The Value of Fan-Fiction
Ah, fan-fiction… It’s something that I’m sure a lot of writers know about. How many actually admit to read, or even writing some of it? If you don’t know what it is, basically it is fiction written about characters already existing in some kind of media. It’s always interesting to imagine what stories we could come up with our favorite characters. Though I feel some times it can be seen as amateur. Some question the value of fan-fiction, especially since it’s not original work. Though I believe that it is important.
Fan-fiction might seem like a recent developement, but it isn’t. It has been done long before the invention of the internet, and some of it has been published. For an example, there are a lot of stories based on the character Sherlock Holmes, though the author who penned him originally has already passed way. Also how many Pride and Prejudice related books are published right now? I won’t even try to count. Plus there are tie-in novels for certain television shows, which could be like published fan-fiction as well.
So why would we feel that fan-fiction is amateur? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because we’re piggybacking on someone elses characters, and/or ideas? Though what is really original work? Since we’re part of the human condition, there really isn’t anything that is completely original. They are just shades of something that has been done before. Either way, authors have been split over what to do about fan-fiction since it multiplied with the internet. Some authors have tried to defend their copyright such as Anne Rice, while others like J.K. Rowling and Douglas Adams encourage fan-fiction writing. According to the Guardian, “Douglas Adams claimed that fanfic expanded his understanding of the parallel universes he’d created in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and that they increased his sales.” The Guardian mentioned in 2003, J.K. Rowling was “flattered people wanted to write their own stories” based on her characters, but on one condition – that they did not try to make money from their creations. Her stance was tested when fan/author George Lippert, wrote a continuation fic, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, based on the fictional son of Harry. According to the Guardian, “Rowling threatened legal action for infringement, but after much adverse press from fans she relented and allowed the publication to go ahead. Check out what Naomi Novik says about Fan-fiction being part of literary history in this video. She is a published author who has a passion for preserving fan-fiction online. Novik has worked with the Organization for Transformative Works to create an online archive for fanfic called An Archive of Our Own.
Though for fandoms, fan-fiction gives fans a way to explore the what ifs. It’s part of the community. As a fan of Harry Potter, I know how much the fandom really is important to keep the stories alive even after the last page of the book series. Though I’ve tried to write Harry Potter fan-fiction. I just couldn’t do it, but I liked looking around at other stories to see what fans would think up, especially now that the series is over. I have written more fan-fiction related to TV shows. It’s likely because that’s the fanfiction I read the most of. I try to write my own stories, as well as fan-fiction. With both, I’ve learned how to write, and how to improve in my writing. I can really see how much I’ve improved when I look at what I’ve written. I’ve always been interested in writing stories. I feel that fan-fiction helped bring an interest in writing a story, because I knew I could instantly publish and get feedback. It was something different from what had seen in school. I wish I had teachers who did the NaNoWriMo Young Writer Program when I was younger. I might have improved dramatically in my creative writing, as well as academically. Though I still had some great English teachers who inspired me to write, and recently some English professors too.
So what’s the point? Well, I believe that fan-fiction is a great way to experiment with writing. The world is already built, the characters are already introduced, and all you have to do is imagine the possiblies and write. There are plenty of writers willing to give feedback (especially on Fanfiction.net & An Archive of Our Own). Though don’t worry if you don’t get much feedback. A lot of people just like to read, but not comment. Be thankful for the comments you do receive, and the stats of how many people are reading your fan-fic. Though no matter what you do, original or fan fiction, it’s important to write, and have fun writing. That is the only way we can have a chance to explore, and let our voice be heard.
Another reason why I’m mentioning about this topic is because of my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I’ve tried to write an original novel last year in November. I completed an original novella in April during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo. This time, I want to write a Doctor Who novella. There are so many BBC books published on the show. I’ve really fallen for the Doctor since 2011. Though I don’t believe that I’ll ever get a chance to write a script for the show, or write an official BBC published book. I thought I would would still try, for Camp NaNoWriMo, and in honor of the 50th Anniversary in November. Since I won’t be able to write much creatively in the fall, since I’ll be going to Grad School. I thought July would be a good time. Plus I want to do something fun before I start school up again. Though I love being an English major, I don’t really enjoy the stress of essays and papers. Anyways, I’m a bit nervous and excited about my Doctor Who story idea. I’m trying my best to plan ahead. I’ve even tried out the 30-day free trial of the writing program, Scrivener. So far, I think it’s amazing, especially with the help of some tutorial videos on YouTube. I hope I can receive it for my birthday (July 3rd), or some time soon. I believe it will be useful for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, as well as my writing for Grad School. This program has helped me so far figure out a basic outline of what I’ll be writing, and create character sketches.
What do you think of fan-fiction? Have any tips, advice, or suggestions about writing my Doctor Who story? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
This image would have worked well with my last blog post… 😀
Now who wouldn’t want to write about this adorable man, who loves to travel in a blue Police box (aka the TARDIS) through time and space?