Home » Creativity » Fan Fiction: A Writer’s Perspective (Part 1)

Fan Fiction: A Writer’s Perspective (Part 1)

Big Fan Fic 1 Big Fan Fic 2

 

There are mixed feelings on fan fiction in the writing world. Some view it as an invasion into another person’s creative brainchild, others view it as a crass manipulation of the work. There are so many different types of fan fiction out there ranging from TV shows and books to fiction about an actor or character displaced from their own reality and interjected into one of the author’s creation. I confess, I enjoy fan fiction if it’s written well. But where the good abides, so do the dark, daring, and sometimes strange. Such is life, and the same can be said about original fiction.

Here are some photos I found you may find humorous. Some fan fics are an acquired taste and what has been seen can never be unseen.

  fanfiction

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spock

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I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with your writing skills. Let me continue my list of confessions. I write fan fiction as do several other authors I know including Jen Bradlee. (If you haven’t seen the short Firefly/Serenity fan fic on her blog, then go take a peek HERE, especially if you’re a fan of that show. Trust me.)

But why write fan fiction? It’s not like I can publish it, right? Well, no you cannot take someone else’s idea and make money off of it. That would be copyright infringement and is frowned upon in all artistic circles almost to the point that cannibalism is in modern society. What you can do with fan fiction is post it on FanFiction.net, Archive Of Our Own (AO3), or DeviantArt. But why would I do that?

To get your name out there.

To show people around the world your unique writer’s voice.

To share your work with the world.

Even though you’re not making money off of the work, it is working for you. It allows you to spread your wings as a writer and put your name out in artistic circles. There are some fan fic authors who have huge followings. Imagine if they wrote their own fiction and published it. They would already have a base of readers who love their style. How many of us will buy a book just on the authors name without even reading the blurb or excerpt because we love what they’ve done in the past and crave more?

I challenge you this week to venture into the world of fan fiction. Choose a book, TV show, movie, video game, etc, look up a fic, and find one that speaks to you. You’ll be amazed what you can find. I will warn you, fan fiction is like the ocean. It can be beautiful and inviting from the beach, but the deeper you go, the darker the waters can become. Make sure you keep a steady eye on the shore as you wade into her warm embrace. Her siren song is tempting and dangerous.

Do you read fan fiction? If so, what are your thoughts?

Next week, I will be continuing this discussion by talking about the ways in which a writer can use fan fiction to improve their own work and their skills as a writer. Stick around. It’ll be fun, I promise.

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10 thoughts on “Fan Fiction: A Writer’s Perspective (Part 1)

  1. While I don’t write fan fiction anymore, I did find it to be a great way to break into writing. It’s a useful way of exercising your creativity with “pre-built” characters and world’s and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start writing but hasn’t yet gained the confidence to develop a whole story.

    IIt’s also a great way to encourage cildren and teens to write, which is never a bad thing.

  2. As for publishing, I’d like to point out that 50 Shades of Gray was originally a Twilight fanfic.

    And despite the fact I won’t read either of those books, I think it’s unfortunate that fanfic gets the bad rap it does. What, exactly, is the fundamental difference between a Twilight fanfic and, say, Xena warrior princess? Well, the copyright hasn’t expired on Twilight, and that seems the general gist of the term.

    If it’s still under copyright, it’s a fanfic. If it isn’t, if it’s ‘old enough’, then it becomes simply derivative, or an homage, or a new twist or what-have-you. But Xena was as much a fanfic of Greek myth as any fanfic out there, and it was pretty popular in its day.

    I agree that fanfic is a great way for writers to begin, to learn about writing and test the waters for themselves while utilizing well known characters or settings. It also just gives fans of the original a way to keep it alive long after it’s over, or explore new ideas that the original didn’t.

    And like all things, some fanfic is good, and some not so much. But then, so are a lot of originals 😉

    • I purposely left out 50 Shades of Gray. But thank you for your input. I like to call those homage pieces “legal fan fic” since the characters are in the public domain but they still aren’t original in and of themselves.

      Yes, the world of fan fic can be dangerous to explore, full of the good, the bad, and the oh-my-god-what-did-I-just-read.

  3. A,G. Howard is in my weekly writing group. She wrote a modern-day Alice in Wonderland that sold to Amulet for a good deal, that became a trilogy. Her legal fan fiction has served her well, and I’ve loved every one of those books.

  4. Keep at it, Kirsten. You’ll KNOW it when you find your right legal fan fiction. When A.G. Howard told me about her modern-day Alice in Wonderland (the novel is called Splintered), I got goosebumps all over and thought, “That’s BRILLIANT!”

  5. Before writing and publishing professionally, I started in fan fic back in the early to mid-90s with stories set in Star Trek, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, and other titles. I found it to be a fantastic training ground for honing one’s writing and storytelling skills. It was through fan fic, and attending SF conventions, that my writing career was launched. I met my current publisher, Steven H. Wilson of Firebringer Press, in 1993 at an SF convention called Farpoint (a con that Steve co-founded). They were running a writing contest and I came in second place with a classic Trek tale.

    Steve had also started in fan fic and by then, had written three or four issues for DC Comics’ Warlord and Star Trek series. He encouraged me to keep writing and was many times a mentor. Now, we’re like brothers.

    Over the years of attending the cons, I also got to know pros like NYT bestselling authors Howard Weinstein, Michael Jan Friedman, Peter David, Aaron Rosenberg, and Bob Greenberger (who was also an editor for DC Comics at the time). Back then, I was one of the Trekkies walking up with my stack of comic books and SF novels asking for their autographs.

    Three years ago, these chaps formed their own small press called Crazy 8 Press. In 2012, Bob and Aaron, along with comic book legend Paul Kupperberg, started an anthology series called ReDeus (in which all of the ancient gods return to Earth today). They then reached out and invited a dozen writers to contribute…including Steve and me. Imagine how thrilled I was!

    So, for those in the publishing world that scoff at fan fic, it has opened doors for me and allowed for a comparatively smooth transition to writing professionally. Best of all, I’ve forged wonderful and lasting friendships with fantastic writers that I have admired for decades.

    It was for this reason that I created Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, the anthology that Amanda Headlee has been chatting about here. A few of the writers in the book started in fan fic and I wanted to pay forward what Steve Wilson, Bob Greenberger, and Aaron Rosenberg had done for me.

  6. Good to see somebody not bashing fanfics and presenting them from a writer’s POV. I used to write them, and I read them (hey, don’t all hit me at once), but I can understand under certain circumstances how they might freak someone out. 😉

    • Thanks, Devika. Like I said in the post. There are good, bad, and down-right scary fan fics out there. Everyone has their own tastes and that’s awesome. But I think there’s untapped potential in writing Fan Fiction and in that community. 🙂

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