The future of reading (original stories and fan-fictions)

For starters, I read a lot. I read during my free time, my daily commute, even during my bath-room breaks at my work place. So I think I have a lot of experiences regarding reading; what and how should one read in different circumstances.

For example I like to read books when I can get real comfy and I have at least an hour or so. Not to mention that in this case I choose my kindle or a paperback. But I have to admit, both can be extremely uncomfortable during daily commute.

While riding buses, metros or other public transportation vehicles, our mobile phones can be used more easily. It’s usually in our pocket, or in an easily accessible compartment of our bags, so get it out in our hands or put it away is much more easier than wrestling for the kindle or a book in the depths of our bags.

During the commute I like to read something light and effortless. Sometimes I choose to check the news in order not to be dropped behind the world events, but usually I rather not upset myself with the shit-tsunami out there. News can wait until I get to work, because I have over-eager colleagues who would readily share everything with me. So, joke and bearers of bad news aside, what should we do to shut out the discomforts of a public transportation ride?

We can listen to music, do crosswords, read or watch Youtube videos. Or combine some of those, because why not occupy two of our senses? So I usually listen to music and read (on buses not to get nauseated I listen to audiobooks). And when I read, I like to choose something that can be read during one sitting, preferably during one ride.

So usually I do fan-fictions, or excerpts from my favorite writers uploaded on Facebook, Twitter etc. Sometimes they publish mini-stories taking place in their novels’ universes. In my opinion it’s always a challenge to create something complete within the character limitations of Twitter for example. And a lot of writers also use it as a challenge: write something in only 500 words then diminish the world-count until the novella fits in a lone tweet. And do your best to keep the story as much as intact as possible.

This same way could be easily applied to fan-fictions too, and their structure can as widely vary as any other story’s. If you’re not sure why fan-fiction is a good form of entertainment, I wrote a post about the pro and cons of it, so if you’re interested in my detailed opinion of why I love them, you can find it here. And when it comes choose one, I rather select from the shorter (possibly Twitter-compatible) ones.

So we open Twitter or any other fan-fiction app/site (like wattpad, ao3 etc.) select something to occupy our senses and start to read. Thus we know the universe and the characters, there is no need to “get in the mood or reacquainted with the characters” and there is also no need to pick up the tread of the story from the last reading session. Everything is there, and all we have to do is plunge into the adventures.

My favorites are on Twitter along with fan arts. You can also comment, or talk about the story with the writer which makes it all interactive. Plus there is a character limitation, so the writers have to express their thoughts clearly and concisely, which makes the events of the fiction dynamic and intense. And if you read a chain of tweets, every one of them will be a completed unit. So when you have to get off the vehicle, you pause the reading then you resume it when you next can.

I have my favorites too, which I have read countless times already. Some of them are just fictions in the form pf simple text like any ordinary novella, but some of them are accompanied by the writer’s self-made illustrations to m ake the reading more colorful. When I read fan-fics I really like the added illustrations, otherwise not so much, because I believe that when reading a book the added illustrations would limit the reader’s imagination.

But when it comes to fan-fictions, all the characters/places/some story elements etc. are preset, therefore there is a not much left to our imagination. Therefore I really like to check how the other writers/artistes imagine the characters they are using in their story. I like the different styles, the little differences in the perceptions of the characters. It’s all making them alive and unique even if they are only borrowed from a given universe.

So, let us check some examples for the fan-fictions I like to read. Besides being a bookworm, I am a nerd too. I really like console games, like the Final Fantasy or the Fire Emblem series, but lately I’ve got addicted to Overwatch. No wonder I seek out the m/m ships in these games too. Therefore I choose two different types.

Source: Twitter (@SSaravinter)

The first one is a fan-fiction written and published as a tread of tweets on Twitter. I really like this kind of fictions, because it can be read easily and fast during commutes (as I still mentioned a countless times :D), and when you have to get off of the vehicle, you just pocket your phone, and resume reading after transferring to an other vehicle etc. You can find the one of my favorite fics by clicking here.

The other one is a mix of novellas and comics. I really like the style of the illustrations and the handwritten parts, because it makes the story more personal in my opinion. You can check it out by clicking here.

I think these two fictions can be read without much knowledge regarding Overwatch, but if you interested in the two characters figuring in the fictions I mentioned above, you can check this linked Youtube video for more info, and explanation why shipping them works so well.

And how all the above will lead us to the future of reading? I think nowadays when everyone has a mobile-phone or other mobile devices, it really would be a missed opportunity not to make applications using this king of entertainment. There will always be readers seeking intense and easily consumable recreational activities, like reading illustrated interactive fan-fictions with pre-made characters – maybe even customizable between some limits.

I’m well aware that this kind of application would give rise to problems and complications, like copyright issues. But if it’s self-made and free without monetization of the contents (as most of the fan-fiction sites/app are free to use), I think it should not be a problem.

To summarize all the above, it would be nice to have some interactive applications (some still exist using original forks for example from wattpad), but until then, I am happy with the contents I can get from Twitter/Facebook or from my favorite writers. Each snippet from them or from the other artists I’m following are a balm to my daily commute ruffled soul. XD

Source of cover image: (@lauraolsen)

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