"But this is my story and this is how I wanted to write it": Author’s notes as a fannish claim to power in fan fiction writing

  • Alexandra Elisabeth Herzog University of Regensburg, Germany
Keywords: Author roles, Fan fiction, Negotiation of power


Issues of power have always been an important factor in fan fiction writing. The publishers of the source texts were long regarded as a dominant force, with fans conventionally relegated to the status of an audience largely deprived of authority, even when they produced fan fiction and thus challenged the sovereignty of interpretation original authors often preferred to keep for themselves. This essay argues that author's notes as a part of fannish paratext are an essential means of supporting the fan authors' claim to power by providing these writers with an explicit space to make their voices heard. They allow fans to express their interpretation of different models of authorship and give them the opportunity to assume a variety of author roles. Thus negotiating between a belief in the significance of the individual author, Barthes's death of the author, and newer collaborative forms of writing, fans constitute themselves as an authoritative body in regard to rights of interpreting text or writing fan fiction. Focusing on their own identity as writers, on the fannish community, and on their text and its position in the larger archive of the fandom, fans reconceptualize themselves as powerful producers, whose agency becomes obvious in the vast body of their texts. Author's notes, I claim, are thus crucial in fans assuming and exerting control and authority.

Author Biography

Alexandra Elisabeth Herzog, University of Regensburg, Germany
Doctoral Student, Department of American Studies