A Beginner's Guide to Fandom: A Fangirl's Perspective

{September 28, 2009}   Fanfiction, Part 3: The Crossover

Another popular type of fanfiction is the crossover. In my opinion, it’s one of the more interesting types of fanfic out there in terms of creativity and fandoms. A crossover, simply put, is the combination of two or more fandoms in one story. It comes from the idea of one character, plotline, etc. ‘crossing over’ into another. It’s similar to the idea of the AU (alternate universe), but instead of being a generically ‘different’ environment, the story mixes two specific fandoms together.

Popular ways of doing this include having characters from two different worlds interact. ‘What would happen if Spock met Harry Potter?’, for instance, or ‘If Buffy Summers met Edward Cullen, would they get along?’ This can be motivated from the author’s sense of curiosity (they could be wildly different characters), or it could have deeper literary significance because of some perceived similarity or productive interaction between the characters. One example that comes to mind is of Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter, who have similar character issues involving magical temptation and heavy burdens. Instead of (or in addition to) character interactions, crossover writers may also choose to insert plotlines or worlds from other fandoms. For some of the more thoughtful pieces, this goes beyond the matter of superficial environments and into questions of social commentary, moral decisions or character study. If Captain Kirk found himself with the One Ring, would he be tempted to use it? Could his tendency toward arrogance overcome his sense of moral duty?

Crossover fanfic is great for those who enjoy multiple TV shows, books and movies. Fandom operates by Murphy’s Law: if you think of it, then someone has written it. There are a lot of high-quality crossovers available, probably because the kind of person drawn to mixing and matching fandoms is more able to extrapolate the motivations and nuances of multiple kinds of characters. After all, they’ve taken the extra creative step of writing fiction for not one fandom but two (or more) simultaneously.


Fanfiction.net lets you search crossovers by wildly variant tags, including Greek mythology, musicals and cartoons. The homepage also has a box that has listings by medium, such as comics, movies and television.

LiveJournal has many different communities dedicated to crossovers. As with all fanfic, pay attention to the author’s notes and warnings before clicking on a link to a story; that’s the best way to avoid unwanted or uncomfortable stories. Note: sometimes you’ll find the same story in several places because authors have posted their stories to multiple communities.

Also, individual fans, whether on Livejournal or other Web sites, will often recommend fics they enjoy to their friends and the general public. Livejournal user daanae has a rather extensive list of crossovers from multiple fandoms. She notes the stories’ fandoms and  ratings on the page; she also gives a basic summary of the story and why she liked it, so you can get a sense of what the fic will be like before you click on it.

Again, as with other fanfiction, if you come across an author you like, read the stories he or she reads and recommends. You’re likely to have similar taste.

et cetera