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See also: challenge, repod, Audiofic (sound collage), unauthorized sequel, responsefic
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In fanfic fandom, a remix is a fanfic that is a different version of another fanfic. The term is also a verb describing the process of creating a remix. Current fannish use may originate from a 2003 popslash fanfic challenge that spawned many other challenges; in some circles on LiveJournal, remix and remix challenge were synonymous, and the challenges were the main source of fanfics labeled with the term remix.[citation needed] Other types of fanworks, such as fanart, have also been part of remix challenges.

In non-fandom contexts, remix refers to edited songs or wider cultural practices of recombining existing works in any medium to create new works. The term Remix culture could be applied to all fanwork-producing communities, and remixing audio happens in the course of vidding and audfics in the vein of Spork! An Erotic Love Story, but the term itself is not used as much in these fan communities.

Remix Challenge

In a remix challenge, the moderators assign to each writer another participant's work. Each writer selects and rewrites at least one of their assigned participant's stories, with the expectation that another participant will do the same to one of the writer's own stories. Some fanfiction authors permit or encourage other writers to remix their stories at any time, without the structure of an organized challenge. Other fanfiction authors believe that unauthorized remixes are a violation of their moral rights as an author. Remixes should not be confused with a certain type of responsefic.

Remixing techniques include (but are not limited to): retelling the same events from a different character's point of view, switching the narrative voice (e.g. from first to third person), changing the tone of a story, focusing on a different point in time in the same sequence of events, covering a smaller or larger scope of events, or writing an AU. Writers sometimes incorporate the dialogue or description of the original work into their remix story. Most remix challenges require the plotline of the remix to stay the same as that of the original. The remix challenge may also require that the ending of the original story be preserved; this does not necessarily mean that the remix and the original must end at the same point.

The word 'remix' to describe this rewriting and re-telling practice was chosen as a riff on the practice of remixes in pop music, where the vocal and instrumental tracks of a song are rearranged in time, speed, duration, or possibly entirely replaced. Some fans have argued that a more apt analogy would be the song cover, where one artist or musical group re-records a song previously commercially released by a different musical act.[1]

The first remix challenge was We Invented the Remix in popslash fandom. It was begun by MI (2003-04), continued by zvi (2005-06), and then bossymarmalade (since 2007).

Since 2003, Victoria P has run We Invented the Remix... Redux, an annual multifandom FPF remixing challenge.


Though remixing in both fanfiction and vidding has become enormously popular, not all fans embrace the concept. Negative perceptions of remixes can range from boring and unoriginal (it's just the same stuff, done over again with a slight tweak) to insulting (the remix is fixing their writing, or changing things that someone else found lacking) to disrespectful (ignoring that the author had specific character or plot developments in mind and felt they were final), among many other beliefs.

A 2007 comment:
Like, if I give someone a pair of hand-knitted socks for Christmas, and they decide to unweave them and make a scarf, or something. I mean, yeah, technically, I gave them the socks, but I also did it as a heartfelt gesture and didn't get anything back for it--whereas if someone purchased the socks from me, I'd probably never think about what they did with them beyond our transaction. But seeing my gift turned into something else without my friend asking me would sting. I know this analogy falls apart (like the badly knitted socks) if you look at it too closely. *g* I guess, the way I see it is that, as fans, there's a certain kinship that links us all together--we may not all be friends, but with the six-or-less degrees of separation it's not that hard to feel like we're all interlinked, sometimes. And we're not all going to be so close that we'll knit each other socks, but in a way, when we share our fanfiction online, we are sharing a gift to the fandom: our contribution. [2]

Though some fans feel any story is fair game for remixing, others believe that permission should be gained from the author first before using their work as a jumping-off point. Many fans feel it's hypocritical to reuse the original creations of the copyright holders in the canon and then argue against other fans being allowed to remake your fanworks.

A 2007 comment:
I don't think that 'remixability' should be the author's call. After all this is a *fan-fiction* site and the original authors didn't get to vote on whether they liked us taking their ideas and playing with them. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel that a condition of submitting something to the archive should be granting others permission to remix/re-use/be inspired by the original bits in your work. Something along the lines of Creative Commons, perhaps? (I know the present CC licenses are only suitable for wholly original fiction, but I like the idea that if it's morally okay for me to write stories about, say, Legolas or young Mr. Potter, then I should grant the same rights to other people over what I produce. It just feels honest.) [3]

And feelings about remixes can be dependent on either the type of work being remixed or even the specific, individual piece. For instance, some fans may embrace the concept of remixing in fan writing, but not in vidding, or vice versa. Or they may be fine with having some stories remixed, but particular stories are off-limits to the idea. Some fans may object to having a certain genre of stories (slash, gen, het) remixed in a different genre (this can be particularly problematic when fan writers who don't approve of slash find their gen or het stories remixed into a slash piece). This can be a particular problem, as well, in shared universes, where one single story can become a huge universe that nearly defines the fandom, such as in The Magnificent Seven fandom.

In addition, reusing even basic phrases that have become fanon have, in the past, stirred debate. The 1984 column "The Protocol Droid," published in the letterzine Jundland, Too, contains a letter from a fan saying she was worried because her fanfiction was about the fall of the Jedi enclaves, but that she'd learned that concept of "enclaves" was from another fanwriter's universe. She wanted to know if she could still use this term. The answer she received? Absolutely not without specific permission from the fan originator, and if any similar appropriation was done by accident, the fan needed to apologize by writing a personal letter. [4] Many fans today would not require permission in this situation as the writer is not reusing a specific story or a character, only a concept.

Challenge Links

We Invented the Remix

We Invented the Remix... Redux

Other Remixes


For specific fandoms:

Further Reading/Meta


  1. Victoria P., you can hear 'em in the back room strumming, 26 April 2007 (Accessed 2 October 2008.)
  2. from transcendeza's comment at An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat), 2007
  3. from thinkingheart's comment at An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat), 2007
  4. See Jundland, Too issue #1.
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