Fanfiction in the Real World: The Debate Goes On

twilight_meets_fifty_shades_of_grey_by_totallydeviantlisa-d6fl3fu

(This lovely art by TotallyDeviantLisa)

Welcome back! Recently I was going through my Nook/Kindle apps getting rid of books that I do not want anymore. As I was going through the lengthy lists of books, I came across Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I own Fifty Shades of Grey. You cannot be part of a scholarly debate if you have not read the source material. I clicked through the book laughing at notes I had made at certain points. I ended up leaving the book on my virtual bookshelf, but it left me wondering about other books just like that one.

I like to call him “Pop Culture Books”. No one else does, but I do (let us make it happen all ten of you that read this blog! We have the power to make up a random name!).

Ahem.

Anyway, I call books like Fifty Shades of Grey “Pop Culture Books” because I do not see these types of books having any real staying power. I doubt my friend’s daughter will even know what Fifty Shades of Grey was about other than everyone had firm opinions about for a few years. Maybe she will see it on ‘I Love the 2010s’ on VH1.

It is a trend now. Many people are getting six-figure deals for taking fanfiction and rewriting it as original fiction. Even worse, people are reading these books in droves. Whether because they enjoy it or out of curiosity to see how awful the book is. Either way, we are all perpetuating this trend even if we hate the trend of fanfiction to actual published novel.

Where do I stand on this trend as a writer and reader?

Let me start with fanfiction. I am a big fan of fanfiction (repetitive much Amanda). I believe that fanfiction is a great tool for writing especially new writers. New writers sometimes have trouble knowing where to start. Being able to have set characters, worlds and plots to work with is a great starter. Slowly, writers should start to feel confident in their talents and branch out on their own.

So many great fanfiction writers out there and I encourage people to find their favorite television show, movie or book and check out fanfiction sites. It is a fun experience, and you see how talented people are in the world.

With that said, you are supposed to branch out. You need to create your characters and worlds. You can use fanfiction as an outline, but ultimately writers should be confident in their abilities to create on their own. Many of these books are just ‘copy+paste’ change the name, and they have a hit. Technically, they did not go out and create their worlds or characters. They took from an author and just changed character names. I could easily see Christian as Edward. There were many of the same ideas behind the character.

Almost like the Cassandra Clare series that was based off a Harry Potter fanfiction. As one blog post said, “Of course, Cassandra Clare’s Draco, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, etc. were not exactly canon representations, and she did make these characters something of her own. But Hermione Granger still always retains a bit of Hermione Granger, no matter how garbled an interpretation of her is”.

I think it is cheating the system.

I wrote fanfiction for Daria and Meg Cabot books (Do not try to find them).  I did not turn around, change the character names and try to sell the books! I went out on my own, influenced by different writing styles, and made something original.

Original seems to be the keyword here. Are fanfiction stories turned ‘original’ novel original? I guess since the names have changed and the plot is new it would be plagiarizing, but it feels like it could be a problem.

I guess I am not sure where I stand. I do not want fanfiction to go away but at the same time, I do not want someone making money off my hard work. Where is the line? Have we crossed it yet?

While researching this blog post I came across a press release for a One Direction fanfiction turned original novel. I think I just found the line.

What do you think about the trend of “pop culture” books? Do you think it is ok to take fanfiction and turn it into a novel? Is it plagiarizing?

I am not sure myself. Either way, this trend is not going anywhere anytime soon.  Maybe I should find some old fanfiction, clean it up, sell it and pay off some student loans burning a hole in my life.

For now, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed.

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