The Critical Fan Toolkit

Interviews

Six fanfic authors — three who wrote The Legend of Korra and three who wrote Game of Thrones fanfics — share their experiences writing these fics, their perspectives on the fan community, and the ways in which they think about race, gender, sexuality, and/or culture in their fan engagement. The transcribed interviews and demographic information have been published with each writers’ explicit consent through Northeastern University's IRB.

This interactive portion of the dissertation allows you to explore different angles of the fan authors' interviews. You can read each fan author's interview transcript, learn more about the fan author, read their fanfic that I interviewed them about, explore themes that occur across the interviews, learn about the qualitative coding process — in which interviews are marked up based on themes,and read an in-depth analysis of the interviews.

Learn About Each Critical Fan

The six authors each provide unique experiences with writing, fandom engagement, and analyzing the canonical text. They each provided self-identified information about their age, gender, race, sexuality, and pronouns, which they agreed to have published on the site.

Each interview with the fan authors has been qualitatively coded (learn more about qualitative coding and my process here). The bolded font in each author's answer are the coded texts. On the interview transcripts, you can click the bolded words to see how they were coded. Underlined text is also coded, but the code is specific to mentions of power and identity.

Kittya

Kittya shares how fanfiction connected her to her home and culture, the complexities of navigating allocishet media and fanfic communities as a queer person, and how she values and resists gender normativity.

  • Fandom: The Legend of Korra
  • Fanfic Title: "Marching Ants"
  • Age range: between 18-25
  • Gender: cis woman
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Race and Ethnicity: Black, Guyanese
  • Sexuaity: Pan Aro-Ace
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Gillywulf

Gillywulf shares how she sustained writing 400 vignettes based on audience prompts, how she navigated certain prompts and fanfic trends that made her uncomfortable, and why she values fluff in her writing.

  • Fandom: The Legend of Korra
  • Fanfic Title: "No Matter The Universe"
  • Age range: N/A
  • Gender: cis-woman
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Race and Ethnicity: White, Jewish/American/Eastern European
  • Sexuaity: lesbian
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Aria

Aria shares how she wrote her fic as she was learning about political, class, and queer theory; how these theories are embedded in her text and in fandoms more generally; and why she focused on Korra's trauma, disability, and her connection with Asami.

  • Fandom: The Legend of Korra
  • Fanfic Title: "Through Pain and Oppression"
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Writegirl

Writegirl shares how she wanted to emphasize characters' agency in her writing, her criticisms and excitement about both the show and books, and how she conducted research to better understand characters' psychology.

  • Fandom: Game of Thrones
  • Fanfic Title: "OtherWhen: Game of Thrones"
  • Age range: between 26-39
  • Gender: woman
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Race and Ethnicity: mixed race, American
  • Sexuaity: demisexual
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Dialux

Dialux shares why she decided to racebend characters and potential challenges around this genre, how she connected her culture and cultures near her, and how she incorporated supplementary materials to connect readers to the story.

  • Fandom: Game of Thrones
  • Fanfic Title: "and we can see the future and the dreams it's made of"
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Valk

Valk shares why they imagine characters' resisting gender normativity, their perspective on the heteronormative trends in the fandom, and how they explored wish fulfillment through their fic.

  • Fandom: Game of Thrones
  • Fanfic Title: "painting works of art
  • Age range: between 26-39
  • Gender: non-binary
  • Pronouns: they/them
  • Race and Ethnicity: White, Canadian
  • Sexuaity: bisexual
Interview Transcript Fanfic

Explore Coding Numbers Here

Names Aria Dialux GillyWulf Kittya Cullen Valk WriteGirl Total
Number of "Codes" 66 89 75 63 61 64 418
Important Quotes 12 7 10 14 8 11 62
Fan Community - Politics 19 18 18 18 20 16 109
Fan Community - Doxxing 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Writing Agency - Total 34 49 41 19 24 37 204
Writing Agency - Reflection 13 16 10 6 9 10 64
Writing Agency - Audience 2 12 9 5 1 4 33
Writing Agency - Motivation 15 8 14 8 6 7 58
Writing Agency - Revising 2 0 0 0 1 2 5
Writing Agency - Drafting 0 3 0 0 5 2 10
Writing Agency - Research 2 6 1 0 1 3 13
Writing Agency - Reception 1 4 7 0 2 9 23
Genre - Total 12 18 16 2 14 10 72
Genre - Angst 2 3 0 0 0 1 6
Genre - Fluff 2 1 5 0 0 1 9
Genre - Vignette 0 0 7 0 0 2 9
Genre - Fix-It 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Genre - Modern Setting 0 1 0 0 7 0 8
Genre - Identity Bending 1 3 0 0 6 0 10
Genre - Author's Note 2 5 0 0 0 0 7
Genre - Other 6 5 4 2 3 5 25
Uptake - Total 33 16 26 8 21 21 125
Uptake - Critical 11 0 4 3 6 4 28
Uptake - Canon-complicit 7 4 11 1 3 2 28
Uptake - Canon-resistant 1 5 3 0 1 7 17
Uptake - Implicit-explicit 7 2 2 4 7 3 25
Uptake - Fan Practices 9 5 6 1 4 5 30
Canon - Total 9 11 13 24 9 11 77
Canon - Critique 4 6 2 7 3 9 31
Canon - Compliment 3 3 7 7 6 2 28
Canon - Relation 3 2 4 10 0 0 19
Power and Identity - Total 48 30 32 46 42 23 221
Power - LGBTQplus 12 1 17 6 16 0 52
Power - Homophobia/Transphobia 7 0 2 4 4 0 17
Power - Heteronormativty 6 2 4 6 10 1 29
Power - Racism 1 1 1 7 0 4 14
Power - Antiracism 0 0 2 4 0 5 11
Power - Sexism 0 2 1 2 4 2 11
Power - Feminism 1 7 2 6 5 6 27
Power - Class 2 0 1 0 0 3 6
Power - Disability 11 0 2 3 2 0 18
Power - Ableism 1 0 1 2 1 0 5
Power - Cultural Difference 5 16 0 10 0 0 31
Power - Other 11 3 2 5 3 6 30