The success of One Direction on music charts worldwide, is well known. From the moment they came in third on X Factor back in 2010, they were a phenomenon, bringing one #1 hit after the other in continuous succession. They are the inspiration for fans all over the world in countless forms, such as art, music and more.
One form of inspiration that is becoming abundant, is the rising number of One Direction based fan fictions found online. With popular forums such as Archive of Our Own, Fanfiction.net and Wattpad, there are no shortage of options for fans seeking stories based on their favorite boys.
Some of these stories have become popular to the point of insanity, the most well known being Anna Todd’s Wattpad featured story, After. One such story turned a former make up counter clerk to an international best selling author. The power that comes with the names of One Direction seems to know no bounds.
What is it about One Direction that is so inspiring to writers, and readers? Why fan fiction? What is it that brings writers that spark of genius, and of all options available, makes them choose these band members as their main characters?
Whether realism or alternate universe, whether all members, or just one, you can find hundreds of thousands of stories written by those inspired by the band, and no shortage of readers looking for a good story featuring them.
So, what do some of these writers and readers have to say about their draw? I discussed this trend with several popular Wattpad writers, as well as readers, to find out what it is about One Direction that makes turning a page just as exciting and listening to a CD.
Many of the writers I spoke with said they have always loved writing. Some admit they started with short stories or poetry, but felt they wanted to try their hand at something more. There is always that fear; ‘Can I write something that long and keep it interesting?’ @styles_orama admits that writing fan fiction removes the struggle for a beginner, since the main characters and their qualities are already given to you. As readers already know these boys, they are immediately connected to the characters you write about. That frees up some of the worry in a writer’s mind to create someone your readers can relate to.
It has also been mentioned by writers that the popularity that immediately comes with fan fiction versus traditional fiction ensures a stronger following in most cases. @jhildey says writing fan fiction is, ‘Fun and exciting. I figured my stories had a better chance at being read since fan fiction is so well received.’
Rachel, @scooby-snacks, the writer of the popular No Control series, admits that she found it easy to write her series, since it is based upon the bands real life events. There is no shortage of drama and scandal following these boys, and the story sometimes falls in to her hands. She states that writing fan fiction is like living vicariously through her characters, and a draw for any writer and reader alike.
Another amazing Wattpad writer, @dirtyyarn, put it perfectly when she said, ‘There is a draw to reading and writing about an enigma. Within the parameters of common knowledge, or well documented information regarding the subject, is an entire world of speculation.’ If there is one thing Directioners can attest to, it is the speculation and mystery that surrounds these four boys. A writer can use fan fiction to bring life and humanity to a person who may be well loved but only known from a distance. Readers can become absorbed into a story in a deeper way, in part thanks to their already based connection to the characters in real life.
Jen, @jhildey agrees, stating, ‘We don’t really know them. We think we do, but we don’t.’ Fan fiction allows you to imagine what they are like, and pair them with your own characters and creativity. Additionally, with respect to the popularity of Harry Styles as the lead, she adds that most girls are ‘Harry girls’, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t want to be the one who stole his heart.
From a readers perspective, @StylesSmiles18 explains that she was originally skeptical about reading fan fictions. As a mature fan, she assumed they would be written by hormonal teenagers and lack true depth and realism. She was happily proven wrong, and found herself ‘Drawn like a moth to the fan fiction flame,’ (with a quote like this, I feel she should try her hand at writing, but hey…). She admits there is no shortage of Harry Styles fan fictions, since he is undisputedly the most popular. She attributes this to the fact that despite how available he seems in some ways, there is always an air of mystery around his personal life. Fan fiction tends to eliminate this, creating a life with him that fans otherwise wouldn’t have.
Playing further on the question, ‘Why is Harry so damn writable?’ @styles_orama says, ‘It’s easy to write about someone you’d like to cuddle.’
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, is the challenge of writing a character who is a real person and so well known. Fan fiction writers have very little creative license when using any celebrity as their muse, and readers will be quick to remind you, should you stray from any facts. Readers will compare your version of their famous love to the real one, where as with a truly fictional character, there are no boundaries.
I did posed the question to these writers, ‘How does fan fiction differs from traditional fiction?’ The answers varied, some positive, some negative. As fan fiction comes through online forums such as Wattpad, a writer is given a built in audience, a guaranteed reader group, and no end to options for posting their work. So even if you don’t make it to the bookshelves, you can still be considered a successful and beloved author in your own right.
All you need, is a little Direction 😉