Fan Fiction — Flattery or Blasphemy?

  I just put the two words together that authors love–but that’s only when they’re separate. Fan Fiction seems to be the bane of some people’s reading and author careers, while others embrace it. I hadn’t thought of it, outside of the realm that Twilight spawned enough fan fiction that actually became wildly successful that spawned more fan fiction off of that (*cough* 50 Shades of Grey –> Sylvia Day’s books –> whoever decided to do that fan fiction that also has covers that look exactly like the three previously mentioned books–> etc.)

Other than the rare fact that sometimes fan fiction has ridden off of the coat tales of others’ success, what’s so bad about it?

I wanted to step back and really think about fan fiction outside of the realm of 50 Shades of Grey, which I am notoriously biased against. So I started really looking at the idea of fan fiction in all of its facets. In the end I’ve decided it’s a little bit of both flattery and blasphemy.

What do I mean?

As an author, I think it would be interesting to see what someone would do with my novels in their own mind, with the exception of making them pornos. That’s what I meant by blasphemy. If you look up the word fan fiction you will see numerous accounts of what basically takes a beloved childhood novel and turns it into a full on BSMD (I’m honestly not sure that’s the right acronym, but I’m sure you get the point). Harry Pottter…porn?

Ummm…no. Please…no.

Aside from the blasphemous porn renditions of novels, I think fan fiction may have some merit. Honestly, we all have to start out somewhere. I started writing full novels when I was twelve years old. There’s so many in fact, that I can’t even recall many of them–but to be honest with you, I’m sure that some of them were spin offs of something I watched or read.

But isn’t that what a good book is meant to do? Inpsire us? Make us think?

I write books to do just that, so I don’t think I would freak out if I found out someone took Love Exactly and finished it off the way they wouldn’ve wanted it. I think it would be interesting, because I inspired that.That would actually be pretty cool. It would not be so cool if they somehow became notoriously famous from it, but then again, couldn’t I reverse coat tail then?

 
Nevertheless, there’s that lingering stereotype about fan fiction that it’s just utter crap. It’s unedited–raw and filled with plot holes. I think that’s a harsh statement, seeing the idea of fan fiction is simply that someone is writing something down for their own pleasure. Plus, many authors promote the writing of utter crap the entire month of November, so why not promote fan fiction?

I’m pretty sure someone has just unfriended me on twitter (I know that’s not how it works)–but stay with me here.

If you’re an author, answer me this, how awesome would it be to have your novel made into a television series?

Now, let’s stop and think about what that would look like. Things would certainly be different for the sake of the screen writing…are you starting to see what I’m saying? At some point your novel ends, but perhaps the television series doesn’t…then what occurs?

Fan Fiction.

I understand why some are insulted by the idea of fan fiction– you wrote that book the way you wanted it to be written, and you feel like it’s your baby. You don’t want to see it altered, and here’s the thing, you don’t have to. You have the choice to think of it as flattery and not read it. Instead, just think of it differently.  Your reader just couldn’t put your novel out of their mind. In fact, they became so addicted to your characters that they sought to finish the story so they could have some resolution. Perhaps it’s a different resolution than you imagined, but other people have different levels of what they feel is a resolution. I thought Love Exactly ended with an obvious happy ending; others didn’t. In the end, maybe some day down the road that reader will become an author and write an amazing story completely out of their own mind, because you inspired them to become a writer, and then eventually, an author.

Hey, if someone is writing fan fiction of your book, I’m pretty sure that means you’ve made it off pretty well in the first place. Fan Fiction brings up one singular question, as an author, why did you decide to write in the first place?

If it’s to inspire people then fan fiction proves you’ve done just that.

Oh, and if someone wants to write a fan fiction of one of my novels…just keep it clean, please.

 

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5 thoughts on “Fan Fiction — Flattery or Blasphemy?

  1. I think I’m the minority, but I’ll voice my thoughts. I’m personally not a fan of fanfiction. I don’t mind people writing it about other people’s books, but I don’t read it, and I would be bothered if someone tried to change my stories. All authors write for different reasons. I write for me. I publish to share my stories with readers. I don’t publish and share so other people can take *my* characters and *my* worlds and reimagine them in a way they’re not supposed to be. Years ago, I might’ve been more willing to hand over my books for TV or movie (which will never happen bc I’m not nearly that popular LOL but for the sake of hypothetical questions…). I think self-pub has made me more protective of my books because I *can* write them however I want without having to worry about being commercial and selling for a pub house. Like I said, I’m in the minority. If people want to write fanfic, that’s fine, just as long as they don’t touch *my* books.

    • Funny, in writing this post, I felt I was the minority! I also think I’m in the minority that I very easily let go of my characters, which is probably why I have such a difficult time writing series. That might lend to my feelings on this as well. I also write for myself, but I do wish to inspire people. I feel that if we don’t write for ourselves our stories will end up flat. I’ll be posting about that sometime in the future too. Great response! Thanks for commenting and keep up the good work!

      • My sister is sorta like this. Once she’s written a story with an MC, it’s hard for her to write in that character’s POV again. I personally find it easier, but I’m starting to worry that writing in the same POVs is going to hinder me when trying to find new voices later on.

  2. I’ve heard more than a few writers got their start in fan fiction. A former writing buddy of mine did. It wasn’t good and he knows it, but we had some laughs when he showed me. I think it’d be cool to have someone write fan fiction of any of my stories. I’d be interested to see what they did and where they took the characters.

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