An Introduction to Band Fan Fiction
What is “band fanfiction”, or “bandfic”?
How did band fiction get started?
Where can I find good band fanfiction on-line or in print?
Is band fanfiction legal?
Why do people write band fanfiction, anyway?
Are there moral or ethical concerns about band fanfiction to be aware of?
If you’re looking for the answers to any or all of the above questions, read on. This article is all about band or musician-based fiction, a form of fan-fiction that’s becoming increasingly popular and widespread today online. Here you’ll find out the answers to the above questions including where to find it, what legal concerns may be involved, and you can sound off in the debate over bandfic as well while you’re here.
Different Names and Terms for Band Fanfiction
Band fanfiction can be known by a number of different names, as listed below. I will be using many of these interchangeably throughout this page.
- Band fanfic
- Musician-based RPF/RPS (Real Person Fiction/Real Person Slash)
- Rockfic (bandfic based on rock musicians)
- Glitterfic (bandfic based on glam-rock musicians)
- Popfic/Popslash (fiction based on pop musicians)
A Brief Introduction to Band FanFiction
The History and Evolution of Band Fan Fic
Band fan fiction is quite simply that – fan fiction written about bands and musicians. While you may be familiar with the idea of fan-fiction based on popular movies, TV shows and books such as Star Trek, Harry Potter and Twilight, fan-fiction has also been popular among fans of musicians and pop music acts for generations. These stories can be just as varied in style and subject matter as “media”-based fan-fiction, although these two fan communities largely developed and evolved separately from each other and have different standards of what is considered acceptable or not.
Indeed, the idea of writing “Real Person Fiction” or RPF (stories about people who actually lived or are still living, instead of media characters) is still looked down upon or considered unethical in many parts of media fandom, although acceptance has slowly been building for the past 10 years. Today in fact, some of the biggest and most active fan fic communities revolve around RPF, especially musicians such as One Direction on sites popular with teenagers such as Wattpad.
The exact beginnings of band fiction are difficult to pin down as many old fanzines and communications have been lost to time. Teen magazines going back to the 50s and 60s would sometimes have writing competitions where fans could submit original stories about their favorite pop stars and idols. I have talked with Beatles fans of the time, who recall “roleplaying” The Beatles with their friends, imagining themselves as members of the band and their wives/girlfriends. Stories could be shared orally, in letters written and shared back and forth, and in early fanzines where fan fiction was published alongside of news, reviews, letter columns and other forms of fannish activity.
Fanzines would continue to evolve and become easier to produce and distribute in the late 70s into the 80s. Duran Duran would become one of the first fully organized fan fiction communities in music fandom, producing fanzine titles devoted exclusively to fan fiction and fan art. (The cover to the right is for the zine UMF, published in the 1990s.) Meanwhile, some media fans would also covertly explore writing band fan fiction, but typically changing the names and details of the artists just enough that they felt legally safe – and would not be ostracized from their own community for what they wrote. A famous example of this is the Tris/Alex series of stories which were based on Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
With the increasing overt and sometimes fluid sexuality of many rock musicians of the time, band fan fiction also became more daring and sexual in nature. Beyond simple romantic fantasies of fan girls paired with their favorite musicians, stories also began to explore the idea of sexual relationships between the band members themselves – sometimes in explicit detail.
The internet would revolutionize fan communications and communities. In the 1990s, email lists, message boards, and easy-to-build websites would allow music fans to share their stories quickly and easily with other fans around the world. Though with this ease of communication came increasing concern about privacy and security, as what was fine to share among a small group of like-minded fans could be difficult to explain to other fans who did not understand or like the idea of fan-fiction. Even so, the popularity of music and band fanfiction continued to grow, although some communities would employ password-protection on their websites or forums, or screen applications for membership, to keep the phenomenon still slightly “underground”.
Band fanfiction continues to grow and thrive today as more and more avenues for sharing such stories evolve. Print-on-demand publication sites like Lulu have made it easy for fans to produce their own books of band fiction – which is very popular among Beatles fans today. Social networking and blogging sites like LiveJournal and now Tumblr have made it easier than ever for band fans to form specialized communities for sharing their stories. Many large fan-fiction archives accept bandfic, or are exclusively devoted to bandfic stories.
For more information on Band Fanfiction, check these articles and histories:
History of BandFic, an overview – article at Fan History Wiki
Bandfic – an article at Fan History
Band Fic – article at the Fanlore Wiki
Real Person Fiction – article at Wikipedia
“Slasher Girls” – a 2008 article featuring interviews with band fiction writers
Archives, Forums and Newsletters Where You Can Find Bandfic
Multi-Band Archives, Communities, Forums and More
- Wattpad As mentioned earlier, Wattpad is huge these days for bandfic among young fans. There are pages upon pages of lengthy, multi-chapter stories here, especially about teen sensation One Direction.
Archives and Sites for Specific Bands and Artists
A Sampling of Band Fiction on the Web Today
There are countless archives and forums dedicated to single artists and bands on the internet. Sadly, many of the older archives and sites from the 90s and early 2000s are gone today, as fans moved on in interests or when sites like Goecities closed down. The following links are just to give you a taste and sampling of the variety of band and musician-based fan fiction out there. Go exploring!
Glambert Fic – LiveJournal
Adam Lambert Fan Fiction – LiveJournal community for het (m/f) Adam Lambert fan fiction.
Idolslash – LiveJournal community
Bandom (a loose terminology for a group of artists including My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Panic at the Disco – although use of the term has engendered considerable debate):
Bandom Fic – LiveJournal community
The Beatles Fan Fiction Directory – directory listing of stories around the web
The Beatles Fan Fiction Directory – LiveJournal
Love Me Two Times – LiveJournal community
The Lovely Blue Planet of There – The oldest and largest forum for Duranies to share art, poetry, music and fan fiction inspired by Duran Duran.
GCFanFics.com – archive with over 4,000 stories
Jrock Fanfic – LiveJournal
Metallica Fan Fiction at the Metallichicks messageboard
MJ Fiction – A Place for Michael Jackson Fan Fiction
MJJ Dreamworld – Forever In Our Hearts Forum
My Chemical Romance:
My Chemical Romance FanFiction – MCR stories of all kinds
The My Chemical Romance Fan Fiction Community – on LiveJournal
One Direction FanFiction – archive with over 30,000 stories currently posted
Panic! At the Disco:
* Slash! At the Disco – LiveJournal community
Don We Now Our Gay Apparel – Backstreet Boys and N Sync fan fiction archive
*NSYNC Fiction – Archive with thousands of NSync fiction
Is Band Fan Fiction Legal?
Many question the legalities of writing fiction about real people.
One of the frequent concerns raised about band fanfiction is whether it is legal to publish and share, whether or not for profit. Writers are, in effect, using real people – celebrities – as the objects of their own personal fantasies and fictional stories. Generally band fanfiction authors are very careful to include prominent disclaimers to the effect that readers should be aware their stories are pure fiction, and should not be viewed as factual in any way. This statement is to hopefully cover themselves against libel or defamation accusations. Authors of RPF generally believe they are legally protected as their writing can be viewed as a form of parody.
However, there is also the issue of Right of Publicity – in effect, the right to control the commercial use of one’s identity. This can be an important issue to a musician or band trying to present a particular image to the public, who might not wish their name or likeness connected with certain types of fictionalized scenarios. There can also be concern whether extreme stories and fiction might simply be illegal to publish in certain countries or states, or perhaps present an actual danger to the subject of the story. In 2008, a man was arrested and charged under the Obscene Publication Act for a disturbing murder fantasy story about pop band Girls Aloud.
Even so, there have been many cases of professional and amateur publications of bandfiction through the years, without legal incident (see the list of sample and recommended titles below.) Most band fiction archives on-line operate without profit or advertising, and their Terms of Service indicate that they will remove stories upon request if contacted by a representative of a featured celebrity. They also will have guidelines disallowing fiction that would be considered legally questionable for other reasons.
What About Morality and Bandfic?
Even if legally safe, should it be done?
“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”
At least, that’s the argument some people give against band fanfiction, as they believe it to be objectionable on moral or ethical grounds.
Opponents of band fanfiction, and “real person fiction” in general, often claim that it is a violation of a person’s right to privacy. They believe authors should not use real people whom they don’t know as the objects of written stories and fantasies, especially those that can be of quite graphic, sexual nature. They question how a family member or a child of a featured celebrity might feel to stumble upon such a piece of fanfiction on-line, let alone how that celebrity him or herself would react. They’d say that if a person must indulge in such fantasies, she should keep them to herself – certainly not put them out there publicly for anyone to see or read, and absolutely not to profit on from selling a book or subscription.
Proponents of band fanfiction disagree with these criticisms. They point out that they are writing about the public personae of these celebrities, not actual “real people”. Bandfic authors 99% of the time have no personal connection to the people they are writing about, so can only draw upon interviews, music videos, concert appearances and other sources of public information to create their characters and stories. Even those few authors who may have some limited contact with a given celebrity are very careful to not use any private information in their writings. Many will pointedly not write about non-celebrity relatives including children and spouses out of respect for their lives and privacy.
Quite a few bandfic authors and archivists protect their stories such that they can not be found via Google search, or that the archives need a password-protected account and age statement to be viewable. They frown highly upon “shoving bandfic in musicians’ faces” and make a point keep their writings separate from general fannish boards of discussion. Band fanfiction authors will argue that truly their writing does no harm to anyone, and in fact through their own fannish communities may help promote certain artists through their writings.
Band Fiction in Print
Professional and amateur published band fiction titles, should you choose to continue exploring.
Liverpool Fantasy: A Novel
What if The Beatles had never become the world sensation in the 60s that they could have been? What if John Lennon had walked out of a recording session in 1962 due to creative differences, never to return? This book examines the possibilities of how not just John, Paul, George and Ringo’s futures would have been different, but the entire world’s as well. Twenty-five years in the future (1987), the Fab Four are reunited through odd circumstances to examine the lives they have now – and what could have been. If you enjoy “alternative universe” fiction and are a Beatles fan, then this book is a terrific read. In turns funny, satirical, serious and heartbreaking, most importantly it feels quite “real” in examining how one small twist of fate could have repercussions felt around the world. Plastic Jesus
This loosely-disguised story renamed the characters and the band, but the intent is clear from the start. The Beatles are instead “The Kydds”, they come from Leyborough instead of Liverpool, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney are instead here known as “Seth Grealy” and “Peyton Masters”. But their story is the same, with a twist – Seth and Peyton are more than just creative partners, they are lovers. This short novella (apparently originally intended to be a full-length novel) was published in 2000) has become a highly sought-after collectible title today. Many critics believe this story would have been better served in a full-length novel instead of novella length, allowing more time to flesh out the storyline. However, for it’s spin on the John and Paul relationship, it’s worth a read if you’re so inclined. John/Paul slash is certainly quite popular among many Beatles fanfic author, so it’s interesting to see a professional author take a stab at the subject. Blue Suede Clues: A Murder Mystery Featuring Elvis Presley
As an example of professionally published musician fiction, check out this series of titles from author Daniel Klein. Featuring Elvis and other “real life characters” from his life and times, these books provide a biting satirical look at the 60s, religion, racism and morality in the deep South. Presley is continually drawn in to mysteries and crimes surrounding his fame and fortune, and must do what he can as an amateur investigator to set things right.
What Do You Think of Band Fanfiction?
Give your opinions pro or con on bandfic.
Now that you know more about band fanfiction, what do you think of it? Is it simply a fun and harmless hobby, a way for fans to express their creativity and enjoyment? Or do you think it is wrong, either for moral or legal reasons? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Related posts at Spacial Anomaly
Table of Contents
- An Introduction to Band Fan Fiction
- Different Names and Terms for Band Fanfiction
- A Brief Introduction to Band FanFiction
- Archives, Forums and Newsletters Where You Can Find Bandfic
- Archives and Sites for Specific Bands and Artists
- Is Band Fan Fiction Legal?
- What About Morality and Bandfic?
- Band Fiction in Print
- What Do You Think of Band Fanfiction?
sockii is just your typical Jane-of-All-Trades who never has enough time in her day for all of her projects. She has written for many websites online including Squidoo, Zujava, Yahoo! Contributors Network, HubPages and Wizzley. She has been attending and vending at science fiction and media conventions for over 15 years, and for several years ran an art gallery and jewelry store in Philadelphia. Today she is happy to be living in South Jersey with her partner David and their 6 cats. Sockii is a member of several affiliate sales programs including Amazon Associates and Viglink. Products from these services may be advertised on her posts and pages to generate sales commissions.