Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Fanfiction. I have been pondering over it. Is it something good? Or is it painful painful stuff that the original authors would tear their hair out over, wondering how on earth anyone interpreted their characters this way?

On the negative side: It is super-depressing to read when someone writes something that kills all the nice characters off or kills them figuratively, exchanging them for some sex addict/psycho feminist/other such exaggeration of character. I am thinking here of Harry Potter and Jane Austen fanfiction, the only two types I've really read much of. For example, I once read the first chapter of a Harry Potter-based fanfic in which Ron Weasley was secretly in love with Harry. How depressing and pathetic is that? Or once there was a Pride and Prejudice fanfic I read that killed Jane Bennet off two weeks after her marriage (leukaemia, apparently). What a waste of time. It is also annoying when people copy out huge chunks of the author's own writing when they cover the same events. Apart from probably being illegal, it is very uncreative and immediately stands out as a different style of writing from your own. ALSO (and let this be known), I am SICK of "modern retellings" of Pride and Prejudice, starring "Will Darcy" and "Liz Bennet", set in some American town or college.

Also, if one actually wants to be a writer in one's own right, I have a sneaking suspicion that spending all one's time on writing stories based on other people's characters is perhaps not the best way to go about getting your own stories published.

However, on the positive side: Fanfiction can, on occasion, be really good, and really fun to read. Let's face it, when my favourite author died almost 200 years ago and only wrote six novels... I crave more! This doesn't mean when I visit a site like Fanfiction, I expect to find works of genius that sound like Jane Austen has been resurrected. However, I do hope that someone out there who is an intelligent Jane Austen fan has had fun creating a sideline story with an original idea. I especially like it when they obviously have their own highly developed style yet somehow the characters seem like they should be, with very little effort.

Fanfiction is also very fun to write. You can do it to gratify your own whims about what you think happened to the characters. This doesn't mean you have a moral right to misuse the characters to push your own agendas or write trashy smutfics. It does mean you can follow where your creative instinct takes you without constantly thinking "is this publishable?" It is also very good practice. A lot of the hard work of thinking up a plot is taken away and you can concentrate on developing a plot and writing it well. I had never written a longish story that finished before I had a go at fanfiction. My first was absolutely terrible; they got better gradually as I went. As I've written a few more, I've realised I prefer fanfics that have only an obscure connection with the original story. Maybe they have one character in common, the character who sparked the idea, and this character may be seen only a small amount. This is seen as a bad thing by many fanfiction fans, I understand, but I quite like it.

Sooo, in conclusion (!): Fanfiction is horrible. Fanfiction is great. I could say anything I liked about it and it would probably be true. It is annoying sometimes, yes, but I think it's worth having.

Photo: in the park near my house, on Sundays they have miniature trains that old men run around these tracks and children ride on. They're pretty cool.


Patty said...

So, I suppose you wouldn't like the movie, Bride & Prejudice? I liked the movie and don't really mind the retelling in that instance. You remind me much of myself, in that, whenever I get passionate about some topic, I need to write it down or get someone to see my point of view. Even though I don't have an opinion either way really about retelling a story as long as it's okay(I usually base my liking of a movie on whether or not it was any good), I do really love that you have a strong opinion about something and wrote very well about it in detail.

So, how many times did you visit my site before you realized you could comment? :D Hehe.

Patty said...

forgot to say,

at first i thought in the pic, those people were just sitting on a bench. mini trains!?! :) you definitely need to go right next to the people on the trains when they come driving by to get a close up of them from the front!

slskenyon said...

Nice photo--you're sure getting better weather than I am out here in York, let me tell you (but that's common).

I used to be a member of a fanfiction group for...gulp....Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think the show was the first in a line of a lot of SciFi entertainment like it that implied threads between characters and events. Later Star Treks picked up on the trend and brought it forth several times in their stuff while The Next Gen was left having implied a lot of things that were left hanging, so the fans picked up on it, and it was great. Such amazing creativity by some of them, too--proves that a good story is always great no matter what the premise. And if you don't like something someone wrote, you can always click on the TV and watch an episode of the show to remind you it actually didn't in the show's history. It only kind of sucks when someone proposes something that you wish did.

ellesappelle said...

Patty: no, I loved Bride and Prejudice! I suppose I should have thought of that. It just seems that a lot of the modern retellings are very very similar. Bride and Prejudice was very very creative.
I will definitely try to get some better photos of the trains. I think I'll wait till some nieces or nephews are on them though; I always feel like I could be seen as quite dodgy if I sit around getting photos of small children who I don't know! :S I guess I'm just not a passionate enough photographer!

slskenyon: Your fanfiction group sounds really fun! I hope I didn't come across as too negative about fanfiction; it's just there are some really, REALLY bad attempts at fanfiction out there that should be destroyed. Most of it is pretty fun. I just don't like it when people take it too seriously I guess. Which I have probably just done, having written a long blog entry about it!
It's interesting you should say our weather looks better because right now it's supposed to be winter here and summer where you are! It looks nice and sunny in the photo... but it's still pretty frosty in the mornings I can tell you.

Patty said...

No, you are passionate, but as is said in the movie, The Adventures of Ociee Nash, you gotta find your bravery! Stop thinking, "People'll think I'm weird or something." Some will think what they want, no matter who you are(even if you look professional). Just keep working on your confidence and not worrying what others think. It was a step by step process for me. The more people I asked to photograph, the more confident I became. There has only ever been one lady who said no to me taking her photo(a coffee store worker). She was nice about it though. I've asked about 40-70 different groups/individuals for their photo. In addition, I've photographed so many other people without asking them.

Look at my photo tomorrow-it will be of people on the street.

Patty said...

P.S. Asking to photograph mothers with kids or people in groups is probably a better idea for you than kids by themselves, but you know, I've asked several parents if I could photograph their kids, babies(& sometimes puppies) and I think they appreciate that someone thinks their kids are worth photographing. I haven't asked as many guys/men for their photo as I have women. That's something I should try to do in the future, but I don't have a lot of time on my hands for photography right now.