Friday, March 1, 2013

FanFiction: Author's Bane?

Now before I even thought about being a writer I wrote fanfiction. Been doing it since 2007 I believe. I started with a Blade FF. I exclusively use as my medium. I don't like posting it on other places because it might be taken as my own writing and I don't want there to be any confusion as to ownership. On it sets the tone to the writing.

Now as we move properly into 2013 I've got 13 stories on the site. From Harry Potter to Hunger Games to Artemis Fowl to Castle to the Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for you troglodytes just now discovering fire) to the House of Night to Ranger's Apprentice to Percy Jackson and the Olympians (my most popular story so far), Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse) and finally The Brotherband Chronicles.

As a fan I've enjoyed writing the stories and I still do and I try to stay on top of getting them updated pretty regularly. For me its not that I am trying to imitate the authors writing style. Hell no that would be impossible. I like the way that I write, thank you very much, but I've enjoyed the stories so much that I want to continue them in my own unique way.

Now as a budding writer I have to think about fan fiction in a new light. Or do I? There are writers that are staunchly against fan fiction.  One of my favorite authors is George R.R. Martin. I am so in love with Westros I want to have my wedding reception in King's Landing, but he hates fan fiction. According to his website Mr. Martin has this to say about fan fiction,"And write. Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you'll get. But don't write in my universe, or Tolkien's, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else's world is the lazy way out. If you don't exercise those "literary muscles," you'll never develop them." Can you say ouch? I know I can. I think Martin just called me lazy and that hurts.

But I think of that literacy snobbery. Sort of like Bill Gates telling a homeless person, "I dropped out of Harvad and now I'm a multiply billionaire and you can do it too." Um that's well and good for you and the stars lined up just right for you to do what you have done. You had access to the tools to help aid you in your endeavors Now that is not a cop out to say that said homeless person couldn't do what Gates has done. We all have that potential in us and I believe that with some hard work everyone's dreams can come true. However we all have to start somewhere. I can't just jump up on stage and belt out some Whitney Houston when I've never sung before.

I believe that fan fiction is that starting place. No I don't believe its the only one nor the only way for a writer to start, but its something. Especially for a person that has never flexed their creative muscle. And to expect a novice to jump into the pool and be able to swim like Michael Phelps is ludicrous. I mean I've been writing seriously for a while now and there is no way in hell I can sit down and create a world has as vivid and luscious as Westros.

Do I think fan fiction is copyright infringement? Hell no. I'm not writing these stories to make money. Hell I only post them on fan fiction because I don't want anyone to confuse the matter and think that I'm trying to publish these stories as my own.

I mean we have crappy novels like 50 Shades of Grey and The Mortal Instruments that were based on fan fiction and now have gone on to the New York Times bestseller lists and now are being made into movies for mass consumption. So while the books and their authors make the enamel from my teeth run away screaming I do believe that the exercise of writing fan fiction helped them flex their muscles to in turn create their own worlds and story lines. I personally hate the books and I think anyone who is fan is a total moron and should have their library card revoked. I would happily donate those books to a Nazi book burning and that is no joke. So maybe those women could have done well to take a creative writing course on character development.

They were a poor example of my point but I think the point is made for authors to not be such boneheads about fan fiction. Its a starting point at least.

Now on the other side how should I feel about fan fiction? I'm not sure. I know that its not possible to stop it because I can't control what someone does in their own home, but should I make it my personal mission to tell fan fiction writers that they are lazy and the scum of the earth if they use my work as a platform? As a fan fiction writer I don't think I can go that far because I love what I'm doing with my stories, but am I ready to give the world cart blanch with my hard work, blood sweat and tears that I've poured into my novels? I don't think I'm there yet either.

So I think I'm between Wonderland and the Yellow Brick Road on this one...

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