube series “It’s Lit!” for PBS Digital Studios. Her debut novel, Axiom’s End, comes out July 21. Today, Lindsay talks about fandom and fair use.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

The year was 2001. I was a rather apathetic atheist in high school in South Tennessee, and I had several classmates who made trying to save my soul into an extracurricular activity. Between my sophomore and junior year, a local youth group paid for me to go on a trip with them to New York for a week of soul-saving fun. I did not find Jesus on that trip, but I did find the Original Broadway Recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera at the now-defunct Virgin Megastore in Times Square. As soon as I got home, I spent the rest of the summer reading Phantom fanfiction, (or, “Phanfiction” har har). The rest was history.

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This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 138

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! First of all, did you see this grandma enthusing about how much she loves Jimin from BTS? Fandom is for everyone! And if any of your grandparents are in a fandom, share it with us in the comments!

Speaking of BTS, their new album Map of the Soul: 7 and latest single On are breaking records and topping charts all over the world. See Vox’s latest article BTS Just Landed an Unprecedented Spot on the Hot 100 — With Virtually No Radio Play if you want to nerd out about chart positions and find links to dance choreography videos and more behind the scenes content. Most notable, though, is how successful BTS have been in western markets like the US despite “the wall of industry gatekeeping” that denies promotion and airtime to overseas artists:

“An international band, singing mainly in a language other than English or Spanish, landing this high on the chart without the influence of mainstream radio suggests a powerful cultural change. More people are finding their way to the band independently, and traditional industry promotional methods are becoming less effective than ever.”

Writes Aja Romano. If you’re a fan of international music, this can only be good news. Read More

This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 137

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! Before we get stuck in, did you see these very cute fandom-themed pregnancy announcements from Florida blogger Grace Navarro? She posted a different one each week throughout her pregnancy! Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments!


In an effortless segue from birth to death, the first news item that we have for you guys today is an article from the Atlantic. In ‘How to Murder Harry Potter’, journalist Kaitlyn Tiffany explores something that she calls “deathfic”: ‘the kind of fan fiction in which a beloved character dies, typically in a way that is as painful for the reader as possible.’

Some fan experts questioned the breadth of Tiffany’s working definition:

But however esoteric the categorisation, we did find the article respectful of the works and readers it explores; and in consequence, the conclusions at which Tiffany arrives feel valid. She finds that such stories serve a number of purposes. Some writers use them ‘to give a beloved character the mourning that the commercial narrative didn’t have time for’; others to ‘sort out experiences from their own life’. In the end, she concludes, it comes down to control: deathfic ‘stuns the system and then allows an easy exit’. Sometimes, that’s what we need. Read More