Posts Tagged ‘fanfiction’

Fandom Aspects: Fanfiction

Well, Squiders, we’ve talked about fandom a bit in the past, but I’ve had a rather worrying bout of it recently. (Not even about anything specific. Just…stuff.)

You see, I am going to a con in mid-June and not only do I not get to them nearly as often as used to, but this also the first one in a few years where I will not have to wrangle family as well, so I got a little overzealous about things, and have had to resort to bizarre measures to stop myself from putting together fifteen cosplays in the next few weeks.

So for this week and next, we’ll be looking at the creative aspects of fandom, and perhaps the one people think of first is fanfiction. Heck, Amazon is even publishing fanfiction now, so there you are.

Fanfiction, for those of you have been living under a rock, is where a writer takes a world and/or characters that are not theirs and writes a story in it. Wikipedia tells me that the first known work of fanfiction was written in the 1400s by Robert Henryson (based off of one of Chaucer’s works). And apparently the Bronte sisters wrote real person fanfiction back in the day.

The modern era of fanfiction was started by Star Trek fans (no one is surprised) back in the ‘60s.

The world of fanfic can be kind of a scary place. I think my first journey in was back in the ‘90s when I found Pokemon fanfiction. (Don’t judge me, Pokemon is awesome.) And without knowing what things like genfic or slash or AU mean, you can stumble onto some things you wish you hadn’t.

If you’re interested in reading some fanfiction, you can try a site like Fanfiction.net, which is a repository for several different fandoms. Many fandoms also have their own websites. Be aware, before diving in, that the quality of story can vary widely, from things that sound like a five-year-old dreamed it up to epic tales that may, in some ways, be better than the source material.

Fanfiction may also be the most controversial of ways people show their love of things. Some creators don’t like the idea of other people messing with their characters, especially in situations that may involve more sex or violence than the source material had. Even among writers, there’s arguments about whether or not writing fanfiction can help you hone your writing skills.

I know we’ve talked specifically about fanfiction here before, but feel free to let me know any thoughts you have on the matter, whether you like it or not, read or write it, and if you have any examples of truly awesome stories to share.

Fanfiction Ponderings

Apparently we’re not out of the woods yet. Sorry, Squiders.

I go through these fanfiction binges. They’re quite terrible, and I don’t really get anything else done during them. They’re kind of random. Sometimes it will be because I’ve finished something and either need to wait for the next installment and can’t quite manage it, or because there will be no more installments. Sometimes someone else will mention fanfic or link to a story. Sometimes there’s mentions on social media that pull me in.

This current bout happened on Tumblr. I do not tumble or whatever the appropriate verb is, but I do occasionally read other people’s Tumblrs because that seems to be where fandom has, in general moved to (I am a dinosaur and was active when fandom lived on LJ and haven’t quite managed to bother to make the shift. Not like I ever look at LJ anymore anyway.), and I like to see what people come up with. Anyone, someone linked a novel-length nu!Trek fic, and then I read that, and then I was talking to my writing community about losing time to that, and we got going on fanfic in general, and then we started talking about older fandoms and then I lost a lot more time to rereading some old fanfics that I really enjoyed.

(I don’t normally read multiple fandoms in one binge, but hey.)

Fanfic is kind of interesting. Sometimes you find extremely well-written, well thought out stories that rival the original source material, and sometimes you find stuff that looks like it was written by a 5 year old.

I’ve also noticed that I can only read fanfic for certain fandoms. This reasons for this have long eluded me, as there didn’t seem to be any sort of rhyme or reason to it, but I think I may have finally figured it out. It seems like each fandom has certain types of people who write fic for them, and so the fics tend to be somewhat similar in tone and structure. And the fandoms that have fanfic that I actually read tend to be ones where the fic authors focus on creating new things–new plot, new cultures, new magic, etc.–where they’re not just playing with certain worlds or characters, but actually expanding them.

What about you, Squiders? Fan of fanfic? (Har.) What do you like, and in which fandoms?

And I apologize about the really strange blog post subjects lately. I haven’t finished anything genre lately (though I did finally slog all the way through The House of Seven Gables, which I started around Thanksgiving) and I’m not quite sure how much you guys care about my individual writing projects.

From Fanfiction to Publication

There was a discussion question posted in one of my writing communities recently that read something like, “Do you feel that 50 Shades of Gray being published is a victory for fanfiction?”

(In case you’ve been living under a–admittedly lovely–rock, you probably know that 50 Shades started out as Twilight fanfiction.)

Quite honestly? No. If anything, I think it may actually hurt fanfiction a bit. I admittedly have not read the books (and do not plan to), but when I hear other people talk about them, the conversation goes a little like this:

Person 1: Wow, this is terrible writing.
Person 2: Well, it was fanfiction.

(The latter said with a bit of a sneer.)

It’s not as if this is the first bit of fanfiction ever published. People make a living writing stories about other people’s characters, whether it’s Sherlock Holmes, Elizabeth and Darcy, or one of the many, many novels that go along with a multitude of television shows, movies, video games, and roleplaying games.

(I’ve read a lot of Trek novels. If those do not qualify as published fanfiction, nothing does.)

Ignoring those and focusing on thinly-veiled fanfiction, I find it hard to believe that none has ever been published before 50 Shades. I suspect most people just don’t bring it up. And then, there are authors like Cassandra Clare who were huge in fanfiction (I’m pretty sure you don’t get bigger in the fanfiction arena than Cassandra Clare, who wrote as Cassie Claire in the Harry Potter and LOTR fandoms) that have since moved on to have very successful original publishing careers.

So what is the publication of 50 Shades a victory for? Well, the author and the publisher. But fanfiction was fine on its own before it.

What do you think, Squiders? Have you delved into the infamous trilogy? Did you like it? Do you feel like it helps or hinders fanfiction as a whole?