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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fanfiction Frenzy

Whenever there’s a popular show or book, Internet travelers are bound to find fanfiction about it. Fanfiction is creative writing about characters and storylines that were created by someone else. Some original authors and their publishers frown upon fanfiction, implying that it’s a copyright infringement. Perhaps it is…but how ‘bout that publicity?

Fanfiction is a way for the fans of a movie, show, or book to express their admiration, prolong the feelings they derived from the original, and extend contact with their favorite characters and storylines. It is NOT a sign of a pervasive lack of originality in the writers of fanfiction—some of the most creative and expressive writing I’ve ever read has been fanfiction. And I don’t say this just because I’ve written some myself… ;)

I understand an author’s concern about copyright infringement—the characters and storylines are theirs by creation and license. However, the benefit of promotion can’t be ignored. Fanfiction brings attention to the original, gains new followers, and shows the dedication of the original work’s fanbase. Fanfiction writers are loyal to a fault, and most have friends who they will persuade to read their fine work. This often triggers curiosity about the original creation, which is always a good thing for any author hoping for interest in their work.

Fanfiction is often extremely enjoyable, from straight orthodox fiction to humorous spoofs. So if you have a favorite show or book, do a search online for associated fanfiction. You might be surprised and entertained by what you find.


  1. Interesting commentary on fanfiction. I'm a fanfiction writer, myself, and I do feel that some of my best prose has arisen from these pre-made universes. But it also influenced me to take a stab at writing my own original work...which can't be a bad thing for an aspiring writer, right?

    I do know authors who have a problem with other people mistreating their babies, and I can certainly see the point in that. I don't like getting negative reviews, let alone finding out that someone halfway across the world has cut off the head of my creation, or put my prince in drag, or whatever else can occur in a fanfiction story (and usually does). :)

    Your point about the publicity is a good one, though. How can you argue with the value of getting your name out there? As they say, any publicity is good publicity.

    Nice little observation.

  2. BonusParts Fic, you make a good point about authors hating to see their creations abused--I would be stricken if any of my characters were man-handled or offed in some unsightly fashion. And of course, my fragile ego couldn't handle a true roast of characters/storylines. I barely survive critical reviews! LOL

    If all that was out there was the negative stuff, I can see how any author would despise fanfiction. But there is usually dedicated fiction that stays true to characters and storylines, balancing the negative with positive feedback.

    With the free publicity, plus the benefit you mentioned of inspiring writers to branch out on their own, I think the good outweighs the bad with fanfiction.

    Thanks for the comment and discussion!

  3. Nice conversation on fanfiction! It's been a sticky topic on other boards I've been to so it is good to see such a balanced insight by both of you.

    What would be my first thought if I found out someone was writing fanfiction on some of my stories? It would be "Wow, they like me! They really like me!" Would I feel different if I was a NYT best-selling author? I don't think so, and hopefully, that day will come. ;) I can also see the other side that was pointed out and how it would feel to see a beloved character totally massacred. I'm always one to try and find a positive even in the most negative things, and if an aspiring author was able to learn and grow in their own writing by messing up a story or character of mine, it would be worth the shock to my delicate muse.

    I took my own baby-steps into the literary world through fanfiction, and what an awesome ride it was! It allowed me to work on my rusty writing skills and find the courage to dive into my own original work. At the same time, I tried to be respectful of the creator/author and would never attempt to take it any further than simply writing about a world and characters I loved. After all, isn't imitation the best form of flattery? :)

  4. I'm completely with you on your commentary on fanfiction, and I think people tend to misjudge and look down on fanfiction because it's based on something pre-existing. Still, there is an art to fanfiction-writing, to make it "plausible" (for lack of better word), without abusing storylines and/or characters too much.

    I myself write fanfiction, so just like you I may be a little biased, but still. I do write non-fanfiction stuff, which I'm pretty proud of, but through fanfiction I can draw extra inspiration, and find motivations to carry on with my own stories.

    I keep a blog where I recommend my favourite fanfics so that more people can discover and enjoy this fantastic form of writing. People may discredit fanfiction, but they can't really say anything until they've read some themselves.