Is Fan Fiction Really That Bad?

Debate, Writing

As writers, we all know that there are certain genres that are generally frowned upon, whether as an actual writer (as in “there is no way I would ever write that kind of thing”) or as a reader (as in “I wouldn’t be seen dead reading that kind of fiction). Stereotypically, Mills and Boon-type novels have received a large proportion of the backlash of this kind, however, over the past few years – with the boom of the Internet – another form of fiction has received just as much scorn; that is, of course Fan Fiction.

What is Fan Fiction?

Fan Fiction is a form of fiction-based writing that involves a writer taking the works of someone else; such as characters and environment, and creating their own stories out of it. This often comes in several forms, such as just creating new adventures for the characters, or even re-shaping them – so-to-speak – into completely new characters, building different relationships and even personalities.

What is the Point of Fan Fiction?

For many fans, writing (or reading) Fan Fiction is about holding on – for dear life – to a series of books, or films, or even a TV shows that they have really enjoyed, and helping to breathe life into it, so that it isn’t forgotten, but is able to continue for longer than the author has chosen to. It is sort of a sense of not wanting to let go to something.

Other reasons for creating Fan Fiction is because the fan doesn’t feel entirely happy with the direction the author has taken the book and/or its  characters in. So, they take the opportunity to “make it right” in their own words.

Would I Ever Write Fan Fiction?

Honestly? No.

For me, personally, the idea of using someone else’s characters tears apart my love for creating them. There is something so special about creating these people, and moulding them into what they become, and for me, using someone else’s characters feels a little like treading on another writers toes – what, for example – gives me the right to say that a character they have created is somehow wrong? But, for me, it’s not a case of not changing the character, because as a writer, I just cannot do that. I have to be the one to mould them, otherwise I don’t feel that I can get in their heads well enough to truly tell their story.

I need to know the character as if they were my best friend, and I don’t think that I could do that with a character that I couldn’t twist and move around in my own personal way.

Don’t get me wrong, I have attempted Fan Fiction (I attempted – during my Uni days – to write a story bringing together various characters from the different Final Fantasy video games) and I absolutely sucked at it. I mean, really sucked. It drove me crazy, because I didn’t feel like I could get into their heads. I didn’t know them well enough, because someone else created them.

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far with that work of crap!

Does that Make Fan Fiction a Bad Thing?

Of course not. Fan Fiction might not be my cup of tea, but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. Admittedly, there is this growing trend out there for truly bad Fan Fiction, and I mean appallingly bad. But then again, there are works that show a great deal of imagination, as well as talent.

Personally, I think that if you are a truly talented writer then it does not matter what you write, as long as you are writing. Unfortunately, it does build-up a few bridges for yourself, which are a little sad, especially if your wok is good.

The biggest wall is that ultimately, you will never be able to earn money from your work, as the rights to those characters and worlds belong to the person who created them. They only possible way to make money is if you are somehow able to get permission from the original author. This, of course can and has happened, but it’s unlikely.

There are, however, websites that are dedicated to be spaces to share Fan Fiction, and many Fan Fiction writers take to blogs to do it, so it is not completely impossible to at least get a little recognition from it. So, if you’re not bothered about monetary gains, then who cares, right?

I do also think that Fan Fiction is capable of leading a writer towards something much bigger. For example, a story might start out as a Twilight Fan Fiction (naming no names) and it gradually evolves into a story of its own with completely different characters in a very different environment.

Film as Fan Fiction

My film buff other half, who also happens to be a writer, commented that “these days Hollywood films are becoming a form of Fan Fiction.”

It was an interesting point, because it’s something that I have never even consider, and it would be interesting to know how much creative input, for example, George Lucas has had in the writing and plotting of the upcoming Star Wars films. If he has had little input, then the new films could easily be considered as being written by fans – just fans with a bit more money and power, than the average writer of Fan Fiction. Staying with J.J. Abrams films, the latest Star Trek films could also be called Fan Fiction as the original creators of the series are no longer alive. So, are films just an “accepted” form of Fan Fiction? And also, the only financially-rewarding.

 

What are your thoughts on Fan Fiction?

Do you think that there is plenty of room for all varieties of writing, no matter what style or genre?

Or do you think that Fan Fiction is the spawn of the Devil?

 

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