Is FanFiction a bad Word?

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about fanfiction. I’m not even sure if it’s supposed to be one word or two. But y’all know I tend to be aware of most writing/bookish topics, even if just minimally. Well, it would appear to me that fanfiction isn’t exactly welcomed in most literary circles. But I could be wrong.

For those who may not know, fanfiction is when someone (not the original author) writes fiction about or around characters from a particular story. Just imagine me writing something about Katniss and Peeta.

And now I have to tell you what I think of it. Eh. I’m not a fan. At all. I can say with confidence that I’ll likely never read a piece of fanfiction. For a few reasons. First, the person writing the fanfiction is almost certainly a worse writer than the original author. Second, I enjoyed the characters written from a particular perspective and by a particular author…I don’t need someone changing that. And third, I have a TBR shelf that’s constantly calling my name.

But I’m sure my opinion is different from yours. What do you think? Fanfiction good? Bad? Doesn’t matter?


On this day in 2014 I published What Does it Mean to be a Writer?.

 

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18 thoughts on “Is FanFiction a bad Word?

  1. A few years back ,when the final Harry Potter book was due to be released a rumour went around that it leaked on-line. Turns out it was fan fiction, fantastically written to the pint where I questioned the authenticity as opposed to being certain it wasn’t the real deal, as a rule however I’m not a fan, if you can write fanfic really well , there’s no reason that you can’t write your own material.

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  2. I think in most cases, I agree with you. I am a huge Jane Austen fan. Some contemporary authors have written fiction based off or around her characters (e.g. Austenland by Shannon Hale, or there’s another I read that I can’t recall right now; it is P&P from Mr. Darcy’s perspective and I did enjoy that one). Some can pull it off well, but others are just trash in comparison. I think if people decide to write fan fiction they should be very careful with how they approach it.

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    • I’ve never read any Jane Austen. And I actually think people just shouldn’t write it at all. Because like you said, there’s just a lot of trash.

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      • I hear you! I just have a fascination with the idea of seeing things from different perspectives. Also, with Austenland, it’s not a direct continuation of the story (unlike Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, which I haven’t read and probably never will because I’m afraid this is exactly the kind of fanfic that doesn’t jive). Instead, Hale’s fanfic is really her own sort of story about someone obsessed with Jane Austen’s literary world. It’s contemporary and amusing. OH, you should read Persuasion. That’s my favorite Austen. 🙂

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      • If you’re going to have that attitude you should say that no one should write anything, because there’s a lot of trash in original fiction too. It used to be that publishers acted as gatekeepers, but with ebooks and self publishing the dross content is probably roughly the same, when you factor in the fact that fanfiction is more accessible for young writers and first timers.

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      • Just because people will publish anything doesn’t meant they should.

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      • But you’re not saying they shouldn’t publish, you’re saying they shouldn’t write it.
        Let’s extend that. No one should paint, because most people who paint aren’t actually any good at it. Similarly music, most musicians are actually terrible. Poets – largely awful. Any form of art we should just give up on, because most people are bad at it. The same with sport – if you’re not good enough to compete at the Olympics or World Cup, don’t bother.

        A huge part of fanfiction’s audience, participants and readers, are teenagers. At a time when fewer people than ever are reading, teenagers are going beyond that and writing. They might not be good at it, they might not be JK Rowling, but they’re taking part. In fact, of course they’re nto good at it, they’re starting at 11 or 12! We’re not all Mozart.

        And if you’ve not been in fandom, you probably don’t understand how amazing it is to have friends who share your interests. Being a geek or fangirl can be lonely when you’re a kid, and fanfiction communities bring them together and give them a network of friends who get them.

        Basically, you don’t get to say what people should and shouldn’t do when you admit that you don’t know a lot about it.

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      • You’re taking this way too seriously. Bye now.

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  3. I think writers either have a fanfic muse and fandomy personality, or they don’t. I know, because I used to have a fanfic muse, but I don’t really anymore. Right now, my muse is only for original stuff. Nothing I’ve read/watched/played has inspired me enough to dabble in fanfiction for several years now.

    But regardless of why people write it, I know for a fact that fanfiction is a valid way of improving one’s writing. Fanfic was my training wheels the same way flash fiction is for other writers. It is phenomenal how much my style improved with three years of consistent fanfic writing. The constant feedback probably didn’t hurt either.

    So, I think those who see fanfiction as some waste of time or talent have a really narrow perspective. I don’t think there should be a stigma attached to the emotions of “that character deserved so much better” or “crap, my favorite show got cancelled on a cliffhanger – I need an ending!” Those are pretty natural emotions most people go through when enjoying any story. Fanfic writers are just the ones who pick up a pen and do something about it, for themselves and for other fans. Like I said, you’re either into that or you aren’t, and it’s fine either way.

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  4. When I was a teenager and completely obsessed with certain fandoms, I wrote some of my own fan fiction. And read a bunch of fan fiction. I don’t anymore. Although, as a former fan-fic junkie, I can tell you it takes a ton of work to produce anything somewhat entertaining. It’s true, a lot of fan fiction is cheesy, but some is written extremely well. I think that fan fiction is a good gateway drug, if you know what I mean. If it gets people writing, it’s not bad, as long as they eventually transition into realizing their own talent and begin writing their own stories.

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    • Own talent. Own stories. That’s all. You said it best.

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    • I kind of disagree with this. It’s a hobby, and if people enjoy writing fanfiction and don’t want to go onto original fiction, that’s up to them. It’s one of the only hobbies where people expect you to go on and do it professionally (artists and sports people might get asked if they fancy it, but there’s not the same ‘oh, when are you going to start selling your work’ that writers seem to get). You know, I just like writing fanfiction and don’t enjoy writing original fiction as much.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never read fan fiction from what I can remember, but I don’t think I would like it much. Possibly if the person was a die hard fan and pretty much knew everything about the author and the stories/characters they want to write about, I might not mind. But I think it just wouldn’t be the same–the characters wouldn’t be authentic.

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  6. I guess that’s your choice, but I enjoy the genre. And I know a lot of people probably don’t. I think fanfiction offers a way to get more out of a story then the original authors provide…especially if there are aspects of it that never get answered. For me, that drives me nuts to not have those answers to such questions, and fanfictions helps me, because someone is giving out some much needed answers… Then again if you don’t like cheesy and only can stand superb writing, then perhaps fanfiction just won’t cut it.

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    • Maybe. But just because someone writes about a couple known characters doesn’t really mean they’re adding anything to the story.

      I don’t even read self published books, so I definitely won’t read fanfiction that’s sometimes written by people who have no business writing anything to be read by others.

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      • Fanfiction authors are fans. Their motivation is likely intrinsic and personal. And they will find more satisfaction, the closer they get to the right story. And motivation to create for any reason is the basis of art, and not the status or credentials of the person.

        No they have not gone through the labor required to be polished/published. But this has been a spring point for many artists. And I personally don’t care that they are not the best. I have been entertained many times reading fanfiction and that is what I intended for.

        I also like that fanfiction are short. I generally read them when I don’t have time to get involved in a full book, but still want to read something that I can quickly get involved with.

        As far as the author not creating something of their own… and maybe not adding to the story… well probably. But its not a certainty. There are many books that do not add to their genre either. With author’s having pressure to publish frequently, there is more pressure to keep going rather then to truly innovate usually. Adding something new in general is the exception in most things I think. People generally recycle in one way or other.

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