They are a various family, they can be called with several names (sequels, prequels, retellings, what if), they can be professionally written, edited and published or they can be the result of amateur work shared on an online platform… but the truth is that they are fan-fictions, all of them. I know purists that abhor the very name of fan fictions, other readers are more open-minded towards the genre.
Just a few words, in case you don’t know what we are talking about. A fan fiction is a story (short or long) that is based on an already existing fictional world and its characters. Fan fiction passionates can find material both in books and tv-shows or movies. For instance there are a lot of fan fiction based on Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Hunger Games, let alone Harry Potter!
In which cases a fan fiction can be “officially” published?
Well… it can happen when the original setting and characters are very well disguised. An example? Fifty Shades of Grey… it seems it started as a Twilight fan fiction.
The other situation is when the copyrights are expired. There are a lot of fan fiction grounded on classic novels by famous authors, such as Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and the list goes on.
Some consider fan ficion a very bad form of writing, other enjoy them very much. I have mixed feelings about fan fictions.
On one hand I agree that it’s easy (maybe too easy) to create a story using characters and settings ready for use. Creating a believable character is one of the most difficult things for a writer and, using one already made up, makes life easier but also deprive the writer of freedom.
On the other hand… I have been a fan fiction writer myself (yes, I did it… I am a Potterhead through and through) and I found fan fictions writing a useful exercise for the original stories I wrote later. Moreover I am a passionate reader of prequels, sequels, retellings and what if based on Jane Austen’s novels. There are some bad ones, but the greatest part are very good and a pleasure to read.
I have an unfinished Harry Potter fan fiction that I love. I really love that story, because it has been keeping me company for years and, when writers block catch me, I open that file and write a scene or two. It’s easy, because setting and characters are already there, only waiting for me to make them act; it’s liberating, beacause I write it for myself and I am not worried about reader’s opinion. This usually helps me to overcome the block.
So… are fan fiction good or bad for writing?
I think that, when respectful of the original author’s work, they can be good. But the challenge of an original story is far more exciting.
What do you think about fan fictions? Have you ever read any? Have you ever wrote any?
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