How Fanfiction Changed The Way I Read

9 July 2015

When I was younger, I was never really fond of reading. That may surprise you considering how I regularly post about novels and book signings. Believe me, I tried. I just could never find the right book that peeked my interest. My parents tried hard too - taking me to the library every Saturday, and asking the librarian to help find books of interest. But no matter what I read, I did not care of the stories I was reading, or the characters in these books. 

In hindsight this lack of interest probably had more to do with the fact that, all the books I read were written in third person narrative. I've always preferred an much more intimate personal connection to others - a first person narrative, which is probably why those books I read never appealed to me. Somewhere along the way I just gave up. It just wasn't for me. Well ... just then anyway.

Flash forward almost four years later, I discovered the online world and fan forums - sites dedicated to fan culture. At the time, many of my friends from these sites were immersed in creating art - from fangraphics, videos to fanfiction. My friends online would write chapters on end, of stories they had envisioned in their heads of their favourite fandoms and post them onto the site. These stories had regular updates that involved their favourite fictional characters, who they'd come to admire and love in so many different circumstances and situations. Some were in correlation with the original source material. Other fanfictions were an exploration of what could happen if these stories were set in an alternative universe - so far from what people had known before.

As I began reading their fanfictions, I felt drawn to the characters' on those pages. Pages that weren't filled with immense amounts of description that didn't seem to have much meaning, but active conversations and action. I wanted to know what was going to happen next so badly. I became fully invested, and for the first time, I was fascinated by fiction. I was entranced and excited of the possibility of fiction in a way I hadn't been before. I saw the depth and beauty of story telling, of how words on a page can come to life as fully detailed images in your mind. I saw the next generation of writers evolve their craft before my eyes. They captivated my attention. I would eagerly anticipate updates, suggest story lines for people to write, and even think about upcoming possible story events that could happen.

These moments changed my life. So much so that when a friend of mine recommend me a novel called Twilight, I gave it a go. And boy was I hooked! After Twilight, I picked up several other books and continued my journey into reading. I had finally fallen in love with the craft. Fanfiction changed the way I viewed fiction and reading, and turned it into something I love. Thank lord!

I am ever so thankful to those young authors, because they gave me that extra nudge to read. All I can think now is, thank god for fanfiction. For without it, I really don't know who I'd be. Fiction is such a huge part of my life now, and I have those lovely teenage authors to thank for it. So thank you all. Thank you for inspiring me to read - and also write. You helped shaped me into the person I am today, and I'm so thankful for it!

So, how did you get into reading? And when did you first discover Fanfiction?

Feel free to share your experiences down below. I'd love to hear them!

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