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Fanfiction: What's the point?
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TOPIC: Fanfiction: What's the point?
#98891
Midnight Song
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Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 0
Hello!

I'm in the midst of doing research for a feature project I have to publish before the semester is up, and my chosen topic is fanfiction, and how much more...prevalent it is now compared to even just a few years ago. So I suppose I was just want to start a conversation on fanfiction in general, why people write it, why others consider it plagiarism, and yet other still consider it a disgrace to actual writing.

I mean, I've been writing Fics since I was in high school. I started in my sophomore year, back in 2005. I did it originally because a lot of my friends were doing it, which is probably the worst reason ever to do anything. The more I wrote though, the more I loved it; I was awful to begin with, but I still enjoyed it. For me, writing fanfiction opened me up to the possibility to write something original, and gave me the confidence to actually do it.

Something I've always wondered about: where's the line? I've heard about all these really popular novels, like Fifty Shades of Grey, and the Wicked series, just to name a couple, that started out as fanfiction. In fact, I think Wicked is in general published as fan fiction, and widely accepted for that fact, while Fifty Shades, according to the research I've done, is widely looked down upon. I think one website even went so far as to call it 'mommy porn.' What separates the two? Also, I've heard about authors from this site and FF.net pulling their stories down because they're going to be published. Are they publishing original work or something that got its start in the Inuyasha verse, and where is the line for using fanfiction for a base? Is that even legal? What's the point of writing fanfiction?

Does anyone else have any suggestions of popular (or not) books/series that were originally based on fanfiction? Also, if anyone else is interested in this kind of topic, I'd be happy to share the links I've found so far and would be grateful for any other websites or articles that focuses on this kind of topic.

-Fei
 
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Last Edit: 2014/03/18 22:34 By Feigning Innocence.
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#98892
cakeiton
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 47
In my opinion, fanfiction is just a new form of what we have been doing since the dawn of story telling. How many times have stories been told about deities or heroes, and how many different forms of those tales? Operas, plays, movies, even as far as religious scripture has been up for different interpretations. The act of telling and retelling cherished stories, and having those stories evolve over time, is part of our word-of-mouth history. Telling stories is in our genes.
I personally like to write fanfiction because it is a good way to scrutinize characters. They are already established, but lots of room for interpretation, so you can start the habit of really getting to know who you are writing about before putting them in different situations.

While I am not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, and even less so of the fandom it was originally based on, I have read the series (on the bequeath of my best friend... she will pay lol) So, I read them, and it wasn't the fandom or the subject manner, but...

In my humble opinion, it had really bad cliches. A Mary Sue. A troubled Adonis who turns out to be the perfect family man in the end. The entire relationship from start to "I brought you a surprise house" happened almost instantly. These are normal phases that writers usually go through; like rite of passages you pass as you develop your own individual storytelling tone and style. But, to be published? In a series of three stories? THAT OUTSOLD HP:SORCERORS STONE.
I thought the writing was just bad, in summary.

I don't know about the Wicked series, but I heard it was better.

Personally, yes, these characters and such we write about do belong to someone else, but they have given us an opportunity to express creativity of our own. For a lot, that leads into more original artistic outlets. Stigmas have been disappearing. The fandom world is spreading. And I don't there is anything disgraceful about sharing a piece of your mind to the world. As you have been inspired, you never know who you are inspiring in turn.
 
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Last Edit: 2014/03/18 23:33 By cakeiton.
 
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#98894
CritterWhisperer
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 47
Yeah, finding the line that makes a fanfiction acceptable or not can be tricky. I think a big part of it is how the author uses the universe and characters he or she is borrowing. Some authors just use it as a starting point to create their own story, while others seem to use it more like a crutch so that they don't have to put a lot of effort into an original plot or characterization. Gregory Maguire's Wicked series and E.L. James's 50 Shades of Grey series are pretty good examples to see the difference.

It's not just that 50 Shades is considered "mommy porn" that I think is so distasteful. For me, it's because it's so easy to see the similarities between 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight. Sure, the setting is slightly different, it's dealing with humans, rather than vampires and werewolves, and the plot is tweaked to accommodate this. But many of the same elements are there as there were in the original story. It almost makes it feel like a rip-off, and the only saving grace to it is the acknowledgement at the front of the book that this story did start out as a fanfiction. I'll be fair and say that E.L. James did make enough changes in the story line to make it a better read than Twilight, but I'll leave it to you to decide how much of an accomplishment that really is.

Gregory Maguire, on the other hand, sets his story in the land of Oz and uses characters that were not of his creation because he wanted to explore the "other side" of this story that so many people already know and love. In doing so, he adds some of his own characters, creates backgrounds for many of the original characters, and places them against a backdrop that wasn't even really present in the original books. (Who was expecting civil rights struggles for Animals and other political conflicts? I wasn't.) In Wicked, the backstory is the majority of the book. It doesn't even start to follow with the plot of the original story until about the latter 1/3 of the book. Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men stood on their own, plot wise, as far as I'm concerned. If he had wanted to do so, I think he could have placed his stories in his own world and changed everything enough so that no one would have believed that Oz was his inspiration, but I don't think the effect would have been as good.

As for authors on this site and other fanfiction sites pulling their works and publishing them. It varies. I have read many stories on this site that basically are original works, and the author just used character names and settings to give them a start. Writing fanfiction is a great way for authors to practice developing plot devices and characters and getting feedback on their writing style. Plus, it's just a good creative outlet.

As far as I know, it is legal to publish a story using settings and characters of a previously published book, as long as the the copyright on it has expired, or the author has permission to do so. But in many cases, authors will change the names of their characters and maybe change the setting, if they hadn't done so already, so that there technically would not be any copyright infringement. But that entirely depends on how original the story is.

Off the the top of my head, I can't really think of any other books or series that are based off of fanfiction. I could list a couple of other books that can be classified as fanfiction themselves, if you'd like.
 
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Last Edit: 2014/03/19 02:34 By CritterWhisperer.
 
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#98898
Catalina
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 1
When I first started writing and reading fanfiction I was little more than a child. I was all of thirteen years old writing and reading like a grown-up, and it was HORRIBLE. I was writing fanfictions that made absolutely NO sense, and doing strange things like putting Japanese characters into English fortresses. That's one reason I think people don't respect it, the age of the author is quite often unknown, so it's hard to tell if it is a child writing this or someone who is just reeeeeaaaaally bad at writing. We can put all kinds of crazy things in fanfictions too, things that wouldn't even moderately make sense which turns people off. You just never really know the person behind the writing. You don't have to have a good fic to get it put on a site, there are no editors to stop horrible material from getting through. It's a free-for-all, almost an anarchy, with some very loose guidelines on acceptable content.

There's also the fact that fanfiction is done without the original author's permission, no matter that we put up disclaimers. I don't think Rumiko Takahashi spends days saying "yeah you can write, no you can't." because it would be MORE than a full time job. Long ago fanfiction writing was under attack by the original writers. It was so long ago, but I remember thinking "that won't happen, we'll just make more." and we did. It got to the point where no one was willing to really fight it as long as no profit was being made by anyone from it.That and many of the original authors were in different countries, where their laws couldn't apply here and such as that. It was a mess I barely remember because I was a kid.

There was this horrible stigma about fanfiction reading and writing back then. I think it might just be a highschool thing though. Or, perhaps, it is just a matter of growing up with it now. I can't say for certain, but I DO know that yes there still is a negative stigma concerning fanfiction and the writers, but it is much smaller than when I was first reading and writing. Back then just to say fanfiction was laughable, and fanfiction was the butt of very few jokes, because people didn't even seem to want to acknowledge that they knew what fanfiction was. It's much more in the open now, I hear references to fanfiction all the time (there was a joke going around about the book of Mormon being Christian fanfiction that has gotten really popular.) and since more people are talking about it, it is becoming more normalized. Family guy also had a reference to "Ugly Betty fanfiction" it was used as an insult, but it was on a popular t.v. show.

So, it's becoming more normal, rather than something you do on your computer when your family isn't looking.
 
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#98925
Midnight Song
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 0
So...I cannot believe how unbelievably difficult it is to find legitimate articles on Fanfiction, but I've run across some interesting points; I'll get to those in a moment though.

Cakeiton,

what do you think of the premiss that Disney stories, especially those based on and around the "Princess" theme, are Fanfiction? Especially of late, as with Princess and the Frog and Tangled. Granted, it has it's own twist from the original Frog Prince idea, but isn't that just exactly what we do here, take the characters or idea and run with it? Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and how ever many others.

Also, I think one of the sources I found mentioned that even a lot of the work in the Bible could be considered Fanfiction. (Sorry if that offends anyone!)

CritterWhisperer,

I read an excerpt from 50 Shades while I was doing my research, and I think what turned me off the most, personally, is that the writing was...well, plain is the most polite thing I can think to say. I felt like I was reading something written from a high schooler. I don't really understand how it was published, outside of the fact of her followers from the original Fic.

As far as Fics here, I'm in the midst of writing one that I'm almost hesitant to post, because it is something I would eventually like to turn into Original work. In fact, the only thing I'm using from the fandom is the characters, mostly because what I had in mind for them was actually very similar to the personalities of Sess/Kags to begin with. So then I'm stuck deciding what to do, because I want to share it, but I don't ever want to be in the situation that Cassandra Clare or E.L. James are in.

And I would love more examples of books that are or might have been fanfiction! Or even authors who started out writing fanfiction. I was surprised to find out that Neil Gaimon writes it!

Catalina,

One fact I continuously ran across while doing my research is the fact that there's still quite a bit of a stigma attached to being a fanfiction writer. Even if it's something you share with your friends and family, I feel like there's still the fear that you're going to be laughed at by "outsiders" if you share. (Not you specifically lol). At least a little bit, I can understand that. Not many of my college friends know I write fanfiction, partly because it's none of their business but also because well...they just wouldn't understand. I feel like that feeling of being misunderstood, and of the scorn that's typically associated with people who write fanfiction, is what makes it so hard to be open about it. I found a great analogy, in that the stigma for writing fanfiction is similiar, in a very basic way, to the stigma that use to exist about homosexuality.

I'm with you in that I essentially grew up writing fanfiction, so it's something that's extremely normal for me, but there are a lot of people who consider it the opposite. I took a class on Deviant Behavior in my sophomore year of college and one of the things that was listed as normally deviant was actually writing fanfiction. I was more than a little insulted when I was told that lol. I think "professional" writers tend to scorn it and while I can understand in a sense the discomfort from having someone play with your original work, at the same time, once it's published, it's pretty much public domain, so long as you don't plagiarize or try to make a profit.
 
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#98926
cakeiton
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 47
Midnight Song wrote:
Cakeiton,

what do you think of the premiss that Disney stories, especially those based on and around the "Princess" theme, are Fanfiction? Especially of late, as with Princess and the Frog and Tangled. Granted, it has it's own twist from the original Frog Prince idea, but isn't that just exactly what we do here, take the characters or idea and run with it? Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and how ever many others.

Also, I think one of the sources I found mentioned that even a lot of the work in the Bible could be considered Fanfiction. (Sorry if that offends anyone!)


If we roll with Disney princesses being fanfiction, then does anyone own the rights to Rapunzel's story? I would like to see Aurora's lawyers sue Disney over defamation of character. (Something along those lines might be fun to write...)

And how about Sherlock? Personally, I ADORE the BBC version, but it is an adaptation. It is Sir Doyle's characters in an AU.

We see a lot of these repeats of characters and universes (Avengers, X-Men, Spiderman, Sherlock, Disney, religious texts, Shakespeare for crying out loud) and the general public love it, because they love the original stories. Adaptations, in this sense, might be considered synonymous with fanfiction.

I think what might throw a lot of ignorant (not stupid, just ill-informed) people off about fanfiction is that the stigma automatically goes to bad writing, cheap X-Rated scenes, and crack fics. Now... I am a proud little gutter marble, but even being slightly involved in a fanfiction community had shown me the depths of people's imagination, how creative they can be, and you know, a lot of these stories are pretty d*** good. Whenever we see a fellow writer get published, we are happy and celebratory, but not shocked. They have been gratuitous enough to show us their skill using the characters and a story we can relate to because we are fans already. I believe fanfiction is a great gateway, and outlet, and even fulfilling just as the hobby alone.
 
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Last Edit: 2014/03/20 11:36 By cakeiton.
 
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#98929
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 15
These links may be of use to you when it comes to authors who started out writing fanfiction
www.dailydot.com/culture/10-famous-authors-fanfiction/
fanlore.org/wiki/Fans_Turned_Pro
io9.com/5466298/12-successful-sf-authors-whove-written-racy-fanfic

And these links may be of use when it comes to authors views on fanfiction
ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/68332629.html
io9.com/5634183/naomi-novik-says-fanfic-is-part-of-literary-history---and-reveals-whats-next-for-temeraire


It might also be interesting to compare cultural views:
It's common for Japanese mangaka to have started out as doujinshi creators, and even to continue publishing doujinshi after they've made their professional manga debut. Manga publishers scout for successful fan artists and often set up booths at doujinshi conventions where fans who are interested in turning pro can get an editor's opinion on their work.

Some additional links:
www.bookbrats.com/fan-fiction-turned-traditional-hurts-authors-readers/#.UysS3_l_u_Q
www.fuelyourwriting.com/fan-fiction-worth-a-writers-time/
transformativeworks.org
 
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#98932
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 57
Fanfiction is ultimately an expression of fans celebrating their favourite fandoms. I think it's mainly free advertising for the published media in any and all forms. It's just free of charge to read and write whereas we'd actually pay for the 'real content' as produced in various forms by the original authors.

I mean would any of us really know about Inuyasha without the addition of fanfic archives that allowed and encouraged authors to add their stories too?

I certainly wouldn't know didly-squat if not for FFnet, Dokuga, the Feudal Association, AO3, and a bunch of others.

If not for authors like Tallymark and Forthy, I wouldn't have bothered looking into the Inuyasha manga on occassion either. I got started in this fandom purely out of curiousity, i.e. reading fanfiction by Inuyasha authors.

Yes there will always be a grey line between fanfiction being OK or BAD with the copyright issues and the legalese.

Some will like fanfic, some won't, and some peeps just won't care either way.

I bet however that there are peeps out there who have read fanfiction about a fandom, gone 'OMG I love this!' and gone on to buy into the actual real published media.

I mean I read a few TMNT 2012 based ficlets and went on to buy the entire DVD series. >.>. Cruel ne? I hate it when my wallet spontaeneously deflates. *sigh*. The same happened after reading a few Game of Thrones fanfics, plus researching the author, I went out and bought the GOT TV Series season 1 and season 2, and will be buying season 3 on DVD, just for you know, solidarity, and completeness.

I may eventually invest in the books too. Once the series is complete. Which will additionally deflate my wallet even more.

T___T

Sometimes loving fandoms is just plain cruel.

~ Pyre
 
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Last Edit: 2014/03/20 17:08 By Pyre.
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#98933
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 47
Midnight Song wrote:

CritterWhisperer,

I read an excerpt from 50 Shades while I was doing my research, and I think what turned me off the most, personally, is that the writing was...well, plain is the most polite thing I can think to say. I felt like I was reading something written from a high schooler. I don't really understand how it was published, outside of the fact of her followers from the original Fic.

As far as Fics here, I'm in the midst of writing one that I'm almost hesitant to post, because it is something I would eventually like to turn into Original work. In fact, the only thing I'm using from the fandom is the characters, mostly because what I had in mind for them was actually very similar to the personalities of Sess/Kags to begin with. So then I'm stuck deciding what to do, because I want to share it, but I don't ever want to be in the situation that Cassandra Clare or E.L. James are in.

And I would love more examples of books that are or might have been fanfiction! Or even authors who started out writing fanfiction. I was surprised to find out that Neil Gaimon writes it!



Yes, the writing was a bit plain, too. The followers of the original series must be the only reason that it got published. I don't recall if both series were handled by the same publishers, but I'm sure the thought process was something like, "well, it's nearly the same story as Twilight, and that was a huge hit. We'll make millions." That was probably the same reasoning behind turning it into a series of movies, too. Sadly, money is often the driving force in a lot of these decisions. Perhaps I'm being too cynical. . .

Anyways, I understand your hesitation to post your own work, but if the characters are going to be the only similarity your story is going to have to Inuyasha, it's not likely that you will find yourself caught in the same situation as E.L. James. I can't comment on Cassandra Clare because I've never read any of her books.

I think a number of authors really do post original fictions, but are using the characters' names of whichever fandom best fits their interests just so they can post on sites like this. It's a way to get some feedback about their stories and writing style from a broader range of people while still being in a small enough community that your story won't get lost among thousands. You may not always get the constructive criticism you may want, but every now and again a review will give you some good insight. Of course, if you have some really good friends who would be willing to read your story and give honest feedback (as opposed to telling you what you want to hear), it may be just as good to go ahead and write your story with the names you want to use.

Yes, Neil Gaiman writes fanfiction. The Graveyard Book is the first thing that comes to mind, which was really a twist of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book; and he stated as much. It was a cute story. I personally didn't think it was one of his best, although the book did win an award, I believe.

Some other books that I have read and could be considered fanfiction (I warn you most of them are comedies or satires):

Fool by Christopher Moore. Based off of the tragedy of Shakespeare's King Lear, it is actually a comedy that follows Pocket, Lear's fool, throughout the story. Moore takes a lot of artistic license and it's, uh, probably not for minors.

If you want to view the retelling of Biblical stories as fanfiction, too, then Moore also wrote Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

I, Iago by Nicole Galland. This, of course, is a retelling of Shakespeare's Othello through the eyes of Iago, but it starts out in Iago's youth.

Masquerade by Terry Pratchett is a hilarious satire about Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. It kind of sneaks up on you how he has some of his Discworld characters falling into the parts of the original work and following the story in a way, but at the same time it's part of a bigger plot. Actually, I don't know if other people would really consider this a fanfiction, but I do.

And then there's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. What's not to love about this story? It's Pride and Prejudice, adjusted just enough to fit zombies into the plot. To me, that takes some effort and skill to do that and not completely destroy the original work. But I could just be blinded by the novelty of it.
 
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#98941
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 4 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 75
Coming in from a different angle as I've actually published something that was fanfiction More than one thing actually.

My first novel was based on roleplay characters of mine and my fiances' from the White Wolf universe.

The next story was a chunk of Inuyasha fanfiction. It was actually Sesshomaru/Kagome from r0o's first guttermarbles challenge.

The third was a three part chunk of Kagome/Inupapa fanfiction.

And the fourth was blatantly fanfiction with nothing changed; based on Little Red Riding Hood.

My evil alter ego right now has an original work being posted up that started out as a chunk of fanfiction though I won't say what 'verse it was from.

This can be done. It depends on how you do it, honestly. And the line is a very blurry one. And it goes further back than the computer age. An example of that is what most of know as the legend of King Arthur. What we know of that is basically fanfiction that was rewritten from the original. If you look into it, many things are far different in that original than what we take as 'real' for that now. Including the protagonist. Morgan La Fey was not head evil being in the first versions of it, something she is now.

My take is this, though it's an odd one because I came into fanfiction backwards from most; if you can pull it off, go for it! Some can. Kudos to them. Some can't. It depends on the story. Anything fully canon based is tricky. Some can be changed, others can't. It depends on how interwoven with canon something is. Fifty Shades was mentioned. That was a Twilight fanfiction called Master of the Universe and it was AU. The other mentioned I don't know so I can't comment. AU has a better shot, honestly. Because, though you keep the character names and personalities, you set them differently, thus making the change easier. Canon is rougher though it can be done, depending.

Authors can get touchy about fanfiction based on their works. JK Rowling has openly encouraged it though she doesn't like the adult versions much. A certain writer of pre-sparkly vampire tales that were quite popular gets very nasty about people posting fanfiction of her works and is actually known to go after the writers themselves, though she herself wrote fanfiction in the guise of a retelling of the sleeping beauty stories. So, it depends.

Just my take and I doubt it added anything to the topic, but hey!
 
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#105647
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 3 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
i know my question is is off topic but i feel like i have read a fanfic which somewhat resembles the 50 shades of grey setting especially the tampon scene the bomdage part etc etc sesshomaru was a business in this fanfiction does anyone know the name of the fanfic ?_?
 
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#105656
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 3 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 63
The Arrangement by Beautiful Silent Death (I believe is what you're looking for).
Kagome's Life is boring. It's all work and no play. That's until she came upon a certain website...
Rating: MA so no YIM's please.

www.dokuga.com/fanfiction/story/2565/1
 
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#105725
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Re:Fanfiction: What's the point? 3 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
Yeshhh yeshhh it is the oneee
 
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