I’m getting super excited for LeakyCon in just over two weeks. Will I see any of you there? Besides all the fan girling I’ll be doing — Amber Benson! Tom Lenk! Not Literally! not to mention some of my favorite authors! — I’m on a few panels, as well as moderating one on fan fiction. Here’s the official description:
Is All Fiction Fan Fiction? Until a little while ago, publishing didn’t even acknowledge fan fiction. It was hidden away, like Rochester’s wife in the attic. But with the publication of books such as 50 Shades of Grey, which is based on Twilight fan fiction, the topic is now at the fore. But . . . is all fiction fan fiction of a kind? What are tropes, retellings, and archetypes? What makes a story original? What’s the difference between good plotting and formula? This panel ships you.
I think this is sort of a brave new world for publishing, though E.L. James is not the first successful author to make it big after a background in fanfic. As for its history, I remember reading Scully/Mulder romance fan fiction way back in college, before the internet really even existed. (Yes, I’m old.) And I’ve always loved crossovers.
What about you? Do you read fan fic? Do you write it? What about derivative work like 50 Shades of Grey or Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, which started as fan fic of one story, and morphed into something else? What about alternative world retellings, like Anno Dracula by Kim Newman, which has Dracula marrying Queen Victoria, and Jack the Ripper killing vampires? Or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, and any questions you might have, so I can compile them to ask my panelists in due course!
7 thoughts on “On Fan Fiction and Leaky Con”
I haven't read much fan-fiction lately, but I used to LOVE x-files fan fic…and might have written one or two of my Mulder/Scully romances of my own back then. 🙂
I didn't know fan fiction existed until someone pointed me to The Office (which is pubbed as Beautiful Bastard). My eyes were open to a whole new world. I did write some Twilight fan fiction stories. It was what put writing stories (in novel form) back into the forefront for me.
I love different takes on stories and characters that I know. (I've written a few crossovers as well, unpublished anywhere.) It's fun to see how people perceive the story and how they change it to make it their own.
I think fan fiction is a great starting point, but as far as it truly being published makes it difficult in my mind. The characters have to have traits that are changed as well as locations and circumstances in the stories. For me, when The Office changed to Beautiful Bastard, it lost something… The characters were stripped of what I had known them to be. The stories were shortened and lost so much. It wasn't quite the same.
My history with fan fiction sounds a lot like yours. My first novel ever was Supernatural fan fiction. I worked on it for a couple of years before I discovered that there were people besides my husband and sons who might like to read it. Exactly as you said, my eyes were opened! That was back in 2009. That was the only fan fiction I ever wrote, but it changed my path in life.
I always tell my writer friends who poo-poo fan fiction that it was the best training for living the writers' life I could have wished for. Revising, consistently posting a chapter each week, sticking with it till the end and getting feedback – all that plus the support and encouragement you get from fans…what more could a newbie writer want?
It hooked me. After that one novel I jumped straight to working on my own ideas. I assumed that fan fiction would be a dead end for getting published. I'd love to see that change. I work at a public library and we've got shelves of Star Wars and Star Trek novels for kids and adults. Fans love watching those worlds expand and the characters grow. How great would it be to see Joss Whedon's Firefly take on a new life? I mean how long can we wait for that next movie?!
I've written fanfiction. In fact, it helped me polish my writing skills. I still occasionally write some, but I usually keep it to myself these days because I also do media tie-in writing and don't want to jinx my career by posting unauthorized stuff.
I'd want to hear more about Amazon and Alloy's partnership to commercialize fan fiction. I mean, it seems like a win-win situation for all involved–Amazon and Alloy make a profit, and writers who would have received zero compensation for their work receive something–but it also seems like a massive opportunity for corporate fat cats to benefit in a hugely lopsided way from these writers' enthusiasm and naivete. I'd love to hear industry experts weigh in.
That's definitely going to be a topic for the panel! I thought John Scalzi's post on the topic was a great starting point, though: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/05/22/amazons-kin…
Thanks for the link! Still wish I could be there, though! 🙂