August 24, 2011

The Fan Fic Debate

There's been a fair amount of talk about writing fan fiction of late during #writechat. Is it cheating? Can it actually lead to up to a publishing career? Does it actually count as writing? Would it provide a ready audience when you publish your original work?

Long time readers will know I'm pretty pro fan fiction so long as the author doesn't try to make money off of their fan pieces. I write some myself as a way to warm up, practice, and just experiment with voice and new character archetypes.

I read a bit too. Most is mediocre or just down right awful, but there are those few authors, the ones I want to write original novels.

Have you ever read any fan fic? Do you write it? Anyone from the anti fan fic camp out there?

* The poorly Photoshopped illustration over to the side is one I did for a compilation piece titled In Debt Up to Our Crossbows over on Twisting the Hellmouth. Yes I know I can't do photo manipulation. We all suck at something.


  1. Hi. I'm in your sci-fi group on the platform building campaign.

    I will confess to having written some fan fiction in my day. I was especially interested in it when I was at University. I used to hang out at alt.startrek.creative. I posted some stories and I read plenty too. It can be a fun way to practice your craft.

    My theory on fan fiction was always to stay true to the established canon of the universe I was writing about. I would imagine that I was a Star Trek novelist, and constrain myself to the types of rules that I would be under in such a circumstance.

  2. Greetings from a fellow campaigner in your fantasy group!

    I never really thought much about fan fiction until I ran into the James Potter series by G. Normal Lippert. Lippert wrote three stories that take place in the Harry Potter world. The stories are about James, the son of Harry and Ginny (Weasley) Potter.

    I enjoyed the first two books tremendously. The third one, not as much, but it is still a good read. You can find them as free downloads on Goodreads (and possibly Smashwords?).

    I've never had an interest in writing fan fiction myself. If I'm going to spend time writing, I want to work on something that's wholly mine. The last thing I want is to get grief from another author for copyright violation.

    On the other hand, I think it would be cool to get together with some other fantasy writers, create a world, and then each of us write stories set in that world, similar to the Thieves World concept. That wouldn't be fan fiction so much as cooperative fiction, but it would have conceptual similarities.

  3. Welcome both of you. I'm just getting about to follow everyone today. Last week was insane.

    @ Mr. Collings As much of a Trekkie as I am, I've never written a Trek fic. I've read plenty of them though. I enjoy keeping within cannon of a series but writing an unexpected character type.

    My favorite thing to do though is find ways to cross one cannon with another. It's a challenge to turn the characters' universes upside down while keeping them each in character.

    @ Mr. Marvello That sounds like a blast. Maybe those of us in the fantasy group could discuss doing so. If nothing else, I love the mental exercise of world building in general.

  4. As a soldier in the writer campaign, I salute you. I would consider it flattery for someone to write fan fiction of my work. However, from a legal perspective, I could not encourage it or admit to having seen it, or I could be liable for stealing ideas from the fan fiction writer.

    Best wishes on your writing.