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March 30th, 2006, 02:15 PM
What are people's opinions of fan fiction? I'm not just thinking of HP although that was the first series to spring to mind. Does fan fiction help or hinder and upcoming writer? It allows them to explore writing without having to build worlds or characters but does it then hinder them later when they need to do these things?

So help or hinderance?

March 30th, 2006, 08:56 PM
There's advantages and disadvantages to fan fiction.

It definately allows people to explore the process of writing without having to put a lot of effort into character creation and consistency in the world. I think it can draw people into the craft who wouldn't otherwise try writing.

On the other hand, I've always looked at it as a cop out, which is why I never do it personally. And you might find, that if you try to do it well, the time you spend researching the given world could have been spent on your own work.

I guess in the end it all depends on your personal goals and how much fun and fulfillment you get out of it.

Rocket Sheep
March 30th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Bad stuff. I have some good writer friends who do it... but under assumed names... it's never taken seriously.

However, one friend wrote a screen play of the first part of the 2nd matrix and released it anonymously as the stolen "real" thing well before Reloaded came out. It was actually really good... a complete fabrication but really good. So good that his little scam speed around the world like wildfire and everyone thought they did have the real thing. It went up on Matrix fan sites everywhere... for about a week.

The things writers can get up to when they're feeling naughty, eh?

March 30th, 2006, 11:50 PM
I'm working on a Star Wars Fan Film script. I view this much differently than Fan Fic as we're taking something specific and building characters and settings that no one has done before in either the games, the comics, or the movies or novels. Not even explored in the Fan Film sector. We're really taking something that has very little explained and trying to explain and define that part and do it well.

Most fan fic out there will take existing characters and existing settings and spin a tale. This okay for a starting writer to get his/her feet wet as you don't have to involve yourself with the world building or character development and you can get straight into the story.

Unless you're planning on trying to do novelizations and market them to the brand name titles, I would say do it for yourself and don't try to put it out there for people to read. You'll get a lot of 'Hey that's great' from people who really don't know much about writing and those who do will frown on you for doing fan fic.

My suggestion, find a book on writing, listen to one or all the writing podcasts out there, and start with a small project first. If you want to write novels, get good at writing short stories first to get the feel for character development, story structure, and the basics of writing. Don't jump in and try to write a 200,000 word novel out of the box. You'll most likely get frustrated and give up before you get half way through.

However you decide to go, just sit, and write. With each word you put down, you'll only get better.

March 31st, 2006, 04:33 AM
Fan fiction is a phrase that makes me cringe. Most of the fan fiction I see is so poorly written, it's a wonderful surprise to find something that is good. There are some pieces that are true to the characters, or have some interesting new ideas that add a fresh outlook onto the story. Some ideas are too far-fetched for my personal tastes, though.

I see no harm in writing fan fiction for yourself. Writing stories based in a ready-made world with familiar characters may help someone develop their writing skills, especially their understanding of characters' thoughts and motives. But I wouldn't stay there forever -- you've got to start coming up with your own world and characters at some point.

I would be wary of parading yourself as a writer if you only write fan fiction. That's a bit too close to parading your fan fiction as your own original ideas, when you've really just been using someone else's setting.

March 31st, 2006, 09:58 AM
Thanks all, very interesting input. I think i worked backwards as a writer... I started with the idea of writing a long story (still plodding along nicely) then started a short story (ditto) and then a fan fiction. I am not planning on ever posting my fanfiction but just wanted to see hyow i could make it original and what people think of the whole idea. I have to agree whitesilkbreeze there is some truly dreadful fanfiction out there but i suppose it is a good building block.

Thanks again.

March 31st, 2006, 05:35 PM
One of my first stories was a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Is that a fan fic? Others are writing them too and selling them.

It's certainly easier to write stories when you already know the characters.

But you should avoid the "mary sue" stories where the author puts themselves into the story (in a very thin disguise) to awe and impress the regular characters.

Rocket Sheep
March 31st, 2006, 06:51 PM
All my dark sarcastic characters are Mary Sues... but I put on a disguise in real life so no one even guesses. Whoops! ;)

April 1st, 2006, 08:31 PM
I personally don't know how people survive doing fan fiction, i find it really hard to do, and very unfulfilling, but that's just how it makes me feel.

I do like stories written that fill in gaps in something like star wars or something, but more often than not it bothers me that people take someone elses work and run with it (this does not include novel versions of movies - eg. star wars with salvatore or brooks).

With the talent i've seen people put to fan fiction, it annoys me that they don't create their own worlds.

Boll Weevil
April 19th, 2006, 03:52 PM
Fan fic is probably reasonable training as a writer, in that the essential structure and character is there for you to draw on, writing with stabilizers if you like. Fun I suppose if it's a local club or internet site where you share your theories. If you're half way decent it might be a long shot for getting to write a script for a show, or becoming one of those franchise writers for Patterson, Clancy and so on. But generally if considered other than fun or entertainment for a wee group of "fans" it seems mostly pointless.