Fan Fiction? Bad? Hmm…

Happy Middle-of-the-Week-Day! Hope this post finds you all well, open to possibilities and looking forward to great things!

The other day I happened on Janice Hardy’s awesome blog: The Other Side of the Story. Novice and more experienced writers will find a slew of excellent articles designed to help with any/every aspect of writing, submitting and marketing one can conceive. And tips are easily applicable, even if you’re not sitting keyboard-side.

As I browsed through the responses to a post, I noticed a comment that resonated with some of my current writing struggles. I emailed the commenter, who replied.  She touted herself as ‘bad me’ for writing fan fiction. As my response to her grew, I realized I had a blog post on my hands. So, this one is for my newest online writer-friend—almost—exactly as I wrote it in the body of the email (before I copied and pasted it into the blogging software ;)):

“No such thing as ‘bad’ associated with fanfic, and I’ve already done what you want to do from yours–launch an original piece. I started with a very popular, very dramatic/high-stakes two-part episode of a very popular TV series. What was great about that is I didn’t have to generate the story. The work was done for me, lol, and it gave me a great forum to start learning how to get description, dialogue, etc, on virtual paper. I also got some nice feedback from readers/fans, who felt the original characters I’d introduced into the story line were woven into it well.

So, sixty pages later, I was done, but one line from one of the show’s characters kept nagging me: how did my character meet up with the show’s (and her) hero?

My original story took off from there. I borrowed one character and what should have been one chapter became a short (but full-length) romance around him and my heroine. From there came flashbacks that wound up being NO MATTER WHY, my debut novel with The Wild Rose Press. Its sequel, NO MATTER WHAT, should have been the ‘bridge/transition story’ between NMWhy and my (original) fanfic. Since I realized the character arc for my heroine was done, my fanfic (a highly polished first draft) is now slated as the springboard for a related ‘prequel’ story showcasing minor characters introduced in NMWhat. A completely original part 3—and completion of the trilogy—is in the works (and my current problem-child wip, lol).

As per the fanfic, two very cool things came of that:

(1) I started getting positive reader feedback (especially from the webmaster) and a small following. I even got my own page on that particular fanfic site. There were at least 700 entries posted and I became one of the eight she chose to showcase and make more discoverable. Talk about a confidence boost!

(2) One of my climactic scenes–totally original–took second place in the first contest I entered. The judge’s feedback was ridiculously simple: “Go forth and publish.” Gave me the guts to go ahead and write the query for NMWhy.

So you see, writer-friend, never judge your writing efforts, no matter what form they take. As your writing journey takes shape, you’ll find where each stop on that expedition fits in the grander scheme of God’s plan for you as a writer!”

Your turn! Please take a moment to share some of the unexpected turns and twists your writing journey has taken. Do you judge yourself, or try to follow the flow of your learning experience and see where it leads?

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping in, and thanks, EP, for inspiring this post.

Happy creating,

Joanna

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6 thoughts on “Fan Fiction? Bad? Hmm…

  1. I didn’t really understand what fan fiction was, and I haven’t seen much about it in the blogs I follow, so it was nice to read something about it. Appears to have worked for this writer. 🙂

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  2. Hi, Joanna. First off, so glad to be a part of the blog 🙂

    Fan fiction has taken a really bad rap over the years; a year or two ago, one very well known author infamously likened fan fiction writers to child rapists (a bit over the top, in my opinion). While I understand her concern for her intellectual property, a simple “please don’t write and post stories about my characters” would have sufficed.

    Some would say that writers who write fan fiction are wasting their time. I get that; I judge myself constantly from that standpoint. Yet, chatting with you and reading your post here, supports my own thoughts about fan fiction which is that is has some value to writers. Were it not for fan fiction, I wouldn’t have made some great new friends who are also writers. I wouldn’t have had the chance to practice and get feedback on my writing. And, after receiving some pretty harsh criticism on one piece, I went back to school get a little more writing education. This helped me immensely, and that was all due to fan fiction.

    Your fan fic journey is exactly the kind I’d love to follow. I’ve been writing in pretty much the same fandom for about 10 years now (time flies when you’re having fun). The instant feedback, both good and bad, has helped me to grow as a writer. Heck, writing fan fiction has actually made me believe that I AM a writer.

    Thanks for your encouraging words here. Now I’m going to have to puzzle over how I can translate my hobby to a profession.

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    1. Hi Eva,

      So glad you got to see this and so happy you’re here! I love feeling inspired–thank you and thanks for following my blog, too. You made my day!

      All b/c of fan fiction, right? 😉

      I too, heard or read something about a famous author not liking the fan fiction that stems from her work. When it comes to fan fiction, intellectual property shouldn’t be in question–not the original author’s anyway.

      I’ve also read differently about other authors’ reactions to fanfic related to their works: that, in many ways, it’s a form of promotion. With that, I do agree.Writers of fanfic aren’t out there claiming they invented the story. Fanfic authors are just having fun with their imaginations and honing skills in a forum where it should be a safe place to play. And any artist who makes his/her work public puts him/herself at risk of inspiring someone else–and being the victim of piracy and plagiarism (much bigger and more serious issues).

      BTW, my fanfic forum was the first place I felt like a writer too.

      You’re welcome. Know your writer’s journey is taking its course every day you sit and author anything–yes, fanfic too.

      Thanks again, Eva!

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      1. All because of fan fiction indeed!

        I know that Stephenie Meyers and…hmm…can’t remember the other, were ok with fanfiction as a means to promotion. My fan fic interests have always been directed at television. I know from actually hearing from the creators of the show that they found fan fic to be a valid way to keep the show alive after it had been canceled, so much so that one of the producers even interviewed at group of fan fiction writers at the show’s convention!

        And, I guess, that if someone is inspired enough by your work to want to write fan fiction, that’s high praise!

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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        1. My pleasure, Eva–thanks for inspiring them, lol. I firmly believe when thoughts on any topic are kept in perspective, things tend to go well and results generally positive. Once something is out there, it’s out there; only so much one can do about the types of ripple effects one gets by throwing different types of stones out into the a lake, right? I happen to like watching ;).

          Thanks again, Eva! Have fun!

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