During my “31 Days of Post,” I wrote about my conflicted thoughts about fanfiction. My feelings on the subject remains, ultimately, the same. But the more I think about fanfiction, the more I’m concerned about what it can do to young writers who wish to write professionally.
Here is an example. This is a Glee fanfiction. Kurt Hummel’s birthday is after Valentine’s Day. Maybe even a month past. The AU element of the piece (all fanfiction by its very nature is AU) is that Burt actually does favor Finn and they go to a football game the same day as Kurt’s birthday. And they left without Kurt. Add in the whole thing with Blaine and Rachel, and Kurt runs off to France to live with his wealthy maternal grandmother. And he meets Sebastian.
Now, there is a huge issue with the premise. If Kurt’s birthday is in March, the NFL season is over. But basketball season is on (and Cleveland really would work better), or maybe early baseball season.
Clearly, the fanfic writer (I won’t use her username) did not do her research. Which may explain why certain core plot elements are never explored. . .
Research, or the failure to do it, is one of my pet peeves when it comes to writing. And this includes fanfiction.
Just because you (the fanfic writer) are using a preexisting intellectual property does not mean that you can let your imagination loose without doing the research. You need to do it yourself. Otherwise your work will look shoddy. Even if your writing is above average.
If your version of Kurt Hummel is more in the fashion industry, do the research.
If your Dursleys abandoned Harry Potter rather than take him in, find out what the contemporary alternatives to orphanages are (given that they have fallen out of favor for the last thirty or forty years).
I could go on and on. But I won’t.
Because I’ve got game seven to watch. Go Spurs!