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Fanfiction: Good or Bad??

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devora, Sep 29, 2012.

Good or bad?

Poll closed Nov 5, 2012.
  1. Good

    10 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Neutral

    15 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. Bad

    5 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    My objection to fanfiction is based solely on the butchering of the character's personalities. If the fanfiction doesn't use those characters, or uses them only as supporting characters, or in some cases makes a genuine and successful effort to get those characters right, then I've no problem with it. But just using somebody else's characters, you're likely to misunderstand their motivations and their experiences and create characters who are caricatures of the originals. I think that can be bad for the fanfiction writer and bad for the original author. Those things are less likely to happen with artwork, and I can respect that a lot more.

    Then of course there's the slasher stuff.
     
    Weaver likes this.
  2. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    For me,
    Fanfic makes it seem like I am equal to my favorite writer.

    But after writing my books, and characters, I know there are reasons why characters do things, some hidden or unrealized traits that no one but the writer knows. So you are puppeting the writers characters as to how you think they would act.
    The few fanfic I read, the characters just didn't seem to be the same.
    Much like someone telling how an incident happened, the stories can come out very different compared to each other.

    I much rather use the traits I like or dislike in a character of a book I like, then to try to mimic the actual char. I could not write the same Harry Potter that Rawling does. Nor the same Hiccup (HttyD), nor the same Eragon.
    If I can't make them as good/better, then I am watering down the character.

    Let the great writers with great characters tell their stories, I will strive to make my characters great and tell my stories.

    Fanfic as a writing exercise, maybe, but I won't post in it any forum other then the writing challenge.

    I think I have offended Fanfic writers before, so I will repost this:
    IMO, this is my opinion, I make no judgement on others that like to write fanfic.
     
  3. Madness! o_O

    What you are basically saying is, you mostly only object to bad fanfiction.

    That's pretty reasonable, I think. :p
     
  4. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    You know what I notice about these fanfic discussions? Nobody wants to defend slash. So the question is, if pretty much everyone agrees it's bad... who writes this garbage?
     
  5. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I'm guessing people that like to think of the same-sex characters hooking up. And they probably don't think it is garbage. I'm not opposed to a good fanfiction story having elements of this if the groundwork was in the series, although I'd rather not read the details and skip to the plot.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Actually, as far as fanfic goes, I think slash is pretty popular. It has even been studied by sociologists, and I think you'd need a threshold popularity to attract that attention.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I know somebody. It's mostly women. They have conventions.
     
  8. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    But... why??? Why do they do it? It boggles me that people are willing to twist characterization around like a pretzel in order to make their two favorite characters hook up. Faithfulness to the source material be damned. This goes for shippers in general, but slashers in particular.
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Probably an element of "fantasizing" in there, which is an element to a lot of fiction, slash fanfic or not.
     
  10. Agran Velion

    Agran Velion Minstrel

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    I always assumed it was written by a generator that strung random words together (that was programmed by a generator that strung random coding together).
     
  11. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    And yet these are people who claim to love the source material... that they are violently contradicting.

    By Gandalf's beard! It actually exists! The Do-It-Yourself Bad Slash Story Generator!
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I don't think there is any contradiction in loving the source material and writing fanfic that is very different. I assume most people that write fanfic do it with respect to works they are "fans" of. They take characters they really like and want to play with them, to take them down different paths from what the original author chose. In a way, that's the point of fanfic. If you're going to do everything consistently with what the original author wrote, then why write it? I think many fanfic authors are about pushing past the boundaries of the original work, and in some cases perhaps commenting on them.
     
  13. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    It seems more like the fanfic writer declaring "Screw you, my way is better!" In which case the question becomes, why don't you write your own stuff? The absolute best and most charitable interpretation of fanfic I can muster is that it is like the pretend games we play as children, where we "become" our favorite characters and have adventures in the roles. But even that comparison is unfavorable for fanfic, slash in particular, because every game has rules and the fanfic-ers seem to forget this. Exempli gratia:

    Kid A: "Bam! I just killed you!"
    Kid B: "You can't do that!"
    Kid C: "Because Batman doesn't kill, DUH!"
    Kid A: "Yeah, play right."
    Kid B: "Okay, okay."

    Fanfiction writers seem to have forgotten the rules that small children know instictively. If you assume the role of (or write) a character, you must be consistent. If you want to deviate significantly from the source, the best you can do is to set your fiction in an "alternate universe". Fanfiction includes no such disclaimer. And I fail to see how destroying characterization just so you can see [insert villain] sodomize [insert hero] and afterward discuss their wonderful relationship is "social commentary."
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Sorry, Mindfire, I can't say that I agree with much of that at all. You are making up these rules and applying them to the situation, but there is no logical reason why they should have to apply. They just happen to be the rules that comply with your own view of things. Most people I've known who have done fanfic have been fans of the original, and felt no need to be consistent with every aspect of the original in their fanfics. They could go wherever their imagination wanted to wander. A rule that fanfic must be consistent? Where on earth would such a rule stem from? What would be the basis for it? Seems odd to come up with a rule when there is no source for it. Fanfic is just made up between the writer and her pen. When you have two or more kids playing together you have cries for consistently because each kid has to know the boundaries within which the game is being played. When one kid is playing alone, he can make up whatever rules he wants. Despite the fact that fanfic writers are using the characters or settings of another author, the original author isn't a party to the fanfic. The fanfic writer is working independently and can do whatever he feels like (the exception, I suppose, would be a collaborative project, where the fanfic writers agree on the rules, but they can still be whatever rules they agree to; there's no reason they have to be constrained by the original author).
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
    Zireael, Aravelle and Zero Angel like this.
  15. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    I don't think that there's any need for fan fic to necessarily follow every cannon of a creation. I mean haven't you ever completely loved a book or a show and hated just one piece of it? For me it would be the ending to Enterprise where they killed off Trip and no one seemed to even give a damn. If I was going to write some piece of Trekkie fan fic, fixing that appalling ending would probably be the one I'd choose to do.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  16. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    It just seems contradictory to me. If you love the original so much, why would you want to change it? (And I mean change it wholesale, not just make tiny edits like Psy mentioned.) If you're going to make the universe unrecognizable, why not just make a new one entirely? If you love the source material, why butcher it?
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I don't know. Why not? You can like both. Maybe you love the characters a lot and want to play with them, like friends, but doing something different. I don't write fanfic, so I can't tell you exactly what fanfic writers are thinking about, but I don't have any kind of problem with it (even slash fanfic), other than the fact if the writer is hoping to develop as a writer he's hindering himself.
     
  18. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Along the lines of what I mentioned earlier with alternate media being a version of fanfiction (for instance, comics versus movies versus TV versus graphic novels versus novels versus whatever), there are also alternate imaginings of the same thing by the same company.

    For instance, Tenchi Muyo versus Tenchi Universe versus Tenchi in Tokyo. Each imagining of this universe takes the same basic characters and fundamentally alters things about them to tell similar but different stories. And they are all TV shows. So these are like fanfics with whole new universes, but written by the same entity. I consider Tenchi Muyo to be the "original", but someone else might consider one of the others to be.

    This is not uncommon in Japan either.
     
  19. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think another thing comes into this. It's a game that fans of certain things like to play in conversations not just fanfic. It's the What if? game. What if the Flash raced Quicksilver? What if the Hulk fought Superman? What if the X-men teamed up with the Avengers? The latter actually happened, but that's the appeal. To take two elements that normally don't go together and mix them.

    It's like a kid taking their Captain America action figure and having him fight crime with his Batman action figure. It's pretend. What if Captain Kirk teamed up with Captain Picard? Like was said above, it's about taking something you love and playing with it. It's not destroying anything. It' can't destroy anything. It's just exploring What if? and that's what all writers do. The difference being is that a lot of the fanfic writers don't want to play with their own characters and they have no interest in being published. They just want to play with Luke Skywalker and Captain Kirk.
     
  20. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Some people love it I personally hate it. Right noe there is a lot of Twilight fan-fiction and Hunger Games. I just feel that, those authors created those characters, no one knows them better than the author. When I read fan-fi it's just not the same. It's not as good, and the characters alwys feel different to me, almost like entirely different characters. I always thought the whole point of being a writer is to use your own creation and imagination - I guess you do in a way with fan-fi. I'm just not a fan.
     
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