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  • In my years on Youtube, and off it, I have noticed a consistent pattern that may shock

  • you. Settle down for this one: popular creators are not the only people who have opinions.

  • I know, it’s a tremendous revelation. But while commenters have, over time, been given

  • a reputation for being shallow, argumentative, uninformed, or hateful, I have also consistently

  • seen people who reply to videos with thoughtful insight, evidence, personal stories, and investment

  • in the topic at hand.

  • As one person, there is only so much experience and passion I can give to back up certain

  • topics. I can’t speak with accuracy to what people might love about playing Warrior Cats

  • Ultimate Edition, how engaging A Vision of Shadows and its characters are, the excitement

  • of alternate universes where a character has been made evil, or, as is our topic for today,

  • the place that fanfiction has in our fandom. With that in mind, today I am starting a new

  • series calledHand Off The Mic,” where I ask people in Youtube and my Discord to

  • share their feelings, opinions, stories, and / or evidence around a specific topic and

  • do my best to share as many of them as I can with you now, only chiming in myself to provide

  • context or transition between pieces. And to make that title more literal, I will be

  • asking my Patrons and some friends to voice these comments. Now, it definitely might sound

  • odd that Fanfiction is a topic I know so little about. I spent 3 ½ years writing Paws of

  • Stars, after all. But outside of that context, I hadn’t written fanfiction at all before,

  • and I don’t read or know much about it either. Today, I hope to get a wider view of what

  • engages people about fanfiction (on the sides of creation and reading) and what types of

  • fanfiction are even out there. And to do that…I’ll need to turn to all of you.

  • Fanfics overall are great, but with Warriors you can really see them shine! With dozens

  • of semi-important and hundreds of background characters as well as many dropped or forgotten

  • plot points and many that the fandom doesn't enjoy, fanfiction gives Warrior Cats fans

  • a chance to really show off their creative minds. The groundwork of Warriors is also

  • great for writing, whether wanting to use existing characters or come up with entirely

  • new ones it will fit right in! An easy to understand line of succession combined with

  • a natural for us way of thinking (because of the cats pretty much being people with

  • their emotions and intelligence) makes it a very appealing world to write a story in.

  • The ability to expand upon various characters, either those who were in the spotlight but

  • didn’t live up to their potential, or those who never got spotlight in the first place,

  • was definitely a common theme through a lot of comments I saw, and I imagine the focus

  • on plot and lack of characterization across a lot of Warriors does spur on the desire

  • to see more characterization in the fandom. And it’s definitely a great point that Warriors

  • is an easy world to write in, with simple but explicit rules and mindsets for the characters

  • that don’t differ too much from our own. But that simplicity also gives rise to expansion

  • Warrior Cat Fanfictions are just my favorite part of the fandom! They add interesting lore

  • to make them unique and the worldbuilding especially interests me. But what really shines

  • for me are the characters, because I just love reading about their personalities and

  • their thoughts and feelings! Rewrites or AUS are probably my favorite part of WC fanworks,

  • because they can add new plot points or lore tidbits that are different from the original

  • source, and make it more interesting!

  • For some, like Arki (apologies if I mispronounced that) the opportunity to add onto lore and

  • worldbuilding, to flesh out the world or plots in a way that makes the story fresh and unique,

  • is also a strength of fanfiction, and it’s one I definitely undervalued before seeking

  • out your opinions.

  • I believe Warriors fanfiction, synchronous with roleplaying, is one of the most unique

  • and creative outputs from the fandom. The series itself has provided an easily accessible

  • format that caters towards fans building their original worlds and characters. Creating my

  • own characters and imagining them in the world of Warriors was one of the aspects that first

  • drew me into the series. The process of creating your own character is relatively simple and

  • standardized (two-name process, pick a Clan or make a new one, and choose a preset rank

  • or role). I was always passionate about writing growing

  • up, and I think Warriors was some of the very first fanfiction I ever wrote!

  • Overall, I believe Warriors fanfiction is

  • one of the many highlights of our fandom. There are so many directions that you can

  • take with the series' foundations, and I've always been fond of the wonderful community

  • behind it. Though interestingly enough, I tend to read AU/canon divergent fanfiction

  • for other fandoms, but I tend to stick with original content for Warriors. Perhaps because

  • I find more enjoyment in what writers can broadly take with the series, but that's just

  • my own two cents.

  • I definitely saw opinions on both sides of that divide: whether more canon compliant,

  • AU, or original fanfiction was favored is something that differed quite a bit among

  • different people, so it’s likely a matter of determining what youre looking for.

  • But there’s another concept in here that I heard a few times as well.

  • I really like fanfiction, not just because many a time it can be better than the actual

  • books, but also because many of my OCs were originally just fanfiction characters, and

  • by the 300th change or so, they had become their own selves.

  • Transplanting characters into or out of Warriors based on how accessible the universe is and

  • how obvious its simple structure is seems to be a key factor in many peoplesrelationships

  • to fanfiction. I’ve seen how much writing fanfiction can get you attached to certain

  • characters, and using that medium to get yourself excited about OC’s for other work is a very

  • cool extension of that. But not everyone goes into fanfiction with the aim of building new

  • worlds and casts.

  • The Warrior Cats Fandom is so rich because of fanfic and headcanon. It's through these

  • avenues that we create such strong connections to certain characters. Heathertail, Breezepelt,

  • Nightcloud, Brackenfur, Poppyfrost, Sandstorm, and so many others are made distinctive by

  • popular head canons and Fandom portrayals surrounding them. The basis may be there but

  • the Erin's rarely act on the stuff they lay down, a lot of the background favorites and

  • even some of our protagonists are better because of fanfic, headcanons and Fandom content related

  • to them. That being said this same logic also leads to the Fandom somewhat rewriting certain

  • characters when people then take it as truth when reading the books but that's a whole

  • separate can of worms.

  • As Spectorwing brought up, fanfiction can be just as much an avenue to expand on existing

  • characters, giving them supporting arcs or even roles as protagonists that go beyond

  • what the Erins had in mind for them. It’s also very true that, because we have such

  • a creative fandom, eager to expand on those characters, we often come across cases where

  • the fandom idea of a character is accepted as truth, and many don’t even know what

  • the canon portrayal is, or that it is different from what the fandom talks about. This can

  • create disparities in discussions, as I’ve mentioned in past videos, but if we look out

  • for that, there’s nothing wrong with getting creative.

  • I've always been a huge fanfiction reader and writer since I was a kid, and so I love

  • seeing all the creativity of the warrior cats fandom. I especially love stories that expand

  • upon certain characters that didn't get enough screen time or development, or had potential

  • for interesting storylines in canon that were never realized. For example, my favorite character

  • is Violetshine, so I love looking through the Violetshine tag on Archive of Our Own

  • and seeing all the ways people fill in the gaps where her canon story would have benefitted.

  • I have a whole fic that's just a series of drabbles about her because I love her so much

  • and think she's so fascinating. I really wish the narrative explored her dynamics with other

  • characters in her life. I also wrote an entire standalone fic abt her resentment toward Rowanclaw

  • bc I've always liked seeing her resentful streak toward Sleekwhisker and the rest of

  • the rogues from Darktails Kin, so I wanted to see that extended toward other cats responsible

  • for her trauma.

  • This is a great example of why I wanted to make this series, because I very publicly

  • much do not like Violetshine, but I constantly see people in my comments and across the internet

  • who love her because of what she represents or what she could be, and I know what that

  • feeling is like because of my relationship with other characters. If you love Violetshine

  • or Clear Sky or Brambleclaw or Onestar or Stonefur or Gullswoop or anyone that you think

  • could be better if given a better or more prominent story to exist in, go look and see

  • if fanfiction exists with them, or write some yourself! And speaking of, let’s turn to

  • some people speaking as fanfiction authors to hear their takes.

  • Oh I love making Warriors fanfiction. I’ve always wanted to write an animal pov book

  • but never knew where to start. I found it super easy over the years to just plop in

  • some of my characters in the Warriors universe to see how they react. Over time, the universe

  • would change more and more until I got something totally different from the original idea.

  • I have sooo many warriors oc stories that inspired so many things. I feel like the Warriors

  • universe in particular shares many tropes that make people want to self insert or create

  • characters in that universe. For example, just like Harry Potter and Avatar, Warriors

  • has differentfactions’, each with differentqualitiesto choose from. (If you like

  • being dark and evil, choose Slytherin or the Fire Nation or Shadowclan.) Though I think

  • that one of the biggest things that generates so much fanfiction/AUs is that Warriors is

  • a series that is inherently filled to the brim with plot holes and untapped potentialThis

  • just makes is so easy for one to go in andfixthese stories, or make new ones

  • that stem from the inconsistencies or unfairness.

  • This is a great distillation of one of the biggest reasons Warriors is so appealing to

  • a young-adult demographic, and also why it makes for an easy fanfiction world. The separation

  • of groups into factions with different characteristics is a staple in a lot of media for that age,

  • since it helps to categorize both characters and readers into easy-to-understand groups.

  • And certainly, the...well known affinity for plot holes, contradictions, and wasted potential

  • across a lot of Warriors certainly has a role to play in motivating people to write more

  • about it.

  • Speaking as someone who is really entrenched in Warriors fanfiction, as both a long-time

  • writer (over 10 years) and reader of it, I think part of what makes Warriors fanfic unique

  • from others lies in the interplay between the fandom and the canon. Our fandom is a

  • long-lasting, large, interactive community, allowing for frequent exchange of ideas throughout

  • the entire fanfic process (trading AU ideas before fic writing, during writing, and analyzing

  • it retrospectively.) The fact that official outlets like the Warriors website encourages

  • fic (with things like the short story contest) is notable too, especially with how many other

  • authors/companies actively dislike fanfiction. Also, the canon itself is conducive for fanfic.

  • I like to think of canon as a “sandboxto play in. There is just so much material,

  • with so many characters, spanning such a long range of (in-Warrior world) time, there are

  • so many opportunities to spark ideas, many of which can be vastly different from each

  • other. These can fill in the gaps of missing or unexplored time, or dive more deeply into

  • obscure characters. Even the flaws of canon I think encourage creativity as people work

  • tofixthem.

  • SedatedDreams makes a great point we haven’t heard much yet: in addition to the world itself

  • working well for fanfiction, our extremely long-standing and vibrant fandom provides

  • lots of chances for new ideas to be brought up, and with so many people there’s a higher

  • chance for any ideas to be recognized and made a reality.

  • To see some of those ideas, I’ve gone through all of the comments on both Youtube and Discord

  • and found every individual fanfiction recommended by anyone. I then put them in a google doc

  • linked in the description, each with a short description of what the story is. Next to

  • each story I also listed the author and person who recommended it, and for works recommended

  • by multiple peoplelike um, Paws of Stars, because I was the one asking for comments,

  • I have simply listed all the names. Go check some of these out if they spark your interest!

  • Also if you have any fanfics you have read or are writing that weren’t on this list,

  • drop them in the comments of this video and I will add it to the document.

  • I started thinking about how many Warriors fanfics really were 1st arc focused as opposed