Video: Fanfiction Workshop with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Melissa D. Aaron at Cal Poly Pomona

Fanfiction Workshop with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Melissa D. Aaron at Cal Poly Pomona 

Fan Fiction Workshop



Known for their popular “Doctor Who” and “Harry Potter” lectures held at the CalPoly Pomona library, Dr. Rosanne Welch ( and Dr. Melissa Aaron hosted a workshop on writing Fan Fiction in the Special Collections room of the campus library to celebrate April’s National Library Week and the “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library.”

The two professors and professed followers of fan fiction spoke about the history, style and variety of this popular form of writing and then lead the audience with prompts for a few drabbles (flash fan fic of 100 words written in 5 minutes). Thanks to all who participated and to Special Collections Librarian Natalie Lopez for inviting us!

Further reading and resources

Saundra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, Star Trek: The New Voyages

Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture. NYU Press: New York, 2006. See also his web page, Confessions of an Aca-Fan:

The Organization For Transformative Works:

Jamison, Anne. Fic: Why fanfiction is taking over the world. SmartPop: Dallas, TX, 2013. See also her student’s research on Twilight fanfic: and her tumblr:

“A Fair-y Use Tale.”

A fanfiction glossary

  • Fic: short for fanfiction. 
  • Canon: The source material and that which is agreed to be fact within it.
  • Fanon: Popular fandom ideas, usually arising from a seminal fanwork: e.g. nicknames, character traits or relationships (see Shipping.) May become canon.
  • Crossover: Works in which the characters or settings from two or more works are combined. 
  • AU: Alternate universe. Works based on a what-if scenario, or in which a critical change has been made.
  • Gen fic: “Generic” fanfiction; stories with no romance. 
  • Shipping: Short for “relationshipping.” Romance fics featuring characters that might or might not be romantically involved in the source material.
    • Canon ship: Characters are romantically involved in the source material. 
    • Fanon ship: Characters are not demonstrably romantically involved in the source material, but wildly popular among fans or a group of fans. 
    • Slash: Same-sex romantic relationships, generally not canon, or not provably so. IMPORTANT: slash is not the same thing as porn. A slash fic might feature a same sex relationship with little or no physicality. Porn is simply porn, and may include nearly any characters or group of characters of any gender.
    • Crack ship: Relationship portrayed is unlikely, bizarre, or ridiculous, e.g., the Whomping Willow and the Giant Squid.
    • Mary Sue: An original character, frequently a self-insert. The single most defining characteristic of a Mary Sue is to warp the canon universe and its characters to center around the new character. The character may be ridiculously skilled beyond age or experience, or all the characters may be in love with him or her. He or she often has a tragic past. Eyes that change color according to his or her moods are a warning sign. 
  • Also known as the Pit Of Voles, this is probably the largest single repository of fanfiction on the web, and also probably its least discriminating. 
  • TV Tropes: A wiki collecting fandom tropes from a variety of media. Valuable, but also a dangerous time sink.

Music: “Brittle Rille” by Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons License.

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