The world of fan fiction, which largely has remained underground for many years got some unwanted publicity with the rising popularity of 50 Shades of Grey the first novel (or at least that we know of) that began as a fanfic and later became an international publishing sensation. (Or disaster depending on how you look at it). 50 Shades started it’s life as a Twilight fan fiction, definitively proving (or at least in my mind) just how abusive the relationship between Bella and Edward truly is. Fan fiction like self publishing has sort of been perceived as a four letter word by many in the writing community for years. Largely unacknowledged by most writers, or in the case of Anne Rice banned completely. But I feel like there may be a missed opportunity here for writers.
Admittedly the vast majority of fan fiction is of the 50 Shades variety. And by that I mean, it’s terrible. There are rare gems, but they do exist. I know because I’ve seen them. Actually there is a really spectacular one that many fans suggested should be made into an actual novel (with of course character name changes) long before anyone had ever heard the name 50 Shades of Grey.
One thing I’ve noticed is that, fan fiction has allowed people who didn’t normally think of themselves as writers explore a creative side, particularly in the A.U. (alternate universe) spectrum of stories, which with possible name changes could easily make stand alone novels by themselves. Thus begging the question, is Fan fiction the writing wave of the future? I can already sense some authors cringing at the thought. Taking my characters and making them do things I didn’t want?!
But if every story has been done before (which most people would argue that in some way, shape or form this is true. After all as much as I love Harry Potter it is very formulaic in it’s method. A hero who learns he is special and must save the world. It is a story that dates back to beyond even the Bible). So then, should an author writer a fantastically amazing fan fiction, tweaking characters (a lot more than even E.L.James did, after all Bella and Anastasia are obnoxiously dense, terribly clumsy, uninteresting, a terrible judge of character and worst of all whiny) creating a storyline all their own (which many many do) and setting it in another world I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with that. Clearly 50 Shades has proven (thus far) that it doesn’t appear to have any copyright implications. Fan fiction doesn’t have to have a bad name, we just need one really good one to overshadow the nightmare that has been 50 Shades.
What do you think? Is fan fiction the new wave for authors and publishing or is it a slippery slope of no return?