Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future. In my last two posts I’ve been talking about some of the different tendencies I’ve noticed between fan fiction and romance novels. Now I want to talk a little more about some of the overlap.

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.

Here are a few core tendencies I noticed as I read:

Two: Character & Relationship Development (continued…)

Commercial and fan romances both play with different types of encounters and different levels of dramatic tension. [While a charged first meeting may be more common in commercial romance,] many works of fan fiction also rewind back to a first meeting and re-develop the protagonists’ relationship from the beginning.In particular, alternative universe stories often require more traditional romance elements to introduce the characters to each other, develop the new story-world, build conflict, etc. There are also many commercial romances where two characters simply meet again after years apart or learn to see each other in a new way. Today, as the serial becomes increasingly popular with romance readers, many popular romance serials return again and again to the same set of characters and story world, similarly building on pre-existing worlds and characters.

Ultimately, these [examples of similarities], coupled with the serial’s rising popularity across media, underscore the links between fan fiction and commercial romance as two modes of writing particularly interested in exploring romance, partnership, and sexual attraction. 

What do you think? Do you notice this overlap between relationship-focused fan fiction and commercial romance too?