What is fan fiction?
Fan fiction is basically fiction based on the works of someone else. So for those who aren't familiar with the term, when we refer to Jane Austen fan fiction, we are talking about stories written by others, making use of characters, storylines and plots that Austen invented. In the case as here of an author who has been dead for almost 200 years, copyright has expired and other authors are therefore free to make use of Austen's material, fertilised with a good deal of imagination. Stories may be straightforward sequels to or continuations of Austen's novels, but most of them are 'what if' stories - tales of Austen's characters as they might have been if certain things had happened, or hadn't happened, only loosely based on Austen's own plot lines. For example, taking Pride and Prejudice as an example, there are numerous stories based on the events at Hunsford - 'what if Elizabeth had accepted Darcy's proposal?' or 'what if Darcy had not taken no for an answer?'. There is also a further category of Austen fan fiction, where the characters and the broad plot are transposed into modern surroundings and the behaviour of the characters alters accordingly. The most famous of the modern adaptations are probably the 'Bridget Jones' novels which are essentially based on Pride and Prejudice, even keeping the hero's surname and using the same actor for both the TV adaptation and the Bridget Jones movie to play the part of Darcy (Colin Firth).
However, most of these stories, whether based in the nineteenth century or the twentieth or twenty-first, are found on the various websites devoted to Jane Austen fan fiction. Some of these have been published in book form, and I have put together my own list of these - the list is quite long, so it deserves its own page: Published fan fiction
For web-based fan fiction, there are a number of communities which allow members to post, discuss and encourage stories that are based on Jane Austen work. Below is a list of what I consider to be the best sources of Jane Austen fan fiction on the net. Note that some are 'adult-only' - in other words, the stories are a bit more (okay, a lot more in some cases!) explicit in the bedroom than Jane Austen could ever have contemplated. Personally I have no issue with that, but if it's not your thing, don't go there...and if you're under 18, some sites won't let you register to read their stories. In general, most stories are the equivalent of the US movie classification PG-13 (or less), and if they fall into the R or NC-17 categories, this is stated upfront.
Jane Austen fan fiction sites:
Derbyshire Writers Guild
all stories here are rated PG-13 or below, suitable for readers of all ages
A Happy Assembly
adults only, requires login.
Jane Austen Regency Fanfiction Index
adults only, requires login
Pen & Ink
adults only, requires login
General fan fiction site:
(there is some variation in quality at this site, but most of the stuff is good)
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