Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fan Fic

I came across an interesting link from Flavorwire (which if you don’t read regularly is chock-full of info about all things entertainment) about famous authors on fan fiction. Of the nine authors profiled, reactions ranged from indifferent (J K Rowling and Stephanie Meyer) to out and out hatred (Anne Rice, George R R Martin, and to varying degrees everyone else on the list).

Of course, all nine of these are well known. Most have had films/TV shows made of their works and have made a butt load of money off them. You’d think they’d be less adverse to fan fics, maybe have no trouble allowing other writers work with their characters as long as they didn’t try to exploit them for their own gain.

Not that I don’t understand their point. Fan fic has always bugged me because when I like a story, I don’t go using the characters and worlds. I make up my own. But if others want to do it, it’s none of my concern. I’d like to think I’d be flattered if someone fan ficced something I wrote. Although I think you have to be published for that to happen…

I’d like to see what the reactions would be of writers whose names aren’t common knowledge, or pretty much any writer who hasn’t had a movie made of their work. I wonder if they’d be more or less likely to object.

In general, what’s your opinion on fan fiction? What if it was based on your work? Are any published authors reading this who could weigh in?


  1. I just read the article on Flavorwire. I can certainly see why authors object. Their characters are copyrighted and should be protected. The author owns those characters and has the right to make charcters act in the way they want. FanFic writer's could make your characters act in a way that could be detrimental - or totally out of character - for your character. I certainly wouldn't want to read one of my characters dropping F-bombs everywhere and using the "C" word or going around standing on street corners looking for some action. It could totally ruin their reputations - and mine! Having said that, as a school project or something of that nature, I'd be okay with it.

  2. I have no problem with fanfiction, as long as the fanfic writer isn't making money off the derivative work. I wrote a lot of fanfiction myself when I was a young writer. It's a great way to learn how to write.

    I sometimes think the famous authors who abhor fanfiction are kinda snotty... Poppy Z. Brite, the horror writer, equates it to someone else sleeping with her husband. I mean, jeez :P

  3. First, I still love the "Please Validate Me."

    But I've never read a piece of fan fiction. I'm going to have to try. Any suggestions?

  4. I've played with fan fic, but never took it seriously. I think it falls under the adage that imitation is the best flattery. So long as no one is profiting from the fan fic and readers understand it does not represent the author, it's harmless. You can't really argue denigration of character for a fictional person, no matter how much (and I understand this) the author knows and loves them. If I ever get to a point where my readers love my characters and world enough to put energy into being part of it, I'll consider myself to have made it.

  5. I think the problem is that when your books are so huge people get protective of the characters and try to claim them for their own. I think the problem is that too many people are trying to make money off a characters that aren't theirs. Otherwise I would be totally flattered if someone wrote a fan-fic for my stuff. That means they connected at a level that moved them to create something which is pretty spectacular.

    That being said I knew a girl once who sent Stephenie Meyer a book and told her she just knew it was the 5th twilight book and that Stephenie should publish it. That's the point were it gets a little crazy.

  6. I don't have a strong opinion on fan fiction one way or another. I'd probably develop one if I was an author whose characters were used in a fan fiction piece. But I agree with the commenters who state that it's harmless as long as no one is profiting from the fan fiction.

  7. I used to read fanfic, but the signal-to-noise ratio tends to be discouraging. I haven't read any in years.

    For me, it would be flattering at first that someone loved my stories enough to go to the effort of writing fanfic... but at the same time, I can see why it would grate too. My characters are all pieces of me that spun off and developed into their own beings -- I wouldn't want to see bits of me mis-represented. Turn one of my characters into an asshole and you indirectly imply that I'm one too.

    And when it comes to fanfic, I've heard of some that was such a significant deviation from the original that I had to wonder why the writer didn't just take the one more step and make it a completely original work.

  8. I've done some myself, but I think fanfic should be kept largely to yourself. If you're profiting by it, it's wrong.

    I find it telling that this 50 Shades book started out as fanfic for Twilight... that's enough for me to dislike it already. Maybe Stephanie Meyer should sue her....


Please validate me.