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Fanfic Is

Fanfic is whatever you make it out to be. You cannot claim a whole genre of literature is bad: not romance, not sci fi, not fantasy, not contemporary. There will always be gems, no matter where you go, you merely need the tools to find them.

I personally slam on Disney for fanfictioning themselves to death. But, fanfiction does have a place. Here are three things you would learn if you took two seconds and two braincells and fanficked around a little on a Saturday afternoon.

Passion. Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is finding what you’re passionate about. And getting past all that initial worldbuilding and character building can be a really huge hurdle for some people. So why not start with a world already built, with characters already made. If it’s the way to start, you should start there. Cause you already have passion with regards to those characters. You’re already invested in what happens to them. So, you fanfic.

A heavy dose of “this is the life of an author” which can be many things. People might never read what your write. People might read what you write. Both are terrible, more terrible than finding half a fly in your spaghettis. You have to live with the knowledge that you probably already ate one half of the fly, and that this fly has probably touched every strand of spaghetti you’re about to eat. Anyhow, people reading what you write is just as terrifying as people never reading what you write. Because people, we’re more judicious than crows.

We will all write something bad. Perhaps the last miserable thing you wrote was a project from third grade, oh you gifted soul. But for most of us, we will write poorly-stitched-up bodies of text for a very long time. And you have to live with that. And so does everyone else. So, if it is bad, that’s how it is. Fanfic is. All that it is. And not all of it will be bad. So just write it already.

I call back to an earlier post of mine where I wish there were clearer ways to share and share alike in the literary world. We have such strict rules for images, surely a book is a type of written image too? Anyhow, the rules aren’t clear. And if anything they’re quite murky to the inexperienced. If Disney wrote fanfics and then rewrote worse versions of those fanfics, then why should you not as well?

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Reviews

Disney is Fanfic

Hot take: Disney remakes are fanfic.

Let me tell you why.

Who in Disney isn’t aspiring to the glory of those good old classics? Those money busters. Those idea exploders. And those story spinners. The original Disney had their issues. But I loved them (don’t know about you). Fan fiction is written by a fan of the original movie.

Looking at interviews with the directors that remade these movies, they really do have a whole lot of love for those classics. You can see it. But, love isn’t enough to carry a corporate. We loved those classics too, and that’s why we’re falling prey to the Disney machine. The machine that wants to pump us full of old ideas different but not better. The fans have passion, but they make sweeping gestures at the plots we remember. With shaking hands they sketch for us, but we are craving Zdzisław Beksiński. Or maybe not, this is Disney, after all.

Disney uses the same characters to tell you a new story. Part of the appeal of fanfic is to build on old knowledge. If you can pull on old ideas, you have less explaining to do and you can focus more on the conversation you want to have with your viewers. For some that means having known characters act out your fantasies. For Disney it’s sanitizing anything questionable from their prior media. Have they added anything interesting to the conversation? Anything new? Anything compelling?

If you’ve seen it, tell me. So far I’ve found myself disappointed, but maybe I missed something.

They’re pulling on old characters and putting them in new patterns. These Disney remakes are nothing but culturally accepted fanfic. And tell me why we’re slamming fanfic when we’re filling our own heads with the stuff every day. Disney rewrites us something, but is it any better? Or just different? Or maybe worse?

Well, only you can really judge that.

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writing

What Was Promised

Arguably, one of the most important things while writing is keeping your promises. Now, what do I mean when I say promises? I am referring to something which the reader anticipates based on the genre or your storytelling. Not keeping promises is one of the reasons why so many story twists fall short. When you fail to keep promises, you fail your readers and you’ll leave them feeling dissatisfied.

So.

How can we, as writers, make and keep promises to our readers? Here are 3 ways we can offer and fulfill.

The Rule of Threes

three monkey statues

One of the way many writers strive to make and keep promises to readers is to point something out to them multiple times before it becomes relevant. I’ve talked about it before, but this is sometimes called the rule of threes. You want to make sure that you’ve mentioned the important things multiple times so that your reader doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere.

Can you think of an example where a writer presented information multiple times before it became plot relevant? Hasn’t that made the payoff all the better for you as a reader? If it has or hasn’t, go ahead and comment below to explain why it did or didn’t work.

The Power of Genre

library organized by color and topic

In each genre there are patterns and plots which shine through time. If you want to make and keep promises, you can prove to your readers that you’re going to adhere to those norms. If you bait your book as something its not, your reader will feel cheated. However, if you live by these norms, you’ll find yourself with happy readers.

Before you rip me to pieces, may I just add that variation from those standards can be a good thing when it enriches the plot. However, you can stick to genre standards and still come out the side with a perfectly good story. So, take this one with a plate of salt and you’ll be alright.

What was a time that you’ve felt you were deceived by a book? Did you want to keep reading after that, or did you shove that one on your unfinished list? Alternatively, what was a time that you got something better than what you were promised?

Clear Expectations

man in mirror

Do we know what your main character wants? The easiest way to make and keep a promise is to tell us what your character is working toward. Even if the story pulls them away from that goal (as it so frequently does), we, at least, will know what the character will lean toward when choices have to be made. Use your character’s inner narration to make and keep promises on occasion.

Beware of doing this one too much though, or you’ll find yourself telling your reader to death. If you smack the audience too many times with narrative intentions, they’ll form callouses, but if you use it from time to time it can help them stay focused.

Have you ever been the gladder for a character explicitly stating their intentions with inner or outer dialogue? What were times this absolutely didn’t work?

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that you all have a marvelous Nanowrimo.

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Madness

2020 has been madness, so grab some a mug or a shirt at our store so everyone can know you survived the madness that was 2020.

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writing

Fanfic: Sharing With Respect

Have you ever used an image that’s protected under creative commons? Well, I personally think they’re the bee’s knees because holy moly those things are so useful. And there are a bajillion levels of nuance to those bad boys. There are so many levels of permissions that people can tag onto their artwork to try and protect it how they’d like it to be protected.

And…

Artist’s creative desires should be respected.

Foto profissional grátis de atraente, beleza, bonita

As such, Fanfic is a sensitive subject to some because the content contrived is directly related to the character/world-building of another artist. Some creators can understandably get upset when someone else profits off of their brainchildren. It’s hard not to get irritated when you see someone profitting off your own hard work.

But all the same. Fanfic is an important step in learning to create effective stories.

Tell me, as a writer, how did you start out? Did you start writing full novels? Or did you consider the what if’s of your favorite movie/book/tv show?

It’s for this reason that I, personally, hesitate to shut down fanfic creators. And I wonder if there could be some way for artists to more accurately express how they feel about fellow content creators using their characters in scenarios? Something more like creative commons?

Foto profissional grátis de alta-natividade, arte, artista

For example, I do find it a bit strange to have someone latch onto my characters so much that they imagine them in scenarios beyond my scope of creation. However, if a fan does imagine my characters, and write about them, haven’t I done my job as a writer properly?

I think the thing that irritates me the most is those who dominate the fanfic of a specific story. Not to name any names (coughs loudly) but I’m sure you know of at least one creator who’s profited off the fanfic they made off a work. And then they turned around to shut down anyone who might riff off of their fanfic.

Foto profissional grátis de anúncio, aparência, arquitetura

I lack the words to express this properly. But, my closest approximation would be:

How could you be that much of a pissant?

This is why I point to creative commons as an acceptable option. If authors of original works stamped their texts with a “you can edit this” but only if you also allow others to edit it kind of thing, then we’d really be getting somewhere, wouldn’t we?

CC Search

What do you think? What’s the best solution? And how can we let people learn to create while still respecting the author’s wishes?