31 Days of Post Day 15: On Fanfiction
I’m surprised it has taken me this long to finally write a post about fanfiction. My own personal attitude towards the form is, honestly, torn. In a way I agree with George R.R. Martin’s negative appraisal. But at the same time, I really see no problem with it as long as certain conditions are met.
Now, I agree 100% with Martin that it is far preferable for young writers to work on their own creations rather than riffing and reimagining existing intellectual properties and franchises. Especially if one is good enough to publish on one’s own original work.
I want to see what you can come up with as opposed to how you can take Harry Potter, Glee, Buffy, Naruto, etc. and transform those preexisting stories.
But, I can understand the desire to want to write one’s favorite characters. That’s the allure of working on superhero comics. And I can get that while hundreds or thousands of fanfiction readers will read an awesome pastiche, who would want to write an equally awesome (if not more so) story by the same author under her own name? And that’s what sucks.
To be frank, I’m a bit murky on the financial aspects of fanfiction. If the fan writer is not making any money off of their work (save for the gratification of being read), I don’t see how that hurts the owners of property (whether those owners be authors or corporate entities).
That is not to say that there is not a danger. Especially if one happens to read fanfiction based on one’s own work. I think it was Martin (or maybe another writer) who related the story of a nasty incident involving Anne McCaffery and a fanfiction writer that occurred years ago.
So if there is fanfiction based on your work, don’t read it. Ever.
What if a work of fanfiction, almost completely divorced from the inspiration text, becomes published? This has happened several times before. In this case, I think it is up to the creator of the inspiration text (and their lawyers) to determine whether or not the former piece of fanfiction warrants a copyright infringement suit.
I see both sides in this argument. Fanfiction provides a means for fans of a work to come together and create their own versions. But it can also stifle their own creativity (if they are interested in pursuing a writing career professionally). In the end, how one looks at fanfiction is a personal choice informed by their own experiences and beliefs.
Oh, and by the way: Life is miserable and full of pain.
Curse you Longhorns. And Cowboys. And Texans.
Now I know why I hated sports growing up.