First off, I do not think fan-fiction is bad. I think fans who decide to write their own versions of existing stories–in film, on television, or from books–is a nice way for them to get into creative writing and thinking. They take what exists and reinvent it with their ideas, their experiences…. It’s making what you love more personal to you.
However, there is bad fan-fiction out there.
THIS IS MY OPINION, my personal view on fan-fiction, and what I think makes good fan-fiction.
Now, I used to frequent this nice site called Wattpad (been too long since I posted there–yikes). There’re all kinds of genres there, including fan-fiction!
The fandoms that contain a lot of fan-fiction right now seem to be: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock (BBC TV series), and then varying TV shows. What’s fun is that some of these are combined into mutant-fandoms like SuperWhoLock. The good fan-fic writers nicely cross over characters and plots. These fandoms make up most of the Tumblr population (tread carefully).
Oh, but real people have fan-fictions too, and this is where I see the bad fan-fiction comes from.
Wattpad has been mostly overrun by young tween and teen girls who post odd fantasies of theirs involving: One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Twenty-One Pilots… and other bands and singers. These girls put themselves in terrible situations, like being sold to these groups and other… too adult themes that give me the creeps.
Wattpad is an overall nice place, so don’t let this fan-fiction invasion scare you off.
I don’t consider these fan-fictions. These are personal fantasies that belong in diaries or journals that should be presented to therapists. They also have no steady plot, no clear indication that time was put in, and no research whatsoever (because parents can’t sell children).
Be surprise when I say this can get published. One Wattpad user wrote this story about meeting Harry Styles (of One Direction). It was read by millions on Wattpad… and a publishing agent actually wanted it. [*sigh* And no one wants to read my story, where I actually worked hard to create my own characters and don’t rely on floppy plotting]
Yeah… she’s a published author for writing fan-fiction. You can find it here. It’s no longer ‘Harry Styles’ because… well, he most likely didn’t give permission to use his name. But according to the new version, the name’s been changed and… it’s still a floppy romance novel. All I can say about this…. Know Your Audience.
I might be just very nit-picky, but that’s only because I like when people take writing seriously. It’s a craft, a skill-set, and a hobby. Just like the fangirls (and boys), I also look for like-minded individuals who appreciate good writing.
And if not “good writing,” then at least writing where the author is making the attempt to grow as a writer.
I’ve written fan-fiction before. Both times, though, I wanted to write… like, good stuff. Stories that people would be willing to read. It’s embarrassing to admit (and maybe you might’ve guess it) but Twilight was the first fan-fiction I ever attempted to write. It got deleted in a botched transfer from flash drive to computer years ago, so at least I know that’s not going to come back and haunt me one day.
The second one was with the Curse Worker series by one of my favorite authors, Holly Black. I still have it somewhere and I might post to my Wattpad profile. I’m actually a little proud with this one.
I think what makes good fiction involves the following:
Know The Story
Fan-fiction is written by fans who know the characters, the plot… everything. Fan-fiction requires the use of these elements in one form or another.
My incredibly lame Twilight fan-fic (that’s slang) involved the characters suddenly merged into our world just so that my character–Sara–could meet Seth the werewolf and they could end up being soulmates or whatever (it’s called imprinting–I’m sorry I’m so lame). The conflict, however, was their secrets were exposed in our world… which meant they broke a rule, but did it count? We all believe they’re not real anyway?
In my second one with Holly Black’s series, it involved creating my own character–named Idell–in the novel’s universe. While the main series takes place in New Jersey, my… I guess you could also call it a spinoff, took place in California.
Follow The Rules
The author created rules for their universe… laws that must be followed. Stories like Doctor Who or Supernatural have varying laws–meaning literally anything can happen. But… say, Breaking Bad takes place in our current world, bound to our laws of physics and such. So Walter White doesn’t suddenly develop magical powers when he needs them.
I think good fan-fiction means that you’re able to imitate the writer’s style… almost convince someone that your fan-fiction could be the real-deal
So, in my lame Twilight fan-fic, I kept the limitations. I did my best to keep the personalities. My version took place shortly after the fourth book, so I was able to provide my own version of what happens, and introduce a new conflict. I’ll admit that characters coming to our world is a stretch, but… I don’t know, I just wanted to imagine what would happen.
Whereas my Curse Worker fan-fic, I kept my new character in that world. The premise is that people in that world can be born with Worker magic: the ability to manipulate the body, luck, memories, emotions of others. It’s urban fantasy, so it’s similar to our world except for the fact anyone can be born with this magic. Each of these has blowback, a consequence the user suffers after using their worker magic.
It’s even a little political because there’s a proposition going around that all people be tested for the worker magic and then get registered (sound familiar…?).
I created my own curse worker magic: vision. It’s a rarity like transformation magic (which is in the main series, very troublesome). Idell has this ability to see through the eyes of anyone she touches for a certain amount of time. Her blowback (the consequence) is that she loses her sight for a while. So, I followed Holly’s curse work magic rules and kept it in the universe (thought it remains incomplete).
Originally, I wanted to give advice on fan-fiction… then I decided to be a little opinionated, and now I just want to talk about Holly Black’s Curse Worker series because it’s one of my favorite series’. One final bit of advice, though.
Good Writing Exercise
I’ve hit a bit of a wall in my writing, mostly because I don’t have time to devote to my own writing. But if you have writer’s block or just want to write something else and have no idea what… try a fan-fiction?
Write from a character’s point-of-view in one of your favorite TV shows, books, films… anything! Write from the antagonist’s perspective, change the ending, rewrite the plot, create a new character or conflict, write yourself into the story, or bring everyone to our world….. You already know the thing–why not write the thing?
Of course, anything you post online will be scrutinized by others. If you don’t care about that, then whatevs. However, you might find other writers of fan-fic who have the same interests as you. Go, Friendships Based On Mutual Interests!!
This was my take on fan-fiction. I apologize for dredging up past and current fads in the teen lit world. I might’ve mentioned before that I primarily write in the young adult fantasy/sci-fi genre toward a young adult audience.
Clearly, I’m floundering with this blogging. I mean, all my pictures are at the top.
Thank you for your time.