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Fan Fiction. What Is Fan fiction?
What is Fan Fiction? What’s the point? Is it legal? Can you make money off of it? These are the questions that came to my mind when I first heard of Fan Fiction when I was younger. It came to a surprise to me later when I mentioned Fan Fiction to my Creative Writing professor that she had never heard of it. That made me realize that not everyone knows what Fan Fiction is. So here is some information about Fan Fiction.
What Is Fan Fiction?
Fan Fiction is what it sounds like; it is fiction about already established books, tv shows, and movies. It is created by the fans. There are a couple of sites that have a library of fan fiction. There is fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own. Fans also publish Fan Fiction on their own personal blogs, fan sites, and other blog sites (like Tumblr and Livejournal).
Technically if we are going with this definition then there are also published books in the fan fiction genre they are other books or works that can be considered public domain that other authors can decide to write about. For an example Jane Austen books aren't own by anyone living so there are books written about Jane Austen’s books and her characters.
Fan Fiction based on Jane Austen Novels
This is an example of one of the many books based off of Jane Austen novels. It is set after Pride and Prejudice and follows Elizabeth on her journey of figuring out just how different Mr. Darcy really is. The title is a big clue.
Can you make Money off of Fan Fiction?
Another medium of fan fiction is Kindle Worlds from Amazon. This part of Kindle books is Fan Fiction based on a few books and TV shows. The books and TV shows make the deal with Amazon giving them permission for fans to write fiction about their works. These books usually run from $1.99 -$3.99. They are still working things out since it is fairly new. If you have a fan fic you just love to see if anyone would buy that is written about the books or TV shows Kindle worlds had made a deal with then this is a good option for you.
L. J Smith Writes Fan Fiction
L.J. Smith is an interesting case when we are exploring what Fan Fiction is. She was the original author of the Vampire Diaries Series. She created the characters and the world of the Vampire Diaries, yet, she has fan fiction of her own creations. Why? Well she had disputes over how to end the series with her publishers. So they fired her and hired ghost writers. Years later she knew she still had fans who were interested to see how she would end the series so she wrote fan fiction on Kindle Worlds to end the series how she wanted it.
Is it Legal?
Yes, well as long as you do it right. If you are writing fics( slang word for fan fiction) online it is customary for you to put a disclaimer on it, stating the fact that you do not own the characters and you are merely writing this for fun. Even with a disclaimer there are some author/publishers who expressed that they do not want anyone writing fan fictions about their characters. So it is customary to respect their wishes. In the case with Kindle Worlds is you have those who own the rights of the original works permission to make money off of the work. With books that are public domain you should make sure you know that they are public domain before you try to publish that work.
What’s the Point?
There are several reasons why people want to read/write Fan Fiction. The obvious one I think is that is if you are a huge fan of the works and you just need more from the characters you fell in love with. There are times when fans did love the original works at one point but then as it went on they became disenchanted with the works and wished that a certain plot turned out a certain way or if a couple that didn't get together they would write how they thought that couple should be together. There is a certain type of fic called a Fix it fic. This is where the Fan Fic writer write their version of an ending they didn't like; rewrite an episode/book, or where they rewrite a work. Then there are AU (Alternate Universe) fics. This is where the story is so different that it is not even set with in the universe of the original work. Some Alternate Universe’s can just mean that the fic simply goes in a different direction of the book/tv show/movie. Other stories are where perhaps original story is about Werewolves but then the fanfic is about those characters in a world where Werewolves don’t exist. Then there are AU’s where the original characters are set in the present day but the fic puts them in the past. Then there are fans that like several different fandoms and cannot help but think it would be cool to see characters from different books, movies, and tv shows interact with each other. These are called crossovers. Crossovers can be AU’s but they also can be set in their original works world, which can take some creativity.
Writing Fan Fic for Practice
Writing Fan Fiction can make good writing exercises. It helps the writer develop their writing skills in characterization, plot, setting, and description. When writing about already established characters the fan fic writer works on developing that character into their own story. It maybe easier to write about characters and a world that the writer is already familiar with. It can be good practice for writing their own original character in their own original world.
There are online fan fiction communities where others give the writers prompts and challenges which can help them practice their writing skill. They challenge each other with putting characters in specific situations and writing about different themes and tropes. There are Beta readers who are editors of fan fiction who help fan fic writers on their drafts. There are many ways for the fan fic writer to improve.
Do you write fan fiction?
So here it is. That is what Fan Fiction is and why people read and write it. So what do you think? Do you read and write fan fiction? Would you like to? Do you see why people would want to do it? Do you think it would be good writing exercises? Or do you think it's a waste of time? Let me know what you think in the comments below.