The idea of fan fiction can be a bit of an odd one for YouTubers to get their heads around. Reading, sometimes sexually explicit, writing about themselves and the people they know has to be an unusual thing to experience, especially when fic authors will occasionally write that you did that with someone you consider just a friend.
But Alfie Deyes recently read some fan fic about Zalfie and we found his reaction to be pleasantly surprising. Here’s why.
Many YouTubers have read and recorded their reactions to reading fan fiction about themselves and their friends, but Alfie was the latest to give it a try in one of his new videos on his vlog channel.
At first he seemed apprehensive, but once he got into a few of them, he commented that they were just like books and that, actually, the writing was pretty good. He was also shocked to see the scale at which some of fics get with their reach to other fans, gaining hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of reads.
And here’s the thing, some fic is a bit, well… weird. Sometimes it’s not that well written and can be hella smutty, self-indulgent plots in which the writer basically puts themselves into a position where they can meet and have their wicked way with a YouTuber (or other famous person, fictional or not) to their heart’s content. It’s hard for an outsider to wrap their head around and it can sometimes come across as seriously creepy.
But, all too often, it’s not, as far as we’re concerned. Because as Alfie points out, some of it is seriously good quality stuff.
YouTubers may as well be made up characters
OK, in some instances it’s about real life people, but fic writers are out there writing tens of thousands of words and putting together full length stories with plot twists and character arcs that other actual people read. What’s more, if we’re getting into it here, none of us actually know these YouTubers so all fan fic authors are really doing is taking the bare cruxes of these individuals that we can latch onto, like their appearance, potential mannerisms and most outstanding qualities, and yielding them into characters of the same name. At the heart of it, it’s still very much fictional and it’s also very, very good.
Also, lbr, it’s not like the whole ‘I make videos in my bedroom by myself’ doesn’t sound weird AF. Just like watching YouTubers do, fic brings like-minded people together and we appreciate the creativity.
Free full length stories!
You’re basically getting full on books for free, which we don’t think could ever be considered a bad thing. Plus, it’s not like fic authors would get this much reception if they were writing original fiction with characters that were 100% their own.
Sure, it would be just as good as the fic they’re writing, if not better. But there’s an audience for fic within each fandom. It generates a conversation and feedback that’s encouraging to young aspiring writers out there, which they might not otherwise get with ‘original’ work.
Incredible representation and honest portrayals of sex
Even better, unlike YA, fic authors have no restriction. So OK, that might mean that things get a little hot and heavy, but it also makes room for the healthy sexual exploration we don’t always get in published works. Erotica generally involves a controlling, abusive male. Not to mention the ‘New Adult’ genre is almost exclusively all the sexy stuff and none of the qualms of being a fully fledged 20-something with little to no idea what they’re doing.
Fic actually offers those transitional stories, as well as representation for the LGBT+ community and people of colour.
So although the Zalfie fic may have involved being adopted by the YouTuber power couple, we’re still pretty chuffed that Alfie decided to read it and realise the very real potential of fic. Because whilst what he read may have had none of the progressive characters and tackled issues that some fic does, he’s still beginning to remove the stigma that fan fiction is this thing that should be ridiculed and shunned.
Publishing houses shouldn’t just be looking at which YouTubers could potentially bring out books, that’s all we’re saying…
Do you agree? Have you read some insanely good fic? Share with us over @maximumpop.