Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just Some Thoughts on Fan Fiction (Prompted by Time Magazine)

Time magazine ran an article on fan fiction in its July 18, 2011 edition. It’s a genre that is a lot bigger than I thought it was. In July there were 526,085 entries of this alternative kind of writing in the Harry Potter category alone.

Many writers denigrate fan fiction because giving away your work is one of its hallmarks. Others because they see using another author's characters as plagiarism. Some argue that it isn’t creative because it uses characters created and developed by others.
These arguments seem specious to me. Many authors give away at least some of their work as a means of promotion. As far as creativity and plagiarism go, Shakespeare borrowed stories and characters and no one would argue that he wasn’t creative or a great writer.  
Experts think that most of fan fiction is written by women, and, contrary to rumor, they aren’t all amateurs.
Still I have trouble understanding what motivates fan fiction writers. If there are any fan fiction writers who are subscribers to this blog, I’d be interested in what they think makes them tick.

One thing for sure. If your book is popular enough to have fans avid enough to be inspired to write stories about your characters, they only serve to spread the interest and the word about your writing. Time makes it clear that this isn’t a copyright issue, even though some authors like Orson Scott Card and Ann Rice are more than a little annoyed by it. Others see the advantages and—really—according to Time, there doesn’t seem to be much authors can do about it anyway.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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