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  1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Are Bible Stories Considered Fanfiction?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JJ_Maxx, Oct 30, 2012.

    I am working on re-writing the story of Jonah and was wondering where this would fall under? I know that the bible itself isn't under any legal copyright so I think it would be fair game to 'borrow' some of the skeleton of the story and add to it by a metric ton.

    Would it be the same as re-writing a legend or a fable? If there were no real deities in the story, I don't think it would be fantasy as much as just general fiction.

    Thoughts?

    J. J.
     
  2. Spiderman
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    Spiderman Member

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    Writing a story based on the bible is not copyrighted
    A religious document is not copyright.
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That depends if you consider it fiction.

    I don't see a problem. I've ripped passages straight out of the bible (King James) and pasted them in my book. Granted, my character is kind of at prayer, but still....
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, that's not completely true. Most modern Bible translations have copyrights against using their translation verbatim. But the story itself is fair game, along with most older translations. (Like King James)
     
  5. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    no it is not fan fiction as a Bible story is a Bible story you may add narrative but it still remains the same basic story.
     
  6. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I would technically consider it fanfiction, but for all purposes it isn't and wouldn't be considered it.
     
  7. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    Fanfiction is taking characters or a world you like from a story and then writing a completely new story around them. Adapting a story like you are suggesting is exactly that an adaptation of an existing story.
     
  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, from a merely subjective point of view, I haven't given enough evidence for you to assume an adaptation. Where the bible tells the story from Jonah's point of view, I am going to tell the story of the captain of the ship and the things he had to go through deciding to pick up this Hebrew hitchhiker. In this case, Jonah isn't the main character, but plays a more supporting role. This would be akin to writing the story of the Harry Potter books from the viewpoint of a different, unkown student at Hogwarts. (Who has his own trials, tribulations and adventures while the HP story unfolds in the periphery.)
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Basically like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for Hamlet, then (telling Hamlet from the POV of two relatively unimportant characters in a kind of post-modern sort of way)?

    I'd still consider that *technically* fanfiction (since it is a story written based off a story someone else created), but I don't think anyone would call it so.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    call it 'fanfiction' if you want, but as noted above, you'll most likely be alone in considering it so...
     
  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Personally, I don't think it *is* fanfiction, but I wanted a discussion on integrating themes/ideas/stories from the Bible. From a literary perspective, there's some great stuff in there.

    Thank you for all your opinions!

    Thank_You_Blue_Smilie.gif

    ~ J. J.
     
  12. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    The Potok novel As a Driven Leaf expands on a single line from the Talmud. I think if you called it fanfic you would run a very realistic risk of offending people. I'm not saying one would be justified in such anger, but people get touchy if you even imply that their holy books are anything less than a holy book.

    You could call it "religious fiction" if your story has a religious message. You could call it "historical fiction" if you were only using the particular time period as a setting. Heck, if you called it "biblical fiction" I could even see that working.
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Thanks for the take on this! You seem to understand why this is a 'gray area' that I was asking about. If you come at it from a historical perspective, it would fall into stories written around the Civil War or Prohibition, etc...

    My adaptation wouldn't change the story, merely fill in the blank spots with what could have happened.
     
  14. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    I personally like your idea of telling the story through a different characters eye's it sounds like a very interesting concept.
     
  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, Prince of Egypt was well-received and that's the story of Moses - it's got some really nice, beautiful direction too and awesome music.

    No, I wouldn't call it "fanfiction" - I'd call it an adaptation if you were rewriting a Bible story. If however you're writing a totally different story with a biblical backdrop, then I'd just call it er, a story with biblical influences? Either way, not fan fiction!
     
  16. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I've always liked the story of Jonah. Even after all that with the fish, once he gets to Ninevah and the people repent and God says he won't destroy the city, there's really interesting conflict. Jonah gets a bad attitude like "Hey, so you sent me all the way here to deliver a message of doom and now you're not going to even destroy them!" That part really struck me as interesting because of Jonah's attitude and how God adjusted his viepoint, again. Maybe you could incorporate that somehow too.
     
  17. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Actually a great story is the apocryphal 'Book of Giants' which we've only recovered pieces and parts of in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It elaborates on the story told in the Book of Enoch.

    It tells the story of 'the Watchers', a group of two hundred fallen angels that were stricken by the beauty of human women and came down to Earth and took the women and fathered the Nephilim, who were giants. The Watchers, along with the Nephilim, taught the humans magic and sorcery and defiled the Earth. The whole story of the angels and giants bringing chaos to Earth is allegedly the true reason God decided to send the flood to wipe out humanity. Oh and there's a epic battle with a dragon, too.

    Amazing stuff and it makes me want to write and write and write! :)

    ~ J. J.
     
  18. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    You might also consider looking at The Red Tent by Diamant. It is a story of the matriarchs and patriarchs told from the perspective of Dinah. I had the opportunity to see Ms. Diamant speak about her book at a lecture and she classified her book as "historical fiction."
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the bible has been a rich source of story ideas for fiction writers ever since the first ones wrote it...
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Once again, I think it unnecessary to refer to the Bible as fiction as if that were a fact, just out of respect for other people's beliefs.
     
  21. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    No one has said that. The term 'fanfiction' means you are writing a piece of 'fiction' as a 'fan' of a certain work already written. It doesn't say that the original work is fiction, just that the derivative is fiction.
     
  22. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I believe shadow walker was referring to the two posts which did state that the bible is fiction.
     
  23. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. Thank you.

    And please note - I don't consider myself at all "religious". I just find this sort of thing distasteful in general.
     
  24. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Could you elaborate on what you mean by 'this sort of thing'? I don't see this discussion distasteful in the slightest.
     
  25. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I also do not consider myself religious and I agree.

    The topic at hand is what to call fiction based on biblical stories. Nowhere in there does it seem necessary (or considerate) to voice your opinion that the bible is fiction. Likewise, if someone asks a question about atheism, I would hope religious people wouldn't make snarky comments about atheists.

    Common courtesy and such.
     
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