At 1/31/10 10:35 AM, InsertFunnyUserName wrote:
At 1/31/10 02:41 AM, Nateofwar wrote:
I understand that when people realy like somthing they want to be a part of it but character development is like one of the biggest parts of a storyThat's why I don't like writing it. If other people want to, that's fine, I just won't choose to read it. But for myself, developing the characters is one of the funnest things to do when I'm writing. I love thinking up their personalities, writing their histories and coming up with all their quirky traits. With fanfiction, someone else has already done that for me, and that's no fun.
To me, fan fiction is fair game as a writing style/genre provided that it is treated as a proper piece of fiction. I think a lot of the time, people can't be bothered thinking up original characters/plot, but still want to call themselves writers. "I'm a writer, but I only do fanfiction", that sort of thing. Fan fiction in general seems to be a style of writing that lacks originality. If we posit the situation of fan fiction as written by the fans, it seems that all professionalism in the writing is lost. Fans appear to lack the subtlety to criticise what they adore, and therefore the majority of the time, the characters in their versions of the stories exist in a world that is overly perfect, only to be thrown out of balance in a totally predictable way, resolving in yet more predictable sugar-coated fandom. That's all drawn from my perception of the "fan fiction" level of fandom. I think most fan fiction writers won't be well read, and therefore are less aware of plot-holes and cliches, which, of course, will drag a piece of fiction down.
I think fan fiction becomes most interesting in the hands of someone who is more experienced in the field of writing as a whole. I'm sure a professional author could write rings around xXxFinalFantasyxXx any day of the week if they felt so inclined to write a story in the style dubbed "fan" fiction. If you look at fan fiction on a more generalised definition, it contains characters/setting/events/etc that have derived from elsewhere. Get rid of all the homo-erotica and the txtspk stories, and you've still got something remarkably unoriginal. Take away the predictability in the plot/characters and then you can start talking. Of course, then there's the conundrum of remaining to the universe in which the original author created these characters. However, the author created characters, not people. Characters don't exist outside the text, whereas fan fictions sort of treat the characters as if they do. Not a good thing to do. They must remain characters. When you write them, they're your characters, they do what you write.
Here's where I like to introduce the anaolgy of cover songs to show how fan fictions can work. A cover song is a song that one band takes from an original band, often to pay their respects to the original band/song. Like fan fictions, there are good and bad cover songs. I think what makes for a good cover song and a good fan fiction is essentially the same. A cover song done in the same style is boring (aka "Sonic and his friends were playing in the forest and then something bad happened and then he ran fast and saved the day the end"). If the style doesn't mix with the original, it can sound like complete horse shit (aka furry/gay porn fan fics). The covers that work are the ones that adapt with the original to create something that sounds different, yet not wholly unpleasant. Fan fiction writers need that original/creative flair to their work to make it stand out.
If I may use my own story as an example, you will be able to see here that my story "Flonkerton" bares little resemblance to the original text from where my characters evolved; "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". Of course, it is questionable whether anything but the names coincide with Carrol's famous text, but I'd be quite glad to argue why I think this is not so, and why my text is fit to be categorised as a fan fiction. Whilst it does not bare resemblance in plot, nor in setting to the aforementioned text, my story feeds off the symbolism of the characters, their context, to enrich my own (and might I add, unique?) versions of his characters. So even though my characters are not carbon copies of Carrol's, I use my reader's intertextual knowledge of Alice in Wonderland to pull together the confusion and nonesensicality (if such a word exists) from that text, to enrich the reading of my own. Granted, mine is not the most conventional fan fiction out there, but I believe that if a text can make those connections, that is enough to classify it as fan fiction, while still offering the author enough liberties to bend and shape the story to their own will, to create something wholly more original and of a greater quality than what is usually seen or expected in the genre.
I hope this little spiel sheds light on a few interested readers, as I know this train of thought has given me a more positive image of the bastard genre of the literary world, and now I feel more open to attempting to write the occasional fan fiction from time to time.