Recursive Fanfiction

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Fan Fiction is a popular medium, and thanks to the nature of Sturgeon's Law, some of it can indeed be quite good to read.

And some of it may actually become so "interesting" by said readers, that they are inspired to want to make "fanfics" based on the writer's story, despite the fact (or perhaps, because of it, in some cases) that said story is fanfiction in and of itself...

This is Recursive Fanfiction.

Care should be taken with this trope, as the story that said fanfic is based on must be a fanfiction as well. If the fiction that it is based on is not itself based on another work of fiction (or fanfiction, which would make the fanfiction of said fanfic fall under this trope as well), then that's a normal Fanfic, and not this trope.

Or, schematically:

Original fiction -> regular fanfiction -> Recursive Fanfiction -> still Recursive Fanfiction, but of a higher level.

Not to be confused with Meta Fic.

Examples of Recursive Fanfiction include:

Anime and Manga





  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has not only inspired its own fanfics, such as Once Upon a Tower and Nightmares of Azkaban, but "Rational" fics have become a kind of sub-genre.
    • The most famous Rational fic beside Methods, Luminosity, has spawned several fan short stories.
  • The large Harry Potter projects The Shoebox Project, Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness and the Dangerverse have their own fanfic.
  • All the sequels to My Immortal.
  • The Hogwarts Exposed series is the rare example where it is based on both a fanfiction AND canon, so it is filled with plotholes. To be more specific, the author based it on The Psychic Serpent series as his canon, and the defeat of Voldemort as it is described in the intro of the first fic, is based on Mists of Time by Nightfall. All of these fanfictions, including The Draco Trilogy, were written during the 3 Summer period, where HP-fans had to wait 3 years till book 5 was released, and Hogwarts Exposed was written during the end of that period. But starting with the second fic, Hogwarts Too Exposed, the author started retconning things from the new canon into it, while simultaneously still clinging to The Psychic Serpent. One of the biggest plotholes is this: At the beginning of the first fic, Hogwarts Exposed, Harry explains to Hermione why he left the Wizard World, and left his Wand at Sirius´ place, and Sirius is at the end of the same fic invited to Harry and Hermione's wedding. But in the third fic, Hogwarts Overexposed, it is mentioned that Sirius was killed by Bellatrix, just like in canon. None of this is ever explained.

Live Action Television

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Homestuck out the wastechute. Fans will create Alternate Universes, the alternate universes will become popular, people will write fanfics set in the alternative universes... and then there's the fanart of alternative universes.
    • The Grand Battle is the most notorious in having fanart and other fan stuff based on itself.

Web Original

Western Animation

  1. The original creator of Underswap left the fandom after seeing their concept subject to excessive Flanderization, leaving the thing adrift; the concept of Underfell is more or less a "community" effort with a proposed game in the works, but the people working in the game have no problem with other people having their own version on the concept and even encourage it.