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!