Thoughts

Thoughts #7: Pros & Cons of Fanfiction

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Today I want to talk about a hotly debated topic in the world of books: fanfiction.

Some love it, some hate it. I think it depends on what the topic is, and the skill of the person writing it – as well as the reader’s preferences. For instance, a fun and unusual scenario that (reasonably) takes the characters of one series outside of their usual constraints might be great to read, even if the writing isn’t brilliant. And a brilliantly written scene that completely sticks to the canon of the universe it is set in might not be so exciting.


Now I have to admit, I haven’t read a lot of fanfiction. Most of what I have read has been Mass Effect and Dragon Age fanfiction, so not strictly related to books, but I think the pros and cons will be the same.

Dean approves of fanfiction. And there’s a lot of it out there. Especially concerning him and a certain angel.

Pros:

  • Want to read more about a specific character? Missing that favourite series that finished several years ago? How about some fanfiction to tide you over!
  • If you’re interested in writing, but a little overwhelmed by the idea of inventing completely new worlds, characters etc, then fanfiction can be a great way of practicing your writing style.
  • It often connects fans, particularly those who ‘ship’ certain characters together, or want more information on a minor character.
  • Some people are amazing writers and really capture the essence of a character, or a perfect moment, or something you wanted to happen so badly in the series.
  • It’s just plain fun. There’s nothing harmful about it (unless someone is trying to rip off another author’s work) and allows the writer to create new scenarios in which the characters would not normally find themselves within the limits of the book/TV show/film etc.

I would’ve thought Sheldon was a big fanfiction fan.

Cons:

  • It lead to certain books, that are now widely published and bestsellers, when there are so many amazing, original writers out there.
  • Some of it is just awful. Awful. Anyone can write it, there’s no filter.
  • So yeah, there are the amazing ships – and then the horrible ones. Ones that should never be, and make you want to gouge your eyes out.
  • Some say that fanfiction is lazy. I personally don’t agree with that – some people have great writing styles but can’t think up an original plot, and fanfiction just works for them.
  • Some fanfictions don’t even bother to keep a character’s traits, and essentially just use a character that looks exactly like the one they’re writing about, but acts exactly as the writer wants. Which is no fun and pretty unrelatable for the reader.
And yes, I have written fanfiction before. Just the one piece though, and it’s simple and short, and I was trying to get over my Mass Effect and FemShep/Garrus feels.

So what do you think about fanfiction? Are there any elements that annoy you e.g. certain pairings, moving too far away from canon, AU (alternate universe) fanfictions? Let me know in the comments!

14 thoughts on “Thoughts #7: Pros & Cons of Fanfiction”

  1. I am interested to see how the Amazon fanfiction venture works out. I have read a little fanfiction and enjoyed it and I wrote a little in high school (Buffy, Angel, Doctor Who and Babylon 5) so I am open to it. I find the biggest problem is sorting the good from the terrible.

    1. Oh, I don’t think it’s a good idea at all =/ I think it will lead to a LOT of rubbish being posted. Whilst I have nothing against fanfiction for fun, I don’t think it should be published.And yes, you have to sift through a lot to find the really good stuff. My favourite so far has been a fanfiction about Shepard and Garrus from Mass Effect (are you sensing a theme here?) that was over 30 chapters, and was just wonderfully written. Very, very emotional as well.

  2. I think fanfiction is a nice outlet for the fans, I especially like the idea of crossover fic, cause it’s just so cool to combine awesome things! But I don’t really read it myself because it is too hard to find the really good ones. If an author manages to become published because of it, then maybe I will go back and check out their fanfiction (and hope they wrote about something I like!)

  3. I’ve read my fair share of fanfiction and then some (the good, the bad, and the ugly). It’s hard for me to let go of characters or pairings that I’ve become attached to, so fanfiction helps with that. 🙂 I don’t think fanfiction should be commercially published, though, as it then leaves the realm of “what if” and enters the world of canon, which isn’t necessarily the way to go, imo… In general, I’m pretty loyal to the pairings I ship and rather indifferent to all the others, except when they interfere with my pairing (I can think of one in particular in Mass Effect). BTW, I also ship Shepard and Garrus (perhaps unhealthily so). Definitely one of my top 5 favorite pairings.

    1. Haha, you should have seen me right after ME3 – hunting down fanfic, fanart, anything to keep the Shakarian ship going! I get very overly attached too, right now it’s between my Warden and Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins. This is when I wish I’d carried on with drawing in my spare time, cos now I’m crap at it and I really want to do some fanart!Thanks for commenting =)

  4. I’ve honestly never read fanfiction. I’ve just always had a thing where I feel as though reading a book is better use for my time. I don’t know, it sounds mean but I guess there are the perks. I think what I really have something against are the books on Wattpad. Well, it’s not that I have something against them it’s just that I know that some of the books are really good. I just wish they were bothered to try to get their book published or at least self published. :/ Laura @ Music Plus Books

    1. I agree with you in a way – the only time I’ve read fanfiction is when I’ve felt like reading a little more about a relationship between two characters. Basically I just read it for the characters that I ship ;DHmm, I’ve never looked at Wattpad. What is it?

  5. I think I’ve always dithered about whether or not to read any fan fiction, in a way I think it is because whenever I do go and hunt some down, the ratio of wheat to chaff is pretty off-putting, scanning through and thinking “you are doing WHAT to that character?!”

    1. Oh, it can be a challenge just to read sometimes! I suppose it depends how emotionally invested you are in the series. If you’re really invested you’ll probably want more on the series or a character, but you’re also more likely to get angry or annoyed at how something is portrayed… tricky!

  6. I have written one fanfiction short story, and yes, it was for Twilight. I can’t even remember why I wrote it in the first place, but all I remember is that I was inspired and I had to get the story out of me and onto the screen. It was about Victoria (and James), and that might be why I was able to do it. We don’t know much about her to begin with.But in general, I just can’t do fanfiction. Write or read. I completely understand why so many people DO, though, and I wish I could, because I agree that it’s a great avenue for practicing your writing. But I dunno… am I a purist or something? I feel like the fanfiction stories aren’t REAL. Like, they’re not was REALLY happened to the characters, so I just don’t want them. I’d feel like some sort of fraud writing it. (Please don’t take that to mean I think fanfiction writers are frauds. I’m just weird about judging myself.) So. Alas. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Sorry. >_>

    1. I know COMPLETELY what you mean! Even though I like reading the Garrus/FemShep fics sometimes, when I read them I know it’s not what really happened. So even though they’re fun to read they never quite leave me feeling happy about it all, although it’s the closest thing I’ll get, haha.Plus sometimes you get the Mary-Sues who insert themselves into the stories and that’s when it gets reeeeeally weird…And no need to apologise! I ramble a lot too 😉

  7. I read and write fanfiction! Only recently, I’ve only read them instead of writing. I’ve read some that are absolutely fantastic and I actually feel gutted like I do after reading an actual book. The feels! Of course, there are terrible ones… which are aplenty to be honest, especially the “lemons” by probably sexually frustrated teens or something. God, my eyes! ;__;The only issue I have is that solid, good fanfiction can sometimes be real hard to come by. Light one-shots are easier to find most of the time. 🙂

    1. Haha! The lemons! Yep, since the ones I tend to read are about relationships (Garrus/FemShep and Cousland/Alistair), I really have found some awful ones…And I agree about the one shots! Plus sometimes I don’t want to get too emotionally invested in a fanfiction to find that the author gave up on it or hasn’t updated it in two years… although my favourite one so far was 34 chapters long (it was AMAZING!).

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