Working the Web: Fan Fiction

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News Media Commentary
Title: Working the Web: Fan Fiction
Commentator: Michelle Pauli
Date(s): 05 December 2002
Venue: The Guardian
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: Working the Web: Fan Fiction (
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Working the Web: Fan Fiction is a 2002 article about fanfiction that was written by Michelle Pauli for Guardian Unlimited and published in 2002. It has a Harry Potter focus.

The article's topic line says: "Michelle Pauli has some advice for fans desperate for new adventures from the wizards at Hogwarts or cult series such as the X-Files" and offers a brief description of fan fiction and links to websites that contain fan fiction for a variety of movies and TV shows, like Buffy and Star Trek.

The article links to several archives with Harry Potter fanfiction, starting with, "the largest repository of fan fiction on the web" where one can (or could already back in 2002) "find nearly 50,000 original stories written by Harry Potter addicts using Rowling's characters." Cassie Claire's stories at are mentioned and the article refers to Claire as "One of the legends of the Harry Potter fan fiction":

In one of the best of the genre, Draco Dormiens, she captures Rowling's style and cliffhanging chapter endings in an online book that promises "romance, mistaken identities, Really Cunning Plans, evil bake sales, a love triangle, and snogs galore".

The larger site is said to offer "a wealth of HP short stories, parodies and art." Other HP fanfic sites mentioned are, which is described as "run by a group of young, professional, Harry Potter obsessives who beta-read all stories submitted to them for quality", and, "which specialises in stories that explore the Harry/Ginny Weasley romance hinted at by Rowling."

On the TV front, the article mentions the Buffy archive and namechecks The X-Files and Xena: Warrior Princess as popular fandoms. The history of fanfiction is traced back to the "Trekkie phenomenon, with the first zine of fan fiction - Spockanalia - printed by Star Trek fans in 1967." Again, the article refers to as a source with "thousands of stories dedicated to the adventures of Spock, Scottie, and Captain Kirk" and mentions "smaller Trekkie fan fic sites like Starfleet Fiction Archive [1] at Geocities.

The article also includes a typical explanation of slash:

Fan fiction can take on adult themes never encountered in the original books or films, and good fanfic sites will mark each story with a rating, based on the categories used by film censors.

Anything labelled NC17 may contain material of an adult, generally sexual, nature. "Shipping" - developing relationships between characters far removed from the author's original intent - is a common preocupation, and this reaches its apogee in slash fiction, a sub-genre in which homoerotic affairs between characters are explored. It is an idea born out of Trekkies' interest in the devotion between James Kirk and Dr Spock.

Unusually, most slash fiction features male/male relationships and is written by women, for a female audience. To dip a toe into these decidedly more adult waters, try

Other websites mentioned include Writers University and Dr Merlin's Guide to Fan Fiction, the latter by "respected fan-ficcer Melissa Wilson".


One reviewer describes the article: "Pauli provides a quick peek into a "curious literary genre", offering some advice and useful site recommendations for the newbie interested in becoming either reader or writer."[1]


  1. Bennie Robbins. Metafic. (Accessed 31 March 2012)