Actually, I’ll do you one better. Why’s an AU?
An AU, short for alternative universe, is a term for when an author or artist takes an established piece of work – like Harry Potter – and created their own piece of work that takes place in a universe that’s somewhat different. For instance, a fanfic where Harry Potter’s parents lived would be set in an AU, as would one where the entire story takes place on Mars. BBC’s Sherlock could be considered an AU from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, as well as every retelling of a story like Cinderella.
AUs are typically created by fans of the works, which may make someone ask “if they love this world so much, why change it?” And the truth is, reasons may very. Some examples include:
– a fan loving something so much they can’t get it out of their head, and end up coming up with their own idea
– a fan loving a series, but disliking an event so they rewrite it without that event
– curiosity of how a series would have turned out without an important event
– a merging of ideas – for instance, an AU where Star Wars characters attend Hogwarts
– fans writing something closer to home, like a modern-day AU for historical fiction
– a fan wants something to happen really badly, so they write a fanfiction of it
– just generally creative fans working with something they love
In a nutshell, AUs are usually created out of love for a work.
If you have a favorite AU type, comment below! I personally love crossovers.