is fanfic a compliment?

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In my years as a writer, I’ve noticed there’s a HUGE… well, not dislike, but I guess that’s the closest word? of fanfiction. Like Anne Rice and George R. R. Martin.

“Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else’s world is the lazy way out.” – George R. R. Martin.

“I do not allow fan-fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan-fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes.” – Anne Rice.

“OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I know it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.” – Diana Gabaldon.

Honestly, as a fanfic writer, that kind of makes me feel weird. I started out writing fanfiction when I was younger, on the Warrior Cat Forums ( the authors of the Warriors series encouraged it, from what I can tell. ) And without writing that fanfiction, I never would’ve been told I was pretty good at writing, to the point that I decided I wanted to write my own original works. ( I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, I just started off writing fanfiction. )

And even when I started writing my first novel ( which will never see the light of day ), I still wrote fanfic. It’s a great way to get feedback and critique. I still have a Wattpad, with fanfictions I will likely never finish due to the sheer amount I have on there… and the fact that I’d much rather work on my actual novel. Because while I love writing fanfiction and I love the community, I want to be an author and writing fanfiction was kinda taking time away from that.

I mean… isn’t fanfiction a form of flattery for a writer? I know how hard writing fanfiction is, having written it myself. Making sure everything’s correct, making sure it doesn’t seriously mess up canon ( unless it’s an AU or post-series, I suppose ), trying to get the characters right… it’s hard. And the fact that someone would spend days or weeks or months writing something because they like a novel, isn’t that one of the greatest compliments you can get?

I don’t know. That could just be my opinion. Maybe writers like George R. R. Martin and Stephanie Meyer and Diana Gabaldon are right – maybe fanfic’s just a copyright infringement. Except you don’t see these people trying to publish it ( with the exception of Fifty Shades of Grey, and I totally get why Stephanie Meyer would be upset about THAT )… they tend to just put their works on Wattpad or Archive of Our Own or fanfiction.net.

So is it just a matter of opinion? Or is it something serious?

( Hey, I mean… if someone liked my cruddy novel enough to write fanfic about it, I don’t care what they do. They can make everyone gay or write a zombie apocalypse AU or slap every single character with angst for all I care. )

“All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.” – Joss Whedon.

best-wishes

What do you think about fanfiction? If you published a novel, would you be okay with fanfics about your characters and world?

2 thoughts on “is fanfic a compliment?

  1. I completely understand where authors like Anne Rice and George R.R. Martin are coming from, as I’m insanely protective of my characters and worlds. I really hate the idea of anyone misrepresenting them! However, fanfiction /is/ legal as long as no profit is made off of it and all proper credit is given to the original author. Therefore, when you put a work out into the world, you’re putting it in a place where fanfiction is a very likely + legal thing that could happen to it. You need to accept that fanfiction is a huge possibility. If you have a problem with that, don’t publish your works in the first place. As much as I’d love to know that my characters will always belong exclusively to me, I see that that’s a pretty selfish point of view when I look at it from the vantage point of the reader. Fanfiction can help introduce people to writing (like it did for you), new fandoms, and new friends. So it may suck sometimes when people write crappy fanfiction (or any fanfiction at all!) about your works, but by publishing your stuff you’re giving them legal permission to do it. It’s perfectly understandable and fine for authors to dislike fanfiction, but they need to deal with + accept the fact that it exists, it’s not going away, and being nasty about it won’t help anything.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed! It’s like, I get that they’re not a super huge fan of it… but it’s going to happen whether you say you like it or you say you don’t like it. As long as they’re not trying to publish it, they’re not doing anything illegal. Especially if they post it on websites like Wattpad, Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, etc. – websites created for fanfiction (though in Wattpad’s case there are also original works but hey.) The amount of fanfictions that actually get turned into real works are slim (50 Shades of Gray was Twilight fanfic, that series After was One Direction fanfic, and The Mortal Instruments had it’s roots in Harry Potter fanfic.) So they really don’t have much to complain about, in my opinion! Besides – if someone spends hours working on a fanfic from something you wrote as an author, that’s a lot of time, and they’re probably learning better writing techniques and skills as a result. Plus they’re probably making friends in fandom AND possibly getting word of your work out there! I mean, I first heard about one of my favorite shows because of a roleplay, and that’s kinda fanfic, isn’t it?

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