Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a meme about (mostly) books and reading.

This Week’s Question

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

My Thoughts

I saw this question and thought that it would be an excellent topic for my first time participating in Booking Through Thursday.

As both a reader and a writer, I am perfectly fine with fanfiction – as long as the fanfiction writer is not making any money off of their fan works when it is recognizably such. For instance, if someone were to take it upon themselves to write a prequel to the Harry Potter series focusing on Harry’s parents and their generation and post it on a site saying it is purely for entertainment purposes, they’re not making any money off of it, etc. I am okay with that. In fact, I might even read it, if the story premise was interesting enough and I was in the mood to read someone else’s vision of J.K. Rowling’s characters. If they were to turn around, self-publish it, and sell it on Amazon or the like, that I do not condone.

The only other problem I have with fanfiction is when someone starts off writing fanfiction, turns around, makes changes to said story, and publishes it, but it is still recognizably fanfiction. This applies to Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. It started off as a Twilight fanfiction, and then E.L. James changed the characters’ names, got rid of the paranormal elements, and did some other edits, but you can still recognize Bella and Edward in the two main characters. I have not read any of this trilogy, but when I first heard about it, I came across a link to a site that listed a little over fifty examples of how E.L. James used the same and/or similar phrases to describe the Twilight characters’ counterparts, as well as plot elements. That site also linked to an article that compared the finalized version of Fifty Shades of Grey with the original fanfiction, entitled Master of the Universe, and found they were 89% similar.

Now, as for the second part of the question, yes, I have written fanfiction for various books and TV shows and posted them online for other fans to read. The last time I did this somewhat regularly was back in 2011 when I was in something of an original writing slump. Since then, I have mainly focused on my original writing, though in December I did write a short scene to go along with a friend’s fanfiction because I loved it so much. That is not to say I still read a lot of fanfiction, because I don’t. In fact, the fanfiction I wrote that scene for was one of maybe five fanfictions I read throughout all of 2013. I will say, however, that both reading and writing fanfiction has helped me to become a better writer.

That’s really all I see fanfiction as when it’s left as a form of entertainment. It helps people work on their storytelling abilities, experiment with different genres, etc. and/or even get someone who wouldn’t normally do so to write.

2 Thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: February 27

  1. I have read a lot of fanfiction over the years, so I must say that I enjoy reading it. I’m okay with books like Fifty Shades of Grey, but I don’t like when authors use particular characters or worlds that are someone else’s (e.g., Sherlock Holmes) and it takes up a big part of the book.

    • Fifty Shades of Grey being based on a fanfiction probably wouldn’t bother me as much if it weren’t for the fact I know how similar it is to Twilight and her fanfiction thanks to those two links. I still wouldn’t read it, though, because it’s not my cup of tea.

      I don’t tend to read books featuring characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Dorothy Gale, Peter Pan, etc. that are in the public domain either. Occasionally I’ll pick up a book not realizing that someone else’s characters are involved and I want to thwack myself on the head with it. It kind of irks me actually that there are so many new works featuring public domain characters being published now. It’s one of those trends I think is way too overdone and needs to stop.

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