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Notes from the World of Jane Austen Fan Fiction

This post is based on notes from a book club hosted by VP Milwaukee, Katie Marks.


Fanfiction in general, and Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) in particular, is a prolific industry full of published and unpublished works, from drabbles to novels, of seemingly infinite types, storylines, and creativity. At its most basic, a fanfiction is a new work written by fans that uses characters and settings of an original work.


TYPES

The fundamental distinction in fanfiction is between the canonical fictional universe aka “canon” and an alternate universe or “AU”. There is a vague in-between label called “fanon,” which is something that is commonly accepted in the fanfiction universe to be true (for example, the Bennet parents’ first names are most commonly Thomas and Fanny).


The ways I see stories most commonly categorized in JAFF are as follows:


Retellings, be they modern, manga, or zombie (generally canon)

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (also a movie)

  • Heartstone by Elle Katharine White (Regency Pride and Prejudice with dragons)

  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (modern Pride and Prejudice)

  • Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith

  • For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (futuristic Persuasion)

  • Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge

  • Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

  • Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice; Emma; Sense and Sensibility (Po Tse, artist)

  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; Emma Approved (video blogs)

  • Clueless (movie)

Prequels and Sequels, featuring ODC or secondary characters (generally canon)

  • Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (also a TV series)

  • Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott

Perspectives (generally canon)

  • Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan

  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange

  • Longbourn by Jo Baker

Variations / What Ifs / Alternate Universe (AU)

  • One Thread Pulled by Diana J. Oaks

  • Mr. Darcy to the Rescue: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Victoria Kincaid

  • Four Days in April: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Maria Grace

  • Rumours & Recklessness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Nicole Clarkston

Original Characters (OC) / Self Inserts (SI)

  • Lost in Austen (movie)

  • Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter

  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Crossovers

  • Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel

  • Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster

Adjacent / Inspired

  • Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron

  • Austenland by Shannon Hale (also a movie)

  • Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (also a movie)

  • All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane by Amy Smith

  • Ever, Jane: http://everjane.com/ (online game)


STATISTICS

These data were taken from fanfiction.net as of 2019-10-13. For reference, the book with the most stories is Harry Potter with ~811,000.

  • Pride and Prejudice: ~4,200 (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: 47)

  • Emma: 372

  • Sense and Sensibility: 232

  • Persuasion: 139

  • Mansfield Park: 77

  • Northanger Abbey: 51


VOCABULARY

Here are just a few words and acronyms you will find in fan fiction communities!

  • A/N = Author’s Note

  • AU = Alternate Universe, deviation from canon

  • Canon = Facts, events, characterizations as occurred in the original work

  • Fanon = Commonly accepted conventions in the fandom, but not explicitly canon

  • Fluff = A story designed to be light and happy, with low/no angst or conflict

  • HEA = Happily Ever After (also: HFN for Happy for Now)

  • JAFF = Jane Austen Fan Fiction

  • LBD = The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

  • ODC = Our Dear Couple, meaning Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy

  • Oneshot = Single-chapter story

  • OC = Original character, i.e., a new character not in canon

  • OOC = Out of character

  • R&R = Read & Review

  • Ship = A non-canon relationship between two or more characters

  • Slash = Gay male ship (also: femslash for gay females)

  • Smut = Includes or is primarily one or more explicit sexual encounter/s

  • Sweet = No sexual content (also: clean)

  • TW = Trigger Warning (also: CW for Content Warning)


FURTHER READING

Fanfiction sites / communities:

  • All six of Austen’s novels have their own sections on fanction.net: https://www.fanfiction.net/book/

  • Derbyshire Writers’ Guild: https://www.dwiggie.com/

  • The Meryton Assembly: http://www.meryton.com/

  • Archive of Our Own (AO3): https://archiveofourown.org/

  • The Ultimate Guide To Fanfiction and Fanfiction Sites: https://medium.com/@joannasmith008/fanfiction-428029544a12

Blogs:

  • https://austenblog.com/

  • https://austenprose.com/

  • https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/

Pemberley Digital: https://www.pemberleydigital.com/

  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXfbQAimgtbk4RAUHtIAUww

  • Emma Approved: http://www.pemberleydigital.com/emma-approved/

In Favor of Fanfiction:

  • https://runestonejournal.com/case-fanfiction-kaitlin-hatman/

  • https://www.bustle.com/p/why-fanfiction-is-a-good-thing-for-writers-readers-39359

  • https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-promise-and-potential-of-fan-fiction

  • https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/complete-guide-to-fanfiction/

Books

  • The Fanfiction Reader: Folk Tales for the Digital Age by Francesca Coppa

  • Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World by Anne Jamison


I have certainly missed much, so Google (or the search engine of your choice) is your friend for additional information on fanfiction in general, JAFF, and for finding more fics.


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A/N: I have not read, explored, owned, or seen every piece or community listed in this guide.


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