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.
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.
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.
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.