“Being a fan is like being in love,” says Lynn Karlsson, a fanfic writer. “You just want to eat, sleep, breathe, and love these characters, and spending time with them is the most engaging thing that you think of.”
I was fifteen years old when I invented the genre of fan fiction, a form of writing where the author takes characters or universes created by someone else and writes stories about them. That was the year I wrote my first short story involving me, Kirk, and Spock, which is also the year that I invented the genre’s worst cliché: the Mary Sue story, where the character exists as a thinly veiled avatar of the writer.
Fifteen was also the year I attended my first convention, where I learned that fan fiction had thrived for years before me.