Fan Fiction: My Unsolicited Thoughts

Not that anybody was asking (hence the unsolicited part), but previously I wrote about fantasy fiction. It’s no secret that I’m pretty lazy, and while I was writing that, I got annoyed with how long it took to type the phrase fantasy fiction. So today, out of sheer laziness, I’m going to shorten it to fan fiction. Luckily for me, that’s a whole new genre, and a completely different topic to write about. Plus it’s shorter to type, so that’s a double bonus!

Having said all of that, I decided this week that I am going to put all of my current projects on hold and focus on a new pet project that I will never be able to do anything with. (Yeah, I’m well aware how ridiculous that sounds.) I’ve never done any fan fiction before. I like the concept: people like something so much that they create and expand on the source material. That’s awesome! I would be so flattered if somebody ever wanted to do that with anything I wrote. I just don’t think I’ve ever been into anything enough to think that I could do something worthwhile that would contribute to what’s already there. Plus I feel weird about using somebody else’s creation to play around with.

Until now anyway. I have gone down a rabbit hole and have tunnel vision for this story that a friend gave me ideas for. We had an amazing exchange, brainstorming session, and then that was it. As far as I was concerned it was over. Just a fun concept. Or so I thought. The idea stayed in the back of my mind though. I saw that friend a couple weeks ago, and the conversation came back up. It’s too good to let it go. So I’m not.

There are plenty of legal complications when it comes to fan fic, where lines get blurred between fair use and copyrighted material, and then in extreme cases, outright plagiarism. There have been plenty of instances where fan fic has become so popular, that the writer made adjustments to separate it from the source material for legal reasons, then published it to overwhelming success. The 50 Shades of Gray Series is probably one of the most famous examples of this, as it originally started out as Twilight fan fiction before it morphed into its own series of bestsellers. What I have in mind will be a clear continuation from the source material, and won’t really be able to stand on its own without massive changes that would detract from the story that I want to tell.

Going along with the copyright concerns is the attitude of the original author/creator of the source material toward fan fiction. Some authors are completely flattered by the idea that their creation inspired somebody else to explore it further, and recognize that each new story serves as a whole new form of advertising for their book. Others are vehemently against it, claiming that it’s copyright infringement, derivative, and a bad practice for young writers. You can count me in that first group, and if anybody ever decides to write something based on my work, just let me know so I can read it!

So here’s my plan with this pet project: I’m going to crank this story out and print a copy for me and the guy who contributed with a lot of the ideas. That’s the most I’ll ever be able to do with it because it’s not entirely my material. But that’s alright. It’ll be worth it to me and him, and honestly, that’s plenty. Because if you’re not writing for yourself, then who are you writing for??

(In case you’re curious, the story will center around an 80’s BMX movie called Rad.)

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