G Benson's Guide to Fanfic
Fanfiction is something I adore. I don’t hold back talking about this fact–if it wasn’t for fanfic, I wouldn’t be an author. It gave me a fun, safe place to explore writing and gain feedback. This is all important, sure. But why do I really love fanfic? Because there is so much talent out there writing incredible, mind-blowing stories that you can access for free. Some of my favourite stories, ever, are fics. I love it for the stories I get. And there are so many.
Never read fanfic? Don’t let that stop you from starting! Here you’ll find my favourite fanfics that are completed (I have a bunch of absolute faves that are still incomplete). There’ll be a mix that are canon compliant (that means it exists within the universe you know–for example, if you watch The 100, it will be set in the post apocalyptic world that you know from the show and follows events you are familiar with) and some are alternate universe, or AU (meaning they have taken the characters and set them in a different time/place–for example, Clarke and Lexa from The 100 but they’re both actresses set for stardom in the world as we know it).
These are in no particular order because I love them all equally, and narrowing it down to ten was hard enough. I agonised, people. They are probably not my top ten, I’d say I have a top 30 where they all share favourites–so I’ve tried to choose a variety of fandoms and a variety of story types. Hit me up if you want more recs!
Any that are on Archive of our Own, you can download easily in any format and put on your e-reader :).
To learn all the Fanfic Terms click the button below…
Top 10 Fanfics for Beginners!
1. What heart’s ease my queens neglect, by Thrace
The 100, Clarke and Lexa pairing.
AU (alternate universe)
This fic is everything. I adore it, and have reread it multiple times. Set in our world, in our time, Lexa is the queen of Markenland, and is leading her country into a constitutional monarchy. She’s requested the UN be present to ensure it all runs smoothly. Enter Clarke Griffin. Clarke and Lexa have chemistry immediately, and watching the will-they/won’t-they of these two (when you just know they will) is a delight, especially as you know they can’t or everything they’re working towards for Markenland will be for nought. So they write letters. Oh, these letters. I can’t cope. I’m not the biggest romantic, but these got me. Light angst, medium heat, and lots of longing with beautiful words. Highly recommend.
2. She by Thefooliam
The 100. Clarke and Lexa.
This fic is both angsty and delightful. They are roommates, and they could not be more different. They are young and, unlike in The 100, they are allowed to be young because they’re not leaders of their people in a dystopian world but by damn, are they still them. Also it’s tagged “lexa is a big gay nerd” and “partygirl!griffin” for Clarke, so just…it’s great. Get wrapped up in a “college roommates become girlfriends slowly” story and thank me later.
3. There’s a big old moon shining down at night, by Jazzforshire
Supergirl, Kara and Lena.
Look, I really like angst. I breathe and live for it. It is just what I love to read, and I’m sorry for that because so many of my top ten are just dripping with angst. This fic, however, is pretty light on the angst. Lena, desperately needing a break from being CEO of her company, rents a lake house in a town in a very remote town. There, she runs into an incredibly charming Kara Danvers, the local mechanic. This story, to the author’s admission, is basically a love note to living in a rural town. In fact, the town is its own character–it is charming, and this whole fic wraps you up in a warm hug. The slow burn of these two getting together, the freaking heat when they do, and how they figure out their future together when they both convince themselves it’s “just until Lena leaves” (yeah, sure) is an utter delight to read. Sexy, charming, lovely.
4. Send Up a Signal (that everything’s fine) by coalitiongirl.
Once Upon a Time. Regina and Emma.
This fic is a love letter to the Regina and Emma fandom. It is everything the show could not be for us, ever, and it delivers so perfectly that even though I didn’t want to watch the show, I don’t need to ever because I read this fic and it’s just so great. That said, it’s not based within the show, it’s AU–the two are actresses on a similar show. There is angst, as a warning. It’s also a slow burn. There’s a lot of angst over being out in Hollywood, which is a trip to read and makes your heart ache for both Emma and Regina. Read this fic, delight in it like the entire fandom has, and then read it again. And then go read everything by coalitiongirl–this isn’t actually my favourite of their fics, they have a lot of fantastic ones. But I recced this as it’s number one on the Regina and Emma page for a reason. (Amor Fati, Emma Enchanted, and every winter fades away (into spring) are probably my top few of this author, if you’re looking).
5. Somewhere, someone must know the ending by Maleficently.
Once Upon A Time. Regina and Emma.
Another confession? I watched like, four episodes of Once Upon a Time. I did so after reading a fic (that is incomplete, so not on this list sadly–it’s one of Maggiemerc’s, who’s mentioned below, go read it!) that made me fall in love with Emma and Regina. But to be honest, the show was a let down. So now I just live and breathe the fic! This fic is gorgeous. I adore it. I’ve recced it to others who either love it, or don’t. Regina cheats on Emma (it starts after this fact, so no reading about that), they break up, and they find their way back to each other. There is no magic here, it is set in our world–and is a story of two people who were very bad at communicating and how they figure their sh*t out and become much better at it. And they really do figure it out. I love it because people make mistakes, people are not perfect–and people can still work things out while all these things are true.
6. Murmuration by Roadie
Warehouse 13, Myka and Helena.
Confession: I have never seen a single episode of Warehouse 13. I’ve seen lots of gifs? Does that count? So, this means I have only read AU fics of this fandom, because anything set in canon (ie: the actual world of Warehouse 13) would leave me completely lost. This fic, though? This fic is a dream. It is as AU as AU gets. Set on another planet, Myka is only 6 when she first sees Helena. Helena spends her time as a representative on a ship going to various planets, meaning time passes completely differently for her. When they next meet, Myka is thirteen. Then twenty. Then…Then… This fic is just….beautiful. The writing is achingly beautiful, the story is beautiful, Myka and Helena figuring themselves out is…beautiful. I love it, can you tell? Also, I have never read anything with such an original premise.
7. Soon by Apparitionism
Warehouse 13. Myka and Helena.
This fic is the first fic I read for Warehouse 13. I’ve still not seen an episode, but this fic was a loooong read, a slow burn, and was just so all-consuming. I felt like I was lost in a novel by a fire the entire time I read this. It’s angsty, it’s real. There’s history. There’re Russians. There’s the Cold War. There are the leading ladies. There are the self discoveries of them both. It’s set in the 50s, so warning for a lot of angst around figuring out how to be together in that time–but I promise it’s worth it. I read this fic in between classes at work, I picked it up while I brushed my teeth just so I could read more of it, and I gushed to my wife a lot.
8. Another Statement of Causality by Maggiemerc.
Grey’s Anatomy. Callie/Arizona.
AU AND Canon (this is based off an episode that does a “what if” kind of of thing, and the fic never returns to what truly happened)
This fic is loooong. It’s in two parts, and both are over 100000 words. Also, warning: I adore Maggiemerc and everything they write. More of their fic would be on here, but this is a list of completed fics and some of my faves have third parts that aren’t yet complete. Go read them, anyway. So! This fic. The characterisation is just spot on, the look at these characters that I adore in this “what if” scenario is a delight. It’s like getting canon but not. Anyway, go read it. Maggiemerc is a master with words. And then read every single other thing, especially their Once Upon a Time fics.
9.The Sidestep Chronicle Part 1 and 2 by Katharyn
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Willow and Tara.
AU but set within the Buffy Universe (I’ll explain)
If you click the link, the first post is by the author explaining it. I’ll try sum up here: set within the “wishverse” of Season Three (Cordelia wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and we see a very dark world in which that happened for an episode: Buffy comes to Sunnydale later, she dies, Willow and Xander are vampires, Willow is staked–it is DARK) we see how a Tara who never met Willow before she died and became a vamp, then died in her undead life, and a Willow who is, well, dead, could meet. Sound confusing? This fic is a trip but holy cow, is it worth it. It’s long. Like, long. And it is incredible. And it is dark. Full warning for that, here. This author doesn’t skimp from what vampires really are.
10. Witnessed here in Time and Blood by Whistle.the.silver
Harry Potter, Hermione and Fleur.
So Fleur and Hermione became a big sapphic pairing to be written about within the Harry Potter universe. And it’s interesting, because they barely speak in the books, and Hermione can’t stand Fleur. But that is the amazing thing about fandom, and fanfic: entire stories and backgrounds have been written for these two. The thing is: I never really got it? Then someone made me read this fic. And this fic is just *chef’s kiss*. This fic does a beautiful look at romance between the two, of coming of age, of realising one’s sexuality, and of still feeling like it’s within the world of “Harry Potter” while being, well, much better. Give it a shot.
If you read any of these fics, please leave the authors a comment! Comments are like food for fic writers. Don’t feel like you have to leave a huge review if you’re not comfortable, even “great work” or “loved this” is always appreciated
G Benson 🙂