I used to love to read novels based on shows that I liked on television when I was younger. I had some X-Files books and some Angel ones and even a few others that included Law & Order. There was always a difference in writing quality between the authors who wrote them and therefore I had to be careful in buying them. Usually I would flip through some of the book and read an online review. I didn’t want to buy a book without characters I liked in it or that just had a bad concept to begin with.

More lately I have decided to bring that back by reading some of the Doctor Who novels by the BBC and some of the Supernatural novels. From what I hear the Supernatural ones are really hit or miss so I’ve only got one on my kindle thus far.

Back when I was a kid I didn’t really make the connection between what these writers were doing with these books and my own desire to write fan fiction. As frowned upon as it once was in the industry (and probably still is) fan fiction is only separated from these kind of books by being not-for-profit.

People love to rag on authors for writing fan fiction and in many large writing circles mentioning that you like or write fan fiction will get you mocked. But what’s the difference between the guy who writes a Star Trek novel and the guy who writes a series of Star Trek fan fiction? Some people put a lot into their fics—they do series research and know the universe extremely well and they’re characterization is sometimes more believable than the source work. What makes that author any less valid? Not having their own characters? Not owning what they’re writing about? Not having gone through professional editors (a lot of fan fiction still goes through beta-readers)?

There was a time after my love affair with fan fiction ended that I was very against the idea of it and I sprouted the same rhetoric that a lot of aspiring authors do about the evils of fan fiction. As I grew older I learned my lesson. I don’t want to be one of those writers. You know the stuck up ones who are mad that the times have passed them by and they missed out on having fun while they were doing what they supposedly love.

If there’s one thing that Fifty Shades of Grey taught us is that fan fiction is relevant. It reiterated the point that fan fiction is helping create new writers (my roots are in Zelda fan fiction to be perfectly honest). And it showed, once again, how much people are willing to accept something that was thought to be taboo, fan fiction has a lot more where ‘too taboo’ came from.

While not a fan of the book and not really sure why it’s caused this frenzy that it has, I think it’s for the best that the world learn now that writing is just writing. Judge it on it’s true merits. Not who’s making money or who’s got a book on the shelf.

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2 thoughts on “The Question of Fan Fiction

  1. All I’ve heard about 50 shades is bad. I mean what is the book about? This is the first time I find out that its a fan fiction!

    I really didn’t know that fan fiction authors are looked down upon. I wonder why? It doesn’t make one boy lesser of an author. You mentioned X-Files! Did you mean the one with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (I’m sure I spelt his name wrong)??? If you are then please tell me which books you’re talking about.
    My teenage years were spent with me trying to talk like Fox Mulder:-P

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    1. I have read more on Fifty Shades than I care to admit, basically the whole thing is about a girl who goes to interview this twenty-something-year old billionaire. She’s a virgin and naive and he hires her for the job of basically being his sub. He gets off on paying different women to let him dominate them for a set period of time and he does this for as long as their interesting. The book is basically about their struggles as a couple and her trying to save him from himself and his dark past. Along the way there’s lots of badly written sex and cliches. The main objection I have to the book isn’t that it was adapted from Twilight Fan fiction, but that in it the female character doesn’t really like what she’s having to do for him and she often does it just because she thinks that it will help him get him to be datable eventually. It reinforces negative behavior we already find in society and rewards it. “Ladies if you stick with your abusive boyfriend long enough he’ll reward you by being a loyal companion!”

      As for X-Files, I mean the very same one. The only book I can remember was called Ground Zero, it’s about the ghosts of the victims of nuclear war trying to stop a new type of atomic weapon and Mulder and Scully investigating it. A lot of my early writing was based on this kind of thing.

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