Fanfiction: To write it or not

Hello all!  It seems Wisconsin got MORE snow last night.  Isn’t that wonderful?  I’ll be out shoveling.  Again.  Don’t mind my bitterness, its just palpable and fills up the entire room.  And some of the upstairs.

Moving on, last night was Anime Club out at Carroll.  It was nice to see people I haven’t seen in awhile and while I’m overall pleased with the series that got picked, I’m disappointed that Sengoku BASARA didn’t make it.  We’ll be watching Trinity Blood, Spice and Wolf (part 1), and Sands of Destruction.  It looks like club is taking a break from the “stupid funny” series, which is nice.  if My Bride is a Mermaid (part 2) had made it, I might have been going on a rampage through the city of Waukesha.

What is Fanfiction?

Fanfiction is fiction that is based on a book, movie, TV series, comic, etc. and written by a fan.  It was fanfiction that brought the Mary Sue into existence.  (Star Trek is to blame, specifically).  Fanfiction is something I’ve always enjoyed reading but never been able to write.   Personally, I’d prefer to think of an original storyline and work with my own characters.  Then there’s no argument whether something was in-character.  I’m impressed when I see people write full novel length fanfictions, especially when the fic is really well written.  It makes me wonder why they write fanfiction instead of focusing on their own creative work.My View

As I said, I would prefer to work with my own characters and worlds.  It just makes more sense to me since that’s what I’ve always done.  I love a wonderful fanfic that stays within the universe of the work the story is based on.  When you start going into “author’s universe” kind of stuff, I have to wonder why you’re working in fanfiction rather than original fiction.  At that point, it makes more sense to me to go forward with your own work than use the characters of something else in an “author’s universe”.  If its the personalities of the characters that draw you in, remember, you could make up a character with a similar personality.  Of course, I would make sure the character’s personality is different enough that they aren’t mistaken for the character in the book, movie, whatever.

The Good of Fanfiction

I look at fanfiction as a “what if”.  Fanfiction keeps characters within the bounds of the series, but has them act different.  It’s just interesting to see the multiple ways the plot could have gone if the author had wanted it to.  It can shed light onto characters who don’t get screen time (or page time, I guess).

I suppose another good of fanfiction would be a good way to experiment with writing.  You could learn the basics of writing (plot, narration, pacing, all that fun stuff) without repercussions.  Most fanfiction sites allow feedback, while the vast majority would probably be “OMG THIS IS AWESOME!  PLZ UPDATE MOAR! KTHNX!”, some of the comments are bound to be constructive.  It’ll allow you to learn.  That’s always good.

The Bad about Fanfiction

Oh dear God the negatives.  So lets start with the most apparent.  Mary Sues.  Fanfiction is full of horrible Mary Sues, especially the canon-Sue, a character who exists in the canon of the series who is twisted into a Mary Sue.  I’ve seen Hermione turn gothic, turn into a dancer, turn into a slut, turn into a vampire…you get the picture.  The worst offender in the Mary Sue category?  The fanfiction My Immortal.  It takes place in the Harry Potter universe and follows the character Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way.  If that name doesn’t scream Mary Sue, I have no idea what does.  I’m giving a link to the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on it. While the article is funny, the actual fanfiction will hurt you brain.  Proceed with extreme caution!

Other than the blatant Sue-ism and horrible characterization, my big issues lie in the grammar.  I usually give a fic a chapter or two and if the grammar blows, I drop the fanfic.  My favorite spelling error?  “Defiantly” being used as “definitely”.  It makes me laugh every time.  I also have a strong hatred of script style writing when it should be paragraphs.  A fanfic should not look like this:

Hermione: Awesomesauce.  Lets go to Transfiguration.

Harry: Yes, Malfoy the amazing bouncing ferret.  Hooray transfiguration!

It used to not bug me as much, but going through college must have changed that.  Now it screams amateur to me.  Or maybe it reminds me too much of devintART and how people fight so hard to not “change their style”.  By change, I mean conform to writing conventions, you know, like paragraphs and proper grammar.

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with fanfiction.  It’s a nice stepping stone; one that I completely ignored.  If it makes you happy, why not write it?  However…I would avoid the usual issues that fanfiction has: Mary Sue and her brother Gary Stu, use good grammar (if you’re not the best with grammar, get a beta reader!), don’t use a script style, and just have fun!

What do people think of fanfiction?  Good or bad?

Thanks for reading!

~Laura

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One thought on “Fanfiction: To write it or not

  1. Pingback: Posts Revisited: Fanfiction, to write it or not | Rants from a Starving Writer

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