Are you going through withdrawals from your favorite book or T.V. series now that they are complete? Why not try fan fiction? What is fan fiction? Well, the answer is in the name. Fan fiction is stories written by fans set in the worlds, or using the characters of their favorite T.V. shows, books, movies, video games, or comics. These stories can be anywhere from under 100 words long (drabbles) to over 800,000 words long (a Hey Arnold!  story by Azure129 called Learning to Be Helga). Some of these stories are famously horrible while others are so popular they turn into best-selling novels (i.e. 50 Shades of Grey , and City of Bones ). What do Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, E.L. James, S.E. Hinton, Cassandra Clare, Meg Cabot, and Marissa Meyer all have in common? The all either currently or formerly write fan fiction. The above authors fully embrace the fan fiction world while others completely reject it. Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, Robin McKinley, and Terry Goodkind have all asked fans to refrain from writing and posting fan fiction. Others, like J.K. Rowling are uncomfortable with the idea of fan fiction, but operate under a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. picture by jitterbelle 
The history of fan fiction is much longer than most people are aware. In the 60’s, fans of Star Trek created newsletters which would include discussions, theories, and yes, fan fiction. Star Wars and Doctor Who have had similar fan run newsletters and magazines. Steven Moffat, the current show runner and producer for Doctor Who has been very open about his fan fiction days. Today with the ease of access on the internet, fan fiction stories have reached new heights of popularity. The Harry Potter series  has by far the most fan fiction stories written, with close to 700,000 stories written in that universe alone. Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  was released, criminals in China and other countries printed off copies of novel-length fan fictions set in the seventh year and were selling them as black market copies of the new book. Abraxan, one of the authors whose work was being passed off as the new J.K. Rowling book, took to fan sites and pod casts to educate people about the situation and to publicly state she had nothing to do with the fraud.
Fan fiction has also been used in classrooms for years as a tool to help students learn writing and storytelling skill. Asking students to write a different ending to a movie, continue the storyline of a favorite novel, or write a short scene from a certain characters point of view have all been used by teachers. Meg Cabot wrote this on her fan fiction policy page , “I myself used to write Star Wars fan fiction when I was tween. I think writing fan fiction is a good way for new writers to learn to tell a story.”