Young women writers rule the ‘kingdom’ of fanficdom. At least that is according to one source, Eileen Young, who attended Bitecon in Madison, Wisconsin, this last spring. Most of the writers and readers at that conference were women in their 20s and 30s, she said. Bitecon, for those not quite as clued in as she is, was a conference for those interested in all things werewolf and vampire.
Fanfiction is written by fans of a particular book, TV or movie or series, and some originals inspire thousands of fans to take characters or situations from the original and spin new story lines. They share them on the Interwebs, read each other, and develop their own followings. Sometimes the original author interacts with her or his fanfiction group (if group can be applied to anything as nebulous as the Interwebs). Author Tamara Pearce, for one, has discussed her work online with her fans. Fanfic books and movies generally land in the young adult category of fiction. (Well, werewolves and vampires are fiction, right? Please say yes.)
Fanfic is inspired by strong young women characters in the original, hence the interest of young adult women, says Eileen. The fanfic world has strong values, and is based on community and support and participants helping each other. Eileen has thousands of words out there in the world of fanfic, and after almost a decade in online writing forums, has basically deserted other forums for the particular kind of community and immediate feedback available in the fanfic world.
“It’s reclamatory,” she said, as young women take for their own a positive, expressive territory in cyberspace.