Characterization in Fanfiction

I’ve been writing fanfiction for more than ten years. One aspect of fanfiction writing that’s different from other fiction writing is characterization. While characterization is important in any fiction writing, the majority of the time you work with characters others have created when you’re writing fanfiction instead of creating your own characters. It might seem like creating characters from scratch would be more difficult, but there are challenges to writing the characters of others as well.

From the time I first started writing fanfiction, I have worried if my characterization is off. Every story I’ve posted, I’ve asked myself if the characters were acting like themselves, and I was never confident of the answer. While it took me a while to realize it, I think I always had this worry that my interpretation of the character was different from the more common interpretation others must have, which would mean my story was bad.

I’ve gotten constructive criticism (and some not-so-constructive criticism) on my fanfiction over the years but little to none of it has focused on characterization. I can’t tell you if that’s because I’ve accurately portrayed the characters or because people just don’t comment on it.

Sometimes I still wonder, though, how accurate my characterization is. I think I question it because it’s not an aspect of storytelling that I feel that I’ve improved on like I have many others, and it feels too good to be true that I’d just naturally be good at it.

As I write this post, I’m planning two new fanfictions as well as posting chapters of one I’ve already written, and with all three I have characterization on my mind. One of them is a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child fanfiction. In it, I’ve disregarded Cursed Child, and because of that, have taken some liberties with the personalities of the characters that we only got to know in that play. It’s created some interesting conversations with readers about their characterization.

For the other two stories, I intend for the characters to be fully in character based on their personalities in the books they are from. Will I do a good job? I’m honestly not sure how to tell at this point. I suppose I’ll just keep doing what feels right and hope that I’m doing a good job.

The End

This was written in honor of Mockingjay Part 2 and was originally written much closer to the actual release date of the movie.

Her heart raced as she looked at the information on the website of all the different showings. She clicked on the 9:00 PM with a touch of anxiety.

She was excited, really she was. How could she not be? She’d been looking forward to this movie for a year, ever since the last one. Truthfully, she’d been looking forward to it for eight years when she’d picked up that first book and started to read.

But that was just it, wasn’t it? Seeing this movie was the close of yet another “era” of sorts. She got into something, was able to immerse herself in a world, but it always came to an end.

She enjoyed the endings. Happy or sad, they provided closure to the story. They made you feel like you’d truly gotten to watch a story that had a point to it. Sure the story itself was enough, but she could still say that the ending gave it all a point.

This story already had an ending. She could remember years ago, six to be exact, when she sat down to read that one too.

She loved that book, and she was already sure she would love this movie to. But this movie was an ending in and of itself, separate from the story. That ending she already knew. The movie brought with it the knowledge that the fandom would change. It would grow smaller perhaps, but even if it didn’t, there would be no knew material to fangirl over. There would only be the same story and material they already had.

Not a bad deal all things considered. She liked that material, cherished it even. She wanted this ending to help make it all feel complete.

She just wished the ending didn’t have to mean that it all came to an end.