Fan Fiction — Yes, or No?

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Keeping fan fiction in perspective. I have read a number of comments in social media where authors question the value of fan fiction as a practice. This is a nice succinct outline of what it is, what it shouldn’t be and how to keep it real.

Sniffer Blog

What is Fan Fiction?
Fan fiction can be defined with one simple phrase: “What if . . .”
What if Elsa fell in love with Olaf?
What if Captain America used time travel so he could go back and have his date?
What if Bilbo found Yoda in Mirkwood?
Fan fiction explores the “what if” questions of popular culture. Sometimes, a two-hour movie or a 300 page book isn’t enough for people. They go and write out extra scenes that never happened (and most often were never intended to happen), or even go so far as writing a completely new story set the same world.
Fan fiction has many wonderful benefits, but also has a sinister side that can easily turn what is good into what is hideous.

The Good
Why might writing fan fiction be a good thing?
For aspiring writers who want to tell their own stories, writing…

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4 thoughts on “Fan Fiction — Yes, or No?

  1. seralynsmom says:

    I’m not sure i agree with the hideous part of this. I mean I can understand wanting to keep the integrity of the authors original story but that why fanfiction is fanfiction, to explore other avenues. Look at one FSoG fanfiction I read where Ana leaves Christian after the belt incident, moves to NY and meets Gideon Cross. Gideon protects Ana when Christian comes searching for her. Her and Gideon eventually fall for each other, she marries Gideon and has his baby. She never returns to Christian as anything more than a friend. And even though I’m a diehard Ana and Christian, forever and always kinda gal, this story actually worked for me. Christian learned to love thanks to Ana but found a woman that could be more of the submissive Ana couldn’t that he could actually also love. Kinda like those relationships in the bdsm community where the Dom and Sub are married. Where as one other “crossover” story I read killed Christian and Eva and Ana and Gideon got married while Gideon raised Ana and Christians child (she found out she was pregnant just after the deaths) as his own. I stopped reading it. Not because it was bad or poorly written but because I couldn’t go there. Look at Twilight and FSoG. I know Erika kept the fundamental story line of Twilight but I doubt Stephenie ever envisioned her characters being in a bdsm type relationship. I’ve seen some pretty far fetched stuff in fanfiction and having read the original stories I know that they’re far fetched but I’ve seen a lot of them that actually work. And then look at your own story Blackheart. Here you’ve taken FSoG and made a historical fiction full of things that are relatively different from the original, you’ve kept the base line of they fall in love and live HEA but you’ve made it your own story. I know a lot of ppl who wouldn’t be very into your story just because its a historical and they’re the “give me modern romance or nothing” types ( I personally think they’re missing out because who doesn’t love cravats and balls and sexy Earls?) but your story works!!! It’s friggin wonderful!! So I must respectfully disagree with that article. I think fanfiction should be anything the person writing it wants it to be. If we don’t like the story we don’t have to read it. And I think there’s a lot more authors out there who are flattered that ppl loved their story so much they wanted to either keep it going or keep it in their minds constantly by writing their own version. I know that last part sounds weird but everytime someone writes their own version of that story they have to take in the original again in order to see what they want to change, therefore its constantly in their mind and they’re tempted to reread it again and again. 😀

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    • Yes, I think you’re right. Those who come to fan fiction as a reader looking for more of the same need to move on from the stories that explore, extend, expand and sometimes expunge. They will often be disappointed if they are hoping that we are all going to mimic Erika and by default Stephenie. As a writer, it is a really dynamic and interesting play space and I value the experience that I have gained here.

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  2. telcontari71 says:

    I think the article makes very valid points. FF pretty much serves as a pre-fabricated launchpad for authors. Writers starting out for the first time find it easy to write something for characters in a fictional world that is already established. As authors develop their skills, they will at some point feel comfortable enough to leave the comfort of FF and try to create their own stories and establish their own worlds.

    FF is a disruptive trend for the old establishment. I allows new authors to directly engage with their readers, take on board the comments and improve their art. Many of the more successful author go on to self-publish and find success as writers. They don’t need professional editors, literary agents, publishers, or critics. They can directly engage with their readers who buy and read their books. This will of change will threaten the old established order.

    Personally I welcome this. Yes it is disruptive, but in the long run, we will be enriched.

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    • I’m not so sure. I think that there is always need for a professional editor because I know that when I read Indie titles now, I get very turned off by the elements of the story that could have been saved by some professional editing. I don’t think anyone can step into the big leagues without the agent and publisher – they will always still be needed but perhaps not with the dominance of previous iterations. Readers become the critics but there is danger for the fragility of the writer in that good critiques can feel loaded and bad critiques can be ruthless (often unfair with nothing to do with the work). FF disrupts but it also distorts and canny writers know the difference.

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