Have you ever read a book that became much more than just a book? That smells like home every time you open it and immediately transports you back into a familiar world where everything is as it should be? This article is about what happens after “happy ever after”.
A reader’s problems
I close the book and my eyes, and try to let the last sentence linger a little longer. Just like the sweet taste of chocolate long after you’ve swallowed it, the last sentence of a book stays with you for some time. But even while you enjoy this perfect conclusion of your adventures, a sweet, stinging melancholy fills your heart because now you have to say goodbye to the characters you’ve got to know so well. You’ve become comrades-in-arms now, best friends, or even a family. It’s not surprising that many avid readers refuse to let go of this world – this home away from home.
From reader to writer
So what can you do if the story is over and your favourite author just decides: that’s it? No more books, no more adventures, no more pointed jokes and delicate romances between your favourite characters. Just an excruciating “The end” that leaves a gaping wound in your story-filled heart. Well, if you don’t want the story to be over, then you have to make it continue, right? This is where you enter the wondrous world of fan fiction! Let the journey begin…
Every big story, no matter if it’s a book or a movie has its own fandom, and therefore its own fan fiction. The internet’s full of blogs that only serve this purpose and many of these amateur writers have created their own small communities. What they do is create alternate endings, sequels or simply continue a story, but the important thing is that they provide their readers with more stories about their heroes and heroines. A little more time in a magical world – an attempt to avoid the imminent, final goodbye.
‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
The author, Rainbow Rowell, has even written a book about fan fiction. ‘Fangirl’ is about a girl who writes continuations of her favourite fantasy novel on her own blog. She’s gained a huge number of fans, but no one knows who she really is, since she publishes her stories using a pen name. As you read the book, you understand just how much effort these amateur writers put into their worlds, although most of them don’t even make any money out of it. They only write for their own pleasure, but once they acquire an extensive community of readers, the pressure grows. They receive the first negative criticism, and readers expect plots to match their own expectations. Continuing a story can get really hard at times, but the massive response proves that it’s worth their while. And, in the end, they remember why they started to write in the first place: to be able to lose themselves in a magical world for just a little longer.
Text: Vanessa Hoffmann
Picture: Vanessa Hoffmann