Why Fan Fiction Can Be Helpful
As promised, today’s post is about fan fiction. Earlier in the week, Fuel Your Writing posted a very interesting post about the topic of fan fiction and if anyone who wants to become a writer should even consider it.
So of course, as someone who credits fan fic as the push back into writing, I made a few comments. As did a lot of people. And that’s the question – so a budding writer bother with fan fic?
First, the definition – what exactly is fan fiction? Just as it sounds, it’s fiction that is written by fans of a particular show, movie, book, etc. Anything within the entertainment industry that has people who love love love everything about what ever it is they embrace.
For any writer who has labored over characters, plots, descriptions, places, times, and all the stuff that make up a good story, fan fic is literally a God send. We creative types tend to be perfectionists and I can tell you that most times I spend more time doing research on characters, places, and other things than I do actually writing. I have at least three mystery series that is so in-depth with time lines, biographies, descriptions that I never actually did sit down and write more than one story in each.
And this is from back in the day of Junior High.
Fan fic, for me at least, gives me all the character design, time points, places, etc that all I have to do is just think of a plot, which is actually easier for me than thinking up the people and places in the plot. That’s less time researching (especially if it’s an area a writer is familiar with) and more time writing.
For every good thing, there is the evil equivalent. There is some bad fan fic out there and I mean exceedingly bad. So bad that some fan communities have given these stories the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment and the MiST was born. Just like the show, bad fan fic gets the treatment that bad movies do. I’ve done it (cause there needed to be avengers in the Get Smart arena) and the idea I got from the Reboot fandom (of which I am also a part of).
Bad fan fic happens when a plucky new writer jumps aboard fan fic and literally jumps the shark, complete with skis, a chainsaw, a baseball bat, and other blunt objects to torture beloved characters. This is anything from horrible grammar, canon rape (as coined by TV Tropes), and the ultimate “death to the writer” infraction of the Mary Sue/Gary Stu. These writers care not about canon or what happened in the universe of the characters; only that Harry Potter must attend high school with the Charmed Ones, along with every single anime character to ever live. Forget that the premise makes absolutely no sense what so ever or how this all came to be, it must be done.
Unfortunately, the bad fan fic is what gets the attention, which obscures the good fan fic. There is some awesome fan fic out there; in fact, some of these writers have gone on to write for their favorite fandom (Star Trek anyone?). Some of these writers aspire to be professional and use fan fic as a way to keep the creative juices going or just as something to take their mind of the giant novel that looms on their desks. Others just like writing and want to keep writing amidst their busy schedules.
And that was how I found fan fic. As a fan of Get Smart, the Internet brought me to the GS mailing list where we discuss the show, the characters, the episodes, and so on. It gave me the chance to still write, even though I was balancing an active college life. Up until then, I hadn’t written an actual story since junior high and even as I bring all my fics to my website, there are some that do make me cringe a little.
For writers, no matter the discipline, should give fan fiction a spin, if just to write on something that isn’t freelancing or school papers or homework. Sometimes to get creativity to work, you need to put some fun into it. Time for some shameless plugs! If you want to check out all the areas in which fan fiction thrives, check fan fiction.net. It holds the largest directory of fan fic, however it also holds prime examples of bad fic. I stopped posting there as their formatting and editing is just atrocious. I think it makes bad fic worse.
GS fans will want to join the mailing list, found at WouldYouBelieve.com run by the awesome Carl.
Reboot fans need to check out Julia Cat’s Reboot Corner, as well as the Java Hut
Star Wars & Star Trek fans have a huge universe of fic archives. Sadly, I found an awesome TNG site and have forgotten where. I know! I’m equally upset. And if you wanna see the fics I’ve done, I am listed at both fanfiction.net and Julia’s under WebMistressGina.
Quick access though is to just head to my website.
Coming up on the next Freelancer R! Loving the Cloud – Why writers need to jump on this!