Fanfiction is a topic of debate for many writers and readers alike, perhaps more so after the writing and subsequent publication of 50 Shades of Grey. The feelings that writers have on the matter are often a very mixed bag, though on the whole, according to their official policies on the matter, the majority of authors seem to be in support of it.
I must confess, now that I’m grown and writing my own books, I’ve discovered something about myself: I’m afraid of fanfiction.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of it. As a matter of fact, fanfic was a part of my growing up. In my early years of internet usage a good 15 years ago, I heartily enjoyed participating in a Dragonriders of Pern-based roleplaying game. As I aged and my ideas and creativity matured, I pulled away from it, preferring to write my own stories instead. Some people grow of fanfiction like it’s a phase, others continue to write it throughout their lives, but everyone develops an opinion on the matter.
I love the idea of people being able to build in my worlds, create their own characters (Referred to on the internet as OCs) to take on adventures in situations I’ve created, even sharing those adventures with others across the internet. But then there’s the concept of others using characters I’ve lovingly created and brought to life, and just not being able to cast them in the light they deserve.
Okay, so I’m not really afraid of fanfiction, exactly – I’m afraid of bad fanfiction. I’m afraid of poor personification and fans who can’t quite get into the heads of these fictional people I’ve made, who don’t understand their motives or maybe aren’t skilled enough in their craft yet to portray them well. I’m afraid of the inevitable My Series x Disney crossover fics. It’s going to happen, because that’s the way the internet works. Everything exists. If it doesn’t yet, it will be created.
On the whole, I shouldn’t worry. If ever I reach a point where my writing is prolific enough that it’s honored with fanfiction, I will revel in the idea of original characters being placed in the worlds I’ve made, helping solve its problems, even meeting my own canon characters along the way. I will welcome it with open arms.
But writers are discouraged from reading fanfiction based on their works, so even though there will likely be less than stellar fics out there, I’m never going to see them. I shouldn’t worry, so I’ll try not to. On the whole, I have faith in readers.
But I’m pretty sure artwork of my characters paired with someone else’s OC on deviantART will still make me twitch.
What are your feelings on fanfiction? Have you ever written any of your own?