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Brian Lee Professor Boemo Expository Writing 101:LP September 18, 2008 The Daily Prophet And its Educational Value Fan-Fiction, a rapidly growing sub-culture phenomenon, refers to a genre of creative writing where enthusiasts of an original work create narratives based on characters and settings written by the initial creator. A hub for fan-fiction is often a website where authors who share a common interest can come together, blog, and share each other’s stories. Through its unique means, a fan fiction website can be an exceptionally effective learning community. Unlike the traditional academic classroom, social, economic, cultural, and sexual backgrounds are not considered nor shared with fellow classmates. In his in-depth article, “Why Heather Can Write: Media Literacy and the Harry Potter Wars”, Henry Jenkins explores the immense world of fan- fiction literature. He investigates the genre and its validity as an educational tool. There is a great deal of discussion when it comes to the educational value of fan-fiction websites and many believe that these writers are not participating in intellectual scholarship in any way, shape, or form. However, through an alternative lens it is evident that fan-fiction writers are engaging in cerebral activity. James Paul Gee, a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, is a firm believer that fan-fiction websites are a valid educational endeavor. He states that “more and more literacy experts are recognizing that enacting, reciting, and appropriating elements from preexisting stories is a valuable and organic part of the process by which children develop cultural literacy” (Jenkins 280). Through fan-fiction, writers are able to Lee 1
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expand on the traditional literacy conventions taught in the classroom. The writers develop grammatical and editorial techniques, learn about others with different cultures and backgrounds, and critically analyze works from fellow writers. Writing narratives and stories, in any setting, is a scholarly activity that involves intellect and proper techniques. Whether it is writing a comedic novel, a senior thesis, or even a fan- fiction story, writing is an ongoing process that requires the understanding of scholarly writing and some a foundation for creative writing. Heather Lawver, the creator of the website was thirteen when she created the website, The Daily Prophet . She is now the managing editor who leads one hundred and two children; the children all contribute and write for the fan-fiction newspaper. While Lawver was never actually schooled in a school system, she leads this successful website and performs all the tasks that a managing editor does. She personally takes on the assignment of editing every story before it is posted on the website. She also instructs her
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