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Fanfiction, Cosplay, Crafting, and More

Written by Siri Paulson

Today I want to talk about the intersection of fanfiction, cosplay, and crafting.

You've probably heard of fanfiction – people writing unofficial stories set in the world of Harry Potter or Star Trek or what have you. You may also have heard of cosplay – people dressing up as characters from their favourite books or anime series or science fiction/fantasy movies (usually during fan conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con).

The impulse for both of these activities comes from a love of the source material, the desire to stay in the world of the book or movie a little longer, to delve into the characters a little (or a lot!) more closely. There's also a strong aspect of community or kinship with other fanfic writers or cosplayers, a kinship born of that shared love.

I've done both in the past, mostly in the world of Star Trek. I started writing stories long before I discovered Star Trek, but the Enterprise grabbed me in a way nothing else had. At the time, I was going through a difficult period (puberty, the nasty crucible of Grade 8, and my parents' separation and subsequent divorce all hit around the same time), so the escape was badly needed. Star Trek, with its clean, sunny future, expansive universe, fascinating array of aliens, and moral dilemmas resolved neatly at the end of each episode, was perfect. Soon I was writing my first longer stories, all centered around the crews of the Enterprise and Deep Space Nine. (Then I graduated to slightly disguised Lord of the Rings derivatives, but that's a tale for another time.)

The same passion also manifests itself in a myriad of other ways. I can only gape in wonder and delight at the things people are inspired to create by their favourite media properties. For example...

I haven't even touched on the area of fan art, or delved into the lengths people go to when making their own cosplay costumes, get the idea.

Have you seen any spectacular creations that pay homage to an existing book/movie/series? Share in the comments!


Melissa Crytzer Fry
# Melissa Crytzer Fry 2012-03-07 03:52
What a great article, Siri. I, of course, have heard of the Star Trek conventions, but "cosplay" was completely unfamiliar to me until my friend's daughter shared a series of Lolita outfits that she was making and selling online. Only then did my friend explain that these girls (some are young women in their late 20s) do 'meet ups' in public areas where they wear their outfits. I'm not sure if that movement originated from stories, but I like the way you've positioned it -- that these activities are generally an extension of the reader's love for the fictional world. There could be no greater compliment, could there?
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Siri Paulson
# Siri Paulson 2012-03-08 02:38
Thanks for the comment, Melissa! I'd be thrilled to bits if someone cosplayed one of my characters.

I've heard of Lolita fashion, but I'm not familiar with its history. Steampunk, which I do know more about, is another fashion movement (as well as a fiction and music subgenre and a home decor style) that isn't tied to a particular story -- but it is tied into a sort of loose shared worldview, a mutually agreed-upon alternate reality. I suspect that for both Lolita and steampunk (and cosplay), at least part of the allure is simply the license to dress up!

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