Monday, April 18, 2011

Fanfic Week: What is fanfiction?

Guess what everybody? Today is the first day of Fanfic Week! It's been something I've been thinking about doing since this blog was a baby, and now we're finally there. Yay!

For anyone that doesn't know, fanfiction is exactly what it sounds like: fiction written by fans. It's when you take an existing world and its characters, and then write your own story involving them. Of course, you don't get paid for writing fanfiction and it'll never be published, since that would be plagiarism to the first degree.

However, fanfiction is a force to be reckoned with. There are dozens of websites built solely for fanfic, and like everything on the web, there are trashy places and hidden gems. It even has its own rules and its own lingo. But most importantly, there are thousands (maybe millions) of people actively participating.

But why?

Mostly because it's a glorified form of wish fulfillment. Fanfiction is fun to read and write because you can make anything happen. Romances that didn't exist before, events that were glossed over, characters with fuzzy backgrounds--all of these can be elaborated on. If the ending of a book or a movie frustrated you, there's a good chance you can find a fanfic where everything happens the way you wanted it to.

As you can imagine, the writing community is pretty split on the matter. Anne Rice has publicly stated her displeasure with fanfiction and has told her fans to go write something original. On the other hand, some authors, like Cassandra Clare, actually started off as fanfic writers before getting published.

Personally, I think fanfiction has value. This might come from the fact that I spent several years writing Kindgom Hearts fanfiction and several more years reading Stargate Atlantis fanfiction. What can I say? I'm a geek. Now would I feel differently if someone was writing fanfiction about my story? I kinda doubt it. Not only is that incredibly flattering, but it'd be really cool. Just saying.

But yes. In the next few days I'll be discussing the pros and cons of actually writing fanfiction--so look forward to it! Until then, what are your thoughts? Have you guys read or written any fanfiction? What fandom did you dabble in? Or do you think it's a waste of time and effort? Tell me in the comments.


Sara Reine said...

I, like most writers, dabbled in fanfiction when I was younger. There's some Harry Potter and Buffy fic out there that I am ashamed to admit sprung from some dark, moldy corner of my mind. ;) I think it's a great way to learn writing mechanics like story structure, and it's fun for practice in between projects, too. Not that I, uh, recently wrote any Fringe fanfic or anything. *cough*

Sarah Robertson said...

Ahh, I totally agree on every point! Fanfiction is great for practice, for allowing yourself to just create something without any pressure. :) And yeah, I may have dabbled in some things of late too. >_> Don't tell anyone!

Yemi Hikari said...

I found your blog via the fact I was looking up stuff on Cassandra Clare that was recent to see if people were still talking about her plagiarism scandal. I won't bring that up here, but I will say, because of the plagiarism issue, I wish there were other authors who are known to have moved from fanfiction to publishing, but the two that have unfortunatly have bad reputation attached to them.

Sarah Robertson said...

Actually, I do know all about the drama of Cassandra Clare in fanfiction world. :) One of the reasons I used her as an example is because she's a fairly well-known YA author. That and I don't know too many other people that have moved from fanfiction to publishing! I definitely agree that the reputation of such people could use a boost though, since most fanfiction authors don't create nearly that much scandal.

Brenna Braaten said...

You know me. I don't have the patience to slug through all the crappy fiction that's out there. But that's just me. I like the thought of reading and writing it. I liked reading yours (and all that crystalline water). And, I love the idea of people writing (and drawing) fan stuff about my books. When, you know, I get there.

Sarah Robertson said...

Shh, don't give anyone any hints! No one EVER needs to associate my fanfiction with me. :P

I gotta say I agree though. :) It's always good to have a positive attitude towards your fans.

Jackie said...

When I was younger, I used to read LOADS of Lord of the Rings fan fiction. I loved it! I even wrote some beginnings to LOTR fan fiction, but I never got past 5 pages. Recently, after re-reading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time, I decided to write a little Harry Potter fan fiction. I can't live in the wizarding world, but I can create stories about it for myself. I never did get into reading HP fan fiction though. I never liked the relationships people created. I don't think any of the "ships" beat the ones J.K. Rowling created.

I have a hard time understanding why any author would disprove of fan fiction because to me it kind of translates to an author discouraging a person from simply writing. I mean, for a lot of people, fan fiction is kind of like a gateway art. People will move on to writing their own original stories eventually, but maybe they wouldn't have if they didn't start out writing fan fiction first. Ya know?

Sarah Robertson said...

Seems like we're a bit switched! Despite being obsessed with LotR, I never got too into the fanfiction. Everyone always felt strangely out-of-character to me, even when they weren't. >_> I do have a soft spot in my heart for HP fanfiction. A lot of it is cracky, but I've always felt that the HP world is a little too black and white sometimes, and fanfiction likes to explore that. :)

I think the people who don't like fanfiction are maybe super attached to their work? Fanfiction is kind of harsh sometimes. Personally, I think it would be hilarious to find that someone wrote a horrible high school life fanfic about my characters, but I could see how others would just shudder at the thought. But hey, I think everyone should have the opportunity to write and express themselves, even if it's through fanfiction. *shrug*

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