The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
September 16, 2023
I love a good story and hate when it ends. Have you ever felt that way? Do you miss your favorite characters and wish to know what else they might be doing? Or perhaps something happened in your book and you want it to have a different result? I am forever altering stories in my head, especially to create happy endings. There is actually a name for this process. It is called fan fiction.
There is a controversy whether the term itself should be fan fiction or fanfiction. Either way, it designates a type of writing where fans of a certain subject, book or author endeavors to embellish the stories they love. This is not a new concept. Shakespeare was accused of using ideas and characters from others and making it into something of his own. You must admit, Shakespeare did a pretty good job of it, considering the longevity of his writings still enjoying a vigorous life today.
Fan fiction includes people taking literal characters from their favorite books and writing new episodes or rewriting the original story to their taste. They then share it with friends and many times post it on the internet on numerous websites that have been created for that exact purpose.
Some actually print and sell their fan fiction. But beware, there are some stipulations to the legality of using an author's work. Some authors, like Anne Rice, vehemently spoke against it. Other authors enjoy and even encourage young writers to try their wings. J. K. Rowling has said she is very flattered by the enduring interest in Harry Potter. To be safe though, fiction written by fans is best shared without profit.
Understanding Public Domain is important. Public Domain came about after the invention of early printing processes. Copyright laws were enacted in the late 1700s but only protected the writer for 14 years. Today they have been extended to 70 years. The mimeograph, invented in 1884, evolved to Xerox machines and became an explosive outlet when Star Trek hit the scene. "Spockanalia" was created during the second season of Star Trek with poetry and character essays. Fan fiction catapulted Vulcan Culture and springboarded to its current popularity today with the internet offering instant publication.
Where can you find fan fiction? Try websites and blogs where fans are invited to read and participate, fanfiction.net being one of the earliest, opening its internet portal in 1998. The site has books, games, movies and cartoons, with the Harry Potter and Star Trek archives the most popular. Kindle on amazon has a variety of novels, novellas and novelettes that showcase many of the fan fiction genres.
In print you can find "City of Bones" by Cassandre Clare. It started as three fan fiction uploads based on Draco of Harry Potter fame. Clare's heroine Clary takes the story in a new direction. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E. L. James also started out as fan fiction. It was based after Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" but took its own story turn. It is erotic fiction for mature audiences. "After" by Anna Todd was inspired by the band One Direction, a story about Tessa and her freshman year in college. The band members' names were changed when Todd moved the story from online to print.
At "archive of our own online," there is large readership for the epic fandom Marauders Era with teenage Lily, James, Remus, Sirius, Peter and Snape. J. K. Rowling did not expand on the years when Harry's parents and friends lived within the walls of Hogwarts. It is fun to get involved in what could have been their stories, how Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs choose their animagus animals and created the marauders map. It's a wonderful long read (188 chapters which would be the size of three good books) and a deep plunge into imagining Harry's history.
Vision through fan fiction allows creativity and gives opportunity for writers both young and old to stretch their wings. This week's Tale offers readers an example of fan fiction inspired by the novel "Wool." Whether you write something about a favorite book or character, for yourself or for others to read, there is a certain exhilaration in creating something that becomes truly yours. My guess is there are many quiet writers out there waiting for permission to fly. Permission given!
Good Books. Good reading.
*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.