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Over the next few weeks I’ll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction's past and future. This week the posts are focusing on romance and fan fiction.
In 2008, when I was working on my MA thesis, I tended to see more differences than similarities between fan fiction and commercial romance. Over the course of the project, however, my views began to change. The fan fiction stories survey participants loved focused more often on same-sex relationships, but there were also many heterosexual romances represented among the fan favorites. Just like commercial romances, sometimes the fan fiction stories were pretty explicit, sometimes they were more sweet. While I noticed some different storytelling tropes appearing more in one mode than the other (more on this here), given the breadth of fan fiction and commercial romance available to readers it wasn't easy to draw firm lines between either modes of writing.
Do you think there are differences between commercial romance novels and pairing-focused fan fiction? If you think there are differences, what are they? Or, do you think fan fiction can be a kind of romantic storytelling? What similarities do you see?

Read the full write up on fan fiction and romance here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond in the comments section below.

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