Going through life as a self-proclaimed nerd and fan of several things geeky, I’ve picked up on many different ways fans have shown their appreciation (or worship, depending on the fandom) for a certain show, book, musical, or what have you. A majority of fans are content with buying the merchandise associated with their respective fandoms, from the super-extra-deluxe-special edition of a certain movie (and I believe I’m pointing an accusatory finger at the Watchmen movie for this heinous crime) to toy replicas of either one of the character’s props or one of the characters themselves; I myself have a black Mokona plushie from the animé xxxHolic to call my own (which I jealously guard).
However, there are others — lots of others — who quite literally take their fandoms into their own hands, and renew and reshape them into something unique and somewhat similar to the original products, using their own imaginations and and word processors. They are the authors of a genre of fiction reserved for fans, known simply as fan fiction.
According to Wikipedia, the most reliable source of information on the Internet, fan fiction is “a broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator.” In other words, it is a way for fans to explore the work that they’ve fawned over. The Wikipedia page links to several places where people write, post and discuss fan fiction, the most notable of which is a site called Fanfiction.net, supposedly the “largest fan fiction gallery on the Internet.” And large it is: a quick glance at the number of published works on the site revealed not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of stories published in several different languages by fans who have been so inspired by their fandoms that they’ve decided to write their own stories. Readers beware, however, because there is some pretty twisted stuff on this website that has flown under the moderators’ radar, if you know where to look!
But what of the motivation behind the act? I talked to a couple of people who have written fan fiction before, and their answers were thought-provoking. One writer, who works mostly with characters in Final Fantasy VII, replied that they write for the same reasons a lot of fan fiction writers do: they love a character so much that they didn’t want their story to end, and decided to take it upon themselves to continue their story, to re-examine the character, and to delve deeper and develop them. The same writer used Reno as an example, as one of their more popular posts was done in a first-person perspective that helps foster a conscience in a character that has been often portrayed as a stereotypical bad guy with an adulterous streak.
The other writer I talked to had a different motivation: whenever there was a lack of detail or closure in a show — like, in their words, an unsolved problem, an unexplored character, or simply a strange quirk they wanted to expand on — it would bother the writer until they wrote it out. The writer compared it to “exorcising” it from their brain. The writer also told me that they have written some Lord of the Rings fan fiction, then later moved on to other fandoms like Death Note and Naruto, usually creating humorous pieces that expanded on what they would have liked to see in the series. They even admitted to have written slash fiction, a variation of fan fiction that pairs up two same-sex characters in the fandom and places them in romantic situations, but refused to divulge any more details, even after some rigorous pleading. Both writers, however, are connected by a single fact: they are so close to their respective fandoms that they’ve taken it upon themselves to explore it through their own imagination, and their writing utensil of choice.
Not all fans use the pen (or keyboard) to explore their fandoms, though. Some take up their pencils, markers, paintbrushes and Wacom Tablets instead, and make beautiful works of art featuring their favorite characters from their favorite fandoms, bringing them to life on paper or screen. In fact, deviantART.com, one of the largest online art galleries out there, has an entire category for artists who want to display their geekiness through their art, and some of the results are often brilliant. A select few, however, go the extra mile and even make an entire web comic series that distinctly defines itself as a fan fiction comic that features dozens of characters, from Erik from The Phantom of the Opera (that’s his name in the book), to Crowley from Good Omens.
Enter AsheRhyder’s Roommates, a comic on deviantART.com that asks the question, “what would happen if Jareth (from Labyrinth), Norrington (from The Pirates of the Caribbean), Javert (from Les Misérables), and Erik (from The Phantom of the Opera) decided to live together in the same apartment block?” A hilarious, Friends-esque sitcom, this comic is one of the best examples of humorous fan fiction, while remembering its own roots as a tribute to its (many) fandoms. Oh, and fan service, for all those interested in that sort of thing.
One of the best parts of the comic, however, is the spinoff: another deviantART artist named Pika-la-Cynique decided to make another comic that details the lives of the girls living near the guys in the original comic. While not quite canon and not quite otherwise, Girls Next Door is the healthy dose of sitcom hilarity, taking the side of the girls instead of the guys. Keep these comics on your RSS feeds; it’s worth every minute procrastinated.
Inspiration begets inspiration that begets inspiration; the action of taking an idea and remaking it to form something similar, yet somewhat different, is the very basis of creativity. I applaud these proud people (yes, even those who write gory/über-sexualized Twilight fan fiction, simply because “creative” can also be applied to “sickeningly twisted”) who decide to write or draw, because it is through their minds and their work that we could explore our various fandoms in more depth, and thus understand them better.
Do you have a favorite fan-made work of fiction? Do you write fan fiction? If so, tell us in the comments!
This should really have been edited a lot more before being posted on the internet. Many of your phrases, the way they are written now, are self-contradictory. You’ve got glaring grammatical errors, run-on sentences, and you’ve taken direct quotes without actually putting them “in quotes.” That’s plagiarism. You also have not credited your photos, for example, (c)Fanfiction.net.
Saying that the best part of Roommates is its spinoff is an insult to the original, stand-alone work. Furthermore, despite how it is “defined” as illustrated fanfiction, it is not “fanfiction” – it is doujinshi, which should be covered in its own article. Regardless of either of these, did you contact the artists before featuring their work in your article? Did you get their permission to use their pictures?
The *basis* of creativity, basis defined as “foundation,” is the invention of something novel and unique, and solely yours. It may be creative to borrow others’ work and tweak it, thus fanfiction, fanart, etc., but that is hardly creativity’s anchor.
This article has potential, but it needs a lot of work. And a lot of the sarcasm can go.
An interesting idea to discuss. As this is an article about FANFICTION please keep it at that. Artists who “take up their pencils, markers, paintbrushes and Wacom Tablets” (to quote yourself) are not creating fan fiction. This is fan ART. As a fan artist and off/on doujinshi writer myself, I would prefer my work to be treated as part of the separate categories that it belongs to. Why not write additional articles on fan art and/or doujinshi?
Also, “One of the best parts of the comic, however, is the spinoff:” (to quote yourself again). Are you saying that the best part of the original work is that another artist made a spin-off? That is insulting to the first artist who made the original comic.
Once again, as a fan artist, I question your word choice in this phrase: “the action of taking an idea and remaking them”. The word “taking” implies theft and plagarism. Yes, fan works often involve copyrighted characters. Fan works are indeed grey-areas. Fan art acknowledges and credits the original artists. The work is a tribute to the original story that the fan is so fond of. It is, however, part of the heart and mind of the fan. Did you ask permission from the webcomics’ artists before you referenced them and posted their personal artwork?
I’m going to go ahead and agree with what the other two posters have stated. You do really need to clean up this article and eliminate the fanart section if you’re supposted to be focusing on fanfiction. I’d also suggest interviewing a few more people for their opinions on why they write fanfic. I know I do because it helps me to clean up my writing skills and receive constructive feedback. I take fanfic to be a good way to hone one’s skills before stepping into the real world of publication. Although granted, I think some fanfic writers are a heck of a lot better than people who have been published. But I also write fanfic to explore characters who have only ever been seen on one light, and I try to expose them in another.
Fanfic is also a good way to be introduced to a new fandom. It’s a form of advertisement. Things like doujinshi are widely accepted in Japan where there aren’t copyright infringement laws and manga-ka encourage fanartists to create unique works based on an original idea. We can’t do this in America, which is why we’re limited to the internet, and fanfic is probably the best way to fool around with characters and scenairos. A good fanfiction writer is able to formulate a storyline to the point that readers forget it isn’t canon.
All in all, do be careful with your wording in this article.
i’m a fanfic writer, and i only ever do harry potter fics. i read fanfic for a long time before i started writing my own. i love the potterverse so much, but loathe book 7 and JKR’s ending to the series. once i started reading i got really into WIKTT fanfic (when i kissed the teacher)- focusing on hermione/snape ships. the two characters just seem perfect for each other, but not when hermione is a teenager. so i like AU (alternate universe) stories that bring together the two characters, or stories that take place in the future.
after exhausting all of the well-written stories i could find in this niche, i decided to open up a blank word doc, and start my own. i’ve had fun emulating JKR’s style, and using british spelling and vocab. i’ve also done extensive canon research to make sure my references are accurate; on the other hand, i’ve created my own twists on histories, events, and i’ve created my own new magic, as well as borrowed popular non-canon magic that is establish in the world of potter fanfic, referred to as “fanon.” (a couple simple examples of fanon are the use of an alarm charm to wake yourself up in the morning, or various pregnancy potions that glow through the skin if the drinker is pregnant. they get passed around and re-used, and almost feel like canon to me now).
i do write rated-M fanfic, and i prefer epic narratives, often mimicking the length of the books themselves, and not just a one-off (a shorter story written in one installment). the rated M aspect is an interesting twist on something like potter fanfic, which was originally created for younger readers and never approaches anything more risque than a kiss or the word “damn.” my characters say swear words, have sex, and get naked. writing scenes that are downright erotic is also a fun and interesting challenge!
okay, rambling is done. just wanted to give some insight and comment on a topic i really love!!
oh, and just to mention, a really interesting aspect of fanfic is crossover stories! in canon, two different universes would never mesh (well, except in the class flinstones meet the jetsons)… but in fan written work, all kinds of strange overlaps are possible.
an all-time favorite story of mine is an overlap b/w harry potter and buffy. it was so well written, and actually got me into buffy whereas i previously knew so little about the series.
I agree, crossovers can be cool if they’re done right. I personally have always been a *huge* sucker for AUs as well. I don’t really read fanfic anymore and only ever wrote a couple stories, but I used to be (for about 4 years) huuuuuugely into popslash, about 95% *NSYNC (though the first slash I ever read was Angel/Xander and I read hetfic for years before that). I kind of fell out of it as a hobby, but I still love the concept of it.