Canon vs. 'Fanon': Genre Devices in Contemporary Fanfiction
McCain, Katharine Elizabeth
Fanfiction is a genre of literature that scholars can trace all the way back to ancient Greece and thus it has garnered a multitude of definitions over the years. The purpose of this project is to move beyond the description of, "Stories based off of another author's work" and to instead examine the ways in which contemporary fanfiction differs from other types of transformative texts, as well as to highlight how it has changed since its move into online archives. In this thesis I argue that contemporary fanfiction is a highly communal genre that uses other authors' works as a starting point, but the stories fans then produce are unique in the narrative elements they emphasize, the language the stories are written in, and the mediums through which the readers consume them. In order to demonstrate this, I examine numerous fics from four different fandoms in order to establish five characteristics of the genre: shared knowledge, language, medium, "bad" writing, and the inclusion of critical analysis. I then end with a case study of Fifty Shades of Grey, using this work's unique move from fic to mainstream novel in order to highlight how fic is its own style of writing, one seeped in both complexity and contradiction.
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