As a follow-up to my hearty defense of fan fiction, I’ve compiled a short list of quality fan fiction that I can recommend as a good jumping-off point for anyone interested in the genre. Recommendations are a way to start filtering out the writing you don’t want to read and locating the stories you like—they might prevent you from being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work on websites like Archive of our Own and Fan Fiction dot net.
So, here are the stories I’ve read and loved, often featuring badass lady detectives or shamelessly idealistic universes. These stories are so well-composed that for the most part, you don’t need to be familiar with the works they’re based on to enjoy them.
- By the Dim and Flaring Lamps by sunflowerseedsandscience
I highly recommend this novel-length piece because despite its roots in The X-Files, this Civil War-era love story will tug at your heartstrings while maintaining a steady, well-written plot.
2. Calamity Jane Meets Dr. Isles, Medicine Woman by JoBethMegAmy.myhomegirls*
This user has created several other quality works that require little to no previous understanding of their source material (TV series Rizzoli and Isles), including a an old Noir story and a sequel to the spectacular Wild West adventure linked above.
3. Adventures Outside Middle Earth and Groundhog GDIME by AnnaFan
I mention these two works because not only did they make me laugh so hard I spit coffee all over my shirt the first time I read them, they provide a really great introduction to the tropes, mishaps, and humorous cliches of fan fiction itself. These stories will teach you all you need to know about wading through the fan fiction slush pile, and they’ll introduce you to the brilliant world of fan fiction parody. Pretty much everyone is at least somewhat familiar with The Lord of the Rings, which provides the source material for both of these parodies.
I will likely publish more recommendations on this list in the future, and if anyone else would like to send suggestions to add to this list I’d love to hear them.