Fanfiction (abbreviated fanfic) is a tale or book, generally of short length, that is based in this case on J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium. Most are based on The Lord of the Rings, and many others on various points in the Silmarillion. Christopher Tolkien would not allow books based on Middle-earth to be published, and therefor most fanfics are printed on various sites. The fanfics fall into several categories.
- Purist. This category is made up of fanfictions that stay (to the best of their knowledge) true to the books. They are often longer than other categories, and perhaps the favorite of hard-core Tolkienists.
- Loose. This category is composed of fanfics that are only loosely based on the books, or are based primarily on the movie's depiction. Often these are far less researched that Purist fanfics, and the details are not as accurate.
- Spoof. This is composed of books that are not realistic to Middle-earth, which is usually parody or "Mary-Sue". See below
The subcategories are divided from one or more of the above categories. Many fanfics fall into more than one of these subcategories.
- Action/Adventure. This subcategory generally falls into the Purist and Loose categories, as being made up of stories of battles and adventures. Primarily these are stories that tell of a particular person at a particular battle. Most are based on Lord of the Rings as opposed to the Silmarillion.
- Gap-fillers. This type of story fills in a gap in Tolkien's works, particularly concerning the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Some examples include Strider's capture of Gollum and the battle of Lothlórien during the War of the Ring.
- Character-Adventure. This one usually takes a character, such as Glorfindel, and expands upon his or her life. Another example would be a fanfic on Aragorn's early life as a ranger.
- Romance. This subcategory is, obviously, about the romantic relationships of two characters; usually Aragorn and Arwen. Because this can also be used in the Spoof category (such as a character falling in love with Legolas), many Purist sites discourage the use of this subcategory.
- Firsthand Account. This subcategory can fall into all categories, and includes those fanfics whose primary character follows and observes the actions of various Tolkien characters. An example of this along more Purist lines would be one of the ten companions of Finrod Felagund and Beren Erchamion. On the other side, in the Spoof category would be a visitor from Earth that helps and follows the Fellowship of the Ring.
- "Historical" Novel. This style is usually the longest, and falls into only the Purist category. It usually is more like an actual book, with a character that sees events, battles, and the like taking place. This is usually based on a period in the Silmarillion. An example of this would be an elf of Tirion participating in the Flight of the Noldor. This type usually has a whole plot beneath the main story as dictated in Tolkien's writings.
- Mary-Sue. This falls into the Spoof category. A Mary-Sue is one in which a character from our world (Earth), particularly a girl, ends up in Middle-earth. Usually (particularly after the releasing of the films) the character falls in love with a character, particularly Legolas.
- Slash. This subcategory is one which features gay (homosexual) characters, usually elf-lords. This is prohibited on many fanfic sights, despite its rising popularity, because it is considered by most contrary to Tolkien's ideals and writings.
To be continued