Day 9: Fanfiction and remix culture

As we head into week 2, I’m definitely hitting the slump place hard. I’m still getting my minimum word count in every day, but I haven’t been able to push myself past that, to the awesome place I was in before. I’m going to work on that more this evening. But in the meantime, it’s time to talk about fanfiction.

I have been a reader and sometimes writer of fanfic for longer than I’ve had my own Internet access. I used to print fanfic stories out using my local library’s resources and read them at home when I was a teenager in the late 90s. Once I was older and my home had Internet access, I progressed to writing the occasional story.

I’ve dabbled in many, many worlds as a reader, and a few as a writer, though I don’t publish fanfic anymore even if I sometimes scribble it down. As a reader I have read stories that spanned years and dealt with issues better than the shows themselves. I’ve read terrible fanfic as well, of course. Not everyone can capture a world accurately, or catch their own errors, and I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to characterization and grammar. But sometimes people describe the inner world of a character in exactly the way that I imagine it, and they take that character in a direction that I wish had happened in their canon world, and it’s just magic.

I mention this, because I agree with Lawrence Lessig, who argues that younger generations have more ways to reinterpret art these days and shouldn’t be made criminals for doing so. Maybe it’s more common with my generation and those after us, but I don’t think fanfiction should be considered plagiarism or theft of intellectual property. I believe that if you are writing within someone else’s world and not attempting to profit from it, then it is a form of imitation that should be considered flattery. People borrow from the ideas of others in all forms of creation, and people who write fanfiction in their spare time for free do it out of love.

No matter what happens after this month is over, whether I finish my novel or not, this blog will always exist as a living time capsule from my first novel attempt. In that spirit, I bring up fanfiction in order to say that if I do finish a novel, and eventually get it published, I will never disparage fanfiction, or sue fans for writing it. I have more respect for readers than that, and if anyone loved my world enough to want to play in it, I would be incredibly flattered. If they took my characters down paths that I didn’t, I would be tickled, not upset, because there are already paths that I want to take my characters down that I can’t, in order to keep my world together. Why not let others borrow my characters and do new things with them?

I would probably read those stories myself. 🙂


Today’s word count: 2,263

Total word count: 29,572

Today’s excerpt: Mel smiled sadly. “Everything’s a gray area. I learned that the first time. I killed someone in order to keep the worlds safe, Elle. There’s really no need to question my dedication. But it’s insane to accept things like what happened to Coralie as collateral damage. What good is protecting the worlds if the people in them get punished for it?”

Day 9: Fanfiction and remix culture

4 thoughts on “Day 9: Fanfiction and remix culture

  1. As long as they’re not making money from the fan fiction I don’t see what the problem is. Although I may be slightly upset if they ended up writing something better than me!

    You will have a novel at the end of the month. Guaranteed. We will write and publish and repeat until that tropical island is a reality.

    1. Toni Travis says:

      Lol. I would find it unsettling if my characters were being written better than me, I must admit. I still wouldn’t sue them, though.

      And, thanks. I prefer to err on the side of skepticism, for superstition’s sake–but I totally believe it’s going to happen too. 🙂 It must.

  2. Yes! Fan-fiction is a vital, living, breathing thing that shouldn’t be illegal as long as you’re not making money from it. *nods*
    Fan-fiction is where the majority of my passion for writing lies. So, thank you, for this post.

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