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What are your thoughts on fanfiction?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Worldbuilder, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    I know fanfiction is pretty controversial, even among geeks, but I personally love it. Well, the good stuff anyway, which can admittedly be pretty hard to find if you don't know where to look!

    I write fanfic only occasionally, but I read quite a lot. I don't really like original short stories that much - either I don't have enough time to get attached to the characters or I do get attached and then it's over way too soon - so fanfiction is a useful way to shortcut the reading process when I don't have time to sit down for a full length novel. I'm already attached to the characters and I know there's always more where that came from!
     
  2. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    I have trouble finding anything really worthy. Usually some livejournal comms have strict rules so only good things are posted, but generally I read too much these days (and read ebooks at work) so I just don't have time for it anymore.

    I started out writing fanfiction, and it's a good way to learn characterisation, because there's rules (if you do it right) depending on the character. Then, while writing your own characters, you're used to thinking and being careful to get the character acting how they really would, instead of 'all over the place'.

    So... to sum up... Fanfiction has its good points, but I don't have much time for it anymore. I'm also a bit scared of what fanfics could pop up if I ever get published and if my work ever inspires anyone to write about it... what could they do to my characters!?
     
  3. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    I don't tend to read fanfic much, but I have written some. I do it partly to indulge myself and write it how I think it should have gone, particularly when a character gets cut out of a TV show because the actor is leaving, and I liked that character. And partly it's practice without having to worry about thinking up worlds and characters, because I can just use existing ones.

    If it happened that I got published and people started writing fanfic of my stories, I'd be quite flattered and would encourage it, provided the fanfickers know it's not serious and that the purposes are fun and practice. I've seen crazy people on the internet who are determined their fanfic is gonna get published, they're gonna meet the author, or that the author copied their fanfic, and that's not healthy.
     
  4. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    I've been reading and writing lot's of fanfics for Harry Potter. Sometimes I still do but not so often anymore because I don't have time for it and my own story. I've been really intrigued by a few implied relationships between minor characters in HP, that's why I've been writing about them.

    I also think that it's very good practice, in my case especially for dealing with the darker aspects of humanity. For some reason, I don't know why, it's much easier for me to have really bad things happen to Harry Potter-characters and see how they deal with it. Torture is really commonplace there after all, while I'm always very careful with that kind of thing in my own world. Somehow it seems more "real" to me if happening there. My own main characters might get poisoned quite often, but not tortured. Strange, I know.
    I stay with the stuff implied in the books however and try to explore what it's doing to the people directly affected by it.

    I think I'd also be flattered if someone wrote fanfic about my own work. Knowing Harry Potter, I'd be a bit worried about the things they'd do to my characters, though. ;) Especially the "shipping" gets really weird there sometimes. If someone came up with my main character in bed with her mentor... Or a slash relationship between the main male character of another story and his semi-villanous friend. Just no. But I wouldn't have to read that after all. ;)
     
  5. Abomination

    Abomination Dreamer

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    It's not just you. Dark themes are really common in fanfiction, much more common, I think, than they are in published books. Not saying there aren't really dark books out there, but fanfiction takes despair, pain, grief etc. to much deeper levels than most original fiction. I think it's a "safe" way of exploring darker aspects of humanity and exploring pathways that would have been unsatisfying in a real novel. I mean, I would have been seriously disappointed if Voldemort had triumphed at the end of HP. It would have been like, "wow, that's 10 years of rooting for these characters gone to waste..." But some of the best fanfiction I've read take place in post-Voldemort-triumph HP worlds. Character death is also something that's really difficult to do well in publication because people can be disappointed or alienated. But it is something that can be extremely moving to explore in fanfic.

    I started writing fanfiction a while ago as a way to relax. I don't put it online. It sits in an innocuously-named folder hidden in the bowels of my hard drive that will never see the light of day. That's why it's freeing. I can write whatever I want without regard to anyone else and without even having to put in the effort of making up my own characters. I work on it when my other projects stall or I need to get some distance from them.

    Well, most authors don't read fanfics of their own stories for legal protection. (So no one can accuse them of accidentally stealing their idea.)

    But I have to ask, what do you think of authors, such as Robin Hobb, who "forbid" fanfiction of their works? (I use quotes because of course forbidding it has little effect.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  6. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    Yeah, I agree with this too. I've known some people who put dark elements in their fic just to be "edgy" without much attention to if they actually suit the canon, and I consider that bad writing. But I've also known some people who literally used fanfic as their therapy and I think it's wonderful that it can be so helpful for them, even if I don't necessarily want to read the output. And when darker elements are explored in fanfic in ways they can't be on screen or on the page of the official work in a way that's organic and truly draws on the canon, then I think it can be one of the coolest things about fanfic. All writers have a natural "what if" impulse - there are huge novels written about a world where the South won the Civil War or Hitler beat the allies. Why not explore a world where Voldemort won? I've read some good Voldy wins AUs as well.

    I respect their preference, though it's really hard for me in the case of GRRM. Personally I would be flattered as can be that somebody loved something I'd written SOOO much that they literally couldn't get enough of it and had to write more, but having been in fandom for as long as I have, I also know the dark side - the sense of entitlement some fans can develop and the viciousness they sometimes exhibit against characters they don't like, especially if the character is somehow "getting in the way" of their favorite ship - so I understand why some writers just wouldn't want to deal with that. GRRM has actually said that one of the reasons he won't allow fanfiction is because Daenarys is one of his favorite characters and he knows a certain segment of the fandom HATES her, so he doesn't want to run the slightest chance of running into any of the inevitable rape, torture, murder, and general character assassination that she'd be subjected to if he ever allowed fanfic. It's a little ironic coming from a writer like George "Every time you ask me when Dance with Dragons is going to be finished, I kill another Stark" Martin, but I do understand the protectiveness! :lol:
     
  7. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    Hehe, the Harry Potter fandom has a weirder collection of ships than any other fandom I've ever seen. It's like some people just throw the name of every character, creature, or object, no matter how minor, in a hat and then write a story about whichever two they pull out. Actually, one of the sweetest HP "romances" I ever read was Giant Squid/Flying Ford Anglia. (G rated, thank god!)
     
  8. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Yes, but ships involving Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape have a really frightening popularity. I also like good Voldemort wins-fics but most of the time, people who write this just seem to want to put their fetishes onto paper, especially homosexual rape. I really don't get why this is so popular.

    I've heard of this before but I still don't understand how this can be possible. Fanfic writers being allowed to sue me if I wrote anything similar to them might be a reason for me to ban fanfiction of my work.
    Generally, I don't really understand why authors do this. I've had plenty of fun with Harry Potter and wouldn't deny something like that to others, if my story inspired them enough. I don't think I'd be so upset about fanfics brutally killing my main characters if they want to. In the case of some of them I could even understand such a desire. ;) Especially with an author like Martin who brutally kills and maims his characters all the time, I don't really get this argument. Daenerys seems to be a great favourite of his indeed.
     
  9. Man I love FanFic so long as it's good LOL I read this one FanFic about 6 years ago for HP and the Order of the Phoenix and liked it better then the actual Rawling written version LOL I still have that fanfic somewhere in my mother's house LOL. I have no problem with people writting their own versions of other people's works.. Hell if I got big enough that someone bothered to do it to something I wrote... I'd be flattered! Then again I'm strange like that LOL
     
  10. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    I don't really get the appeal either, but to each their own. ~shrugs~ I'm a devoted Remus/Sirius shipper myself and I know a lot of people think they're platonic or boring or whatever, so I'd be hypocritical to rag on them about their taste if I don't want them ragging on me about mine. :)
     
  11. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Nothing wrong with fanfic, as long as that doesn't become what you're known for. Don't try to sell it. Post it to your web page—better still, if you think it's good enough, send it to the author and have him post it on his page—or just hang onto it until you get a name for yourself… and then post it on your web page.

    Problem is, you can't really "ban" fanfic of your work: you'd have to sue each new author over it (for use of copyrighted material). Which is pretty pointless for fanfic, since you'll be suing someone who is, for lawsuit purposes, a deadbeat, so you aren't going to be able to recoup even legal costs, and who moreover has probably not profited from your work, so it'll be difficult to prove you're entitled to "damages" of any sort. The reverse, however, is not true: if you write something "based on" or "inspired by" a piece of fanfic (in the fan's perception, whether you think it is or not), odds are you'll have made some money on it, and the offended fan will feel entitled to a part of it. And in either case, you will have offended a fan—who probably has friends who'll also be offended, and who will start badmouthing you as a mean, greedy elitist who nobody should read any more. So safest is to not read the stuff in the first place, and if a fan decides you're ripping him off, you can then claim you've never seen it before and countersue for copyright violation, now that he's brought his unauthorized work to your attention.…

    About the only effect that trying to forbid fanfic would be to document such a position in advance, so that it will be easier to win such a lawsuit at a later date.

    Nothing strange about that: that's exactly how you ought to feel. (Same applies to worries about someone "stealing" your work… you should be so lucky.) Not that you need to approve of how your fans use your material, necessarily—but you should at least be pleased they care enough about it and are intrigued enough by it that they want to create within your setting. I have a few authors (two SF, two fantasy… and anyone who follows my posts should be able to name the fantasy ones) whose settings I'd like to play in, one of which I've actually produced significant fragments in; when I get a story to the point I'm happy with it, I intend to contact the author (by query letter—because if I send the story itself, he'll toss it unread, due to the above considerations about fanfic), and ask if he'd be interested in providing input and publishing as a collaboration. Which will pretty much guarantee its getting accepted somewhere.… ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  12. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Most of it is pretty crap, but who cares? It's just a way to project your sexual interests onto a fandom. Take the two hottest characters in the book and shove them together, or take the character you relate to the most and pair him with your favorite character. Whatever appeals. I'll admit to being a fan of Harry/Lucius and Harry/Fenrir for the latter reason. It's never going to get you very far (and I'll ignore Cassandra Clare's pathetic attempts at novels in that statement), but hey, if it starts up your writing, I say have fun. It's like text roleplays, in that way. They aren't gonna help you become a good writer, but hey, they might start you out, and we all have to start somewhere.

    And as a writer, I don't care if people come up with absurd pairings for my characters and write grotesque, NC-17, fetishistic fanfics about them. I'll personally encourage the pairing of my protagonist and the Charnel (sort of my story's version of the Grim Reaper), because really, great-great-great-great-(100s more greats)-grandfathers and their (same number of greats)-grandsons are definitely sexy. :p Also, the same protagonist and his sister, because it'll happen whether I encourage it or not.
     
  13. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    LOL. I don't know what it is about fanfiction and incest. One of my friends has a theory that TPTB were trying to thwart slash writers a few years back with the sudden rash of shows and movies focusing on brothers and/or sisters. Instead they got Wincest. ~snickers~
     
  14. I don't see the point of fanfic, to be honest. It seems quite parasitical to me, relegating those who indulge in it to the realm of agents. I don't doubt some of it is quality, but surely such talent and creativity would be better used in creating original characters and worlds rather than feeding off the labour of others? Of course writing should always be fun, and if following such a course provides enjoyment then more power to your elbow, but to me it seems a waste of energy and ultimately devoid of merit.
     
  15. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean by this? Could you explain it a bit?
    I get your general opinion though and I think you do have a point. At the point I'm at now, I don't think it's much use either. I do believe that it can be helpful, especially in a busy fandom like Harry Potter. In cases were the author doesn't disapprove, you can post it on the Internet freely and get the opinions and reactions of plenty of different people you'd never be able to show your original work to. (And who'd probably not be interested in it at all.) This can give new impulses and show you weaknesses, the people around you reading your original stories might not spot, because they're so used to your way of thinking or have extra-background information.
     
  16. I consider agents to be parasites. They feed off those more creative than them, taking a percentage from others' sweat and toil. Forwarding a manuscript to a publishing house isn't a heroic ordeal. No doubt the reputation of some agents means a script will be viewed more favourably than others, but agents aren't essential (like Telephone Sanitizers). Talent will out in the end, and those who subsist on the crumbs of others are ultimately a luxury, not a neccessity. Similarly, those who spend their time writing fan fiction are also parasites. They feed off others. There's nothing wrong with that in particular, and I much prefer a writer of fanfic to an agent, but ultimately they both exist only because of others, which to me is a poor reason to exist in this world. Fantasy is a playground, and those who are content to play other people's games rather than invent their own (to me) deserve obscurity.

    It's just a personal view. I don't expect anyone else to agree with it, especially on a fantasy forum. :p
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  17. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Ah yes, I understand what you mean now? On the matter of agents, I can't give any opinion because I don't know enough about the publishing industry.
    Writing fanfiction to me isn't much different from singing your favourite singers' songs or doing the dances of their shows for fun with friends. Nothing you want to get famous for or even base your life on as you've described but a hobby done for fun and a bit of practice in your particular field. "Parasitic" to me would imply actually reaping benefits that others have earned or actually harming them, but that's not happening with fanfiction.
    To me, it's much worse to write stories that actually aren't anything more than fanfiction but change a few names and a few plotpoints and make money with this stuff. Sadly enough, this happens plenty of times even though I don't know if it's the authors' fault or that of the publishing company. People playing their own games don't seem to be too common there.
     
  18. I'll happily agree with you there. Genres are restrictive by their nature, and far too many authors are willing to accept these strictures in return for a quick buck. My parasitic comment doesn't refer to monetary gain, however. The fact remains that fanfic relies on the creative efforts of others in order to survive and thrive, and as such cannot survive on its own. I don't hate fanfic. It doesn't actually matter to me one way or the other. I just don't see the point of it. Much like Lady Gaga. Perhaps I'm too old.:)
     
  19. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    I would have said symbionts, since they do at least provide something in return. Sort of like intestinal bacteria that aid digestion.… ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  20. Worldbuilder

    Worldbuilder Dreamer

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    Yeah, I've been recruited to read/watch several new books/movies/shows by reading crossover fanfiction, and to many by the enthusiasm of my favorite fanfic writers. Fanvids are also great recruiting devices for new fandoms, as well as new musicians.
     
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