Is fan fiction art? Those who make a hobby from reading stories based on characters or settings from original works have all said the same exact sentence at some point in their fan fiction travels: "Fan fiction is better than many published books I've read."
I know what you're thinking, and it's probably partly my fault for this journal’s title. Depending on your cup of tea, fan fiction as a genre gets either a bad rap for tending to have romantic/erotic themes or has the best romantic/erotic themes. Let's just get that out of our systems for a second. Adult things exist on the Internet, and when you don't need to worry about "real names" or "publishing house morals," it's definitely a subset of media ripe for the picking (or deflowering).
Fan artists are a gift to this world. It's not uncommon to commission an artist to illustrate some of your favorite characters or ships in unique, or even adorably canon, settings. Yet I've always wondered why there isn’t as big of a commerce highway for fan fiction authors to create content specifically for their fans who request it. If you don’t own the original property, you don’t own the original property. Why is it more acceptable for fan artists to profit than fan authors? (Disclaimer: I’m no legal expert, but makepictures is! If you have fandom-related legal questions, you should ask him or watch his Fan Art Law presentation.)
Fan-commissioning across all kinds of media should be a thing. Buying fan fiction at a convention as easily as you'd buy a work of fan art. Commissioning a songwriter to compose a haunting melody about Mulder and Scully. Commissioning a short film about what the Avengers do when they're not avenging.
Changing gears, as you likely know, there's a film opening tomorrow that’s based on a famous — or infamous — "Twilight" fan fiction. I'm sure I'm not the only one concerned about its existence in mainstream media giving fan fiction a bad name. Content aside, which anyone in the know will quickly tell you is not aligned with that actual subset of culture, the book is — objectively — horribly written. Purple prose, extraneous adjectives galore, poor sentence structure. If this is what mainstream audiences are told fan fiction is, we've got an even bigger fight than we thought in order to be legitimized.
What can you do? Keep reading the good. Keep supporting the talented. Leave comments and favorites and kudos to inspire these authors to create bigger and better storylines and universes than anyone thought possible.
Interested to learn more about fan fiction?
- Fan Fiction on DeviantArt
- Archive of Our Own
Already a fan fiction enthusiast? Share your thoughts!
- How did you first get involved in fan fiction?
- What are your thoughts on commissioning fan authors vs. fan artists?
- What impact will the Fifty Shades of Grey movie have on the notion of fan fiction?
P.S. - You are cool, and I am proud of you.