Fan fiction, quite admittedly, is a concept I hadn’t thought about. That is until the article below came across my desk. I recognized the author because I have been communicating with him. He is building another comic book site, with the same philosophy I am using on this site. Smart fella (har, har). This is a topic I thought you might enjoy, so I decided to include his article here for your reading enjoyment. Hope you enjoy it.
Copyright © 2006 Gideon O
Fan-fiction is fiction written by people who enjoy a film, novel, or other media work, using the characters and situations developed in it to create new plots in which to use these characters.
Fan-fiction has been going on for decades, centuries, I’m sure even millenniums. It could be noted as far back as the ancient Egyptians. For example, the ancient Egyptians lauded many gods in their society and even wrote literature on these gods, such as Horis and Isis. When the Egyptians came in contact with the Greeks many centuries later, the Greeks picked up some of the Egyptian gods as their own and wrote stories on them. When the Romans came into the picture, they picked up some of the Greek gods as their own and wrote new plots for them. Up to this day many of the mythological gods people are aware of are usually seen as Roman or Greek myths and fiction. Some people don’t even think to link them back to Egypt. Of course this is thousands of years ago when copyright didn’t exist and the population of the world was a lot smaller. There wasn’t any technology like the Internet. Most literature creators at that time probably did not worry too much about infringement. I mean, it’s not like the Egyptians could have rode to Greece in their chariots and accuse them of violating copyright laws. However, even back then people faced severe punishment for changing or misrepresenting a story or literature renowned in their society, and the law was not kind on what we call fan-fiction today.
We are in the twenty-first century; technology is at an all time high and increasing. Fans can get access to almost any media work published in an instant. And, the copyright laws of course still favor the originator. Okay, what about fanfiction in the twenty first century? The simple answer is it is still frowned upon. Then, is there any spot for fan fiction publishing? Of course there is. What I believe is that fanfiction keeps the world of literature revolving. I’ve observed that this is especially true for popular published literature. Usually when a book hits the shelf or a story is told, may even be on historical facts, despite the popularity and liking of the story, everyone is not satisfied. Many fans may think to themselves, “what if it happened this way?” Some fans even go out and create a fiction based on how they think the story should have happened. Some of these fans share their version with others in chat groups, message boards and so on. The effect of these fans actions? We now have more text and a wider audience.
If fan-fiction makes the world of storytelling go round should it be allowed to broaden audiences and possibly allow economic growth due to the purchasing of the fictions by the curious minded? Or maybe the stories should be left as was created. But what if the story is unfinished? Should the curiosity of the audience be quenched by imaginative family members, friends, hired publishers or most of all, fans? I believe this is up to the originator to decide. If the originator doesn’t want any changes to his story then the fans have to respect that.
Due to infringement many creators are afraid to tamper with any original copyright work. Nobody wants to get in trouble for plagiarism. What creators have to know is that fan-fiction is usually frowned upon when it misrepresents the original character and mostly when the creator tries to commercialize it. You can think of it this way, it is like taking money from your boss. Most publishers are cool when fan fiction is in the closet, meaning hidden, not commercialized and intended for your group of people or family like setting. Doing this is just like telling a story to your family or friends.
Fan fiction creators must remember that the only reason your fan fiction exists is because of the originator of the fiction or story. Fan fictions have an audience because the original had an audience. As mentioned before, think of it like working for a boss. People are usually at their job because their boss hired them. I’m saying this because writing fanfiction is a good way to get noticed as a writer or creator. Some people make a living off writing fanfiction. This is alright as long as fan fiction creators respect the requests of the original author or publisher and not try to commercialize it.