The Problem With Real Person Fanfiction


by: Nat (website)

Hanson doesn’t like Hanfic.

This is a commonly held belief in the Hanson community. When they banned Hanfic from the forums, I don’t know if it was done solely because it was fanfiction or if a blanket action was taken to rid the boards of the incest fics that were gaining popularity. Whatever the reason was, its ban from the forums caused many fans to turn away from reading Hanson related fanfiction, largely because ‘the guys didn’t like it.’ I, a writer of the stuff in question, have to say: Can you blame them? I have to be honest and say that at times, I have a problem with what I do. It’s not because of how or why I personally write it, but because of how it could be perceived by others.

If I was famous and Googled myself, and on the first page of results I found fanfiction that people had written about me–the real person–I’d probably be pretty creeped out. Be honest with yourself. You would, too. What we, as Hanfic writers, do is strange. We take real people and write stories about them. We take real life siblings and families and professionals and put them in unlikely, unrealistic, and unbelievable scenarios. It’s been banned on It’s been banned from the forums. Whenever a secret about it pops up on Hanson Secrets, there are countless comments talking about how disgusting it is that people write Real Person Fanfiction.

But are we really so different than most other Fanfiction writers?

If you read fanfiction based off of a TV show or movie, who are you imagining when you read? The actors who play those characters, of course, and you can be damned certain that the writers are doing the same thing. The Inception fanfic writers who write Arthur/Eames fanfic aren’t really thinking of Arthur and Eames, they’re thinking of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy (And can you blame them?). How is what they’re doing different? Sure, they’re using character names instead of real names, but the heart of the issue is the same. They’re taking these real faces and putting them into scenarios, many times based on the reality created by the fandom itself. And that’s what we do as Hanfic writers.

None of us know Isaac, Taylor, or Zac. We may have met them, but we certainly can’t claim to know them. We’re taking these “characters” and putting them into new situations. People say it’s different because they’re “real people”, but it really isn’t. When I write, I don’t think “Would the real Taylor Hanson really befriend a stuffed giraffe or would Zac Hanson join eHarmony to find love?” Even when people try to stick close to the guys’ true canon lives, it’s still fiction because we don’t know them. I can’t speak for all Hanfic writers, but I have to assume that many, if not most, feel the same way about the process.

So, is what we’re doing wrong? I guess it depends on how you look at it. If you want to perceive it as people living out personal fantasies about the guys through their writing (one of the main criticisms of RPF), you’re right. But only in some cases. And if you want to see it as a chance to take a familiar face and insert it into a world of your own creation, then you’re right some of the time as well. We all have different reasons for writing this specific kind of fanfiction, but if you’re going to criticize, take a good look at the fanfiction you do read. It’s probably not so different after all.