Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future. In my last round of posts I was focusing on things I noticed as I read different works of fan fiction and commercial romance. So far, I’ve touched on narrative arcs and world building and character relationship development (p1, p2). The last story elements I noticed were trends regarding seriality and narrative instability (p1, p2).

Here are some of the differences I’ve been noticing in ways that commercial romance and fan fiction “do” seriality. What do you think?

Three: Seriality & Instability (p3)

I wonder about how [seriality] plays out in fan fiction and commercial romances today. Even when there’s a larger story world with a serial narrative, many of today’s popular commercial romance stories still focus on one relationship per-book. (For example, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series strikes a fascinating balance between one couple per book and a much larger serial arc focused on a world on the brink of social collapse.) With the popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy and commercial romance publishers wanting to build on the trend, I suspect there are more serial romances available to readers today than there were in 2008. Fan fiction stories continue to be produced as works-in-progress or works in a series, as they always have. Fan fiction also continues to deal with source-texts that change and complicate the character relationships fans are interested in. However, fans can track these updates much more easily than ever with Archive of Our Own subscriptions or by following specific Tumblr tags. Does this mean that serials are more available to fans as well?

What do you think, does fan fiction feel any more serial to you today than it did in past years?

What do you think of my findings? Read the full write up on fan fiction and romance here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here using the #fandomthennow tag.

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