Is Fan Fiction Misinterpreted?

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Fan fiction is often considered un-inspirational, work born out of the inability to just let the story go. Or could it be argued that it shifts on the same boundaries as historical fiction?

All successful stories ask the question “What if?” To do this, all storytellers, need to accept that the facts on the ground can be changed and can be adjusted.

Is this not the truth for historical fiction?

Among the missing holes of history the authors ask “What if?” and that is where the story begins.

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This is the fundamental foundations for all Fan Fiction writers and readers — to explore the “What if?” that an author leaves behind. A lot of Fan Fiction is mediocre rambling however, when you find that one plausible story that slots into the dimensions, the history, that the author left behind that is where the true exploring begins; it restores your faith in Fan Fiction again.

Of course we cannot allow Fan Fiction to go speeding of the rails. There is a clear need, even now, for limits surrounding this recent genre of writing. But we forget many of these writers openly show their respect to the author by claiming they do not own any rights to the characters or the world they live in.

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There are arguments that Fan Fiction simply teaches these writers to imitate another author’s voice yet if you actually sit down and read some of it you hear their individual voices loud and clear, you could almost give them creative license over it.

One argument against Fan Fiction is that the writers are taking someone else’s characters and worlds rather being influenced by it. However it is another case of ignorance. Those who do it right add their own experiences and influences to their adaptation of these worlds in a plausible way.

My advice to anyone considering writing Fan Fiction is to constantly remember that you are borrowing someone else’s world and their characters. Therefore, think about whether your story is holding true to the question “What if?” and whether your interpretation fits feasibly into that existing world? But to always remember to use that “What if?” imagination to add to your creative experience and use it to create your own story, with your own characters, in their own worlds.

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It is also the fandoms that drive our biggest social media websites, such as Tumblr and Pinterest, and Fan Fiction is certainly a key player among these.

Just remember the historical fiction writers do their research for the truth and then write the “What if?” — perhaps its best to take their lead.

 

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4 thoughts on “Is Fan Fiction Misinterpreted?

  1. First off, thank you for sharing and linking to my articles. I’m honored that both of my posts inspired your article. However, I think you are missing one of the big problems with fan fiction (that historical fiction doesn’t have to deal with) and that is the idea of ownership.

    Those characters, those plots belong to another person, someone who spent years (maybe even decades) fine-tuning into the world or novel you love. For many authors, it is their livelihood, their heritage. It is their art. There are probably very few things that mean as much to those authors than that story a fan fiction author is borrowing. If you take it from the perspective of that passionate author, it is not surprising why some authors react so negatively to the writing trend.

    Yes, fan fiction authors add their own experience, and do it from a place of passion and inspiration. But it doesn’t change the ownership of the work. And that to me is always the red line why I think it is a disconcerting practice. Unless an author personally okays the practice I think a writer should find a different way to show their respect for a work.

    • How do you account for the fan fiction written when Star Trek: The Original Series came out?
      How do you account for fan art that depicts elements of fan fiction? Such as all the images of the Harry and Draco ship.

      It is because of the internet that this controversy began. If it wasn’t on such a high scale no one would really mind. With the internet it is impossible to police everything and the arguments of ownership cannot be so great as they seem as these sites are still able to exist, no measures have been taken to shut them down.

      Fan fiction is not just about books, they are about TV series, films, even bands such as One Direction. How do you argue a case of ownership over One Direction?

      Then there is the argument of are there any original stories left? Is then every story idea a form of copyright?

      Ultimately, I think if it makes people happy, and as long as there is no serious copyright infringement, then it is best to let it lie and allow these people to develop their creativity within this online community.

      Fan fiction is more a sense of community anyway. To know that you are not the only one out there who seriously loves this work, this work that has allowed your creativity to interpret its world in new ways. To explore as you never could on your own.

      There is too much stigma attached to fan fiction that makes me think there are bigger fish to fry in the world, and if no one likes it they should stop visiting the sites.

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