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  1. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Why Did You Waste That On Fanfiction?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NateSean, May 5, 2011.

    Since this is more of a discussion topic I thought it would go well here.

    Over the years I've read some lousy fanfiction. On the other hand, I've come across the rare gem that could almost be considered professional quality. Like a Star Trek TV tie-in that I might get at the library. (Some of those were pretty good)

    I'll read the story and think to myself, "This could have been the plot of an original novel. Just switch the main characters out and bam."

    Have you ever come across a fanfic like that? Or have you ever written an original story that started out as fanfiction?
     
  2. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have read some great fanfiction that could have might as well been a proper story had they only changed the names. I have never written a fanfiction and turned it into a proper story, but I have gone the other way around several times. Stories I like, but end up at awkward lenghts and the plot isn't really all that... I just turn it into fanfiction :p
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only wrote a little fan fiction as a younger writer, but one sort of fan-fic-y daydream in my diary when I was a teenager did get turned into a couple of key scenes in a different story. Just took a step back and ignored the fact that it was Legolas and Aragorn and it worked quite well as a story. :p (not, like, a slash fiction, before anyone asks, it was a pretty tame story :p). But it wasn't like it was great writing, or particularly amazing ideas before I converted it - it was more a spark that led me there, and the setting was vaguely reminiscent of a nightmare Rivendell. :p
     
  4. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    This seems to imply that being fan fiction is a lower form of writing. While I have never written fan fiction before, mainly because I haven't found the time, or come up with a decent story, I've read some amazing peices which I've loved. When you enjoy a series of somthing so much, you want to add to it's 'universe', it can be a really fun experience! While it will probably not get published, I have no intention of getting my stories published, so it doesn't really matter if they feature someone else's characters or what.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I must admit, I don't get why anyone serious about writing would write fan fiction. It seems to kill the originality of writing, the creativity. I don't want to write someone else's characters or settings, when I can create my own. It's half the fun of writing- at least to me.

    That said, I suppose I can see how it might be useful for someone just setting out in writing, to hone their technical skills a little in a familiar surround with which they are enthusiastic. But I think as anything more long term it's just a road to...stagnation.
     
  6. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are quite a number of professional fanficers out there. They don't only write fanfiction novels but they have written a good number of them. There are a plethora of Star Wars and Star Trek novels at any book store that you can pick up. Some of them are actually quite good and deserving of the original works.

    Although I see what you mean, Banzai, I greatly respect any author who can write fanfiction. Sure, it takes a creative mind to come up with your own setting, characters, and overall themes, but to take something that already exists and make it unique and good for your own purposes takes a lot of skill, too.
     
  7. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Agreed. I don't think I could take a couple of already existing characters, and make them my own while still staying true to the characters. That takes skill. Some fan fiction authors don't make do it right, but do some do.
    Personally, I love fan fiction, it's fun to read especially when you're involved in that fan base their writing for.

    And to answer the OP's question, No, not really~ I think it was just right with the pre-existing characters...it would be a whole different story if it was with other characters..
     
  8. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speaking as someone who is quite serious about writing, fanfiction is something I write when my original stories has my brain fried, yet I still want to write something. The fanfiction community I'm in just likes fluff and smut, so it's not exactly hard thinking of a plot for that... and the characters are already made up.
     
  9. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Not always. Let's look at Timothy Zahn. He was already an established writer of sci-fi before doing Star Wars FanFic. Fan Fiction is not a lower writing form. Most times, it's an homage to the original author. And it's not stealing or using someone else's ideas any more than someone who writes a fantasy novel involving vampires is. It's all about taking an existing world (much like general ficiton uses our everyday world) and using it's components to write a compeling story. It simply has a step up as it already has a fan-base it panders to. However, if not done well or loyally, that very fan-base will let the author know very harshly.
     
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  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is professional writing within a franchise classed as fanfic?
     
  11. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've read so much dross under the name of fanfic, and nothing worth reading, so I've given up on it. That doesn't include published tie-ins, which I don't class as fanfic. The problem isn't that fanfic is a lower form of writing, the problem is that so many incompetent writers are doing it that the good stuff is swamped unless you have an editorial filter in the way. If I did write fanfic -- which I don't feel inclined to -- then I'd treat it as a throw-away exercise.
     
  12. Writing in the Mist
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    Writing in the Mist Member

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    I have come across some (a very little percentage actually) top-notch writing in fanfiction circles. Two authors from fanfiction.net springs to mind. If I were choosing a classic to read these two would come close to challenging folks like R.L. Stevenson, John Buchan, and Sir A.C. Doyle.

    ~ Mist
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Is it weird/bad that I feel similarly about fantasy, these days?
     
  14. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think so, and I don't think it's limited to fantasy. The rise of the internet and self-publishing is enabling for writers but it's a nightmare for readers.
     
  15. Jigen
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    Jigen Member

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    I've never written fan fiction myself, but I imagine the appeal is the ability to further explore worlds & characters. Just because a lot is written about a story doesn't mean there isn't tons more that could be explored.
     
  16. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I agree with your statement that it shouldn't become long-term, but I disagree with your first paragraph. I view fan-fiction as a writing prompt. Here I have specific characters and a specific setting, and I have to stay true to those as much as possible while still making it seem fresh and new. That's a great exercise.

    Also, I find unusual romances hilarious. Ron is in love with Harry, but Harry is in love with Malfoy who's pretending he loves Hermoine? Precious.

    It depends on the content. I feel most Star Wars fan fiction would take more work than just changing the names to make it a stand-alone original story. How do you disguise the Force? Or Animorphs. It's kind of obvious if Jill and Bob can turn into foxes and coyotes to defeat the body-snatching Bleerks.
     
  17. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    I've done a lot (a stupidly large amount, actually) of fan fiction in my day. I know for me, it came from a place of limited confidence. I didn't feel like I had the ability to create my own world so I played with other people's worlds instead. I thought about just changing out names on my more successful pieces but it doesn't work that way. Fan fiction writers leave a lot of things unsaid because we know it's cannon. I can say "We went to Wade's shop there in Denerim where, as always, we found him griping on like the spoil sport he is." If this is my own story, I'd have to add in extra stuff because anyone who hasn't played Dragon Age won't know who Wade is. You'd think it would be easy but it is sprinkled literally everywhere. Also, you do have to keep copyright in mind. I wouldn't think that anyone who converted fan fic over could ever consider it becoming published work. Your degrees of similarity could be very high if you didn't just scrap the whole thing and redo it as standalone fiction.

    However, I will say that my frustration over the way a particular story ended became one of my projects. I just had to create my own land to put these two chars in.
     
  18. Gothic Vampire Queen
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    Gothic Vampire Queen Member

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    Before I go on, I want to say that I LOVE the title of this topic :love: lol

    Anyway, yes, I have sadly written a story on there when I was 13. I am now 20. Yes, big difference.

    Personally, I think its fun to go back to your original writings and compare it to now.

    Looking back, good god, I have matured a lot! lol

    My characters were flat and dull.
    The dialogue was boring.
    The plot wasn't going anywhere.
     
  19. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    I don't know that I meant to imply that. But no one wound up on a bestseller list with "Doctor Who/Star Trek Crossover fanfic" as their masterpiece.

    If they were just doing it as a hobby, fanfiction isn't a bad way to devote your time. Where it crosses the line for me is when that person tries to make money off of the writing, because it's basically cashing in on someone else's hard work.

    It'd be like the story of the hen, where she tried to get all of the barnyard animals to pitch in and grow the grain, but only when she had a final finished product of bread did they want anything to do with it. Only this time, it's like the rooster knocked her aside and took the bread without her permission, regardless of whether or not he had a right to it.

    Tie-ins that are written by people who have all ready published original work. The storyline is presented to them by their publishers and the writer gets paid for the work, but is rarely credited with the story.

    One point of interest, and this is just my personal observation, you'll never see one of those books written by Stephen King or Anne Rice because, well, those writes have obviously earned their keep. As far as I can tell, the writers who are called on to do those books are the ones who have recieved their advance and were published, but didn't exactly break sales records. So doing the legwork of a tv/movie tie-in is probably the rough equivalent of making the cashier that can't sell credit card applications do all the random menial labor.

    Well, obviously if you use extreme examples like that it's going to be a bit more complicated. Though, for the record, Star Wars in all of it's celebrated glory was basically a massive retelling of the Dune series. And THX-1138is remniscent of Brave New World. George Lucas' contributions to cinema lie heavily in his skills with his ability to present a story on camera, not with writing it.

    I was referring to slightly more mainstream fanfictions. How many "starships that are a part of a major Earth centered fleet" stories are out there, for example?

    Come to that, I've read a lot of 7th Heaven fanfictions that showed the writer's talent and made me encourage him to write something original and see what happens.
     
  20. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That doesn't seem to be how it works. I've heard quite a few writers of tie-ins speak about the work, and they come up with the storylines, they pitch them and they almost always get credited for their work (the only exception is when it's a tie in to a marketing franchise rather than a mainstream fiction franchise, such as The Adventures of Ronald McDonald). The only thing about working on a tie in is that you get a dossier of rules you have to follow (so sorry, fanfic writers, you don't get to write an explicit sex scene between James T Kirk and Magneto if you want to get paid for it).
     
  21. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am the only one who write fanfiction just to fulfill all my smutty fantasies about the characters I watch in various games/series?
     
  22. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    It's how an article in the 2005 Writer's Market describes the process. As they tend to be legitimate source of viable publishers and the articles written are done by professional writers, I tend to go with what their contributers say.
     
  23. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going by what the writers actually doing the job say.
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    We all wish you were.
     
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  25. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lol, I mean on here though. I know that most people out there just write fanfics because of that. Yet it seemed like everyone here was talking about serious stuff and writing exercises. When most people, even people who are serious writers, mainly write fanfiction just for laughs and as a cure for their own boredom.
     
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