1. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont

    What's the difference between FanFic and Expanded Universe?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bluebell80, Jul 11, 2009.

    Now I'm not one for Fan Fic. I don't really approve of people taking established characters and warping the realities of those stories to reflect some perverted scheme.

    But, at the same time, I enjoy expanded universe books based on established characters.

    Like the Star Wars expanded universe. I thoroughly enjoyed Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, and duology (sp?) I also read a lot of other expanded uni star wars books, in my teen years.

    I know Star Trek has expanded universes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed all do as well.

    The reason I ask this, as to what the difference is, is because I've been thinking of writing a Charmed novel as an expanded universe addition. Sticking to all of the traditional cannon and adding a few new things...continuing where the series left off, like a season 9, episode 1 book.

    Now, does that fall into the category of Fan fiction until I actually quary an agent and then try to get in touch with S&S the publishers of the Charmed expanded uni books? Also I couldn't find anything on rights, as far as that series goes and writing to the expanded universe. I supposed I will email them to ask soon so I know.

    DO you consider the difference between fan fic and expanded universe, in terms of quality of writing, sticking to the universe's cannon, or is it some other difference?

    I haven't read any of the expanded uni books of Charmed, but I did read some of the excerpts on Amazon. I wasn't too impressed by them as far as quality. I do however, know the show inside and out, as I have the whole series on DVD and have watched them A LOT.

    I think it might be a worthy endeavor for me, but I'm just not sure about drawing the line between fan fic and adding to the expanded universe of a story.
     
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Actually, at least from what I have perused on the interwebz, what you are calling expanded universe is fan-fic. Twisting the existing story line and characters of a work in order to pervert them is called slash fic. I may be wrong.
     
  3. Rumpole40k
    Offline

    Rumpole40k Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    7,290
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Paradise City, Street of the Gods
    Wrey is right. If I decide to create a completely new character that happens to be a Jedi and uses the force, this would still fall under the domain of George Lucas and his company. I think the best idea of an expanded universe I can think of is in Simon Green's books.

    Green created a world called Nightside. The original books centered around John Taylor a PI. He then wrote another set of books about a man named Eddie Drood who fought against the things that go bump in the night. He also wrote a book called Shadows Fall, which was kind of a suburb of Nightside where Gods and imaginary friends go to retire when no one believes in them any longer. Same universe - just exploring more of it.
     
  4. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    Thanks Wrey, I knew there was another type of sub-genre in the fan fic that was worse, slash fic, I couldn't think of it.

    I've read though some of the fan fic online and frankly most of it is awful. I think I'll give it a try, since I know the character's so well, and I'd love to see what they were doing after the show ended. There are always more stories to tell, and I know there is a market for it at least. I'm sure there is some type rights to be requested before I actually pursue it with an agent...from Constance Burge who created Charmed. Not that I can't think of my own stories, cause I do, it just might be something fun to work on on the side.
     
  5. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    This is gonna sound really, really, really bad... But I think the reason for the abysmal quality of most of the fan-fic you find out there is simply that the person writing it didn't even have enough imagination to create their own world, let alone enough to pull off a decent story line.

    This is not the case for all, of course, but.... just sayin', yo. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Anders Backlund
    Offline

    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Land of Lagom
    The main difference is that no one pays you for writing fanfiction. EU books are, essentially, licensed fanfics.

    I believe Stars Wars has this kind of canon hierarchy that goes kinda like: Movies > Movie Novelizations > Expanded Universe novels and EU in general > Games, etc. Whatever isn't contradicted by higher canon is considered canon in itself. Rule of thumb is that you are free to write almost whatever you want, but George Lucas is free to not give a damn. (And does so frequently.)

    I don't know if other franchises has similar systems set up, though.

    Actually, slash is when you turn two (usually male) characters gay and pair them up. If, for example, Harry Potter decides that he'd much rather make out with Ron then Ginny, you are probably reading a slash fic. Common among fanfic authors who are also teenaged girls.

    Though, I suppose your definition may still apply, technically speaking. >>
     
  7. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    A lot of them are also simply bad or inexperienced writers. Or they do it for fun and don't bother putting their best effort into it. The books that get published, like the examples Bluebell gave, you can find lots of great writers. Technically, it's still fan fiction in many cases because the writers were fans of it before they wrote the books. They may have been requested by publishers, but I can't imagine the job being offered to someone who didn't already like the show/movie. Given the choice, anyway.
     
  8. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    Oh, I know. Wrey, that's what I was thinking too. If I had tried to write a fan fiction piece say, seven years ago, I would have stunk too.

    Fan fiction tends to draw in non-writers, who enjoyed some books, or movies, or tv and they want to try their hand at writing about their favorite characters. These non-writers, tend to be really bad, though some of the plot lines I have seen might not have been bad, had they been written by a person who knows how to write.

    Noob writers are the worst. They think they can write, but their purplely prose tends to get in the way of their story cause they are just trying too hard. They end up with some of the worst stories, characters, plots, and general writing. They are generally not creative enough to come up with new things, so they regurgitate old stories, cliche little bits, and boring dialog.

    Then there are the ones who are writers, who write their own work, who enjoy creating fictional words, and are fans of something that they would love to leave their mark on...the star wars series is probably a good example. There are quite a few of the adult books that are really good. Some not so good, and some just plain bad.

    I think I'm hoping to fall into the last category. :)
     
  9. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    Rei, you summed it up completely. Thank you. That's what I was thinking, also.
     
  10. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Do you mean adult, as in no kiddies allowed, or do you simply mean not YA lit?
     
  11. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you for raising that tactfully, Wrey. There certainly is a market for skillful writing within the framework of someone else's framework. But it's a very delicate task. You have to do worldbuilding and character development without violating the constraints of the framework - no major changes to established charactera and locations. If anything, it requires more skill to do it well than creating your own characters and settings.

    Fanfic generally operates without external constraints, There is no "bible" tcrew o tell fanfic writers what they can and cannot change, and what other rules they must follow tostay true to the franchise (like no wiping out intelligent races by any Federation in a Star Trek novel).
     
  12. Anders Backlund
    Offline

    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Land of Lagom
    First of all, consider Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crud." Fanfiction is absolutely no exception.

    Second, I think you have it backwards. Your average fanfic author doesn't produce bad fanfiction because he or she is bad at writing original fiction, but because he or she is bad at writing fanfiction.

    They are different fields, you see. Fanfiction is ultimately about imitation; about conforming to the style of your chosen story-universe. So in order to write truly good fanfiction you need both a high level of skill and a certain degree of unoriginality. And that's a very rare combo. Most of us authors are proud, creative types who want to do our own thing.

    In fact, you find the same issues in the Expanded Universe stories. For example, if you're going to write Star Wars, you need a very good understanding of what Star Wars is. Not just knowing all about the universe, you need to have the same nostalgic outlook, child-like playfulness and sense of charming campyness that George Lucas had when he made the actual movies.

    Otherwise you get Luke Skywalker juggling black holes and Chewbacca getting killed by extra-galactic masochists, and that's not the Star Wars I grew up with.
     
  13. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    I agree with that first part Cog. I do think it takes some skill to color within the lines of someone else's drawing.

    Did you know they are calling for new Star Trek novels to be written into the expanded uni? I just saw it last night when I was looking at Simon and Schuster's website. I thought that was rather interesting, too bad I don't really like Star Trek enough to be able to write about it. :(
     
  14. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I haven't looked. I like the Trek universe(s), but I'd really rather write my own characters and universe.
     
  15. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    Well the not YA books. The Star Wars ones that are sold in the General Sci-Fi section of the book store. The YA ones tend to be shorter, sold in that section, and really not good. My kids have read a few of them, and the reading level on some of them is as low as 2nd grade (as my 7 year old can read them.) Then there are the even younger kid books with big letters and pictures.

    Though, I would love to see an R rated Star Wars book, but that is just the pervert and violence lover in me. Though, somehow I think Luke is still probably better in my own fantasies. lol
     
  16. Anders Backlund
    Offline

    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Land of Lagom
    While I'm ranting, let me say that I deeply resent the suggestion that fanfiction authors are inherently uncreative, unskilled people who are incapable of producing original stories of their own.

    I myself have more ideas for original fiction then I could ever find time to actually write down, yet I still write fanfiction on occasion. The level of creativity and originality has nothing to do with it at all.
     
  17. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not inherently. But predominantly. No need to get your back up.
     
  18. fantasywriter
    Offline

    fantasywriter Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I believe that Fan-Fic and EU are just about the same thing . . . Why do I think so?

    Well, in both Fanfiction and Expanded Universe, a writer has the option of involving Canon Characters and changing their lives dramatically. So if you think that Fanfiction is a bad thing, I wouldn't try and write Expanded Universe. I write Fan-Fics when I get bored. Some of my Fan-Fics take place after the original book or TV series that I'm writing about, and some of them take place during the series. What's the difference? There really isn't one. Other writers write Fanfiction to practice their writing skills. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, as long as they don't get into trouble for Plaugerism or some such thing. So no, there really is no difference, in my opinion.
     
  19. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    No, of course not. That's just a reality of the vast majority of what gets posted on fan fiction websites, which is the reason for a lot of people's opinions of fanfiction.
     

Share This Page