One of my favorite things about the Twifandom is the thriving fan fiction community. I will fully admit that it took me by surprise. I didn't expect to fall in love with so many different versions of these characters. As a writer, I was thrilled for the opportunity to flex my muscles and grow, whileThere is a debate, however, as to how viable "fan fiction" would be as original fiction. Could the stories we adore on FFn and Twilighted ever truly stand alone?
I feel that with a bit of effort on the writer's part, the excellent ones could. I may have discovered them because of Bella and Edward, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't read them if they were about Sally and Jo. I say it would take work, however, because we assume a lot about Bella when we read her name in a fic. We know she's going to be average, have brown hair and brown eyes, and probably be a klutz. It has made writing about Bella easier because I don't have to go back and reiterate a lot of that. If I wrote a story about a Charlotte, however, I'd have to tell you all of that.
While discussing this very issue on Twitter, my friend Original_Audience said this:
"I think one of the nice things about fanfiction is that allows me to read a completely new story and/or a continuation without having to completely relearn the characters. It like when you finish a book that was so good that you start it over again because you feel like you would miss being in that world.
A lot of the AH stories in fanfic could stand as independent stories, but not having to relearn the characters is convenient for the reader. It's like we're all talking in the same code. "Bella" just means "female lead character." "Edward" means "Bella's eventual love interest." "James" means "bad guy" and "Tanya" means "skank." I think that a lot of the reason people in fanfic are resistant to stories that aren't B/E is because it feels like the author is not using the right code, but really they're just keeping us on our toes.
I'm really happy for the authors who have a story that is different enough from canon to shop it for publishing. Most of the time I haven't really been seeing those characters as "Bella and Edward" any more than seeing them as "Romeo and Juliet" or "Adam and Eve." The name isn't the character, it's more of a placeholder, KWIM?"
I think that's the perfect way to describe what the majority of my fanfiction experience has been. Aside from a few Canon Breaking Dawn alternatives, those are the stories that resonate with me. Those are the ones where I could take Edward and Bella out and they'd still be interesting.
So, I wanted to start a discussion: Do you read fanfiction? Do you write? What do you think? Is Edward ever not Edward for you?