Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Angela Blum, Staff Writer
Fan fiction has always been seen as a subculture of writing — just another way to express your love for a book, movie, television show, anime, etc.
With the publication of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James, it seems to be that fan fiction is becoming more than just a hobby. To some lucky authors it is becoming a career.
Publishers are scanning the internet and popular fan fiction websites, as well as fan pages, for well-written stories that have the potential to become their own novels.
But what does this mean for writing as a whole?
Some believe that fan fiction is the lowest form of writing, that you are stealing the work from another and corrupting their hard work.
How do those who share that opinion view novels that started out as fan fiction?
On the other hand this is a brilliant opportunity for aspiring authors. For them it is another way to get noticed and published.
But is there merit in editing your story, so it does not feature someone else’s material?
As a writer, I know how attached one can get with your stories. Stories become an extension of you, even if the characters belong to another source. Plus, changing the names of the characters can change the dynamics of the story completely.
If you are writing about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson solving cases in America, the reader has the advantage of already understanding the relationship between the two characters. Changing the names to Henry Bennett and Dale Jackson does not make much of a difference, but the author now has to add details to his/her story to signify the dynamics of their friendship.
That is my biggest fear for fan fiction being published professionally: If the author relies too heavily on the readers’ awareness of who the characters are, when they get it published it is possible that the story will lack valuable character development.
Then there is the stigma that is attached to such writers: If you become famous for writing fan fiction, your readership could consider you a plagiarist.
Even if you change everything about your story besides the basic plot points, they will always know that it started out as fan fiction.
Now for some, this just heightens their experience. While reading, they can simply change the names Anastasia and Christian to Bella and Edward, allowing them to delve even deeper into the characters’ worlds in an alternative universe.
On the other hand, the people who are not diehard fans of “Twilight” may be turned off at the prospects of reading more about their least favorite love story.
In my research of professionally published fan fiction, I stumbled upon the realization that most of the novels seem to be “Twilight” fan fiction.
Another unsurprising fact was that there are a lot of erotic novels that are bred from the depths of the fan fiction world.
For instance, the “Beautiful Bastard” series includes six book series based off of three different types of bad porno romances.
Add in a red room of pain and you have another “Twilight” spin off that is only about two people hooking up.
It begs the question why are there no continuations of the Harry Potter series, or werewolf novels based off of Teen Wolf?
If publishers are willing to give fan fiction a second glance, they should not be limiting themselves.